Splitting is a term used in psychology and describes the inability of s person to hold opposing thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. Splitting is most often seen when a person sees or views the world in terms of ‘black and white ‘all or nothing.
Splitting is known as a distorted way of thinking in which the person can only think in positive or negative attributes of a person or event and this Type of thinking is not measured, cohesive or rational. It is responsible for many social communication problems.
Splitting is One of many defense mechanisms that People utilise in social relationships. They may or may not have an additional diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. Yes there are adults who have both autism and borderline personality disorder. Those who engage in splitting typically view people, events, or even themselves in all or nothing, Black or White terms or thinking. This Defence mechanism allows a person to readily discard things they have assigned as “bad” and to embrace things they consider “good”, even if those things are harmful or bad to them.
Nothing good can come from the defence mechanism of splitting and it significantly interferes with all kinds of relationships and lead to intense and self-destructive behaviors.
The self-destructive behaviours come from a person who ‘splits’ Because they typically frame people or events in terms that are absolute with no middle ground for discussion. They are either an angel or a devil and nothing in between. To put someone on a pedestal seeing them as only good or seeing them as all bad is unfair and illogical. Human beings are a combination of strengths and challenges and Are certainly not perfect.
Individuals who split Speak in terms of either “always” or “never”, view people as either “evil” and “bad” or as “angels” and “perfect”. They see opportunities as having “no risk” or as a “complete con”, When the facts are that it could be nothing further from the truth.
The black-and-white all nothing thinking can be seen in people who view science, history, or news is either a “complete fact” or a “complete lie”. There is no middle ground. this pervasive style of thinking is damaging to others and the person doing the splitting.
In Regards to relationships, when things go wrong the person who splits feels “cheated”, “ruined”, or “screwed”.
People who split can be very challenging to be around or work with because what makes splitting even more confusing is that the persons belief can sometimes be iron-clad or it can shift back-and-forth from one moment to the next, in a very erratic and unpredictable way. The person appears to be very unstable and confusing when they are splitting.
People who engage in splitting are reported to be observed as being overly dramatic or overwrought, especially when declaring things have either “completely fallen apart” or “completely turned around”. Remember they think in extremes. There is no grey or shades of grey.
People who split have also been described as having behaviours such as acting out, without consideration or consequences. Really good examples of this type of behaviour can be seen in relationships where one maybe taken advantage of Or become loyal to a person without knowing them and seeing them as an angel and putting them on that pedestal. When they are warned about The person they have put on a pedestal, they are unable to see the person in a different light given the new information they have received. Their rigid trust in the person being an ‘angel’ or a devil eventually hurts them. Presenting the person with alternate evidence and information does not appear to work presenting the person with alternate evidence and information does not appear to work. For example, presented them with evidence that proves otherwise they Are unable and or unwillingness to take a flexible point of you. They appear to be unable to take in the new information about the person or the relationship. This can cause quite problematic relationships. For example, Not being able to take on information that a person is in trouble with the police And continuing to believe the person is an angel can have serious ramifications for the person. Later They find out that their Angel has been charged with a criminal offence, they still have trouble seeing a different point of view about the person. When this happens the person has trouble with their thought processes in regards to the person they viewed as so angelic. The social naivete is almost always present. Many Individuals on the spectrum have found themselves in this unpleasant type of situation.
At times even when given the proof, they will deny and consciously ignore the facts of reality. Their mode of communication exists of passive-aggression and an indirect expression of hostility. They are well known for projection which is assigning an undesirable emotion to someone else that they themselves have or do. They are well known for using omnipotence, the belief that a certain person possesses superiority in intelligence or power. Another well-known characteristic is emotional hypochondriasis and consists of trying to get others to understand how severe their emotional pain is. Many family members describe the use of projective identification which is denying your own feelings, projecting them onto someone else, and then behaving toward that person in a way that forces them to respond to you with the feelings you projected onto them. This can sound very confusing to someone who hasn’t experienced it and astonishingly accurate for those who have experienced it or live with somebody who engages in splitting.
In terms of helping somebody who has the trait of splitting, modified CBT and DBT can be effective in changing rigid thought processes from Black or White to seeing the shades of grey and understanding that putting someone on a pedestal or down in ‘hell’ is unrealistic, as human beings are not perfect. Individuals who engage in these type of therapies report better social communication, better relationships with other people and better familial relationships.