Internal conflict, conflict within yourself, reflects the difference between what you really feel and what you are able or choose to do about it. Interpersonal conflict occurs between you and another person when what they do or say is different from what you feel and vice-versa.
Everyone has four basic psychological needs. These are the need to be valued, to be in control, the need for self-esteem or self-worth, and lastly the need for consistency or stability.
- The need to be valued or appreciated by others is a basic psychological requirement: You want others to recognize your worth and appreciate your contributions. You are more motivated when your contributions are recognized. When you feel unappreciated, taken advantage of, or taken for granted your need to be appreciated and valued has been violated and this can trigger a response of fear, anger or frequently both.
- The need to be in control: Being in control is important for everyone, but more for some than others. The more insecure you feel about yourself, the more controlling you may become. On the other hand, if you feel secure and confident about yourself, then you need to control others will reduce.
Whenever you have to deal with an over-controlling person remember their need to control comes from their insecurity. Make them feel secure and their need to control will normally reduce.
- The need for self-esteem and self-worth: By this I mean you should appreciate yourself and look to your strengths rather than any weakness (we all have both). Strong self-esteem gives you a powerful, solid base for dealing with all types of problems and situations.
With strong self-esteem, you have the ability to positively respond or react to any type of situation, rather than reacting negatively by panicking of avoiding the potential conflict.
- The need to be consistent: You need to know what is likely to happen in any given situation. You need consistency from family, partners, friends, everyone in your life otherwise you are always anxious about the unexpected.
This is not to say that no-one can change their minds but someone who changes opinions or reacts differently to the same situation brings a level of insecurity into your life and you never know how to react.
The reason some people feel the need to change comes from their insecurity. They are insecure in themselves so they try to fit in with others all the time and will agree with whoever they feel is the most dominant personality.
Whenever any of these needs are not met conflicts, internal, external or both, are produced and people usually react in one of four ways.
They can retaliate, dominate, isolate, or cooperate.
Retaliation and domination can result in extreme violence. Isolation separates the parties but does not resolve the conflict whereas with cooperation one party allows their feelings to be ignored and accepts the opinion of another over their own.
If you are aware of these basic needs and reactions you will begin to understand how and why you and others react the way you do. Considering these needs, understanding them and acting upon them will make you a more complete and therefore a more confident person and will give you strength at times of conflict.