Impulsive Thinking: Thinking only in the Moment

I’ve been posting on the erroneous ways disordered characters tend to think that lead to problematic behaviors in their relationships with others. Some of these thinking errors include possessive thinking, egocentric thinking, and self-deceptive thinking and I have prior posts on each of these thinking errors.

Disturbed characters also tend to think about things in an impulsive way. They’re primarily concerned about what they want at any given moment, so they’re always thinking in a short-sighted manner. They don’t bother to think more long-range or about the likely eventual consequences of what they’re about to do. In fact, they don’t engage in very much thought, reflection, contemplation, etc. at all before they act.

Impulsive thinking necessarily leads to impulsive actions, and such actions almost always are a prescription for disaster. Most of the time, the disordered character will act first and think about what they’ve done later. Some will experience after-the-fact regret for the damage done. Some disturbed characters, however, never regret their impulsive acts, despite the negative fallout that typically accompanies them. But whether or not they know from past experience that they might end up regretting making an impulsive choice, it’s never really a serious consideration at the time they want something. They simply don’t spend time thinking about the potential impact of their behavior. They think only of what they want and how to get it. In my workshops, I always ask the audience two questions, the answers to which fairly well define the disordered character. I ask: “What do they want?” Answer: “What they want.” Question: “When do they want it?” Answer: “Now!”

Habitual impulsive thinking eventually promotes a “devil-may-care,” lackadaisical attitude, as well as attitudes of indifference, uncaring, and nonchalance. Never stopping to think about the consequences of behavior or its impact on others is a surefire way to become callous and indifferent with respect to how others will be affected by your behavior. The attitude of indifference develops by default. Developing attitudes of caring and concern for others requires that we habitually stop and think about our behavior and it’s potential impact. Failing to do so is how the disordered character ends up appearing so thoughtless and uncaring about the pain and misery he brings into the lives of those around him.

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