The tension began with Rumours. Both Nicks and Buckingham and John and Christine McVie split up during the sessions.
"(We just lived) in denial, with feelings (we) had all compartmentalized and walled up," he said. "None of us ever got closure and none of us ever had any time not to see each other.
"It was very difficult. And I think the residue from that was that there were a lot of questions, a lot of defences hanging out there long after the situation had disappeared."
At one point, in 1987, Buckingham left the group after what has been reported as an ugly confrontation.
"Everybody's level of craziness was at the max at that point," he said, adding that Nicks was rarely present at the sessions.
"It was very, very difficult - not only in terms of availability, but in terms of people's clarity, the way that they were conducting themselves," he said. "And what happens is, if things are crazy in a studio, it's usually times five on the road.
"I hit the wall. It was a survival move, pure and simple. I never regretted it for a minute."