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Getting boxed in with black and white thinling


People in anger management are overly prone to black and white thinking. The claim is “It is either this or that”. It puts them in a corner. Anger management is about creating options from being boxed in as when we are boxed in thoughts such “kill or be killed”, from an animal it would be “eat or  be eaten”. From an anger perspective this leads to lashing out in anger rather  than exploring options.

403-all-or-nothing

 

 

 

 

From a biological point of view the brain has various regions that process thought. At the back of the head is the “survival” part which originated when life  emerged on the planet, and in those days it really was  kill or be killed. Later on  came  a piece in the middle that controlled our  emotions and there ois on e particular organ called the amygdala that focuses on danger and  emotions. It sia very powerful organ. Finally at the front above our eyes is the pre frontal cortex which does the executive thinking and makes smart decisions. This part of the brain is able to see things in terms of shades of grey.

People prone to anger have difficulty holding information in the grey zone. They have strong emotional pressures to relate far more to survival or the potential lack of it, which leads them to make quick unexamined decisions, where dangers get exaggerated resulting in too much anger.

It is a challenge to move out of simple assumptions to something more complicated, more measured and ultimately more concerned objectively about consequences. Holding the “grey” part is the real challenge as panic and  danger overwhelm. Making it black or  white simplifies it to the point of personal danger to the decision maker. Embracing grey likely means  asking oneself “What am I afraid of?” in order to identify the fear which has been blown out of proportion.

Source: Clinical depression

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