Why Do We Have Conflicts

Causes of Conflict in a Relationship: What Is The Conflict In The View Of Psychology? What Causes A Conflict? Types of Conflict

7/23/20239 min read

white and black chess piece
white and black chess piece

Why Do We Have Conflicts?

Psychologists describe conflict as a state of opposition, disagreement, or incapacity between two or more people or groups of people that occasionally leads to physical violence.

Any healthy partnership will inevitably experience conflict. After all, it is unrealistic to anticipate a complete agreement between two people. The secret is to learn how to manage conflict healthily rather than dread or avoid it.

Disagreement can strengthen a relationship between two individuals if handled respectfully and constructively. Conflict may be disastrous to a relationship if it is not handled well.

Causes of Conflict in a Relationship:

According to Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development, conflict is a pivotal time in which a person seeks to attain a specific psychological feature. As the person tries for success or failure, this period, described as a psychological crisis, can be characterized by fragility and strength.

It is said that all kinds of disputes, great and small, lead to conflict. Values, motivations, perceptions, thoughts, and desires are all subject to disagreement. These distinctions may appear insignificant at times, but when a dispute causes strong emotions, a robust emotional need is frequently the cause of the conflict. These needs may include the desire for greater connection and intimacy and the desire to feel appreciated, cherished, and safe. Think about the conflicting demands of a parent and a toddler. Walking to the street or the cliff edge satisfies the child's drive to explore. The parent must, however, protect the child's safety, which they can only do by limiting the toddler's exploration. These demands conflict with one another, which leads to conflict. The success of a relationship over time depends on what each party demands. Everyone deserves to be respected and given kindness. Lack of awareness of numerous parameters can lead to distance, conflicts, and breakups in personal relationships. Negotiations that fail, reduced pay, and job losses could result from different needs at work.

The majority of us would want to avoid conflict during the day. With our family, coworkers, and even those with whom we disagree on subjects ranging from politics to sports, we aim toward harmony, tolerance, and interpersonal support. However, expecting everyone to come together in this day and age is unrealistic, given the severe social and political conflicts. Furthermore, it's essential to remember that some conflicts—or, at the very least, the right kinds of disagreement—can be directed positively and effectively.

Humans cannot forge their own identities unless they clash with another group they believe to be separate, according to the late sociologist Lewis Coser. However, it might help to settle some of this dispute amicably. People may control their emotions and develop their personalities through sporting events. Therefore, while we cannot wholly eradicate conflict, we can design environments encouraging its healthy expression.

What Is The Conflict In The View Of Psychology?

Conflict in psychology is the activation of two or more powerful desires that cannot be satisfied individually. For instance, a teenager could want to go to a dance to feel like he belongs to a group and is participating in what his friends are doing. A teen would be highly motivated by that. The adolescent may, however, be a poor dancer sensitive to his classmates' actual or perceived mockery. He has a reason to stay away from the dance to avoid embarrassment. He faces a choice; he will suffer whether he quits or remains. A tension between approach and avoidance is what this is known as.

When one driving cue is lowered while another is raised, a new adjustment is necessary to resolve the psychological conflict. Not all disputes begin the same way. For instance, when a young person must select between two appealing and functional vocations, a conflict between several desired fulfillments (called an approach-approach conflict) may cause some hesitancy but enormous stress. The conflict between two dangers or threats is typically more unsettling (avoidance-avoidance conflict). Even if a man despises his job, he can be worried about losing his job if he quits. Also potent may be the conflict between a want and a fear. Even if a child depends on his mother, he fears her since she is harsh and dismissive. High-fear or dangerous conflicts are challenging to resolve, leaving the person feeling helpless and anxious. Thus, subsequent modifications may focus more on reducing worry than correcting problems. Conflicts are frequently unconscious because the person suffering from them cannot pinpoint their origin. As a result of society's severe disapproval of many intense emotions, including fear and hatred, a young person quickly learns to hide these feelings from everyone, even themselves. The person becomes anxious but is unsure of why when such impulses are present in a dispute. He is then less able to approach the matter with reason.

