Essay on Frustration: Sources, Reactions and Measures to Face Frustration!
The word frustration has been derived from a Latin word ‘Frusta’ means ‘obstruct’. The term frustration refers to the blocking of behaviour directed towards the goal. The course of motivation does not always run smoothly. Things that happen prevent us from reaching the goals toward which we are driven or pulled.
If motives are frustrated or blocked, emotional feelings and behaviour often result. People who cannot achieve their important goals feel depressed, fearful, anxious, guilty or angry.
Hence, frustration is called as a ‘negative feeling’. Figure 4.2 showing the frustration by environmental and personal obstacles. A barrier (vertical line) stands between an individual and the goal (+) that attracts the individual.
The barrier may be another person or object in the environment or it may be the individual’s own lack of ability or skill.
A. Sources of Frustration:
There are three important sources of frustration:
1. Environmental forces:
Environmental obstacles can frustrate the satisfaction of motives by making it difficult or impossible for a person to attain a goal.
An obstacle may be physical- such as untimely rain, disruption in electric supply, auto strike, famine, earthquake, war, floods, etc., or it may be people such as parents or society who obstruct the fulfillment of wants. For example, Inter-caste marriage, change of religion, etc. Even the social norms, codes of conduct may cause frustration.
2. Personal inadequacies:
Unattainable goals or too high goals which are beyond the ability level of a person can be important sources of frustration.
These are learned goals. For instance, a student with average level of intelligence aspires to score 90% of marks in the examination will definitely face frustration. A physically handicapped person cannot aspire to compete against a normal person in running race.
Thus, people are often frustrated because they aspire for goals which are not attainable by them, or the goals are beyond their abilities.
3. Conflict produced frustration:
A major source of frustration is found in motivational conflict, in which the expression of one motive interferes with the expression of other motives. Some common conflicts are between independence and affiliation need, or career aspiration and economic realities.
For example, a person is motivated to be independent but at the same time he cannot neglect his affiliation motive. A student may have high aspiration to pursue higher education, but too much expenditure comes in between.
In this way we come across many frustrations due to conflict- as is said ‘life is full of conflicts and the frustrations arising from them’.
B. Reactions to Frustrations:
Frustrations are unavoidable. Hence, as far as possible we should learn to grow facing these frustrations. Particularly in children, facing frustrations make them stronger and help them to develop self-confidence.
As Symonds has rightly said, ‘a child will explore and gain knowledge of the external world only at the behest of frustration’. The effects of frustrations will not be severe if there is high level of frustration tolerance.
At the same time long, continued frustrations are not desirable. They may lead to serious psychological problems.
Generally our reactions to frustrations will be as follows:
1. Attack or direct approach:
In this approach the individual will try to overcome obstacles to reach the goal. If necessary he may develop new and necessary skills, put more effort or change the mode of attack or approach. In case of failure he may change the goal to one that is available.
2. Reduce the level of goal:
When a person fails to attain his goal even after repeated attempts, he may realize his inabilities and limitations and try to reduce his level of goal to avoid further disappointment. For example, a sportsman may reduce his level of goal after realizing that he cannot attain higher level goal. A student, who fails to achieve high percentage of marks, may reduce his goal to an attainable level and avoid frustration.
Many people may react to the situation in an aggressive way. Aggressive reaction is very common when some external obstacles like other people or object is the cause of frustration. He may attempt to cause damage to these sources.
When all the measures said above become ineffective, the individual develops feelings of helplessness, inadequacy and inferiority. These negative feelings make him to withdraw from the situation in order to avoid further damage.
In some cases the individual does not want to accept the humiliation due to failure, at the same time he is unable to face the situation also. So finally he will resort to compromise to save his self-respect.
C. Measures to Face Frustration:
However, we can save ourselves from the severe damaging effect to our personality and avoid painful experiences by adapting the following measures:
a. Review the situation:
At times our perception of the situation may be wrong. Hence, review the situation again and try to understand the gravity of the situation. This will help you to adapt appropriate measures / steps. For example, financial level and career aspiration, inter group conflicts, etc.
b. Change our goals:
People tend to set the goals according to their level of aspirations. But these goals may be very high when compared to their abilities-leading to frustration. Hence, we have to set the goals according to our ability level.
However, in case of frustration, the intelligent behaviour is to reduce the level of goal, change them or modify our desires. For example, a sportsman aspiring to jump 6′, when found that he is not capable, may reduce the goal to jump only 5′.
c. Opt for substitute goals:
In some instances the original goals will be highly impossible to attain. But we cannot forgo completely and keep quite. But we can opt for substitute goals. For example, a student is not good in studies may shift his option to sports or cultural activities to gain recognition in the college.
Most of the times substitute goals also give the same amount of satisfaction as the original goals give.