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Low Frustration Tolerance

Old 08-14-2006, 01:30 PM
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Low Frustration Tolerance

A few days traveling, waiting in airports, dealing with lost luggage and unfamiliar highways, looking in vain for internet connections in hotel rooms, trying to find decent coffee in rural Georgia.... and it was pretty easy to find situations involving this common condition….

Low frustration tolerance

LFT often underlies substance abuse and compulsive behaviors, since it causes stress, anxiety, and anger. Dealing with the incremental effects of minor irritations is the key to daily serenity. It's surprising how important managing this can be to avoiding the 'need' to alter our minds. The reward psychology of substance use is common in the advertisements for beer and wine.

Low frustration tolerance is often characterized by...

* Insistence on pursuing immediate pleasures, in spite of known costs.

* Whining, awfulizing, and engaging in self-pity.

* Ascribing absolute conditions to situations and predicting dire outcomes.

* Avoiding discomforts that are known to be temporary.

* Exaggerating discomforts even though they are temporary.

* Impatience that is out of proportion to the situation.

* Impulsive behavior to 'correct' a situation which might simply have corrected itself with time.

* Procrastination due to an inability to choose between outcomes.

Low frustration tolerance beliefs usually include…

'I can't stand it. I can't bear it. It's intolerable. This is unfair. She always does this. He never does that. I shouldn't have to do this. He shouldn't do this to me. Everybody thinks this about me.'

They are often predictive: 'Everyone will think this. Nobody will be there. We'll have to do everything. I won't be able to stand this (because I couldn't stand it before).'

Of course, they often lead to self-fulfilling conditions as we exaggerate the outcome: 'Today was awful. Everyone was unhelpful. Things were unfair.' And the solution? 'I need a tall, cold one.'

The general attitude is that I, or things, or events will fall apart. Life will never be happy or comfortable again.

Disputing these beliefs?

They are irrational, either because they are incorrect, unprovable, or grossly exaggerated.

The beliefs may be provably false, though persuading ourselves or others of this can be surprisingly difficult!

More to the point, dwelling on whether or not the beliefs are true can be unconstructive--focusing on the condition and how 'bad' things are interferes with taking action or developing acceptance.

An accurate description which separates the situation from our emotional condition can be useful.

Example: The line may in fact be slow, and the clerk may be tedious. But the line and the clerk aren't irritating; we are irritated -- this is an important distinction!
Recognizing that we are responsible for our own emotions is a crucial step towards taking control of them.

Developing high frustration tolerance:

* Work towards beliefs that are flexible, not absolute, and not exaggerated.

* Avoid absolute words and assertions.

* Recognize that there may be things that you very strongly prefer -- to the point that you might describe your preference as a need. But the fact that you have a strong preference simply makes it more difficult -- not impossible -- to tolerate a situation in which that preference is not met.

* Create a plan for effective action when the situation can be changed, or

* Learn to recognize when a situation cannot be changed at this time, and adjust to that fact.

Simple techniques:

Practice on small irritants first. 'See the spark before the flame' by noticing when you are beginning to be irked by some behavior, some delay, or some repeating condition in your daily activities.

Develop a sense of humor about the things that frustrate you. Irreverence can be a useful coping strategy.

Get an outside perspective. Others can often help you understand how you are exaggerating how dire the situation is, or can give you another viewpoint -- constructive suggestions for action to change the situation.

Pursue optimism! Seek optimistic people, and avoid the toxic negativity of angry and passive-aggressive people.

If certain people are a daily problem, develop a conscious strategy for minimizing their effect on your mood.


Remember the famous expression, ascribed to Abraham Lincoln:
"This too shall pass."
Though he was describing the Civil War, it applies as well to the line at the airport....or a kidney stone, for that matter.

Don S
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:35 PM
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The simplest place to start dealing with LFT is when you are driving. Remember this mnemonic:
FIDO.
Forget
It
Drive
On

Take responsibility only for your own driving. While it is important to be a defensive driver, you don't need to be a reactive driver. This means that you don't need to
--flip off other drivers
--yell at them
--honk at them
--slow down if they are tailgating you
--speed up and cut them off
...or in any other way interact with them except to drive safely near them. If you are doing those things, you are paying attention to their driving, not yours. We all have preferences about how others 'should' drive--slower, faster, not in front of us, not so closely behind us. But it isn't necessary to express those preferences.

In other words, let it go, shine it on, be mellow, don't worry about how they are driving. Forget It. Drive On.

(from a training course for safe driving for senior citizens)
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Don S
* Create a plan for effective action when the situation can be changed, or

* Learn to recognize when a situation cannot be changed at this time, and adjust to that fact.
Hmmm... where have I heard this before?
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:57 PM
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Probably that thing written by Reinhold Niebuhr, would be my guess.

"God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other."

Unfortunately, his version has a big ol' should in it, so it's been adapted....
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:01 PM
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LMAO... I had to look that up!
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Old 08-14-2006, 10:41 PM
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Good Stuff Don S.
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Old 08-15-2006, 11:32 AM
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Great post Don. Its so the story of my life, and the one thing I really have to work on daily.


