It does seem to be the case that certain personality types do not mix well with other personality types. It would be a dull world if everyone had the exact same personality, and clashes are the price humans pay for variety. When two very different people are forced to spend time together it can lead to arguments. Such conflicts are a part of life so it is important that people who are recovering from an addiction learn how to deal with them. Rehab is one of the first places where newly sober people are likely to encounter such clashes. Such conflicts are not always a bad thing, as they can provide the individual with the chance to grow and develop new skills.
Before being able to define a personality clash, it is necessary to first examine what is meant by the word personality. It refers to the set of characteristics possessed by a person that uniquely influences his or her cognitions, motivations, and behaviors in various situations. A personality clash then refers to a situation where people have very different characteristics and are unable to have a good relationship with one another. An example of this would be one person who has a strong work ethic who has to spend time with another individual who doesn’t like to take work too seriously – their very different personalities means that there is a high potential for conflict between them.
People can be very different, but this does not mean that they will always come in conflict with one another. These are some situations in which problems are more likely to occur:
* If people are forced into a position where they have to spend a great deal of time together it provides the perfect conditions for clashes in personality.
* When one person is dependent on another individual to get a job done there can be conflict if their personalities differ. This often happens when people need to work as part of a team.
* If one individual is in a position of authority, their personality can bring them into conflict with other people.
These are common reasons that personality clashes occur in rehab:
* When people enter rehab they will generally not get much choice about the other people they will be spending their time with. This means that they may be sharing a space with other types of individuals who they would not normally spend time with.
* Early sobriety can be stressful. The individual may be more easily irritated by the behavior of other people than they normally would be.
* When people give up alcohol or drugs it means that they stop numbing their emotions. There can be a rebound effect as their emotions become alive again, and this can mean that people are more prone to angry outbursts.
* During group sessions the individual needs to be a great deal more open about who they are. This means that their personality will spend more time on display.
* Addicts tend to have personality traits that bring them into conflict with other people.
It is suggested that there are certain personality traits that addicts tend to share, such as:
* Low self-esteem
* Antisocial tendencies
* The perception that they have a great deal of stress in their life
* High tolerance for deviant behavior
* The tendency to do things impulsively
* Alienation from others
* A high value given to non-conformity
* An inability to delay gratification
* Desire to be the center of attention
* They feel insecure in their relationships
* Grandiose behavior
These personality characteristics of many addicts mean that they are highly likely to come into conflict with other people, including other addicts. It can take some time in sobriety before the individual is able to get beyond these negative personality characteristics.
Personality clashes in rehab can lead to problems because:
* The individual may use their frustrations as an excuse to relapse back to their addiction.
* People can become so angry during these clashes that they are unable to think rationally.
* Hurtful things can be said during these conflicts
* The individual can become so obsessed with squabbles with other people that they forget why they have come to rehab in the first place.
* If there is conflict within a group it can mean that they refuse to cooperate together. Lack of cooperation can mean that the individual is unable to get the most from the resources available in recovery.
It may seem strange to claim that personality clashes in rehab can be beneficial but that really can be the case because:
* They can force the individual to examine their own thoughts, beliefs and behavior. People can learn a great deal about themselves this way.
* It encourages the individual to develop new coping skills for dealing with difficult people. These skills will benefit them greatly in recovery.
* It can encourage the individual to think more about how their own behavior impacts other people.
There are things that people can do that will make it easier to deal with personality clashes in rehab:
* It is helpful to not always view such conflicts as a negative thing. The individual can actually learn a great deal about themselves by such incidents.
* Anger only ever gets in the way of conflict resolution, and it is a poisonous emotion for people who are recovering from an addiction. If people feel overwhelmed by anger, they need to step away from the situation.
* Learning to be more assertive it can make it easier to deal with such conflicts. Assertiveness is something that people can develop while they are staying in rehab.
* Learning to empathize with other people can be great way to reduce personality clashes. This means that the individual can better understand where other people are coming from even if they don’t agree with them or their behavior.
* Humility is a wonderful tool to develop in recovery. It helps the individual give other people the benefit of the doubt so that they don’t feel as threatened by those who think differently than them.
* The individual needs to be careful not to overreact, because this only weakens their argument. This is particularly important when confronting another individual about their behavior.
* Sometimes the best way to deal with a personality conflict is to just avoid the other person as much as possible.
* If a conflict is leading to problems in rehab, it may be advisable to get the therapists involved. They will be able to mediate the personality clash.