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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

High Frustration Tolerance

Updated: Mar 6

 

Given responses I’ve heard from people in my personal and professional life about dating, I’m glad that my days of courtship are over. It’s difficult for me to fully comprehend how drastically the pursuit of romantic relationships has changed in the span of a generation.

 

Apparently, people currently seeking intimate pair-bonding partnerships face a range of challenges with which I’m unfamiliar. A member of the Generation X cohort, I recall being able to obtain a telephone number when at a store, walking through a park, or at a stoplight in traffic.

 

As I’ve been reliably informed, matters are more complex than this in the modern age of dating. Regarding this matter, I think of a story I once heard about psychologist Albert Ellis’ unique dating strategy and how his method may be viewed according to current social standards.

 

Although I’ve heard differing versions of the tale, most renditions support the notion that Ellis experienced what in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is referred to as the irrational belief associated with low frustration tolerance (LFT). If this belief had its own language, it would be something along the lines of, “I can’t stand [tolerate] it!”

 

Ellis, who developed the psychotherapeutic modality framework for REBT, apparently experienced social anxiety regarding romantic relationships. Rather than succumbing to his beliefs about intimacy or rejection, the Albert Ellis Institute (AEI) states of Ellis’ response:

 

During the month of August before his senior year of college, Dr. Ellis set out to overcome his social anxiety. The task — visits to the Botanical Gardens where he would set out to approach females! Young, old, tall, short, all of them! No matter how anxious he was feeling, he would make himself talk to females in the garden […]

 

Dr. Ellis approached 130 women that summer! About 30 of them walked away at contact! He spoke in varied lengths to the remaining 100 about a number of diverse topics. Of the ones he spoke to, only one agreed to go out with him and she never showed up to their date! However, Dr. Ellis was freed from his crippling social anxiety. He experienced his feared consequence firsthand, which enabled him to realize that it wasn’t really awful. In fact, this experiment resulted in some very enjoyable conversations!

 

Interestingly, when I attended training with AEI instructors, personnel from the Institute were reluctant to advocate lessons learned from Ellis’ tale of challenge to LFT. This is understandable, given the plague of feminism and its ill-fated effects on human civilization.

 

After all, who wants to endorse “toxic masculinity” within the field of mental, emotional, and behavioral health care? The act of males (boys and men) asking females (girls and women) on dates may be perceived as an exertion of power and dominance, which isn’t behavior I suspect many people within the field wish to advocate.

 

One glaring flaw in this form of logic and reason is that it’s utter horseshit. Providing a more eloquent way of stating this, one source suggests, “Toxic masculinity’ is a convenient academic avenue for condemning males who search for strength, healing, and love by conflating things bad men do with an ontology that is necessary for human survival and thriving.”

 

The effects of teaching males that asking out females is a form of sexual harassment or sexual assault, when played through to its logical conclusion, would prove devastating for society. Here’s how the logic breaks down with use of a hypothetical syllogism:

 

Major premise: If p, then q

 

Minor premise: If q, then r

 

Conclusion: Therefore, if p, then r

 

 

Major premise: If males ask out females, then sexual misconduct has occurred.

 

Minor premise: If sexual misconduct has occurred, then males should be shamed for their behavior.

 

Conclusion: Therefore, if males ask out females, then males should be shamed for their behavior.

 

Societal conditioning of men not to approach women for dates would ultimately decrease the number of intimate partner relationships occurring over time. With this decrease comes a dip in birthrates. With this reduction comes a decline in civilization. This isn’t a difficult problem to identify.

 

For those people who may accuse me of using a straw man fallacy herein, I’ll provide a real-life example of how absurd this situation has gotten. According to one source, “Lobbyist Samantha Corbin’s suggestion that asking someone out for date at the workplace is harassment is a saying that millions of couples relationships are based on sexual harassment.”

 

Although anecdotal in nature, claims from people in my personal and professional life suggest that the normalized policing of employees in the workplace has apparently spilled over into the social sphere. Perhaps you’ve encountered instances of this through various forms of media.

