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Three Inner Conflicts that Can Halt your Progress in Life

businessman making decisionNothing puts the brakes on in life like inner conflict.

If  you’ve got it going on, you’ll sit on the fence – unhappily and forever.

There are many expressions that refer to inner conflict:

• Sitting on the fence
• Being of two minds
• Having one foot in each camp
• A house divided
• On the and hand, this. On the other hand, that.
• Having mixed feelings

Bottom line: If you’re in conflict, you are stuck. It’s almost as if the conflict rejects opportunities to feel good and free.

Inner conflict is comprised of beliefs. When your beliefs (about right and wrong, about what the future holds, about what your past means) conflict with each other, you are trapped.

Here are three common inner conflicts that can halt your growth and progress in life:

1. I want to do the right thing, but at the same time I can’t help but do the wrong thing.

A common scenario: You want to be healthy, nice and positive. You want good things for your life. But, you also feel like drinking, smoking, yelling, overeating, partying or avoiding positive expectations.

This is scary. It’s almost as if a part of you truly doesn’t care about life or happiness. You’re fine just ruining it all.

Then, you feel guilty or ashamed after you’ve made a string of bad decisions and vow to be different. This inner conflict can run rampant in your life and is one of the most frustrating situations in which we can find ourselves.

2. If I do what I want, my family will not approve.

Your family wants X for you and you want Y. For example, you’d like to be an artist, but your parents always wanted you to become a business person. And perhaps they indoctrinated you with the benefits of doing business vs. the flakiness of being an artist.

• You’ll never make any money.
• You’ll be hanging out with the wrong crowd.
• Artists are losers.
• You’ll never make it as an artist.

Yet, you love art. You aren’t so concerned about making a lot of money. You want to follow your heart and do what you are meant to do. However, you feel like your family will disown you, or even make fun of you. You may feel like you are betraying your family – being disloyal and ungrateful – if you do what you want to do with your life.

This kind of conflict can act like a lens through which we view life – and can stay with us for life if we don’t come to terms with it.

3. I want to be successful, but at the same time a part of me seems to want to FAIL.

Moving ahead in life financially, or with relationships, hobbies or any positive pursuit is nearly impossible when there is a tug of war inside you. One part of you wants to WIN. Another part of you is compelled to sabotage the winning and be just fine LOSING. Under these circumstances, it’s hard to develop good habits. In fact, bad habits tend to rule the day.

In fact, some part of you may fear success and feel more comfortable keeping yourself down. Failure can feel safer; like a worn out pair of blue jeans that you cannot let go.

denialWhat gives inner conflict power over your life?

Avoiding the conflict gives it power over your lie. When you deny the darker side of what you (or a part of you) wants, then it runs on autopilot. Most of us do not like to admit that we are driven toward failure – or bad decisions. We like to think of ourselves as positive people. Or we believe we SHOULD be positive all the time.

When our negative nature rears it’s head, we cringe.

Denial of our negative side only empowers the negativity. We need to face it, accept it, and gently begin to work with it. This is the first step. Otherwise, the conflict will remain unconscious. And you cannot have conscious choice about something that is outside of our conscious awareness.

So, step one: Admit, acknowledge, understand and accept the full nature of your inner conflict. Otherwise, it will continue to sabotage your positive desires.

If you need help getting to the bottom of your negative side, then consider learning about negative psychological attachments and self-sabotage. This free and enlightening video may just turn your world upside down.

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Three Inner Conflicts that Can Halt your Progress in Life

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2017). Three Inner Conflicts that Can Halt your Progress in Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Jan 2017
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