Reasons why some people seek conflict in their relationships

31 Jan

There are people in the world whom for whatever reason seek conflict in their relationships. Sometimes they compartmentalize this behavior to their family, friends, or in many cases people they only know in the virtual world of the web. In some cases they seek conflict with all of the above and even people they encounter in their day to day to life. While most people in the world would far prefer to take a “get along, go along” attitude, for others that simply seems impossible.

Understanding why some people seem to need conflict can be confusing, often the individual them self does not even understand or even recognize this trend. Theories abound, far too many to fully discuss, and none that can explain the behavior in every person as a blanket answer. In many cases it appears to be a combination of factors. With that said however, there are a few explanations which can rationally be offered up to explain why in many cases people seek conflict in their relationships.

The most common answer that seems to touch many people in this behavioral pattern is at least in part boredom. While it has often been said by many that “idle hands are the devil’s tools”, it has also been said that idle minds are the devil’s playground. Nobody is seriously using these analogies to cite demonic possession, but rather that when a person has little going on in their life to productively occupy them, creating a situation that is filled with drama becomes an alternative to entertain themselves, consciously or not. Although it isn’t a good alternative to busy oneself, it fills a void at the moment.

Another common thread is the need for attention. It can be seen in young children all the way up to people on their death bed, people like to be recognized. Generally speaking it can be safely said that most people desire attention which is positive, however when that is elusive, some people will take negative attention as well. In these cases it often isn’t so much about whether they are being liked or disliked, it is more about being the focal point. Some people create an illness to get attention, some throw tantrums or pout, some create situations in which conflict is the only possible outcome to achieve the attention they desire.

A slightly smaller group of people need conflict to fill a void created by envy. While envy may not necessarily be the best term to use as spite is a contributing factor, some people seek conflict in relationships because of this. They only feel whole or superior when they feel they have somehow taken another person down a peg. As you cannot really achieve this without conflict, it becomes a necessary part of their relationships. A person often unknowingly falls into a cycle in which do not feel adequate in a relationship in which they are not the Alpha. Any threat to their position has to be dealt with, even if the threat is something they alone perceive and may be non-existent.

The saddest reason some people seek conflict in their relationships in the minds of some is because some people simply do not know any other way to function. They may have been raised in an environment in which they were constantly exposed to relationships that were dynamically weak due to unnecessary conflict, it may have had something to do with a relationship that went wrong and left the person jaded. Rather than risk being the person who is hurt or on the receiving end of negativity, they initiate the conflict so that they feel in control and can at least in their mind insulate them self from being hurt.

While these are only a few limited examples, they are fairly common and each person likely knows someone like this. At times we all engage in this behavior in which we feel we need to create conflict in our relationships, again, often without even realizing it. That is a part of life, one that has been aggravated in the anonymity of the modern technological world, but ever present throughout the history of man. As each person is an individual, perhaps the best insight of all is to notice when we find ourselves in a conflicted relationship the how and why as to what led us each to that point.

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