Conflict and Anger

Interpersonal conflict is natural and normal. It occurs when people have different needs or values. When we face disappointment, frustration or conflict, we react according to our personal conflict belief system. The consequences of that reaction will either reinforce or change our belief system.

Our Belief System

A personal conflict belief system is formed from messages we receive throughout our lives from parents, family of origin, religion, culture, friends, teachers, the media and individual experiences. The beliefs affect how we respond to tension, conflict or anger.

Reaction to Conflict

Our reaction to a particular conflict is based on our beliefs about conflict itself. If we believe that conflict is basically negative, we usually react in a negative fashion, for example, by complaining, fighting or person directed aggression. If we believe that conflict is neutral and happens every day, we will react calmly and logically. Most important we react to a conflict has consequences for everyone involved.

Some Consequences of Our Reaction

The consequences of our reaction will also be negative or positive. If our reaction is to respond aggressively or passively, the consequence may be hurt feelings and the problem may get worse. If, instead, we agree to talk about the problem, calmly and assertively, there will likely be positive consequences such a good feeling about ourselves and about the other person. A positive/emotionally intelligent reaction may even help us solve t he problem causing the conflict.

Enhancement skills in managing anger, stress, communication and increasing emotional intelligence can be acquired by attending executive coaching or anger management classes.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management

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