Psychology and Psychiatry

Intrapersonal conflict

Intrapersonal conflict - this is a difficultly resolved contradiction that occurs within a person. The intrapersonal psychological conflict is experienced by the individual as a serious problem of psychological content that requires quick resolution. This kind of confrontation can simultaneously accelerate the process of self-development, forcing the person to mobilize their own potential, and harm the individual, slowing down the process of self-knowledge and driving self-affirmation into a dead end. Intra-personal conflict arises in conditions when equally important and opposite interests, impulses and needs collide with each other in the human mind.

The concept of intrapersonal conflict

The internal confrontation of the individual is called confrontation, which originates within the psyche of the personality, which is a clash of contradictory, often oppositely directed motives.

This type of confrontation is peculiar to a number of specific features. Features of intrapersonal conflict:

  • the unusual structure of the conflict (intrapersonal confrontation has no subjects of interaction, represented by individuals or groups of people);
  • latency, concluded in the difficulty of identifying internal contradictions, because often the individual does not realize that he is in a state of confrontation, he can also hide his own state under the guise of euphoria or vigorous activity;
  • specificity of the forms of manifestation and occurrence, since the internal confrontation proceeds in the form of complex experiences and is accompanied by: fear, depressive states, stress.

The most active problem of intrapersonal conflict was developed in the Western psychological science. His scientific substantiation is inextricably linked with the founder of psychoanalytic theory, Z. Freud.

All approaches and concepts of intrapersonal conflict are determined by the specifics of understanding the content and essence of the personality. Therefore, starting from the understanding of the personality that has taken shape in different psychological schools, one can single out several basic approaches to the consideration of internal confrontation.

Freud cited evidence of the biopsychological and biosocial contents of the intrapersonal confrontation. In essence, the human psyche is contradictory. Her work is associated with constant tension and overcoming the conflict that arises between an individual's biological desires and sociocultural attitudes, between unconscious content and consciousness. It is precisely in contradiction and unchanging confrontation that the whole essence of the intrapersonal confrontation lies, according to Freud's concept.

The concept described was further developed in the writings of its followers: C. Jung and C. Horney.

The German psychologist K. Levin put forward his own concept of intrapersonal conflict called "field theory", according to which the inner world of an individual simultaneously falls under the influence of polar forces. Man has to choose from them. Both such forces can be positive or negative, one of them can also be negative, and the other positive. K. Levin considered the main conditions for the origin of the conflict to be parity and equal importance of such forces for the individual.

K. Rogers believed that the emergence of an internal conflict was due to the discrepancy between the ideas of the subject and his understanding of the ideal “I”. He was convinced that such a mismatch could trigger serious mental disorders.

The concept of intrapersonal confrontation developed by A. Maslow is very popular. He argued that the structure of personal motivation is based on a hierarchy of needs, the highest of which is the need for self-realization. Hence the main reason for the emergence of intrapersonal conflicts is the gap between the desire for self-realization and the result achieved.

The concepts of intrapersonal conflict between A. Luria, V. Merlin, F. Vasilyuk and A. Leontiev can be distinguished among Soviet psychologists who have made a significant contribution to the development of theories of confrontations.

Luria considered intrapersonal confrontation as a collision of two oppositely directed, but equal in strength, tendencies. V. Merlin - as a consequence of dissatisfaction with deep current personal motives and relationships. F. Vasilyuk - as a confrontation between two internal motives that are displayed in the consciousness of the personality of the individual as independent opposed values.

The problem of intrapersonal conflict was considered by Leontiev as a completely normal phenomenon. He believed that internal opposition is peculiar to the structure of personality. Every person is contradictory in its structure. Often the resolution of such contradictions is made in the simplest variations and does not lead to the emergence of intrapersonal conflict. Sometimes the resolution of the conflict goes beyond the borders of the simplest forms, becoming the main one. The consequence of this and becomes intrapersonal confrontation. He believed that internal conflict is the result of the struggle of the individual's motivational courses ranked by hierarchy.

A. Adler considered the inferiority complex to be the basis for the emergence of internal conflicts, which occurs in childhood under the pressure of an unfavorable social environment. In addition, Adler also highlighted the main methods of resolving internal confrontation.

E. Fromm, explaining intrapersonal confrontation, proposed the theory of "existential dichotomy." His concept stated that the causes of internal conflicts lie in the dichotomous nature of the individual, which is found in the problems of being: the problem of limited human life, life and death, etc.

E. Erickson in his own concept of the stages of psychosocial personality formation, having put forward the idea that each age stage is marked by a favorable overcoming of a crisis event or an unfavorable one.

