MOST life events are not ‘completely disastrous’ or ‘absolutely wonderful’ but contain elements of both good and bad. Depression makes people think in absolutes.
All or Nothing, or ‘Black and White’ thinking is the thought pattern that allows us to generate a “flight or fight” response to danger. It is still needed in the world today, but not many times a day in relation to non-life-threatening stress, as so often happens with anger and with depression.
Because All or Nothing thinking is emotionally arousing, it causes over-dreaming and maintains the emotional state.
ALWAYS and NEVER are statements used to make a point, but in an argument it is rare for the respondent to say “oh yes you’re right, I do NEVER listen to you!!”. In fact it just adds more weight to their argument, because yours is flawed.
Such statements may also be used in response, eg “you NEVER listen to me”…. “that’s crap, I ALWAYS listen to you!”… in this case both the accusation and the response are equally absolute and false.
In states of anger learning to hear your thoughts (and your words) and listen out for absolute phrases can help to be a trigger to STOP. These words can be alarms to you, to stop talk and reconsider…. Because they are probably indicative of a lie! – which never helps an argument.
Absolutes are not only single words, but references over time…. A woman once told me that she had been in married to an asshole for 15 years! This shocked me, as I thought to myself, well you’re an idiot then aren’t you! (I’m sure he wasn’t an asshole for the whole time, otherwise why did she stay)????
The above examples have been about using absolutes in your arguments, but they have similar worth (or not) in your thinking. Remembering that our brains don’t differentiate between real and imagined, and that those thoughts have a ripple effect to our emotions, behaviours etc,…
So thoughts such as “nobody cares”; “my life is ruined”; “everyone is a liar” etc etc, all play in your own mind as a truth and then dictates how you will feel and respond to the world.