A84 Resolving Inner Conflicts: We have differing needs and desires which cause us to be in conflict with ourselves. We can resolve to conflicts

Often we feel like two or more people, who have sometimes conflicting needs, desires or beliefs. We experience internal conflict. We are not sure what to do which decision to make. This occurs when our “sub-personalities” or “personas” have conflicting needs.

Some examples of those conflicts are listed here. As you read through them, ask yourself if you have any similar conflicts.


Let us look at some examples of the inner conflicts which we may disturb our peace.

1. One part of ourselves may feel we need to spend more time on our professional life while another part, may believe that we should be spending more time with our family.

2. On the one hand, a part of our selves may want to open up to a conscious love relationship, while another part fears being abandoned, hurt, suppressed, manipulated, or not being able to say no.

3. One part of ourselves may want to give those around us (children, spouse, friends) total freedom to pursue their happiness in their own ways, and another part may fear losing control.

4. The part of ourselves which wants to please others, may come into direct conflict with our own needs.

5. We may on the one hand want others to support us, but on the other feel that they restrict us with their support or advice.

6. One part of our selves may want spiritual growth, while another may feel the need for material security.

7. We may on the one hand want to help a loved one or friend, but on the other, feel that perhaps we are doing them harm by bailing them out continuously and not letting them solve their own problems.

8. One part of our selves may feel a need to protect the planet through a simple life with very little consumption of energy and products, while another part may want to enjoy all the comforts of an energy consuming, pollution producing life style.

9. We may on the one hand want to take a job, or leave a job that we have, while another part of our selves wants the opposite for different reasons.

10. One part of ourselves may believe in cooperating with others, while another finds that difficult.

11. We may have a desire for various objects or situations as a source of pleasure. Another part of ourselves may feel, however, that this is a sin, or that we are not spiritual if we partake in such pleasures. Or it may feel that this type of pleasure seeking is a waste of time and energy considering our spiritual goals. Thus these two aspects of our own being conflict.

12. One part of ourselves may feel the need to have an exclusive relationship, in which our happiness and security depend on another person (usually a mate). Another part of ourselves may find this an obstacle towards its need for independence, self dependence, and freedom.

13. Similarly there may be a conflict between the need for personal love and the need to develop universal love.

14. Our need to forgive may conflict with our need to hold on to negative feelings towards someone.

15. Our need to employ various disciplines may conflict with our need to feel free to do whatever we want when we want to.

16. Our need to follow our inner voice in some cases conflicts with our need to be like the others and be accepted by them.

17. Our need to express our feelings as they are, can conflict with our need not to hurt anyone.

18. Our need to express our real feelings and thoughts might clash with our need to have the acceptance of those around us.

19. Our need to follow a spiritual guide might conflict with the need to rebel against all types of advice or control.

20. Our need to control persons and situations in order to feel secure and may conflict with our need to let things flow and allow others to act freely.

21. Our need to never show weakness can come into conflict with our need to share our weaknesses with others.

22. One part may need not to ask anything from others while another may need to have their help and support.

23. A part of us might need a stable routine for our balance and growth while another might need variety and change.

24. A part of us needs to play our familiar emotional relationship games while another part wants to get free from them.

25. One part of us wants to face and overcome our fears and blockages while another prefers to avoid them and hide from them.

There are certainly conflicts which we haven’t mentioned, but most will fall into these categories.


Our various emotional survival mechanisms can lead to the development the diverse personas or subpersonalities within our personality structure. We are not talking here about clinical illness such as multiple personality syndrome. Each of us has this problem to a certain degree.

In response to early childhood experiences (and if you believe so, previous life experiences) we develop various inner emotional responses in an effort to maintain our feelings of security, self worth, power and freedom. These then grow in their own separate ways manifesting as parts of our personality which have their own personal beliefs, logic and identity and thus power. We might call these roles, personas, or subpersonalities. Throughout this discussion we will refer to them as personas.

Each persona has it own core belief which creates and sustains its existence in our larger identity. This core belief will have something to do with the need for security, pleasure, affirmation or freedom, or in a few special cases, other less common needs such as the need to be useful, or for salvation or enlightenment. In some cases, the the basic needs may be distorted and in conflict with survival or growth, such as the need to harm ourselves or others.

In most cases, however, the needs which create these personas are our needs to verify our safety and self worth, usually through other persons or possessions.