With a successful exit, there is a positive personal development, its transition to the next life period with useful prerequisites for its favorable overcoming. In case of unsuccessful exit from a crisis situation, an individual moves into a new period of his own life with the complexes of the previous stage. Erikson believed that it was almost impossible to safely go through all the stages of development, therefore each individual develops prerequisites for the emergence of intrapersonal confrontation.

Causes of intrapersonal conflict

Intra-personal psychological conflict has three types of causes, provoking its occurrence:

  • internal, that is, the reasons hidden in the contradictions of the individual;
  • external factors due to the status of the individual in society;
  • external factors due to the status of the individual in a particular social group.

All the listed types of causes are interrelated, and their differentiation is considered to be rather conditional. So, for example, internal factors causing confrontation are the result of the interaction of an individual with a group and society, and do not appear from nowhere.

Internal conditions for the emergence of intrapersonal confrontation are rooted in the opposition of various personal motives, in the inconsistency of its internal structure. A person is more prone to internal conflicts when her inner world is complex, feelings of value and the ability to self-analyze are developed.

Intra-personal conflict occurs when there are contradictions below:

  • between social norm and need;
  • disagreement of needs, motives, interests;
  • confrontation of social roles (intrapersonal conflict example: it is necessary to fulfill an urgent order at work and at the same time the child should be taken to training);
  • contradiction of sociocultural values ​​and principles, for example, it is necessary to unite the duty of protecting the Motherland during the war and the Christian commandment "Thou shalt not kill."

For the origin of the conflict within the individual, these contradictions must have a deep meaning for the individual, otherwise he will not attach importance to them. In addition, different aspects of the contradictions in the intensity of their own impact on the individual should be equal. Otherwise, an individual from two goods will choose more and less - from "two evils." In this case, internal confrontation will not arise.

External factors provoking the emergence of intrapersonal confrontation, due to: personal status in the group, organization and society.

The reasons for the position of the individual in a particular group are quite diverse, but they are united by the impossibility of satisfying various important motives and needs that have meaning and deep meaning for the individual in a particular situation. From this we can distinguish four variations of situations that provoke the emergence of intrapersonal conflict:

  • physical obstacles preventing the satisfaction of basic needs (intrapersonal conflict is an example: a prisoner to whom his cell does not allow free movement);
  • the lack of an object that is needed to satisfy a perceived need (for example, a person dreams in a foreign city about a cup of coffee, but it is too early and all cafeterias are closed);
  • biological barriers (individuals with physical impairments or oligophrenia, in which the obstacle nests in the human body itself);
  • social circumstances are the main root cause of most intrapersonal collisions.

At the level of organization, the causes provoking the manifestation of intrapersonal conflict can be represented by the following types of contradictions:

  • between excessive responsibility and limited rights for its implementation (the person was transferred to a managerial position, expanded functions, but the rights remained old);
  • between poor working conditions and stringent job requirements;
  • between two incompatible tasks or tasks;
  • between the rigidly established framework of the task and the vaguely prescribed mechanism for its implementation;
  • between the requirements of the profession, traditions, norms established in the company and individual needs or values;
  • between the desire for creative self-realization, self-affirmation, career and the potential for doing this within the organization;
  • confrontation caused by contradictory social roles;
  • between the pursuit of profit and moral values.

External factors due to personal status in society are associated with discrepancies that originate at the level of the public macrosystem and consist in the nature of the social system, the structure of society, and the political and economic life.

Types of intrapersonal conflicts

The classification of internal confrontation according to types was proposed by K. Levin. He singled out 4 types, namely, equivalent (first type), vital (second), ambivalent (third) and frustrating (fourth).

Equivalent type - confrontation arises when the subject must perform two or more significant functions for him. Here, the usual model for resolving contradictions will be a compromise, that is, a partial substitution.

The vital type of conflict is observed when the subject has to make equally unattractive decisions for him.

Ambivalent type - a collision occurs when similar actions and results equally entice and repel.

Frustrating type The peculiarities of the intrapersonal conflict of the frustrating type consist in the disapproval of society, the discrepancy with the accepted norms and principles, the desired result and, accordingly, the actions necessary to achieve the desired.

In addition to the above systematization, there is a classification, the basis of which is the value-motivational sphere of the personality.

Motivational conflict occurs when two equally positive tendencies, unconscious aspirations, come into conflict. An example of this type of confrontation is the Buridan donkey.

Moral contradiction or normative conflict is born when there are discrepancies between aspirations and duty, personal attachments and moral attitudes.

