In theory, children evolve morally from the black-and-white thinking of what psychiatrist Melanie Klein calls "paranoid-schizoid" to the grey world of the depressive phase. However, "paranoid-schizoid" denotes a psychologically immature phase of psychological development in early childhood.
In contrast, "depressive" suggests a mature phase of psychological development.
- When young, self and the object, good and bad, were experienced as the same. No concept of "I and thou" existed, only "me, my and mine".
- Good and bad are not the same. Good is acceptable, while bad is unacceptable. Depending on their actions, the other as a person is seen as either all good or all bad. Thinking about another person as bad implies that the self is bad as well. Therefore, it's best to consider the caregiver to be a good person, so that the self is also seen as good.
- The self and the other possess both good and bad qualities. Having hateful thoughts about another person doesn't mean that the self is all hateful and doesn't mean that the other person is all hateful either.
Splitting - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitting_(psychology)
"In a moral sense grey is ... used positively to balance an all-black or all-white view (for example, shades of grey represent magnitudes of good and bad)." &emdash; Grey in popular culture - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey#In_popular_culture
Commentary: The use of medication to treat clinical depression suggests that within context of society, clinical depression is not conducive with productivity in society. Medication thus is used to help stabilize what society views as a medical condition that prevents a person from exercising his responsibilities and obligations to society.
Within context of the ethical definition of grey, as covered by this note, splitting does not imply one is out of control. This is because it is primarily a defence mechanism, and has its uses as a behavioural tool, despite its crudity.
Splitting's crudity is that people are seen as either all good or all bad. Within context of psychological development, then, the word "crudity" suggests that psychological immaturity to be crude in function.
Furthermore, it is suggested that seeing the self either as all good or all bad, depending on how one views others, is a crude way of viewing the world.
What I need to do to manage borderline personality disorder (BPD) is to "integrate the good and bad images of both self and others". This is the affirmation to manage BPD.
In order to integrate the good and bad images of both self and others, it's useful to pair statements rationalizing good and bad.
In order to achieve that aim, I will quote the third stage of psychological development and comment on it: "The self and the other possess both good and bad qualities." - This statement is a synthesis of the following opposing statements: "The self possesses both good and bad qualities", and "the other possesses both good and bad qualities."
"Having hateful thoughts about another person doesn't mean that the self is all hateful and doesn't mean that the other person is all hateful either."
"Having loving thoughts about another person doesn't mean that the self is all loving and doesn't mean that the other person is all loving either."
However, me thinking all loving thoughts neither makes me a good person or a bad person. Rather, it makes me a person who is being positive.
Within the context of this article, the act of being positive has both good and bad qualities to it. I am not being positive to be good; I am being positive because it affirms self management of BPD.
This brings me to the use of grey as the positive response to black-and-white thinking (splitting).
As an affirmation to help manage BPD symptoms, i.e. lessen stress, the following statement is useful: "Shades of grey represent magnitudes of good and bad."
Even though writing out my thoughts about BPD and its management may be seen as rationalization, it helps me to see BPD as an part of my character which only arises when under stress.
To best appreciate what I have written in this article, one would have to look at the spectrum of defence mechanisms.
Splitting is a pathological defence mechanism, which means it is on the first level of defence mechanisms.
Defence mechanisms are categorized into four levels:
- Level 1 - Pathological
- Delusional projection
- Level 2 - Immature
- Acting out
- Passive aggression
- Projective identification
- Level 3 - Neurotic
- Reaction formation
- Level 4 - Mature
- Thought suppression
While I may use defence mechanisms of the first three levels, it remains in my best interest to use altruism, anticipation, humour, identification, sublimation and thought suppression to help manage stress.