Intolerance To Frustration: When Disappointment Is Permanent

Last updated by Katie M.

Sometimes my emotions are topsy-turvy, and I can’t handle being frustrated. But this is nothing like who I used to be when I was completely intolerant of frustration. The result? I was in a constant state of disappointment, along with sadness and anger that I couldn’t deal with. This could have plunged me into very negative states and even prevented me from blossoming… So how can you overcome it? Let’s explain.


What does intolerance to frustration mean?

When you’re intolerant, it means you can’t stand something. I wish I’d have discovered a lactose intolerance rather than an intolerance to frustration (even though it can’t be easy to eliminate lactose from your life completely #teamcheese 🧀). Frustration is a negative emotion that can lead to stress or anger, even depression if it’s still a bad experience. So in the case of intolerance, no need to imagine how hard it is to be happy.

An over-protected childhood?

The older you get, the more you learn to deal with frustration. Nevertheless, I don’t think I was confronted with frustration enough, as my parents always did everything to satisfy me as a child. This is very commendable, but it did me no favors as I didn’t learn to master this unpleasant feeling, which generated a whole range of other, not very positive emotions. For a long time, I only fed on the latter, which led me to avoid all situations where I could feel frustration and disappointment, which meant I never left my comfort zone 😫.


👉 You don’t have to frustrate your children at every turn, but teaching them to deal with this feeling is crucial. It’s even part of the principles of positive learning.

>>> Discover; How to better manage your emotions

Permanent disappointment, an obstacle to fulfillment

The problem with being intolerant to frustration is that we build ourselves up to avoid it and never face emotional discomfort. I’d even say that it makes us more fragile and susceptible to suffering. For example, what do we do when this kind of feeling comes up during crucial moments in life, such as when the sex of our future baby is announced?

👉 Personally, I even developed a character trait that I discovered while trying to understand my intolerance to frustration: impatience. Everything has to come quickly, just as I want it, which is of course impossible.

The inability to feel happy

All of this leads to just one thing: never being truly happy 😣. When we don’t get what we want, we remain eternally disappointed and can’t get past this. We come to have inordinate demands of ourselves and sometimes even of others, which hardly makes social relationships easy.

It was a turning point for me when I understood that my intolerance was leading me towards angst that was taking up too much space. Being constantly negative and not feeling the happiness of small achievements was too much to bear. I therefore decided to take matters into my own hands by trying to take a step back and get out of this permanent state of disappointment 😫.

You may be interested in this article >>> Why can I never see the positive?

How to overcome this intolerance?

The psychologist Michelle Larivey explained that the state of disappointment showed us two things:

  • Our dissatisfaction (which therefore reflects frustration),
  • The gap between our expectations and what actually happened.

So to overcome our intolerance and escape our disappointment, we need to act on these points.

1. Accepting our emotions of discomfort

We generally don’t take the time to analyze our feelings of discomfort. Of course, as they’re unpleasant to experience, we don’t want to dwell on them. But they can be precious indicators that enable us to adapt. 👉 Take fear, for example 😱. It’s difficult to live with, but it indicates a potential danger, which is a matter of our survival. It allows us to be alert, so we’re safe.

When we’re frustrated, we need to learn to identify what makes us angry or sad. What event put us in this state? Why did it make us feel that way?... We need to ask ourselves the right questions to confront with our emotions.

2. Lowering our expectations

Lowering your expectations is often seen as pejorative 👎. It’s true, we hear motivational speeches everywhere that tell us to raise the bar. Except this is toxic positivity, and it’s vital that we listen to our own rhythm.

Why? If you’re disappointment, it’s because you’ve made a mistake in assessing your objective. It’s not a question of under-evaluating yourself, but rather of taking it step by step. By setting a slow progress, it’s easier to evolve and see that it becomes a real driving force 🤗!

3. Finding another way of thinking

I’ve never had trouble tolerating other people’s mistakes, and have grown to be very open-minded of others. However, when it came to myself, I found it much more difficult. So I learned to detach myself and apply this same thought process to myself. I’m not saying that it always works well, but being kind to myself and accepting what was wrong did me a lot of good. Of course, getting over frustration, even disappointment, undeniably takes time.

It's not impossible, as long as we accept that not everything can go our way and that anger is healthy. The more we learn to digest it and bounce back, the easier it will be to get over it 👏!

>>> Discover the 6 primary emotions

Editor’s note: tolerance to frustration can be learned at any age!

The psychologist Didier Pleux warns about the threshold of tolerance to frustration, which continues to decrease in our societies, of individual fulfillment and pleasure. The quest for immediate satisfaction and pleasure, encouraged by digital technology, is leading to new pathologies. Still, according to Didier Pleux, these intolerant people are becoming more and more common and easily recognizable: adults who act like children and can’t stand the hardships of life. They want everything to be fun and reject traffic jams, queuing, etc. The same goes for relationships, as soon as frustration sets in, they prefer to leave rather than save their relationship. Fortunately, tolerance to frustration can be learned at any age through simple exercises and the implementation of new habits. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a coach.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!

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Article presented by Katie M.

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