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Understanding Frustration: Know What Might Be Troubling You Psychologically

Understanding Frustration: Know What Might Be Troubling You Psychologically
As per psychologists, pent-up anger usually occurs as irritability, internal restlessness, and frustration

The causes of frustration could be personal, environmental-related or conflict-based where two motives might come in a clash

Written by Kashish Sharma |Published : November 22, 2022 3:50 PM IST

Frustration is a major cause of anxiety and depression. It's a common psychological phenomenon that we experience daily. We are not at all unfamiliar with a common dialogue and might hear ourselves and people around us saying, "I am frustrated". However, we hardly bother to understand the causes that might be causing us to feel that way. Frustration can impact us both psychologically and physically.

As per psychologists, pent-up anger usually occurs as irritability, internal restlessness, and frustration. A common conscious explanation for feeling that way could be feeling unheard or unappreciated, having our needs unmet for a while, and lack of acceptance in some situations. If this anger is not expressed then a person might turn it inwards and this might result in self-hatred and can result in depression.

What is frustration?

We are motivated beings. Food, thirst, and sex are the basic biological motives that keep us going in life at a primary level. We are also social beings and there are some social motives too that help us to thrive in a community. Motivation can be understood as an instinctive drive to achieve a goal, it can be biological or social. Sometimes these goals get blocked by obstacles or sometimes we are caught between more than one kind of motive. In this situation, a person might experience frustration. This might further lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, anger and guilt.

Frustration can have types

The causes of frustration could be personal, environmental-related or conflict-based. For instance, a locked door could act as a physical cause of frustration that might prevent you from getting inside a room. Sometimes the goals kept are learned in nature and might be beyond a person's capability. For instance, wanting to join a football club when one doesn't know how to play the game and neither takes training for it. The most common and affecting cause of frustration is one that arises from the clashing of two or more equally important motives.

Multiple needs, one choice

Frustration can cause anxiety, especially in cases where one has a conflict between two or more motives. Sometimes there could be two equally attractive goals like having a party and a game to attend on the same day. This kind of conflict is generally resolved with ease. On the contrary, there could be two situations that might be repulsive. Psychologists call it the avoidance-avoidance conflict. For instance, a tough presentation at hand and hearing an earful from a head. Here the common response would be to either run away from both situations or choose one that is less dreadful. Sometimes conflicting feelings can arise from the same goal. For instance, a job that pays well but has a bad working atmosphere. In these cases, if the repellent factors overcome the positive ones, a person might stop before reaching the goal and this too might end in frustration nonetheless.

Affected people might get defensive

When one's needs are blocked continuously, frustration can lead to pent-up anger. While some would turn this anger towards themselves, other times they would direct it towards others. Here are a few symptoms:

  1. Having poor sleep
  2. Feeling on edge always
  3. Getting irritated easily
  4. Often engage in criticizing and hurting others.