'I can't stand it. I can't bear it. It's intolerable. This is unfair. She always does this. He never does that. I shouldn't have to do this. He shouldn't do this to me. Everybody thinks this about me.'
Sounds like my daily thoughts
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Old 08-24-2006, 07:56 PM
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This is me. I always love to find people who are thinking the same thing... and suggestions on how to change the thinking. I will make affirmations with the info in this post. Thank you SO much!
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Old 08-25-2006, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Don S
A

* Recognize that there may be things that you very strongly prefer -- to the point that you might describe your preference as a need. But the fact that you have a strong preference simply makes it more difficult -- not impossible -- to tolerate a situation in which that preference is not met.
Thanks Don, this post will help me change my behavior.
I put myself in the absolute statement position far too often
and make situations much more stressful for myself and for others.
I need to FIDO!
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Old 08-25-2006, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by wandering star
This is me. I always love to find people who are thinking the same thing... and suggestions on how to change the thinking. I will make affirmations with the info in this post. Thank you SO much!
FIDO helps me. There are also some worksheets over at SMART Recovery that deal with this issue. That is where I found help but its a daily uphill battle. Trust me
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Old 08-27-2006, 10:06 PM
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thanks Don. you always post useful stuff.
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Old 08-28-2006, 04:52 AM
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Hiyas Don

We worked on this a bit in the SMART meeting last night......For the first 45 minutes, I felt so overwhelmed and didnt "get it" then as we worked through things, it clicked!!!! I realized how much "work" I still have to do on ME. I bookmarked all the links given and will be exploring this a ton more!!!! Thanks for posting, it gives me a "quick reference"

Have a wonderful day!!!!!
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Old 08-29-2006, 04:01 AM
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I'm about to grind my teeth down to nubs!

:uzi2:
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Old 08-29-2006, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Autumn
I'm about to grind my teeth down to nubs!

:uzi2:
Oh no!! Keep them sharp, functional and ready to go - you need them to break up big bits of food!!
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Old 08-29-2006, 05:17 AM
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Don S, thanks for the great info. Years ago, I had my then young son in therapy following a family tragedy. He reported that my son had a "low tolerance for frustration." Well duh, who doesn't?

It makes me sad and a little guilty to look back at all the clues and hints I was given along the journey. Things that might have made a difference, that I chose to ignore. I can't change the past. But I can take this info and see what I can do with today!!
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Old 08-29-2006, 05:21 AM
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I have a big problem Eq.

In "real" life, I say what's on my mind. Some people, IMO, deserve to be verbally bashed and broken down into small pieces. Because to be honest, I just don't give a damn about some people.

I can't stand cowards. I can't stand sneaks, I can't stand liars, I can't stand thieves, I can't stand fakes, and I've about had it with a$$holes and *BSers*.

With that, I need to take another time out and decide whether I can change and lower my frustration tolerance. Because most of the time I just stay angry here. I'm sick of catty people.
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Old 08-29-2006, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Autumn
I have a big problem Eq.

In "real" life, I say what's on my mind. Some people, IMO, deserve to be verbally bashed and broken down into small pieces. Because to be honest, I just don't give a damn about some people.

I can't stand cowards. I can't stand sneaks, I can't stand liars, I can't stand thieves, I can't stand fakes, and I've about had it with a$$holes and *BSers*.

With that, I need to take another time out and decide whether I can change and lower my frustration tolerance. Because most of the time I just stay angry here. I'm sick of catty people.
I don't know if this will work for you but it helps me and makes more sense to me. I try to think in terms of behaviour that I 'hate' I hate sneaking, I hate theft etc. I like it better that way because whatever I think outwards eventually I think inwards. Should I hate myself because I have lied (I hardly stopped lying when I was a kid!!)? Should I hate myself for having stolen? (did that too!!). I don't want those behaviours but I still want to see myself as whole and worth something.

If I meet somebody obviously lying and intent on making trouble I look at my own reasons for things I have done wrong. Sometimes I've been angry at something I THOUGHT was happening which actually never was, sometimes I've THOUGHT that something will be truly dangerous when it wasn't. Sometimes I've just been in a place where I didn't have good ways to cope and was using lousey ones!! Either way it was about the behaviour not me as a whole.

At work I can feel intense emotion while I weigh up the cost of another persons actions, but that person (no matter how harmful some of their behaviour) remains whole, once they were a child, one day they will be old and through it all they will do good and worthwhile things as well as bad things.

When I want to cause harm to them the risk of me behaving in the ways I hate goes up. When all I want to disrupt is their behaviour rather than them I behave better.

It helps me to think about it like that.
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Old 08-29-2006, 05:41 AM
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Thanks Eq. It trips me out to see people who have supposedly worked a "program", who are no role-model for recovery. I guess there must be something to do with mental illness.
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Old 08-29-2006, 05:44 AM
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It trips me out to see people who have supposedly worked a "program", who are no role-model for recovery. I guess there must be something to do with mental illness.
Or fear, fear is a big factor. Fear of people's views, fear of knowledge, fear of conflict, fear of challenge. Fear makes us do weird things!!
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Old 08-29-2006, 07:37 PM
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The other day I was trying to park at a bust resturaunt when some guy pulled into the space i was waiting for. It was just me and my 7 year old daughter. The whole rest of the day I was in a bad mood.

I kept remembering your post and trying just to shake off the mood but nothing was helping (not even shopping which for me fixes almost everything).

This is why I drank. It worked. What else is supossed to work for this kind of thing?
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