Intrapersonal Conflict: Causes, Types, and Ways to Resolve

Methods of personal self-development

The contradiction that arises between feelings and arguments of reason creates intrapersonal conflict. It is accompanied by strong feelings, develops and matures, as a rule, for many years, without interfering in any way with the person’s normal existence. At a certain point, dissatisfaction with personal achievements becomes unbearable, it manifests in its entirety. What is the danger of such a condition? Why does it arise? How to get rid of it?

What is intrapersonal conflict?

In psychology it is called cognitive dissonance and is a depressed state caused by a forced clash between beliefs, desires, and thoughts. Examples of intrapersonal conflict are theft committed by an honest citizen, the need to take up arms by a deeply religious person, overtime work by a mother who wants to spend more time with her child or overtime misses an important event for her child.

The exacerbation of internal contradictions negatively affects the quality of life. Primary signs of interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict are:

  • lack of concentration;
  • loss of interest in life;
  • withdrawal;
  • sharp decline in self-esteem;
  • excessive irritability;
  • increased anxiety.

The duration, degree and severity of the problem leads to the formation of individual symptoms. In the first stages, some people try to distract themselves, for example, by cleaning the house, work, or, on the contrary, feel a complete collapse of energy. The common denominator becomes irritability if someone tries to disturb the individual. The mind is in a constant search for an exit and a “wave” of synchronization with the feelings, but runs into insurmountable disagreements. If this condition continues for a long time, the following consequences occur:

  • suicidal tendencies;
  • degradation of the individual as a person;
  • disorganization;
  • severe and lingering depression;
  • Aggressiveness followed by apathy;
  • partial or total loss of self-esteem.

People suffering from years of intrapersonal psychological conflict become either overly aggressive or gutless, showing a malleable attitude toward those around them. They have a tendency to look for fault and more often than not are simply unable to make any choices or decisions on their own. If the outcome is unsatisfactory, there is blaming others in an attempt to justify themselves.

A person’s intrapersonal conflicts have a flip side. By independently overcoming cognitive dissonance, the individual becomes stronger. There is a mobilization of forces, cognition of the inner self, creation of harmony between the mind, feelings and desires. The result of this work is a surge of strength for new achievements.

Causes of intrapersonal conflict

The problem is not born out of nothing. The following factors lead to cognitive dissonance:

  • Unjustified expectations. False ideals of the tirelessly working successful person lead to a situation of intrapersonal conflict, when he works literally to the limit of his abilities without rest. Eventually, looking around, he realizes that his efforts are only partially justified. There is not enough time for friends, family or simply burns out when even his favorite thing gets bored. It is not uncommon for an individual in modern society to choose an occupation solely because it is fashionable and profitable, but he does not really want to do it. Replacing one’s own values with public ones gradually destroys the psyche.
  • Disappointment in oneself. Failures, taken to heart and accompanied by thoughts of your own failure, lead to depression and apathy, when you don’t want to do anything. The mind sends a signal not to stop at what has been achieved, but deep worries about what has failed counteract it. Often people set unrealizable goals for themselves because they hear about different methods of success, but do not go into the essence of such. When they are not realized, they completely lose their moral strength.
  • Personal vs Social. One of the most common causes of intrapersonal social conflict. Many people, unfortunately, try to conform to the canons of society even when they do not coincide with their own interests and desires. The inability to ignore the norms of society leads to the failure to meet one’s own needs. A person as a person becomes lost and unclaimed. This leads to a lack of attempts to change life, hands are dropped and the consequences can be the saddest. Getting a diploma in a “fashionable” specialty, not going to your favorite job, but wanting something else, cognitive dissonance cannot be avoided.
  • Low self-esteem. The impossibility of self-fulfillment at a certain stage of life begins to weigh heavily on the person. If such situations are misinterpreted, intrapersonal conflict will constantly build up, and the individual will become even more disappointed in himself. This in no way depends on the presence or absence of talents. The inability to value oneself leads to a constant exhausting struggle in trying to prove that “I am worth something.

