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The 8 signs that help identify fanatical thinking

In life it is important to have your own ideas and develop nuanced life points as you mature, beliefs and convictions sensitive to the complexity of life that are part of our personality.

The problem arises when someone develops a fanaticism about any subject and develops a model of rigid and poorly adaptive action thinking, in defense of their interests, ideas, values ​​or beliefs.

Fanaticism can become a big problem for a person and even for his environment, since in the long run it will generate problems of all kinds, both for himself and for the people around him.

  • Related article: "Cognitive psychology: definition, theories and main authors"

The main signs of fanaticism

Below I will summarize a series of signs that may indicate that our behavior or that of another person may be that of a fanatic.

1. lack of mental flexibility

The lack of cognitive flexibility is one of the main characteristics that fanatics present and consists of an inability or difficulty in changing one's mind, learning lessons from one's mistakes or adapt their approaches to a changing environment.

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This deficit in cognitive flexibility translates into a monolithic and gridded way of seeing life, and an inability to modify one's own approaches or ideas that one has always had, even if the evidence or logic invites one to think contrary.


In addition to that, it is also common for the lack of cognitive flexibility to translate into a mode of interaction with other people unsatisfactory and based on conflict and lack of courtesy or respect.

  • You may be interested: "Mental flexibility: what it is, what it is for and how to train it"

2. Believing that one knows everything

Another related to the previous and main characteristic of all fanatics is the tendency to believe that they know everything about life and that they have nothing left to learn, assuming that one's own mental schemes already fit enough with reality.

Similarly, people who present a fanatical thought model also tend to consider that those who do not share their positions or points of view are mistaken or idiots.

Likewise, a fanatical type of thinking pushes the person to consider that he is right in any position for which you take sides, whether political, ideological, sporting, social or religious, so that those who espouse incompatible beliefs are considered incompetent, ignorant, or intellectual "lazy"

  • Related article: "Self-concept: what is it and how is it formed?"

3. Tendency to generalize about groups

Fanatics are people who tend to oversimplify life and the world around them, as well as constantly generalize about particular groups of people, whether they be religious, political, or ethnic.

This tendency to generalize is also due to a lack of cognitive flexibility that prevents the person from taking into account the nuances of reality and the complex parts that surround a certain topic or a problem of any kind.

4. Tendency to become obsessed with an idea and not see beyond it

It is common for fanatical people to live their lives around the subject they are a fan of, be it religion, a football team, a political party, or a certain ideology.

In these cases, the person usually has little or no topic of conversation apart from the central topic that occupies him and lives his life obsessed with said phenomenon, coming to interact and establishing friendships that exhibit a degree of fanaticism similar to yours.

  • You may be interested: "How to prevent obsessive thoughts from causing insomnia?"

5. Tendency to proselytize

Proselytism is the conscious and systematic habit that most fans put into practice to attract more supporters of your cause, whether it be your religion, your sports team, your political party, or your organization of the kind that be.

This proselytizing is put into practice with all the people to whom the fans have access, whether they are friends, family, couples or strangers.

6. Lack of social skills

Another classic characteristic of fanatics is their lack of social skills, derived, in turn, also, from a lack of cognitive flexibility and an inability to consider other opinions contrary to the own.

Social skills are those aptitudes that allow us to relate correctly with our environment and establish meaningful emotional and social bonds with the people we meet in life.

Some of these skills are assertiveness, empathy, active listening, the ability to change of opinion, emotional intelligence, the ability to apologize and negotiation, among others.

  • Related article: "The 6 types of social skills, and what they are for"

7. Tendency to aggressive confrontation

Finally, among the main characteristics of the fanatic, it is also worth highlighting a systematic tendency to have conflicts with everyone with whom they relate due to their fanaticism and inability to give in or give in.

This tendency to conflict can also cause aggressive behavior or violence when they encounter direct opposition to their ideas or conception of life.

8. Tendency not to tolerate dissent

This is a behavior that we can observe in all kinds of sects and organizations in which absolute adherence to the principles and values ​​that govern said institution is required.

Fanatical people tend to have little or no tolerance for displays of dissent and confrontations towards their ideas, beliefs or vital approaches in general.

Are you looking for professional psychological support?

If you want to have psychotherapeutic support, I invite you to contact me.

My name is Javier Ares and I can help you through face-to-face sessions or online by video call.

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