Let us look at some of our more common reactions.


1. In this type of reaction we seek to maintain that which is familiar, which means that we adopt the role which we experienced as a child such as the victim, the abused, the ignored, the fearful one, the one who makes mistakes, who is not intelligent, rejected or uninteresting, etc. Or, perhaps, the “responsible one”, the “good boy”, the “strong one”, the “intelligent one”, or the “attractive one” or the who received attention for his or her appearance.

If we do not go through a process of conscious transformation, we will, for the rest of his life, attract these kinds of situations or imagine them to be real even when they are not. We will continue to evaluate ourselves in terms of those criteria we learned as children.

2. Another possibility is to play the same game but now playing the opposite role perhaps becoming the oppressor, or the unattractive, unintelligent or the irresponsible one. Many of swore as children that we would never act like our parents. Yet we find themselves behaving in the same way to their children. Victims become oppressors. The weak become the “strong”. The fearful become “fearless” etc.

3. We might seek to play various roles which will appeal to those around us, so as to be “successful” or “good” or “acceptable” in their eyes. We may find ourselves adopting such roles as the”yes” person, the successful business person, the socially “in”, the intelligent and informed.

4. If we have become used to be rejected or demeaned, we may continue by taking on this role towards ourselves by degrading ourselves when there is no one else to do this. This is something which we may do inwardly as we undermine our self worth to ourselves continually. In other cases, we may undermine ourselves openly before others so that they will respond with positive comments towards us.


1. In this type of reaction, we become blocked towards any situations which may have hurt us as children. When confronted with such situations, we will find ways to avoid contact with any stimulus which might cause us pain. We might ignore or deny that the situation exists or sink into depression in order not have to deal with anything.

2. We might isolate ourselves emotionally in various ways such as over working, drinking, eating, drugs, incessant activity, reading, TV or simply by living alone.

3. We may develop a distrustful stance in life, and simply not be open or sincere with anyone.

4. We may even lose trust in our own self and thus fear activity, change, growth, new activities, perhaps becoming totally dependent on one or two persons.


1. We may react by becoming an aggressive or offensive personality seeking to protect ourselves by keeping others at a distance through sarcasm, criticism, rejection, condemnation, and in general, behavior which demeans or hurts others.

2. Or we might get into antagonistic roles where we are competing for our self worth and power in various ways with those around us.


1. We might adopt roles which abandon every effort in life, living without goals, responsibilities or purpose. Some feel safer here, because there can be no failure, as there is no endeavor which can end in failure. This may occur when in situations where we have very dynamic parents, who make the us fear that we will never be able to rise to their heights of achievement, and thus, we give up all effort and drop out of the game.

2. Another reaction is to become the rebel who rejects society and its values not only by dropping out but often by rejecting and actively resisting or even undermining the status quo. Such persons may also become anarchists. Our need to rebel is so strong that we refuse to participate in activities which we ourselves would enjoy, because that same activity is accepted by society or more specifically our parents.


1. Some of us, having interpreted that we are not worthy, may decide that we must harm or destroy ourselves through drink, drugs, overeating, broken relationships, financial disaster etc. We might do the same simply to get back at their parents whom we feel are responsible for our unhappiness. Destroying ourselves is the one way we satisfy our need for revenge towards our parents.

2. In other cases, this reaction may not be so intense, but simply act as a mechanism which would prevent us from successfully maintaining positive disciplines for any significant period of time. We cannot make positive efforts for ourselves.

These various reactions to similar childhood experiences causes us to develop our own unique mechanisms for “protecting” ourselves and our needs.

We can generalize that these reactions have following motivations:

1. ATTEMPTING TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM POSSIBLE DANGERS. (We must remember that what is known and habitual, although unpleasant, often feels safer than the unknown even if that unknown holds the promise of happiness)

2. TO SATISFY VARIOUS NEEDS: security, safety, freedom, pleasure, affirmation, power, esteem, expression of inner impulses, love, meaning, evolution etc.

3. TO PREVENT PAIN: fears, hurt, rejection, or the loss of important persons, possessions or positions.

4. TO HIDE OR ISOLATE FROM WHAT MIGHT CAUSE REJECTION: weaknesses, fears, needs, real feelings, beliefs etc.

5. TO ENSURE AFFIRMATION by being what we believe others want us to be in order to accept us.



These reactions lead to what we earlier called roles, personas or subpersonalities and to which we will from here on refer to as personas.




