What is frustration?
You want to obtain something, to reach a place or an object, to fulfill your goal but something blocks the way. There is an obstacle that’s keeping you from getting there. Welcome to dealing with frustration.
Primary frustration: tension, subjective dissatisfaction (thirst caused by a long period of time that has passed since the last drink)
Secondary frustration: adding obstacles (man is thirsty, but he is on his way home on the road, changing a flat tire, and away from any source of water)
Think about these obstacles as barriers in the way of one’s behavior towards a certain goal.
Passive obstacles: blocks the way of satisfying a need (man tries to wash his hands and he turns the faucet, but the water doesn’t run).
Active obstacles: can be dangerous (person doesn’t let another person, which is thirsty, to reach a water source).
The quality of an outter obstacle (stress) depends on an inner process, individualized so that one stressful fact for an individual can be the opposite for another one.
The thing is… this kind of stress (the barrier that keeps your goal unreachable) can also be subjective. We choose what an obstacle looks like… When in fact, there is no outter stress! Not until we create one.
Check out this experiment done by K.Lewin in 1967:
Two groups of children.
First group has been allowed to enter in a room where they would find nice and interesting toys to play with. They were happy.
Second group didn’t received the same treatment.
Next (after a few minutes)..
Both groups of children were sent to enter in a room where they would find incomplete toys (telephone with missing handset, table with no chairs, etc).
First group’s reaction: tension and agitation, children were trying to replace the kind of toys they’d found in this room with other things/parts so that the toys would become complete like the ones they played with in the first room. This kind of reaction is an immediate consequence of frustration.
Second group’s reaction: acted normal, like little children wanting to have fun with some toys. Basically these kids were happy.
Think about it…
When adults feel frustrated they can manifest themselves through various actions such as: smoking, chewing gum and even drinking alcohol (suggesting a tendency of dealing with frustration).
But aggressiveness is the most important and often encountered reaction of frustration.
When I become aggressive, up to a certain degree, actually, I let my feelings escape my inner self, to spread them around me. Because I cannot seem to manage to reach my goal, I become aggressive.
But in the end I suggest we control our selves and try to learn to become tolerant when it comes to frustration.