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Identifying Our Inner Conflict

Image of bouquet of orange flowers. Raleigh Psychotherapy, counseling, conflict, Katherine Broadway

*Ron says he wants to make new friends but goes straight home after work.

*Dee wants to clean her house but never gets started.

*Alex’s goal is to work out 4 times a week and he keeps putting it off.

*Sandra hates her job, and talks about getting a new one but she doesn’t.

Have you wondered why you say your going to do something, and either never get started or do the exact opposite? Why you start a project and never finish, or create a goal and never take the first step?

Perhaps the problem is that you are in conflict with your self. One part of you wants to do the things you say you want to do and another part wants things to stay exactly as they are. You may not even know that this fight is going on inside of you. Our internal thoughts can be quite hidden.

In Art

Internal conflict is part of life. In literature, it is the force which drives a plot forward. In art, it is a technique the artist uses to create tension and highlight relationships that invite us to think differently. Many times, the conflict is hidden, just as it is hidden inside our selves. These contradictions challenge our expectations and perceptions.

In other words, the conflict in literature and art exists to tell a story or bring us a message. This, too, is the value of our own internal conflict: to help us hear and see something we cannot or do not want to see, yet need to all the same. The parent who yells at their child when they have an “avoidable” accident needs to see their fear not anger. The addict who continues to use a drug, when what they need is to heal the pain inside. (add link that I accidentally deleted)

In literature

In literature, it is the conflict that creates interest, excitement and the desire to stay to the end. The question is what will happen next, and how will this conflict be resolved. The same happens to us. Without internal conflict, we can become complacent, even bored. Conflict can lead us to become curious and interested in ourselves and our life. The question becomes “What comes next, how can I solve this problem, take the situation to the next level?”

Author Kurt Vonnegut once said, "Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.”

For many of us, desire may be the cause of the internal conflict. We wanted or we needed something, and that action was forbidden in our families. For individuals who come from families where there was not enough to go around, it was forbidden to want and need whatever was in short supply. That could have been food, money, clothes, or even attention, As an adult, when you want or need that item, you are filled with shame and the internal conflict protects you.

No Single Cause

There is usually not a single cause for internal conflict. Humans are complicated and our conflicts are complicated. As children, we learn to hide what we want and need. We hide what hurts us from others and ourselves. As adults, we are caught in the tangle of what we know, and what we don’t know. We struggle with conflicts between what we know and what we feel.

How do we begin to solve this dilemma? Here are 4 ideas to help you.

1. Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is one of the catch words of the day, and for good reason. It will help you see what you can’t see, hear what you can’t hear, and know what you can’t know. Sounds complicated, right? In simple terms, it is sitting still and breathing.

2. Listen to your thoughts:

Inside of all of us is a stream of consciousness. A monologue of thoughts that runs all day and into the night. They are expressed in our night dreams and our daydreams. Learn to listen and turn the monologue into a dialogue.

3. Pay attention to your memories:

Our memory contains events, feelings and the child we were. They effect us and

influence our feelings, decisions and actions. They are a part of our internal conflict. As you take your memories, all your memories, seriously you can begin to create a narrative of you life. They will lead you to your internal conflicts and pain.

4. Become curious about your self and your life story:

Curiosity brings richness to your story. Life is an adventure to live and be excited about.

This is not an easy path but it is a path that will lead you to a better future. You will probably need help from the trusted people in your life. You may even need the help of a trained professional.

I can help you in this journey. Katherine (919)881-2001

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