Low Frustration Tolerance

Stephen is likely to rage at other drivers on his way home from work. He screams at the paperboy when the newspaper is tossed onto his lawn rather than his front porch. He furiously smashed his guitar because he just couldn’t quite get that chord on a new song he was learning. Stephen is easily unhinged about any number of inconveniences, nuisances, or irritants.

Stephen is a mid-level manager in a large organization. Staff subordinate to Stephen suffer his outbursts, peers keep distant, and his supervisor is concerned that Stephen is more burden than asset to his team.

Maybe Stephen drinks a bit too much a bit too often in order to quiet his rage. Maybe he threatens his wife or family. He may feel desperate to solve his problem with others by lashing out at them. It doesn't work and he doesn't stop.

He keeps trying to do the same things that don't work and his life is going down the tubes. Maybe he will give up on the world, on others, and on himself. He may begin thinking about suicide.

The normal aggravations in life that most of us put up with gracefully, Stephen doesn’t. Actually he may even believe that by displaying outbursts, he will make offenders get the message and change their ways. It doesn’t work and he doesn’t stop. He doesn’t realize it, but his thinking is not working very well for him. Stephen suffers Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT).

Is it likely that Stephen will get others to conform to his expectations—all the time? Will the world work to suit Stephen—consistently? Will Stephen always perform precisely as he would like? So Stephen has a choice he isn’t aware of. He can continue to rail against others, the world, and himself or he can accept reality even though he won’t always like it.

There is no law of the universe, as Albert Ellis (Albert Ellis, Ph. D. and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) has humorously pointed out, that Stephen is going to get his way just because he demands it. Does he need to get his way to be content? Maybe he would do better to change his thinking, especially those crazy irrational demands he is hardly aware he has.

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