Some people see everything as only black and white. Life really isn’t black and white. Black and white thinking is a common cognitive distortion. An excellent article explaining this line of thinking can be found here.
Sooner or later, we run into someone who is really stuck in this way of thinking. We can all find ourselves thinking black and white sometimes. But some will really get stuck in insisting the world can be seen in black and white.
Here’s the important thing to keep in mind if you find yourself with someone stuck in black and white thinking….whether in a relationship, friendship, or maybe someone you work with. If they are stuck in really distorted black and white thinking, check yourself….
Very, very often in order for the black and white world to exist, someone has to “eat the gray.” By that, I mean someone works really hard to keep the world black and white. It often comes with a cost to the mental health and well-being of the person eating the gray.
An example of eating the gray: One member of a couple spends money and insists that everything is fine. The one “eating the gray” is working hard to move money around or to make extra money to keep the bank account in the positive.
If you find yourself eating the gray, it could be something learned….possibly long ago in your family of origin. It is important to be gentle with yourself and remember that awareness is KEY! Then…look at the situation and see what choices you could make that would keep you from eating some of the gray. Maybe you choose not to eat the gray one time and see what happens.
Please hear me when I say this: BE SUPER CAUTIOUS in proceeding here. If your boss/partner/friend has a dangerous personality disorder and you could suffer repercussions for not eating the gray, consider getting professional help before proceeding. This blog post is for minor irritations caused by eating the gray. I do not want you to do anything that could result in losing your job or getting hurt!!!