The main characteristic of intrapersonal conflict is self-destruction. External factors, of course, are also present, but they only affect feelings and thoughts indirectly. Only a lack of honesty with oneself leads to this problem.

Intrapersonal Conflict - Self-Destruction
Intrapersonal Conflict – Self-Destruction

Types of intrapersonal conflict

The contradiction between desire, feeling, and reason has several different forms of expression:

  • A mismatch with moral values. The latter are often very different between the individual and society. One’s desires, because of the existing norms, are not only not satisfied, but also condemned. It is not always about immoral actions. Society is not always a global group either. It can be parents, friends, and so on. It is not uncommon to hear a phrase like “I would really like to do this, but mine won’t understand it.” The majority in such situations give up on their own interests, since they do not know how to properly defend them.
  • A conflict of motivations. Two equally important interests for a person collide. The problem arises when, abandoning one in favor of the other, he or she experiences disappointment or guilt. An example of this form of intrapersonal conflict is the choice of future specialization, for example, to become a lawyer and inherit his father’s practice, to become a dentist and open his own office, and so on. There is another conflict of motives, when one positive desire in the opinion of the individual will lead to a negative result for him, for example, a man wants to get married, but does not want to quarrels and scandals, which invariably occur even in madly loving couples.
  • Unrealized desires. Achieving the desired goal, even with all-round support is very difficult. On the way there are many obstacles and obstacles. Awareness of this mind and lack of confidence in their own abilities often leads to a rejection of the innermost desire. For a long time, such a decision may not make itself felt, but with time it begins to weigh on the psyche and prevents you from being happy.
  • Frustrating conflict. Develops when the person refuses to covet only because he or she pre-programs him or herself for possible failure. Over time, it becomes a habit, and the result is a joyless existence.

Understanding the essence and form of cognitive dissonance helps to understand the origins of the problem.

Resolution of intrapersonal conflict

To get rid of the problem, you have to work on yourself diligently, painstakingly, and thoughtfully. The process is long and difficult, but if you approach it knowledgeably, everything will work out. It consists of five stages, carried out sequentially:

  1. Make a decision. You need to take responsibility for your own well-being. Think carefully about your life and understand in what direction to go. There should not be any hesitation or doubt. Do not run away from yourself. Accept your desires, intentions, decide what you want to be.
  2. Achieve harmony. Always be in harmony with yourself. Act according to your beliefs, morals, desires and needs. When you start moving in this direction, life will change dramatically for the better. This will become a habit, and nothing will be able to prevent you from rejoicing in every even small accomplishment and successfully overcoming setbacks.
  3. Concentrate on the goal. The development of intrapersonal conflict often forces a person just to give up. He, even dreaming of achievements, simply can not find the strength for any action or is afraid to be disappointed. Get over it. Make a plan of action to achieve their goals. Each accomplishment and overcoming difficulties to improve self-esteem and gain confidence.
  4. Abandoning doubts. The most difficult stage, overcoming which allows you to get rid of the problem. Absolutely everyone faces failures, so there is no shame in it. Overcoming them, a person becomes stronger and closer to the realization of their own possibilities and potential. No worries and doubts. Just action.
  5. Replacement. Many people stop acting, confused by the fact that, setting a goal, forget about the rest, and achieving the desired takes a lot of time. This is one source of intrapersonal conflict. Find things that bring joy in everyday life, keep living happily. If you are mastering a difficult profession, training for which takes almost all the time and lasts several years, at the same time do something not so difficult, but bringing pleasure. For example, someone wants to learn how to cook or paint, play the guitar and so on. Devote some time to such activities every day and on weekends.

If the problem has existed for many years and manifests itself in various forms, i.e. is very neglected, it makes sense to consult a professional psychologist. Consultation will not be superfluous, since in some situations it is difficult even to understand the root cause of cognitive dissonance.

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