What causes all or nothing thinking

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

What causes all or nothing thinking

The all or nothing way of thinking is one of the very destructive thinking patterns that a person can have. In my previous article How the 'All or nothing' mentality can ruin your life i explained how a person can fall into the trap of trying to perfect everything only to find himself feeling depressed because things aren't working properly.

In that article i also said that perfectionism is one of the causes of the all or nothing way of thinking but what i didn't mention is that there are many other causes for that mindset apart from perfectionism.

In this article i will explore more causes of the 'all or nothing thinking' and tell you how this way of thinking develops.

Narcissism and the all or nothing thinking

Narcissism is one of the popular causes of the all or nothing way of thinking.

In the Solid Self confidence program i said that when a person has some kind of a disorder that forces him to think in a negative way then this way of thinking is usually carried to other life areas.

Because a Narcissist either devalues people and considers them worthless or thinks highly of them his mind slowly adopts the all or nothing thinking. The narcissist will think that things are either great or defective and as a result he will slowly and unconsciously train his mind to develop the all or nothing thinking.

Borderline personality disorder and all or nothing thinking

The all or nothing thinking can also result from the Borderline personality disorder where the instability in one's character can force a person to shift between extremes easily. The person with BPD can suddenly think highly of someone then shortly thinks badly of him.

Having the all or nothing thinking doesn't mean that you have a Borderline personality disorder because from what i noticed many people mistakenly believe that they have that disorder because of its confusing symptoms.

Depression and the all or nothing thinking

When a person gets depressed things usually seem very negative to the extent that the person can learn to adopt the all or nothing thinking as he classifies many things negatively.

It's not uncommon to hear a depressed person talking about how bad his life is or how everything in his life is totally messed up. As the person keeps devaluing things that way he can learn the all or nothing thinking.

Ambition and all or nothing thinking

Some very ambitious people might feel like they want to get it all. Only children and youngest children are among the people who are very likely to develop that way of thinking.

In such a case that person will either want to get it all or else feel that his life is a mess. For those people success is all about getting everything they want without exceptions and if this didn't happen they feel bad.

Certain way of upbringing

If the parents made the child believe that people can be either 100% good or 100% bad then the child might develop that way of thinking when it comes to judging people then shortly this way of thinking could expand to include his other life areas until he thinks about everything in terms of all or nothing.

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