 

For instance, asking someone on a date when shopping at the grocery store could lead to a viral social media video that may result in human resources penalizing an employee for off-site behavior. Under these conditions, Ellis would almost certainly be damned!

 

Being that the male clients with whom I work have no control and little influence over societal matters, I can understand the hesitance of men to approach women. Their LFT narrative is something like, “I couldn’t stand to be shamed for asking out a woman on a date.”

 

I could assist hypothetical client X with disputation of his irrational belief, or even encourage use of unconditional acceptance, as a matter of increasing his frustration tolerance. Regarding this practice, one source states:

 

Ultimately, a psychologically healthy individual learns to accept oneself, others, and the world. They also develop a high frustration tolerance. An individual with high frustration tolerance acknowledges that undesirable events can and will happen but believes that they can tolerate such events by either changing or accepting them and pursuing alternative goals.

 

Notice that high frustration tolerance (HFT) isn’t about altering the perspectives or behavior of other people, because client X would take personal ownership of only his reaction to the situations he experiences. Therefore, I wouldn’t assist this individual with pickup artistry techniques which have been popularized for well over a decade.

 

Likewise, when working with client X, I’m not concerned about activistically altering society. Consequently, whether a woman rejects client X or society renounces him for asking out women, my approach remains the same.

 

This is because HFT involves the ability to tolerate and accept reality as it is, not as one demands how it ought to be. Using the aforementioned syllogistic form, client X could reduce his level of self-disturbance and increase his frustration tolerance thusly:

 

Major premise: If I’m rejected by a woman when asking her out on a date, then I may not like the experience of rejection.

 

Minor premise: If I may not like the experience of rejection, then I can build frustration tolerance to keep from upsetting myself with unhelpful beliefs about being rejected.

 

Conclusion: Therefore, if I’m rejected by a woman when asking her out on a date, then I can build frustration tolerance to keep from upsetting myself with unhelpful beliefs about being rejected.

 

Using this helpful strategy, client X would be able to deal with imagined and real rejection. Although many people in my personal and professional life may prefer that the modern dating landscape were different than it is, I invite them to use HFT nonetheless.

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


 

References:

 

AEI. (n.d.). About Albert Ellis, Ph.D. Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from https://albertellis.org/about-albert-ellis-phd/

Bharwani, A. (2021, November 16). Mental health for men: The burden of being an ‘alpha male.’ MensXP. Retrieved from https://www.mensxp.com/health/mental-health/85234-the-burden-of-being-an-alpha-male.html

Gurian, M. (2019, February 27). The masculinity trap: A science-based response to the APA guidelines. Psychotherapy.net. Retrieved from https://www.psychotherapy.net/blog/title/the-masculinity-trap-a-science-based-response-to-the-apa-guidelines

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Disputation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/blog/categories/disputation

Hollings, D. (2022, May 17). Circle of concern. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/circle-of-concern

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/demandingness

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, February 9). Feminism. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/feminism

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2024, January 2). Interests and goals. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/interests-and-goals

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, January 8). Logic and reason. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/logic-and-reason

Hollings, D. (2022, December 2). Low frustration tolerance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/low-frustration-tolerance

Hollings, D. (2022, November 7). Personal ownership. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/personal-ownership

Hollings, D. (2023, September 15). Psychotherapeutic modalities. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/psychotherapeutic-modalities

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2023, October 16). Straw man. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/straw-man

Hollings, D. (2023, October 17). Syllogism. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/syllogism

Hollings, D. (2023, February 16). Tna. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/tna

Hollings, D. (2022, November 15). To don a hat. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/to-don-a-hat

Hollings, D. (2022, July 11). Unconditional acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, March 11). Unconditional life-acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-life-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, February 25). Unconditional other-acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-other-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, March 1). Unconditional self-acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-self-acceptance

Santos, M. (n.d.). Letters: Asking someone out on a date is not sexual harassment. The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved from https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article187296168.html

Tobias, K. (2015). A Bronx tale. Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from https://albertellis.org/2015/02/bronx-tale/

Vinney, C. (2019, September 23). What is rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)? ThoughtCo. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/rebt-therapy-4768611

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