Lesson 5. Intrapersonal conflict: concept, types, prevention and resolution

We considered it necessary to devote the final lesson of our training on conflict management to the topic of intrapersonal conflict. We decided to do this for the reason that intrapersonal conflict is not only one of the most complex psychological phenomena, but also affects the inner world of a person. In previous lessons we talked about what ways there are to influence conflicts between people, today you will learn about how a person should behave if he has a conflict with himself. It’s worth starting with a definition of what intrapersonal conflict is.

Religious conflict

Religious conflict is quite common as it revolves around reason-oriented beliefs and beliefs, which makes them especially fragile. Examples of religious conflict include believing in a loving God, but it is difficult to accept that this “loving” being sends people to hell for eternity. Or a person who is religiously faithful uses various drugs. When scientific facts arise, religious conflict may arise in a person who values ​​both truth and his religious beliefs.

Definition of the concept

Conflict is a difficult to resolve disagreement that forms within an individual. This condition is accompanied by fear and depression. Usually a person denies the existence of a problem or simply does not notice it.

Internal contradiction is also called confrontation. The features of this type of confrontation are:

  • a certain structure of conflict (confrontation does not have subjects of interaction, which can be represented either by individuals or by entire groups of people).
  • secrecy (it is quite difficult to identify such a disorder, since the individual himself is not aware of the state he is in);
  • the specificity of the forms of formation and course (the collision of the two sides is characterized by the presence of experiences and is accompanied by constant phobias, depression and stress).

When a person who adheres to his rules or beliefs suddenly breaks them, he begins to feel an intrapersonal contradiction. This disorder can be extremely distressing. It is not always possible to cope with them.

Self-esteem conflict

Your image is your internal idea of ​​yourself, for example, “My name is Ivan. I am a patient, loving and compassionate person. I'm a disorganized artist who supports animal rights, etc." Internal conflict occurs when we are confronted with evidence that contradicts our beliefs about ourselves. For example, a person who believes he is honest may lie on his resume to get his dream job. Someone who is for a healthy diet cannot give up smoking. A person who identifies as an empath may experience constant resentment towards another person.

Types of intrapersonal conflict

Now I will give several more types of psychological illness, which differ depending on the place of origin. However, the general features of all these types are similar to each other.


This is the most common type of contradiction, which develops due to moral principles and the desire to violate them. For example, a man sitting in a subway car understands that he must give up his seat to an elderly person, but he is so tired from work that he cannot overcome his fatigue and get up. The whole trip he is tormented by confrontation: his mind insists on his selfish behavior, and fatigue does not allow him to do the right thing.


It is formed mainly in people prone to embarrassment and shame. For example: a man wants to diversify his intimate life with his wife, but he does not dare to do so, because he is afraid of a negative reaction and of being a pervert in the eyes of his wife. He is ashamed to tell his other half about his desires because of shyness. Because of this, cognitive dissonance appears, which leads to satisfaction of sexual needs on the side, and then divorce.


Faith is a powerful tool that helps to distinguish evil from good and to commit unscrupulous acts. But all the covenants are difficult to follow; even people who have formed strong religious beliefs often face temptations and seductions, provoking their confrontation with morality.

For example, a religious teenager experiences passionate sympathy for a girl, he begins to produce hormones, this pushes him to romantic actions and passion. However, he realizes that these actions will lead to sin and are contrary to his beliefs and rules.


Internal conflict is a mental disorder that also occurs in people who fight for territory and to defend people's interests. Such individuals experience constant fear, because they have to risk their lives to defend their beliefs.


Constant confrontation between mind and heart is typical for lovers. They form the habit of constantly spending time together, which does not allow them to break off the relationship. Each partner experiences breakups in their own way, some become the initiators of the breakup, others realize its inevitability. But even full awareness of what is happening pushes a person to various stupid actions: alcohol, harassment, calls, finding out the reasons.

Cognitive dissonance due to self-esteem

Often people experience self-doubt due to certain complexes and shortcomings. For example: excess weight, excessive thinness, birthmarks. Often, due to low self-esteem, a person tries to change himself, and this does not always work. She cannot come to terms with her shortcomings and love herself, this gives rise to contradictions. Devastation also occurs from a bad haircut, excess weight after pregnancy, or an accident in which one’s appearance was damaged.


It comes from a relationship with one specific person or with a specific group of people. In most cases, teenagers face such a conflict and become outcasts in the classroom. Every day they have to fight judgment. Often this gives rise to internal complexes, the child begins to doubt himself and his strengths, and experiences loneliness.


This is the most complex and severe form of conflict. It mainly appears among maximalists. People in this category cannot understand their purpose. They constantly question the relevance of their lives. Also, confrontation is formed if an individual loses the meaning of existence and the ability to express himself.

This condition often manifests itself in adolescents in adolescence, as well as in a person who is experiencing a crisis at 30 years old. This disorder is accompanied by drastic changes: work, style, image, divorce, infidelity.

Interpersonal conflict

Interpersonal conflict overlaps with other types of intrapersonal conflicts such as self-esteem and love. This type of conflict occurs in social situations when you want to act one way but act differently. For example, Anton hates talking about sports, but he pretends to be interested in what his colleagues are saying. An introvert does not have much energy, but puts up a façade of "high energy" to fit in with others. Or someone is offended by a friend, but doesn’t say anything, even if they really want to say it.

Consequences of mental disorder

A conflicting state can bring both a positive and negative outcome. It depends on how a person recovers and copes with this ailment.

Ask a question

Positive consequences occur when the individual does not run away from the problem and does not deny its existence. In the process of healing, he gets to know himself, analyzes the reasons for the formation of confrontation. Sometimes he manages to satisfy two needs at once. If a person has successfully passed this difficult stage of life, it means that she has improved herself and become psychologically more stable and stronger.

