What makes someone have internal conflicts?

What is a conflict?


The word "conflict" comes from the Latin noun "conflictus" and means clashing, clashing, in a broader sense therefore also fight, dispute.


The more a group or a general social system develops, the more differences between the elements of this system become visible, whereby these differences are experienced as a hindrance for feeling, wanting and acting by the individual or subgroups. Conflicts are always a co-creation of the people or subsystems involved, who in their own way contribute to conflict maintenance, conflict escalation or conflict resolution through their behavior, the way they communicate, the various interpretations, evaluations and explanations.

In the psychology or in the social sciences in general, one speaks of a conflict when two - mostly social - elements are simultaneously opposite or incompatible. A conflict can be limited to individual persons (intrapersonal), but it can also include several people (interpersonal) or entire organizational systems (organizational). Conflicts are disturbances that interrupt the course of action and have a stressful effect. Conflicts tend to escalatei.e., they expand and increase in intensity. Conflicts are perceived as a disruption of "normal" life and prevent a familiar course of action.

The following conditions must be met in order for us to be able to speak of a conflict

  • at least 2 parties present (this can also be just one person = intrapersonal conflict)
  • common area of ​​conflict exists (One of the most common ways of ending the conflict is leaving the field of conflict, e.g. through illness, (internal) resignation, etc.)
  • different Intentions to act
  • Presence of feelings (Here only the negative feelings "fear" and "anger" play a role, they serve as a driving element in the conflict)
  • attempts to influence each other (also via third parties, i.e. indirectly)

Conflicts differ from problems above all because the parties disagree on how to cope with the situation, and at the same time are negative Feelings develop. Since the feelings cause a strong drive to act, that is Readiness to act very high in conflicts. Conflicts must be clear of mishaps delimited breakdowns are controversial to decisions made by our logic that have negative consequences (e.g. someone forgets to pay an invoice in good time and is therefore charged with dunning costs).

In general one can say: the stronger the emotionthe higher the willingness to act. A strong feeling also has the side effect of being the critical judgment formation diminished or even completely suppressed. The result is unreflective action that is often regretted in retrospect.

Conflicts can be categorized according to different points of view. It is useful to consider how many people are affected and in which environment the conflict is taking place. It is also important to ask yourself if you can do it with "smoldering" conflicts has to do, which eat away under the surface and often according to its own rules. The counterpart would be that "open" conflictwhich in the negative case degenerates into a heated fight and in the positive case leads to a discussion that leads to a common problem-solving. Finally, one still differentiates "spontaneous" conflictsthat can break out in public among complete strangers.

Inner conflicts (intrapersonal)

Internal conflicts (intrapersonal) are those that we fight out with ourselves. Often it is about decisions that we have to make. A typical example would be: You have to decide whether to accept a new job in another city or whether to apply for a different position within your own company. We have to live with the feeling that the decision might turn out to be wrong. How well we do this is an important indicator of our ability to deal with other conflicts as well. A distinction can be made here:

  • Approach-approach conflicts: You have two options to choose from, with both options bringing a positive result. Choosing one option excludes the other. An example would be the purchase of a winter coat, whereby you have to decide between two models in the end.
  • Avoidance-avoidance conflicts: The decision has to be made between two negative consequences, whereby we have to accept at least one evil. This is how you could describe a conflict in which you have to decide whether to go out on Fridays or Saturdays because you have to work on one of the two evenings.
  • Avoidance-Approach Conflicts: Choosing one option brings both positive and negative consequences. This includes, for example, when you decide on a heavily motorized car (sporty, fast). This is associated with higher costs, but this money could be used for other pleasant or necessary purchases. There are also decisions where you choose between two alternatives that have both positive and negative consequences. If, for example, you have to decide between an internship at home or abroad, every decision has both positive and negative consequences.

Stress from internal conflicts and possible solutions

For many people there are certain problems where they get stuck and fail again and again, usually even for years. In the vast majority of cases, it is unresolved inner conflict behind it, which is characterized by the fact that you want or need two things at the same time, but which contradict each other:

  • You want to enjoy good food and sweets, but you also want to be slim.
  • You want to be professionally successful, but you don't want to try too hard either.
  • You want to make new friends, but you don't want to leave the house either.
  • You want a tidy, clean home and you don't want to burden yourself with chores.

Such contradicting goals often lead to years or even decades of struggle with something without ever really getting a grip on it. You try to change something that works for a short time, but then you fall back into the old patterns, which causes the discontent grows even bigger with itself. Often it is worth a lot to even perceive these inner conflicts as such and to accept them. whereby not a few of the conflicts disappear on their own, because often the thoughts that lead to these inner conflicts are largely irrational, i.e., It is not the reality that creates the conflict, but just a somewhat eccentric view of reality. In this case you can go through the systematic Questioning the conflict resolve this, for example asking yourself what problems you are struggling with and for how long. What do you want instead of the problem and why don't you get it right? Are there perhaps two goals here that contradict each other and which are they?

Social conflicts (interpersonal)

Social conflicts (interpersonal) are all interpersonal conflicts in which two people or small groups (e.g. a family or group of friends) are involved. Feelings always play a role here, as well as our role behavior and our basic attitude towards other people. It must be checked whether this is a conflict of needs or values, because these require different methods of conflict management:

  • Conflicts of needs: Here you feel directly disturbed by the behavior of another person or hindered in fulfilling your own needs. Examples: You want to quit early, but the boss still wants to have an urgent job done. You can't fall asleep because the neighbor in the living room is playing loud music.
  • Conflicts of values: In contrast, value conflicts have no direct impact on you personally, but you really want another person to change behavior that you think is wrong. Examples: A young person received money from his uncle on his 18th birthday and would like to pay for a motorcycle; the parents think that the amount should be put into the savings account "for later". Parents don't want their daughter to have her belly button pierced.

Intentions to act

The intentions to act are the basis of a conflict and define the type of conflict. We know different ones Intentions to act and thus also different types of conflict:

  • different goals - Conflict of goals
  • different ways - Path conflict
  • different views on resource allocation - Distribution conflict
  • different perceptions of relationships - Relationship conflict
    • antipathy
    • different role definitions
    • different relationship expectations
To the possible Camouflages of relationship conflicts see alsoThe four sides of a message

Relationship conflicts are almost always carried out on a different level and therefore often appear "camouflaged". Then there is the danger that one is working on the wrong cause. This will soon become one Follow-up conflict cause that appears in a different guise, but has the same basis: the relationship disorder. It is also possible that a conflict syndrome, i.e. a combination of different types of conflict, is present at the same time. If one is often in conflict with the same persons / parties, there is a fundamental risk of coupling negative feelings to these persons / parties. The conflict therefore also includes a Relationship componentthat can even become independent and thus lead to conflict.

See also the worksheets


http://www.schulleitung.info/konfligte/index.htm (01-03-07)
http://www.madlmayr.at/konflikt.pdf (03-06-30)
Image source: http://www.vr.clemson.edu/credo/classes/lect7.pdf (01-05-14)
What can I do to get more of what I want? Time to Live-Newsletter 500 from 7.2.2010

content :::: message :::: news :::: imprint :::: data protection :::: author :::: copyright :::: quote ::::