What Causes A Conflict?

It is necessary to appreciate both cause and effect dynamics and individual variations in human behavior and experience to understand what generates conflict. Due to individual differences, conflicts can develop when two or more people interact at work or in their personal lives. Your partner or coworker might be okay with what troubles you. Similar to how something you think is significant to you might not be to someone else. Disagreements get worse when one or both sides are dogmatic, rigid, or judgmental. People "get things wrong" and encounter miscommunication due to divergent perspectives, inaccurate perceptions, and improper, insufficient, or ineffective communication. Facts and information that need to be corrected or uncontrolled usually cause conflict. It is possible to intentionally or unintentionally misrepresent facts or events. Unsurprisingly, the more parties involved in a dispute or a group of opposing ideas or viewpoints, the more intricate and entrenched the conflict becomes and the more likely it is to spread quickly. Power dynamics are a significant contributor to conflict. Conflict is frequently unavoidable when there is a power imbalance, such as when a spouse or coworker exerts undue control over you or you feel disempowered or mistreated, significantly if it impacts your wants, interests, or values.

One or more of the following five tenets of human experience and behavior frequently lead to conflict:

Information processing:

Each of us processes information differently. This includes our perceptions of what we see, hear, and feel, how we interpret these sensations, and how we later share our viewpoints and experiences.


People are more likely to join in the dispute in direct proportion to how urgent and necessary their needs are given the circumstances. Needs have the potential to evoke strong emotions. The instinct a parent has to defend their child can be vicious. Conflict in interpersonal relationships might result from the need for respect, assistance, or financial security.


The importance of a value to an individual or community determines how likely it is to exacerbate conflict. For instance, disagreements over ethics and religion stem from disparate values.


The conditions for conflict to occur and its successful resolution depend on the ability to communicate, make decisions, and solve problems. Conflict can arise from, for example, "not being listened to" or from having your concerns dismissed, acknowledged, or validated.

The fact that conflict frequently highlights issues that need to be fixed means that it is only sometimes a problem in and of itself. Effective risk management may open up opportunities for development, growth, and positive change in your career or relationships. Arguments only become a challenge when they go on for a long time without being adequately resolved.

Types of Conflict

Unavoidable natural occurrences happen everywhere. Conflicts can happen anywhere and at any time. They involve disagreements between the parties over how to meet their needs and objectives and what obstacles stand. Fundamental issues lie beneath these conflicts. We'll read about a range of conflict types in this post.

If you look at some of the basic types of conflict detailed here, you'll learn more about disagreements.

Conflicting Tasks:

Task conflicts arise when people or organizations must cooperate to finish an assignment so everyone involved may complete it. Conflict results when one person's duty must be completed before another can. For instance, if a group task is given to four students in a class and two of them seem less concerned with deadlines than the other two, the other two students may feel alarmed by the other two's pace of work, which could lead to a quarrel.

Leadership Disparities:

Numerous leadership theories have the potential to harm an individual. Others are more laid back; some are strict about upholding the rules, while others rely on the natural flow of work output. Some leaders take a bold stand, while others are more laid back. For instance, according to the teacher's instructions, there can only be one leader in a group project at school. One student wants to take charge of the entire group and run things however he sees fit, while another wants to take part and be in charge. They are at odds because each wants to lead the group but is limited in how they can do it.

Work-Style Disturbances:

There are numerous ways to complete the assignment. These working methods affect how you conduct and interact with coworkers; conflict may arise from various working methods. For instance, the teacher assigned some homework. A child who isn't there asks another what must be done. The person who was present only gave a brief explanation. The current student turned in all the assignments and received full credit, whereas the absent student only submitted half. There is a disagreement since the second child receives lesser grades due to the first child's insufficient knowledge.

