You are dying for some feet up time, but you can’t stop thinking about work.
You really want that promotion, but just as you think it’s yours, you make a mistake that puts you back. You want to be close to someone in a good relationship but keep doing things that push them away. Any of this familiar?
Whenever you want to do something, have the ability to do it but don’t do it then the secret sabotage of inner conflicts are at play. You can either experience an tug inside you between one thing and another or you could do one thing and then do something afterwards to mitigate it; like standing up for yourself in an argument and then sucking up to them afterwards.
Why does this happen? We all experience these conflicts, it’s just that at certain times in our lives they come to the surface. As children we learned how to behave and picked up a lot of things from our parents (or other significant adults). In relationships, often opposites attract so it very likely your parents had different ways of doing things – great for appreciating difference. The problem is that as a child you saw different ways of approaching even the basic tasks and decisions; Mum may have been a quick, in the moment decision maker, whereas Dad liked to take time to think things through. As a kid you had no way of know which worked best in which situations, so you probably adopted a bit of both. As a result sometimes you will take a long time over a decision and sometimes you may make rash decisions. Or you may have such a tug of war over how to make decisions that you find them near impossible.
As adults these hidden inner conflicts cause havoc with our ability to master our time, have relationships, have success and make decisions. Some of the common inner conflicts people experience are:
Freedom vs Security Conflict – a swing between needing freedom and security
Me Time vs Others Conflict – a struggle with making time your yourself because you feel others need you
Work vs Relaxation Conflict – a struggle between working and taking time out, which may result in procrastination or extremes of both ends (working really hard then taking lots of time off)
Ideal Job vs Family Responsibility Conflict – dreaming of the ideal job but believing it will not be acceptable to your family. So you end up doing nothing and resenting or regretting it
Independence vs Intimacy Conflict – Wanting both independence and intimacy in a relationship, so you will either swing from one to the other or choose one and be unsatisfied.
To avoid the sabotage you need to make peace with your inner conflicts, this is done in a number of stages:
1) Identify the inner conflict that’s sabotaging you right now. Have label for each end of the conflict; for example Freedom and Security
2) Appreciate that both sides of the conflict are trying to help you. Even if it doesn’t feel that way. The problem with inner conflicts is that we beat ourselves up when we are at the other side, for example berate ourselves for taking Me Time when we are running around after other people. It’s important in life not to beat ourselves up, but to learn from things that haven’t worked so well and consider how to do it in a better way in future.
3) Ask yourself, what’s the positive thing each side is trying to do for me? Both sides of the conflict are trying to help you, but trying to do it in different ways. For example the Me Time part and Others part both want you to be happy and content, but are basically arguing about how to do it.
4) Appreciate the positive thing and begin to think through other ways that positive intention can be achieved whilst avoiding the swing between the two ends of the spectrum. For example what things could you do that make you feel happy and content that involve other people and are doing things you also enjoy, like a family picnic rather than being a taxi on endless exhausting play dates.
Sometimes people only get to step 2 before the conflicts starts to lift. By recognising what’s happening and that it’s normal, you can stop beating yourself up and feeling frustrated and begin to plan a way of living that sets you free from all of that and take control of you life.