The Four Categories of Internal Conflicts

Internal conflict as described from the perspective of Introvision appear when reality is different from what the imperative in question demands or if the individual in question is afraid that this might happen. And whenever the imperative is thusly threatened, an intra-psychic alarm system is triggered. Each and all internal alarm bells will go off: “Red alert! The thing you absolutely have to have or which must be avoided at any costs is about to happen!” As a result, the individual experiences increased tension, which may manifest itself from very unpleasant emotions to anxiety or even full-blown panic attacks with an entire spectrum of associated physical effects.

These internal conflicts can be divided into four main groups:

The Reality Conflict

Reality as perceived by the individual differs from how it should be according to the individual’s requirements: Someone has lost an important contract, but can not come to terms with this situation internally and is consequently at odds with this turn of reality because his imperative, “I must not lose this job under any circumstances!,” was threatened. The result is that his thoughts constantly revolve around questions like, “Why did I ever lose this job? How could this happen? What did I do wrong? How could I have acted differently?,” and so on. These are not helpful thoughts, but rather self-tormenting inner accusations which result in anxiety, tension, and fear.

The Imperative Conflict

This conflict occurs when two opposing imperatives are activated: Someone who approaches an upcoming test with the attitude that “I can only study under pressure, otherwise I can not motivate myself,” but is equally sure that “In order to really soak up this challenging material, I have to be really relaxed,” is bound to hit a dead end. On the one hand, he requires pressure in order to start studying at all, on the other hand he is not able to remember the learned content under pressure. This is a prime example of an inner conflict with the potential to escalate into full-scale, panic-like agitation.

The Impracticably Conflict

This conflict occurs in connection with imperatives that demand the respective individual to achieve something specific while they have no idea how to achieve it. This may happen, for example, to a sales manager who witnesses his sales collapsing dramatically and who wants to improve his numbers with all his might, but who does not know how to do this since he has the impression that he has already tried every conceivable tactic. The only thing he’s sure of is that “It is paramount that my numbers must not deteriorate further!” But he has no idea what else he to do and spends sleepless nights pondering his sales figures in the process. This is a panic attack waiting to happen.

The Conflict Conflict

This conflict type exemplifies the classic case of being afraid of fear itself: In case of strong anxiety phenomena such as test anxiety or performance anxiety it can be routinely observed that the real problem is not the initial fear, which may often even be beneficial because the corresponding release of adrenaline helps to clear the mind and provides additional energy to conquer the situation. What is far worse and debilitating is the idea that it is wrong to feel this anxiety. It is only then that this conflict manifests itself: The fear is evident, and that’s why we panic.

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