The human brain is not designed to simply accept inner conflicts and move on, which is why we look for ways to regain our calm. This is how we come up with a set of conflict-avoidance strategies.
These may include:
- a quick change of subject to consistently put aside unpleasant thoughts;
- deflection, for example by tending to other, more “urgent” matters;
- “positive thinking,” i.e. mentally reciting mantras such as, “it will be all right” or something similar to achieve inner calm;
- theorization, e.g., self-analysis: “I am acting this way because I…”;
- self-pity and lamenting: “It always happens to me! Why should I always have to be the responsible party!”;
- wishing for a different reality: “Would that I had never agreed to it! Then I could just lay back and relax!”;
- escaping the situation by fleeing, e.g., calling in sick when faced with an unpleasant event.
All of these prevention strategies represent attempts of the mind to take control of the conflict in order to get rid of it. But it is precisely this repeated intervention which ensures that the conflict can manifest itself, or even escalate into panic attacks. It is worthwhile to add that even most therapeutic approaches actually represent such an intervention. The alarm systems may indeed be calmed down in this specific situation and the individual may feel good for the time being. But if the corresponding imperatives are not completely deleted, the old conflict may erupt again with undiminished intensity as soon as the stimulus that triggers the alarm system reoccurs in a stronger form.
In the traditional coaching process, we are often not able to find the perfect solution when faced with such imperative injury conflicts since they may not be resolved on a purely behavioral level. So while there may indeed be an improvement in the short term, the original problem will reappear as soon as the individual is faced with the corresponding stimulus.