Negative consequences are depression, crises, depression, and the development of mental illness.

You cannot run away from yourself, so you need to make every effort to resolve cognitive dissonance and live a normal life with a healthy psyche.

Existential conflict

Existential conflict involves a feeling of discomfort and confusion in life, especially when two opposing beliefs or desires arise. For example, to hate life, but at the same time love it. Or the desire to live life to the fullest, but not wanting to make any changes or get out of your comfort zone. Existential conflict can also be directed toward the world, such as wanting to save the planet while at the same time believing it is doomed or polluting it.

Please note that all of these examples of intrapersonal conflict often overlap with each other. This list is also not definitive, so feel free to leave a comment if you think there are any types of internal conflict that are missing.

All the struggle happens inside. And what causes internal conflict? Attachment to beliefs, desires and expectations.

It's very simple, all our suffering arises when we believe our thoughts, instead of seeing them for what they really are: transmission of energy fluctuations in the brain. Do we control our thoughts? No. Otherwise, we would always choose to think happy and harmonious thoughts. We don't even know what our next thought will be, let alone the next ten, because they all arise and disappear spontaneously. If we don't control these thoughts, then how can they mean anything about us unless we give them meaning ourselves?

Sit down and try to follow how your thoughts come. Do you control them? Or are they controlling you?

Additionally, here are some other tips that I hope can help you find more peace and clarity:

Ways to deal with conflict

In order to permanently resolve psychological contradictions, it is necessary to approach this problem with all seriousness, make every effort and fully concentrate on it. Recovery takes place in five stages:

  1. It is worth recognizing the presence of a disorder; acceptance is an important stage of the struggle.
  2. It is necessary to conduct a deep analysis and identify all the reasons. Break everything down point by point.
  3. It is necessary to work through every problem that has become a source of development of confrontation. A person must make the right decision and decide on the choice of option: act by listening to reason or feelings. It is extremely difficult to choose on your own; you should contact a professional psychologist.
  4. Deal with anxious thoughts, free your head from negative thinking, and allow positivity to enter your brain.
  5. Work on your attitudes.

Take care of your nervous system, all problems disappear over time and become unimportant.

Decline the choice.

Do you need an answer right now? Sometimes letting life go in the direction it wants is a better option than taking a violent path. Wayne Dyer: "The conflict cannot survive without your complicity."

I hope these tips help you find more peace of mind. Remember that it is completely normal to experience intrapersonal conflict and there is nothing strange about you. Also, when it comes to internal conflicts, people tend to romanticize the heart and believe that we should only listen to what the heart wants. But this is an unbalanced approach: you need to listen to both the heart and the brain to create inner harmony.

If you want to make an appointment for a consultation, you can use the phone number or fill out the feedback form; to do this, go to the contact information page and choose a method that is convenient for you. Thank you!

What is the danger

The longer you suffer from conformity, the worse the consequences. I will list the main problems that arise when you neglect your psychological state:

  • constant depression;
  • suicidal tendencies;
  • neurosis;
  • loss of interest in hobbies;
  • reluctance to communicate with loved ones;
  • degradation;
  • the emergence of an inferiority complex;
  • decreased self-esteem.

Individuals who have been unable to resolve conflicts for years often begin to behave aggressively or, on the contrary, become indifferent, pliable, and refuse to take responsibility and make decisions for others.

There are also disagreements that occur hidden; people live with them for years and do not notice them and do not pay attention to them. But sooner or later, even unnoticed symptoms manifest themselves and lead to serious consequences. Be attentive to your health, both physical and psychological, and do not be afraid to visit psychologists. This will make it easier for you to get through this difficult period.

Forms of manifestation

Infantility in men - what does it mean, signs and causes

You can determine if a person has a mental disorder based on several signs:

  1. Neurasthenia, manifested by excessive nervousness. Such people suffer from insomnia and completely lose the ability to relax in their free time. They experience a sharp decrease in performance and general fatigue of the body. A person suffering from a conflict with himself closes himself off from the world, becomes uncommunicative, responds sharply to treatment, and is rude.
  2. Euphoria, which is characterized by inappropriate active behavior. About this form of manifestation we can say “laughter through tears,” reminiscent of hysterics.
  3. Regression. When this form manifests itself, a person tends to ignore difficulties. He, like an ostrich who hides his head in the sand, avoids responsibility.

Head in the sand

  1. Projection. A person suffering from internal contradictions takes out his anger and feelings on others. This manifests itself in endless nagging and destructive criticism.
  2. Nomadism as the desire to change the main aspects and foundations. People approach the issue critically, change their place of residence, work, and circle of friends. Often behavior can change to antisocial, as a manifestation of protest against a forced life situation.
  3. Rationalism is the desire to explain to oneself and others the reasons for one’s actions in order to justify oneself in society and before one’s conscience.

Interesting. It is the whitewashing of one’s behavior to oneself that can give rise to a slight disorder of consciousness, when deep emotional experiences force the subconscious to protect the body from negativity, drawing a parallel reality in which a person exists happy and satisfied.


Most people are afraid of change. For example, there was a rumor in the organization that layoffs, reorganization of departments, and complete restructuring were coming. As a result, information is understood by employees as a threat of unemployment, an inevitable disaster and associated difficulties. Each employee experiences the received data differently. Some are trying to curry favor in order to stay in the workplace after the reform, others are frantically looking for a new job. For the second group of people, the new conditions caused panic - they had already mentally lost their jobs, were left without income and were ready for any alternative that promised stability. The situation doesn’t exist yet, but panic, insomnia and frayed nerves already exist. Future problems need to be adequately assessed only when the reliable conditions of the uncomfortable situation are known.


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