The resolution of interpersonal and international conflict is often hindered by the hero myth.
A traditional hero in myth is a powerful person who “vanquishes evil… and who liberates his people from destruction and death”1. The psychological power of the hero is illustrated by its frequent use in fiction to achieve commercial success. For example, George Lucas used a hero myth to craft the characters in the film Star Wars. This was so successful that the hero myth became an integral part of Hollywood screenwriting and computer game design.
However, less attention is paid to the significant role that the hero myth can play in interpersonal and international relations. It can shape those relationships, exacerbate conflict, and create new problems of its own.
Your personality type can change the meaning of the words you use. This can potentially lead to confusion, misunderstanding, or conflict.
For example, people who prefer Thinking tend to use the word “sorry” to mean they have made a mistake. Those who prefer Feeling tend to use it to show sympathy or empathy. This can lead to misunderstanding because:
When a Feeler says “I’m sorry”, the Thinker can misconstrue this as being an admission of an error.
When a Thinker fails to say “I’m sorry”, the Feeler can misconstrue this as lacking care or concern.
In some cases, the argument that ensues can end up in the law courts. For example, if a doctor apologises for the bad outcome of an operation, a patient might mistake this for an admission of liability. (Using an apology as evidence of liability has been outlawed by some US states.)
One of the reasons that Carl Gustav Jung developed his theory of Psychological Types was that he had fallen out with Sigmund Freud. He wanted to understand what had caused the conflict between two people who, on the face of it, had very similar interests.
One of the causes of stress at work is a having a difference in preference for Judgment or Perception with your boss. This is because the two types tend to have a different orientation toward deadlines. Whether you meet a deadline is nothing to do with your personality type – the J/P difference is concerned with how you meet the deadline.
Personality type theory can help understand some of the causes of conflict in a relationship. But there is much more to it than simply having different preferences. Conflict can also be caused by type dynamics. This describes how the preferences relate to each other inside the individual, and how they relate to the context.