Splitting (also called all-or-nothing thinking) is the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is a common defense mechanism used by many people. The individual tends to think in extremes (i.e., an individual’s actions and motivations are all good or all bad with no middle ground.)
The concept of splitting was developed by Ronald Fairbairn in his formulation of object relations theory; it begins as the inability of the infant to combine the fulfilling aspects of the parents (the good object) and their unresponsive aspects (the unsatisfying object) into the same individuals, but sees the good and bad as separate. In psychoanalytic theory this functions as a defense mechanism.
Be that as it may.
The person who engages in splitting has failed to integrate the perceptions of self and mother as both good and bad: both satisfying and frustrating. Based on my own experiences in the world I have come to perceive that persons who engage in splitting have specific notions about the qualities of the good object and the qualities of the bad object.
I believe that the good object (good self) is seen as rational and benign. The bad object is seen as a repository of all fear and all aggression.
I have come to see that the allegation that someone was “spoiled rotten” by his mother, i.e., that he was the recipient of maternal overindulgence, can also be seen in terms of the good object/bad object dichotomy.
For the individual who engages in splitting all bounty flowing to the bad object is illegitimate. All bounty flowing to the good object is the result of entitlement; the good object is entitled to all the bounty it receives.
We see this split in the perceptions of the national electorate. For some, all government bounty flowing to the needy is illegitimate; that is because the needy are seen as the bad object. All government largesse flowing to major corporations is the result of entitlement. Major corporations are the “job creators” — they are the good object. They are entitled to government bounty.
I see a connection to the insistent charge that a particular male is a homosexual and the allegation that he was spoiled rotten by his mother. Both homosexuality and maternal overindulgence constitute forbidden impulse gratification.
It is interesting that if you Google the images for the term “spoiled rotten,” many feature the color pink, a color associated with females. The epithet “he was spoiled rotten” carries a distinct feminizing quality.
Might it be that the epithet “spoiled rotten” is favored by a narcissistically-disturbed person and is an indicator of his own sense of entitlement and suggestive of a disturbance in impulse control?