The collision of an individual's desires with reality, blocking their satisfaction, provokes the emergence of a conflict of unfulfilled desires. For example, it appears when the subject, due to physical imperfections, cannot fulfill his aspiration.

Role intrapersonal conflict is anxiety caused by the inability to simultaneously play several roles. It also occurs due to differences in the understanding of the requirements of the individual to the implementation of one role.

An adaptation conflict is characterized by the presence of two meanings: in a broad sense, it is a contradiction caused by the imbalance between the individual and the surrounding reality, in a narrow sense it is a collision caused by a violation of the social or professional adaptation process.

The conflict of inadequate self-esteem arises from the discrepancy between personal aspirations and the assessment of one’s own potential.

The resolution of intrapersonal conflict

According to A. Adler, the development of the character of the individual occurs before the age of five. At this stage, the baby feels the impact of many adverse factors causing the emergence of an inferiority complex. In later life, this complex reveals a significant impact on the personality and intrapersonal conflict.

Adler described not only the mechanisms that explain the emergence and manifestation of intrapersonal conflict, but also revealed ways to overcome such internal contradictions (compensation for an inferiority complex). He identified two such methods. The first is to generate social feeling and interest. As ultimately, a developed social feeling is manifested in the professional sphere, adequate interpersonal relationships. An individual may also develop an “undeveloped” social feeling that has various negative forms of intrapersonal conflict: alcoholism, crime, drug addiction. The second is to stimulate one’s own potential, to achieve superiority over the environment. It may have the following forms of manifestation: adequate compensation (coincidence of the content of social interests with superiority), overcompensation (hypertrophied development of one of some abilities) and imaginary compensation (illness, current circumstances or other factors independent of the individual, compensate for the inferiority complex).

M. Deutsch, the founder of the motivational approach to interpersonal conflict, identified ways to overcome intrapersonal confrontation, building on the specifics of their "realms of reality" to which he referred:

  • the objective situation of confrontation, which is the foundation of the contradiction;
  • conflict behavior, which is a way of interaction between the subjects of a conflict confrontation, arising from the awareness of a conflict situation.

Ways to overcome internal confrontation are open and latent.

Open paths suggest:

  • individual decision making;
  • cessation of doubt;
  • fixing on the solution of the problem.

Latent forms of intrapersonal conflict include:

  • simulation, torment, hysteria;
  • sublimation (transition of mental energy to other areas of functioning);
  • compensation (replenishment of the lost through the acquisition of other goals and, accordingly, the results);
  • escape from reality (fantasizing, making dreams);
  • nomadism (change of professional sphere, place of residence);
  • rationalization (self-justification with the help of logical conclusions, a focused selection of arguments);
  • neurasthenia;
  • idealization (detachment from reality, abstraction);
  • regression (suppression of desires, appeal to primitive behavioral forms, avoidance of responsibility);
  • euphoria (feasible fun, joyful state);
  • differentiation (mental separation of thoughts from the author);
  • projection (the desire to get rid of negative qualities by assigning them to another).

Analyzing the personality and intrapersonal conflict, understanding the psychological problems of generating and overcoming conflicts is necessary for further successful development of communication skills, competent resolution of situations of opposition in interpersonal interaction and group communication.

Consequences of intrapersonal conflicts

It is believed that intrapersonal conflict is an inseparable element of the formation of the psyche of the individual. Therefore, the consequences of internal confrontations can carry a positive aspect (that is, be productive) for an individual as well as a negative one (that is, destroy personal structures).

Positive is the confrontation, which has the maximum development of opposing structures and is characterized by minimal personal costs for its resolution. One of the tools for harmonizing personal development is constructively overcome intrapersonal confrontation. The subject is able to recognize his personality only through the resolution of internal opposition and intrapersonal conflicts.

Intra-personal confrontation can help develop adequate self-esteem, which, in turn, contributes to personal self-realization and self-knowledge.

Internal conflicts are considered to be destructive or negative, which exacerbate personality splitting, turn into crises or contribute to the formation of neurotic reactions.

Acute internal confrontations often lead to the destruction of existing interpersonal interaction at work or relationships in the family circle. As a rule, they become causes of increased aggressiveness, anxiety, anxiety, irritability during communicative interaction of communication. Prolonged intrapersonal confrontation in itself hides the threat to business performance.

In addition, intrapersonal confrontations are characterized by a tendency to escalate into neurotic conflicts. Conflicts characteristic of conflicts can be transformed into a source of disease if they become central to the system of personal relationships.