People addicted to conflict – what does it mean? Who are they?
Sometimes, perhaps often, solving intractable problems is so difficult, we can’t. We don’t want to try. So the easy answer is to blame someone else and create a distraction. That distraction may be conflict. It diverts attention from the real insoluble problem, by focusing instead on arguments and blame.
In some families the conflict is habitual and embedded. Everyday discussions are conducted with aggravation, simply because that is how that family operates and relates to one another. Once, in a family mediation, a couple habitually argued unstoppably – then every so often, they would resolve some point and divert into another vicious exchange from which they would not be diverted by the mediator. Eventually when there was a pause, the mediator asked “What would you do if you stopped arguing?”
The couple looked astonished. “We wouldn’t have anything to talk about . . .”