(Here we are supplying you with a short list of personas and their core beliefs.

We have grouped the personas using various names. Perhaps, in some cases. only one or two of the names might be applicable.

1. The Good, Righteous, Spiritual person

a. I am worthy and safe if I am (or appear to be) good, right or spiritual.

2. The Perfect, Capable, Strong person

a. I am worthy and safe if I am (or appear to be) perfect, strong or capable.

3. The Victim, Abused, Unjustly Persecuted

a. Others create my reality, they are to blame for my situation.

b. The wronged person is right and correct and worthy because the wrong doer is wrong and evil.

c. I am not worthy of something better than this.

4. The Weak, Incapable, Ill, Fearful, Dependent, the Child

a. I am not capable of coping with life by myself

b. Life is difficult

5. The Guilty, Sinner, Bad, Unworthy

a. I am Guilty, unworthy, evil, a sinner.

b. I do not deserve love, acceptance, help from others or God

c. I am in danger ( Without protection – vulnerable to punishment)

6. The Parent, Teacher, Savior, Responsible for others and everything

a. I am responsible for the others’ reality – happiness, health, security, success, well being.

b. The others cannot proceed or take care of themselves without me.

c. If the others are not well, I am to blame and have failed.

7. The Rebel, Reactionary, Challenger, Competitor

a. My freedom is in danger

b. I must fight for my freedom, safety or self worth

c. I actually need the others.

8. The Intelligent, Informed, Superior, Knower, Counselor

a. He who knows more is superior

b. If I show them that I know more than they do, they will love me and I will be safe.

9. The Indifferent, Irresponsible, Free moving, Disruptive, Insensitive, Lazy

a. Whoever has responsibilities and / or does not fulfill them is in danger.

b. I will suffer or fail if I take on responsibilities.

10. The Intimidator, General, Dictator, Aggressor, Abuser,

a. My safety and/ or self worth are in danger

b. I must protect myself and others in the battle of life.

c. Power and the offense are the solutions.

11. The Interrogator, Critic, Mr. Right

a. I am worthy when others are wrong.

b. Others must answer to my questions.

c. My self worth depends on being right and he others being wrong.

12. The Aloof, Distant, Loner, Silent one

a. I can protect my self from others by not interacting emotionally with them.

b. I am worthy when others seek my attention.

11. The Spouse, Husband, Wife

a. My self worth is dependent on how well I am accepted and recognized in the role of the spouse.

b. I must be accepted as a spouse in order to be accepted and safe.

12. The Woman, Man

a. My self worth is measured by how much I am accepted in the role of the woman / man.

b. My self worth is decided by how much I am respected wanted by the opposite sex.

Any particular person may, however, in his self analysis, break these major roles into a wide variety of parts, which differ in varying ways.

Here is a list of personas offered by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks in their book Conscious Loving

1. Conscientious: do the right thing

2. Super competent : here let me do it

3. Devoted :I’ll always be there for you

4. Drama queen / king : you would not believe the day I’ve had

5. Rambling’ guy / gal: don’t fence me in.

6. Victim : poor me

7. Performer : the show must go on. Look at me

8. Critic : i tell you what is wrong – even if you don΄t ask

9. Loner : by myself

10. Space out: huh?

11. Mr. / Mrs. Nice guy: I must

12. Dependent : I need you

13. Mr. Sick / ms. Accidents: I am not well

14. Caretaker : let me help you

15. Stoic : i can take it

16. Peter pan / tinker bell : I’ll never grow up

17. Hostile : out of my way

18. Self righteous : I am higher than the rest

19. Chameleon: whatever you say

20. True believer: this is it. I know the truth

21. Shy : please don΄t notice me

22. Flamboyant : this is the latest thing

23. Martyr : I’ll sacrifice myself

24. Rebel : I don’t agree.

Here is another list created by a person looking into himself. See if you can discover any of your own roles.