Value Differing:

Conflict develops when individuals or organizations hold divergent opinions about the morals or values at stake in a particular circumstance. As a result, values are highly individualized because they center on how one feels about another. For instance, we ought to work in pairs on a school assignment. One student might prefer to play in his free time, while the other wants to work on the assignment. Conflict results when one student wants to play and finish the assignment later while the other is worried about the incomplete assignment. The conflict arises from the different values that each student attributes to the task.

Conflicts of Personality:

Everybody is unique and possesses a unique set of characteristics. We won't get along with everyone we meet because they are unlike us. It could be difficult for you to deal with someone with a different personality. People that take an empathic stance must resolve disputes based on personality. For instance, I assigned a narrative exercise during a teamwork evaluation interview. Six classmates were matched up. The remaining five were all fairly gregarious and outgoing, whereas the sixth one was reluctant to speak. The sixth student was so shy that she could not adequately express her contribution to the story. The group obtained lower grades. The issue in this instance was that the extroverted children received higher grades since the sixth student was frightened by nature.

Conflicting Creative Ideas:

Due to the differences in viewpoints, conflict frequently arises during teamwork, which is nearly anticipated. The level to which each conflict escalates varies. I see disagreements over novel ideas as constructive if they remain in check. While conflicts may arise during brainstorming, it teaches participants the value of appreciating and accepting others' ideas. For instance, a teacher might assign two pupils to develop imaginative methods to tell a brief story. While the more incredible artist seeks to depict this through sketching, the better actor wants to demonstrate how conflict arises from opposing creative views.

Conflicts Due To Competition:

Conflict of this kind arises when powerful parties are forced to work together. Competition typically arises when people insist on succeeding because they want to feel "righteous." Finding a solution to this dispute might be challenging since it can occasionally be hard for both sides to feel like they have won. Therefore, a third party should submit a request or make the final decision to resolve a dispute between rivals.

For instance, they asserted that two pupils crossed the finish line together during a race at school. As a result, they began to compete with one another. The referee will decide who made the initial contact in this case.

Conflict Psychology Types:

The psychologist's Dollar and Miller detail four conflict types: approach-approach, avoidance-avoidance, approach-avoidance, and double-approach avoidance. The word "approach" describes "the urge" for something. You take action when something is desired. If you want ice cream, you will go to the freezer. As you approach a problem, "avoidance" refers to ignoring it. For instance, if you are afraid of dogs, you wouldn't want to go into a house where there were any.

Approach-Approach Conflict:

The first of the four types of conflict is when you have to choose between two things you like. Consider going to an ice cream shop and finding your two favorite flavors, cookie crumble, and chocolate. You should try both and be undecided about your choice. There exists an "approach-approach conflict" here.

A choice between two things you dislike is the second of the four types of conflict, which is known as an avoidance-avoidance conflict. You delay deciding since you don't find any of your options appealing. A conflict between not wanting to be on the defaulter's list and not wanting to attend lectures because they are boring may be used as an illustration. There is an "avoidance-avoidance conflict" in this situation.

Conflict of the approach-avoidance variety occurs when the ultimate goal has positive and negative elements. As a result, there is both attraction to and avoidance of the target. Here's one illustration: You would like to go to work since you enjoy the company of your coworkers, but you also don't want to because there is no job security. There is an "approach-avoidance conflict" at play.

The fourth of the four conflict types involves choosing between two options or purposes, each with positive and negative values. This conflict is known as a double approach-avoidance conflict. In this situation, one must choose one desire, give up the other, and accept the drawbacks of the chosen goal. A case in point you desire to become a doctor, but the cost prevents you. Even though it wasn't always your goal to work in healthcare, you decided to pursue a profession because Para medicine is a field inside healthcare. This is called "double approach-avoidance conflict."

Different conflicts kinds could necessitate using different conflict resolution strategies. In the actual world, conflicting parties could choose the optimal solution on their own because of the communication abilities both sides use. However, this is only sometimes the case. It cannot be simple to remain objective when emotions are running high and then apply reason to determine the best action. Utilizing tried-and-true dispute resolution methods could significantly reduce the tension in such circumstances.