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Hey Everybody! This week Chad digs into his bag of psychiatry to talk about a concept called splitting. We all do it, some more than others, but it’s a concept that we should all be able to identify and acknowledge. We also introduce our Pokemon Go challenge! Gotta Catch Em All! Try to beat the Good Guys and catch more distinct pokemon. Prove it and send us a pic of your Pokedex! Thanks for listening!! What is Splitting? Splitting is the psychological term for a defense mechanism in which people utilize “all-or-nothing” thinking to make the world more comfortable and predictable. We all do this to some degree, and most of the time it’s not really an issue – think about when your cheering for your favorite sports team as they play their rivals. You might catch yourself assuming only benevolent actions from your side while the opposing team is constantly trying to cheat their way to victory. Of course, the reality is that both teams are made up of a group of people who likely have many good and bad qualities, and your perception of the game is ignoring all of that.
In a sporting event, this probably isn’t a big deal, but when we employ splitting in our everyday lives, it can become very problematic. At it’s worst, splitting can lead to incredibly unstable relationships, violent mood swings, complete losses in one’s sense of self-worth and purpose in life, and may require help from a therapist or psychiatrist.
Thankfully, most of us end up somewhere in the middle – we can appreciate the subtleties of life without being threatened by them, and can limit our splitting to engagements in which it is socially acceptable. In fact, some degree of splitting behavior was likely crucial in our ancestors’ development of social groups (we’re good, the other clan is bad, so let’s work together), and may be very engrained in our evolutionary psyche.
Our hope is that this episode may bring the process of splitting to your attention, so that you can examine where in your life it is helpful and where it may not be. Enjoy!