Black-and-White Thinking (also all-or-nothing thinking) is called 'splitting' in psychology. This refers to the failure in a person's thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is a common defense mechanism and there is no middle ground.
Examples of this type of thinking are:
- ‘If it’s not perfect, then it’s useless.’
- ‘If you don’t love me, then you must hate me.’
- ‘Either I succeed, or I’m a total failure.’
- ‘If I mess up this part, I may as well give up the whole thing.'