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Types of Internal Conflict

Types of Internal Conflict


There are many different types of internal conflict; I encourage you to pay close attention to which ones you resonate with.

1. Moral Conflict

Moral conflict arises when we hold conflicting beliefs about something to do with our personal ethics. For example, moral conflict could occur when a person believes in human rights, but doesn’t believe in euthanasia. Or a person could value telling the truth, but lie to save another person’s life.

2. Religious Conflict

Religious conflict is quite common, because it revolves around belief, and beliefs are very mind-orientated, making them particularly fragile. Examples of religious conflict could be, believing in a loving God, but finding it hard to accept that the same God can be a God of wrath. Or a person who is religiously faithful, and believe and support the use of medical marijuana (which is still classified as a drug). When faced with scientific facts, religious conflict may arise within a person who values both truth and their religious belief.

3. Political Conflict

Political conflict arises when a person feels split between their own beliefs and their political party’s beliefs. A person may align with one party, but disagrees with their treatment of the healthcare system. Or a person may believe in the political philosophy, but struggles to support the politician propagating it.

4. Love Conflict

Love conflict is what happens when we love someone who is in a relationship and is emotionally unavailable. Or we may love our partners, but find their habits to be intolerable. We may also love a person and wish to keep them, but realize we have to let them go.

5. Self-Image Conflict

Your self-image is the mental idea you have about yourself, for example, a person who believes they’re honest might lie on their resume to get their dream job. Someone who takes pride in eating healthy might not want to give up smoking. Or a person may believe they are ethical, but might misrepresent information on their tax return form.

6. Interpersonal Conflict

Interpersonal conflict overlaps with other types of internal conflict, such as self-image and love conflict. This type of conflict occurs in social situations, when you want to be one way, but find yourself acting in another way. For example, Sally hates talking about sports, but she finds herself faking interest in what her coworkers talk about. An introvert doesn’t have much energy, but creates a high-energy facade to fit in with others. Or someone is offended by a friend, but says nothing even though they want to.

7. Existential Conflict

Existential conflict involves feelings of discomfort and confusion about life, particularly when two opposing beliefs or desires arise. For instance, wanting 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 towards the world, for example, wanting to save our planet, but at the same time believing that it’s doomed.