Inner Conflict – View of a NE Life Coach

I’ve been writing a lot about intrusive negative thoughts and the inner critic as well as the battle that can happen with them inside of us.  It’s led me to wonder more about how and when that conflict begins.  It must begin somewhere, sometime, somehow.  Delving into the origins of something isn’t something I normally do; my own coaching style is to focus on the future and the solutions; the positive aspects.  My curiosity got the better of me and I kept pondering!

Inner Conflict and Parts of us

There are so many different parts to us, to our character; at times the negative thoughts or self-sabotage can be driven by a part of our inner being which is continually negative towards the rest of us.  That sort of relentless, unending and often vicious negativity.  Is it any wonder that this leads to inner conflict, stress and anxiety? When this inner battle rages over a lifetime, it isn’t surprising that it can lead to feelings of anger, of low self-esteem and self-worth or even depression. This can then very easily result in losing our sense of direction and purpose in life and leave us struggling to find meaning in our lives.

Why does this inner conflict happen in the first place?

I always thought that we were predisposed to seek out survival and happiness.  So why would part of our inner self try to hurt us in this dreadful insidious way?  I began to reflect on my own life experience and also on the conversations I’ve had with clients about this kind of self-criticism and self-sabotage.  The common thread seems to be that this is a result of some throwaway comment early in life.  An unwitting mistake by a sibling, parent, friend or acquaintance through which a part of us has been deeply hurt and wounded.  Wounded in such a way that this part of us is cut off, almost banished from the rest of our being.


Whatever form this wound has taken it usually seems to result in some part of us being crushed, suppressed, almost stifled and stamped out.  I suppose the wound could be in a number of forms but the common thread is that it’s stamping out some deep and truly authentic part of you.  Almost as if that innate core of your being has been betrayed and quashed.
It may have been a passion you had for acting, for music or for sport that you were pressured to stifle or put an end to. Often because it was deemed to be impractical, embarrassing or not something you would ‘make a living’ at.  Alternatively, it could have been a deeply held and cherished belief that wasn’t accepted by family and friends or a part of your innate personality that was subject to ridicule.

It’s not unusual

There isn’t anything unusual or indeed cruel about this happening.  Often, these things are done and said with the very best of intentions or without any intent at all; they happen all the time in the childhood home, in the schoolyard or sports club.  It’s just a normal part of “growing up”.  Or is it?  Well for a lot of people it probably is.  Yet what if that part of you that’s been stamped out was a critical part of your core being?  What then?  It won’t go away.  Deeply wounded, it simply goes into hiding inside of you. Over time it can become angry, very angry and lead to inner conflict.  This anger can then be directed at you and everyone around you.

Very often it can be buried so deep that we aren’t consciously aware of it being there.  It’s invisible to us because we stifled it so long ago.  So, whilst we may not consciously be aware of it, we are certainly aware of the impact of the anger, the pain, the suffering.

What next? How do I deal with Inner Conflict?

The temptation is to enter into another battle and this usually leads to more anxiety, angst and exhaustion.  My work with clients on this is to help them not to engage in a fight with it; I know from my own experience how futile this can be.  It’s about compassion and self-care.  It’s about not running away from this part of ourselves. By treating this part of ourselves with love and compassion we can rescue it and we begin to heal.  After all, this inner critic is still a vital and integral part of who we are.  It’s wounded and it’s in pain; all that anger and negativity could really be seen as a cry for help.  I’m reminded of the blog I wrote about the original Native American tale of the two wolves.  We need this part of us.  It has strengths that we don’t find in other parts of our being.

Part of the work I do is to help clients bring that part of themselves home; to create a beautiful place for it to rest and recuperate.  Then, through the compassion we show to this part of us, our healing can begin; then the true intention of this integral part of our being can be revealed and supported.

If you feel that you face any of the challenges mentioned above, please contact me for a free consultation to see how I can support you. Contact Lou

As always I’d very much welcome your comments below.