Living with Mental Conflicts
Full Definition of conflict
- 1 : fight, battle, war
- 2 a : competitive or opposing action of incompatibles : antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons) b : mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands.
It would be reasonable to assume that living with a mental conflict within yourself would be an undesirable trait to possess. Some would argue that it at its worst, a form of being pathologically disturbed in nature or manner. Others insist that having such conflicts inside the mind leads to episodes of repression of the realities we either deal with or the occasions where we have dealt with it.
As far as theories go, it is the Freudian theory that is going with the repression and purposeful denial aspect with dealing in the realities of life. Some would go as far as saying that those qualities are epitomized in the mental illness diagnosis of schizophrenia understood to be a “split personality” caused by “double binds” resulting from conflicting or differing types of communications, the jarring of a person’s cognitive skills or the experience of having contradictory or mixed emotions.
Under the pretense of understanding this concept that “conventionally speaking, having a mental conflict has been regarded as at best, a precious possession of human emotions.” The root of this kind of thinking was the assumption that the mind—and indeed the integral parts of our brain —functions, or ought to function, as an integrated system without internal contradictions or disharmony. This is where the main differences lie in both theories.
The conscious-self, in particular, was assumed to be a single, simple entity, with any deviation from its intrinsic harmony and cohesiveness being self-evidently pathological. Putting this in content of context of everyday life, we generally agree that as a human being, we experience togetherness, harmonic relationships, and some level of self-integrity which are important and sometimes conflicting or confusing to other people’s perceptions and confidence in you and how you rationalize and behave most of the time.
Certainly, we can see how this perception can change how people trust your judgment and character as your ‘image’ when seen by others, should ideally be consistent, credible and certain one which possesses self-confidence. In other words, it is all about the image you project that makes people feel good or bad about you.
Your own personal consciousness is important and therefore, there are efforts to keep your private part of your life not be part of your professional life. This separation of deliberate consciousness awareness leads to an interesting point that you might want your professional life be ignorant of your personal life to avoid dealing with integrity or wrong-doings in your life. Some may call it denial while others just plainly call it being ignorant. What it really amounts to is a shielding of a personal side of your life compared to your professional side.
According to Robert Trivers, such “concerns with personal public relations throw an interesting evolutionary light on consciousness.” Trivers “argues consciousness evolved to fool itself all the better to fool others.” He concludes: “The mind must be structured in a very complex fashion, repeatedly split into public and private portions, with complicated interactions between the subsections.” I am sure you can see how this facilitates the art of deception.
I am also certain how this changes the perception of being straightforward or honest with others as this kind of behavior is anything but an integrated manner of thinking or acting as a genuine and sincere person. What it does is illustrate the importance of how you are self-seen in a social setting and comparing yourself to others.
Contrary to a Freudian theory, the difference seen is that this kind of behavior is used as a repressive tool as well as a defensive mode that is motivated to ward off inner-conflicts, confusion and stress or anxiety. Contrary to Triver’s theory that this is a primary function of the self-seen deception mode which is offensive in nature and evolved as a meant to resist stress and used for survival purposes.
Looking at this as a means to camouflage your real emotions, what you are really dealing with is an act or purpose to deceive others or distract them from the real persona inside you. Whatever the imagined reason, purpose or motivation may be, the result is the same for both Freud and Trivers: compromised consciousness and a divided self, with serious, deleterious consequences for the individual and for their peace of mind.