Frustrations and Conflicts

>> Saturday, April 14, 2012

Frustrations and Conflicts

A frustration occurs when a goal achievement is blocked; a conflict is created when incompatible response tendencies are aroused. When a conflict comes from competing habits under one and the same drive, it is called habit conflict or habit competition. When it stems from competing motivation it is called motivational conflict.

Frustration and conflict are related because each can be the consequences of the other. For instance, a student fails in a subject that is required in his/her course, should he/she take it again or give up the course? What at first is a frustration develops into a conflict. The reverse occurs when a student entertains the conflicting alternative of whether to study for an examination or go to the movies. If the student opts to watch a movie, the desire to do well in the examination will be frustrated. A conflict of this kind can produce frustration because the student cannot satisfy both motivations simultaneously.

When an individual is exposed to a frustrating situation, he develops the concept of general adaptation syndrome, which refers to the physiological process that enables an individual to adapt to stressful situation. He assumes that the body reacts to stress in three successive stages: alarm reaction, the stage of resistance and finally, stage of exhaustion.

Frustration has a real value despite of its unpleasant nature. It greatly strengthens an individual’s motivation to overcome obstacles. Under stress, an individual intensifies the effort to satisfy the thwarted need directly or indirectly. Sometimes, the best course of actions is to leave the frustrating situation and find another action where satisfactory adjustment becomes possible.

Sources of Frustrations

There are several obstacles to goal achievement, ranging from simple physical ones to complex personal inadequacies. Sources of frustration can come from (1) the physical environment (2) the social environment and (3) the organism itself. The physical environment presents such obstacles as flood, typhoon, or rugged mountains. For example, a drought or typhoon can frustrate farmers because this will adversely affect their harvest. The social environment presents such obstacles as restrictions imposed by other people and the laws of the community. Children are thwarted by parental paralysis that may limit their activities. Lastly, we individuals possess limitations and these weaknesses hinder our satisfaction of some wishes like for example, no matter how much one may love to play basketball in the PBA, his height can be a deterring factor when he does not meet the minimal requirement.

Types of Conflicts

Contrary situation which involve the choice of alternatives can serve as sources of origins of conflict. There are four types of conflicts:

1. conflicting attraction or approach-approach
2. attraction repulsion or approach-avoidance
3. conflicting avoidance or avoidance-avoidance
4. multiple conflicts

Conflicting attraction or approach-approach conflict occurs when there are two desirable but mutually exclusive goals that one cannot have both. Shall I take AB or BSE? Shall I date the charming Michelle or the sexy Maria? Conflicts of this type are usually resolved by choosing one goal over the other, either excluding one entirely or deciding which to do first. The response to this conflict is either alternation or freezing or blocking.

Attraction-repulsion or approach-avoidance conflict – there is an attraction to an object or state of affairs and at the same time repulsion towards something associated with it. The situation contains two elements, one of which is very desirable while the other is undesirable and disadvantageous. For example, a girl likes to eat ice cream but she does not want to get stout; a student enjoys school but looks forward to vacation; a woman wants to marry but will lose her inheritance if she does. The closer the individual is to the goal, the repulsion towards the negative aspects associated with it gets stronger. Attraction-repulsion conflicts usually produce indecisive and vacillating behavior.

Conflicting avoidance or avoidance-avoidance conflict – when there are two unpleasant alternatives and one cannot be avoided without encountering the other. For example, a student does not want to make the requirements in school, but neither does the student want to fail the course; Lilia must wash the dirty dishes or face parental ire; Carlos must perform a job he hates doing or go hungry.

Multiple conflicts –when there are two or more courses of action each has both pleasant and unpleasant consequences stemming from the role we play in life. Multiple conflicts take a longer time to resolve. Generally, these conflicts are common because of the many expectations we bear. For example, a beauty contest winner is given the opportunity to start a movie career or to travel abroad but is strongly attached to her boyfriend and family. The goals she has are exclusive such that she wants both, but she cannot have both at the same time.



Tags: conflicts, frustrations, psychology, 


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