Poor unloved child

Bad unworthy child

Good obedient boy

Playful prankster

Fascinated wonderer

Efficient worker

Righteous rebel

Unemotional stoic

Anxious worrier

Macho man

Understanding listener

Efficient organizer

Cooperating server

Disciplined meditator

Sacrificing hero

Intelligent problem solver

Unjustly persecuted


Loving friend

Joyful creator

Erotic female dancer

Chooser of goodness

Holy -pure – monk

Seeker of enlightenment

Savior – teacher

Disappointed one

Responsible for everyone

Loving son (brother)

Loving husband

Loving father

Seeker of truth


Body maintainer

Erotic female dancer

Righteous critic

Enjoyer of senses

Writer of book

Universal philosopher

Child of the universe

We can see that there a various ways of understanding and labeling these personas. It is not so important how we name them, but that we recognize their existence and then learn to identify them, understand them, accept them and gradually help them to function harmoniously within us.


These roles or personas, which develop subconsciously, create a variety of beliefs and subsequent needs and emotions. Most personas manage to cooperate enough so that we can function without serious inner turmoil. But there times in our lives when we experience inner conflicts in which two or more parts of our being have conflicting needs.

Many of these conflicts have to do with the differing needs between our “spiritual” personas and our “material” personas. We place these words in quotation marks because all personas live in ignorance and thus are all material. The so called “spiritual” personas are trying to be spiritual or, in some cases, only to appear spiritual.

Let us divide our ego structure, for the purposes of this discussion, into the part which wants to improve our character and life style and proceed spiritually and the other part which prefers to remain in the familiar and conditioned types of behavior and activities where it finds security, pleasure and affirmation. Let’s call the first part the spiritual ego and the second the material ego. We want these two to meet, to open up to each other and become one.

We do not intend to imply that the spiritual ego is higher or more spiritual than the material ego. In some cases the opposite may be true, as the spiritual ego might be simply seeking security, pleasure and affirmation in other ways. The spiritual ego may occasionally be even more afraid or more attached to persons and situations than the material ego. This is not always the case, however.



1. We first need to get to know these various parts of ourselves by keeping a daily diary in which we refer to them by their names, needs, emotions, reactions and beliefs.

2. We can keep a separate page for each persona in which we list its particular needs, desires, fears, emotions, reactions and beliefs.

3. We will then need to discover for each persona the core belief which creates, sustains and drives it.

4. We must also accept each persona as a natural development in our evolution process. Regardless as to whether there is use for its continued existence, at some point it served some purpose in our search for security, self worth and equilibrium.

we can perceive each persona as one of our children, whom we accept and love regardless of its immaturity. Our purpose is to now educate that persona and help it to manifest its higher potential.

5. We can then allow each persona to express itself in its own unique way through dance, writing, drawing, work etc.

6. We then move on to let them communicate between themselves.

a. By writing a dialogue like a one act play in which they communicate back and forth expressing: complaints, needs, feelings, beliefs as well as questions which they have for each other.

This is a regular conversation, in which questions are asked and then answered by the other party. Or perhaps arguments or accusations made on the one part to be rebutted by the other. Attempts are made by each part to get what it needs from the other.

The ultimate purpose is to create an atmosphere of communication, understanding and cooperation between these two personas with conflicting needs.

b. The same process can then be done verbally as described below.


Attention: This work can some times be disturbing or confusing, and thus, is best done with the help of a professional experienced in this type of analysis, dialoguing and psychodrama.

Before moving on to perform the dialogue, it would be beneficial to fill out the following questionnaire which will help us establish a clearer understanding of which personas we want to reconcile and what their real needs, emotions and beliefs are.


Now separately, for each conflicting part of yourself, answer the following questions.

a. For Part “A”, which I have named ________________________________

1. Its has the following needs, desires and attachments


2. When its needs are not fulfilled, it has the following emotions: ___________________________________________


3. It has the following beliefs which cause it to have those needs and emotions. (click for a list of possible beliefs to choose from) If you cannot determine the beliefs, send this in without answering this question and we will help you in the process.





4. This part of my self would like to communicate the following to part “B” .


5. I personally feel towards the part of me labeled “A” and named ________________ the following feelings. __________________________________________________________________________

b. For Part “B”, which I have named named ________________________________

1. Its has the following needs, desires and attachments ________________________________________________________________________

2. When its needs are not fulfilled, it has the following emotion: :____________________________________________


3. It has the following beliefs which cause it to have those needs and emotions. (click for a list of possible beliefs to choose from) If you cannot determine the beliefs, send this in without answering this question and we will help you in the process.





