Black and white thinking

Today got me thinking about black and white thinking a lot. As one of the criteria for BPD, you’d think I’d have given it some consideration before given I carry that diagnosis. But I wiped it aside, presuming I didn’t do that or feel that as I do with most things. But then I was talking to my DBT therapist today about continuum’s and where people may stand in them. Specifically, she described one end of a continuum as people who trust completely and approach everyone with open doors. Then she spoke of the other side, where people become isolated and untrusting of everyone. I thought, yes, that makes sense. Then she added a bit, about the middle and said ‘it was probably the best place to be’. Where you trust people who earn your trust, and don’t the others. I guess you learn how to scale it for yourself and judge it. She said just because you’re in the middle, it doesn’t mean you can’t be betrayed. But even if you are, the affect of having trustworthy people around you may buffer the betrayal. This all kind of made sense to me.

I realised how rarely I thought of this middle ground. Hell, I’m not even sure I remembered it existed. I either love my job and it’s my world, or I hate it. I spend whole days participating in hobbies, or none. I exercise religiously and ‘excessively’ or I barely move. I do or I don’t. I can or I can’t. I’ve known I’ve acted this for a while, but I’ve never considered just how black and white it is. It’s never occurred to me that having a bad day at work doesn’t mean I should quit, up and go travelling or do something reckless and damaging. Things aren’t as black and white as that. Things aren’t just good and bad, there is a middle ground. I can see it now. It is possible to trust someone without trusting them with your life. To be a friend without being a best. This is strange territory for me, but I think it might be helpful that I have seen it.

‘I want you to listen to me very carefully, Harry. You’re not a bad person.[…] Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and death eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us.’ J. K. Rowling.

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