4. This part of my self would like to communicate the following to part “A” .


5. I personally feel towards the part of me labeled “B” and named ________________ the following feelings. ___________________________________________________________________________

Having established this information, we are now ready to allow these two personas to communicate. As mentioned earlier, this dialogue can be done as a written exercise or verbally in the presence of a facilitator .

In the case that we do it verbally, we will place two chairs, pillows or benches opposite each other. We sit on the one chair and assume one of the two roles. We imagine that the other persona is sitting in the opposite chair or on the opposite pillow. We start the conversation by allowing the first persona which is to speak to explain to the other persona how he feels, what his needs and desires are, and what his beliefs are which make him feel that way. This persona may also ask the other aspect of ourselves questions concerning its beliefs, emotions and behaviors in attempt to understand it more deeply.

We then change positions, now sitting in the other chair, where we then gives the opposite side an opportunity to speak about itself, how it feels and what it needs as well as to ask questions. These two parts will speak back and forth as we get up and change positions whenever we change roles (it is important to change positions in order to help change mind – set and psychology).

This conversation goes on like any other conversation, as each persona asks questions and then we change positions and they are answered by the other persona. Each persona may accuse, or perhaps express feelings of tenderness and love, or plead and ask for help or even ask deeper questions which help the one part of ourselves understand the other part more deeply and clearly.

The conversation goes on until we have sat in both positions consecutively and have nothing more to say or ask from either point of view. This is important, because we may not have anything more to say from the one side, but then sit on the other side and ask a question, which may open up a discussion, which might last another half an hour with many more changes in position.

Once we have completed this dialogue, we then take a position in the middle to the side of the two previous sitting positions and imagine that we are our higher self, or that we are an enlightened spiritual guide, and we give advice to each persona separately explaining to each what it needs to do in order to live in greater harmony with the other and to proceed more effectively, and with less conflict, along the path of spiritual growth or self improvement.

Whether we perform this exercise verbally or in written form, I am sure that each will find it very useful in resolving such conflicts which are often serious obstacles to our progress.


This techniques can be done just as we have previously explained. The main difference is that we speak with a part of ourselves which is prone towards feeling a certain emotion such as fear, hurt, anger, guilt, injustice, bitterness, jealousy, depression ect.

We ask that part of our selves which has the bothersome emotion questions or express our needs, and then we change positions and answer the questions or express our needs on behalf of that part of our selves which has these emotions. We might want to ask some of the following questions to that part of ourselves.

1. What exactly do you feel?

2. When do you usually or sometimes feel that way?

3. When did you first to feel that way?

4. What has happened in our past which makes you feel that way?

5. What do you believe which makes you feel that way?

6. If at this moment you stopped feeling that emotion, how would you feel?

7. What exactly do you want: (In order to feel better)

a. From the others, and from whom in particular?

b. From me ( the central personality)?

c. From God?

8. If you do not get what you want from the others, what do you imagine will happen?

9. If you cannot get what you want from the others, would you be willing to receive that which you want from me (your own self) or from God?

10. What can I do you help you?

11. With what name would you like me to call you when I need to communicate with you?

In this way, we will begin to understand much more clearly why that part of our self feels that emotion which is bothering us. We will also gain some distance from and objectivity towards that part of ourselves, strengthening the witness who is free from that emotion. It is however, essential to accept and love that part of ourselves as we educate it.


We mentioned previously that these conflicts often occur between two groups of personas called the “spiritual” and “material”.

The spiritual ego feels the conflict most intensely (if we didn’t desire spiritual growth we would not have a conflict) and usually creates feelings of self rejection, failure and guilt, when we are unable to satisfy its requirements for feeling that it is “spiritual” and “worthy”. Also, when we do not feel that we are worthy, we also do not feel safe. This occurs when are programmed that whoever is not “good” or worthy in God’s eyes is not safe, as he does not “deserve” God’s love and protection. We might also be programmed that we deserve punishment.

These are obviously not the highest reasons to want to improve ourselves. These are rather selfish motives. If we want to change because then we will be safe, or others will accept us, we are simply replacing the material ego with the spiritual ego. Nothing has really changed. In some cases, our need to fulfill these spiritual “requirements” for our self acceptance has more to do with our need to feel that we are more spiritual than the others. Thus we simply replace the need for affirmation and superiority on a material level with the same need on the spiritual level.

It is important to re

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