I was having a really good day yesterday until I got to work. Nothing seemed to go my way and I became frustrated very quickly. The frustration built up as things continued to go wrong until I became aggressive and was slinging stuff around.
I calmed down and decided that I was not going to let the things that were bothering me ruin my night. So, I decided to be thankful - thankful that I was actually still able to work, and thankful that I still had a job to provide for my family during this Covid pandemic.
When I got home this morning, I was reading a little bit (after watching an episode of Undercover Boss), and came across something that caught my interest. In 1939 at Yale University, Dollard, Miller, Doob, Mowrer, and Sears, came up with the Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis. This is what they concluded: "The occurrence of aggressive behavior always presupposes the existence of frustration and that the existence of frustration always leads to some form of aggression. In other words aggression is always the result of frustration, and frustration always leads to aggression. Frustration is defined as the blocking of goal-directed behavior, and aggression is considered to be action intended to cause injury to another or a substitute - as in an object rather than a person" (Bolt, M. 1999).
I definitely agree with this to some degree because I was experiencing this last night. I did not take my anger out on anyone, rather I chose to unleash the madness on a couple of containers that were close by. This is not always the case however. There have been times that I have been frustrated and rather than becoming aggressive I have sunk deep down into depression. So the professors at Yale in 1939 got it half way correct. Frustration sometimes leads to aggression, but other times it has an inactive response as well which lead me to depression.
"The nature of frustration also seems to be important in understanding how people respond. When it is severe, deliberate, or arbitrary, people are more likely to respond with aggression. When it is accidental or understandable, a hostile response is less likely" (Myers, 1996).
I felt as if the cause that led to my frustration was definitely deliberate last night, but then I rationalized with myself that it could possibly have been an accident.
After taking a deep breath and thinking for a moment, Paul reminded me to be content in every situation and that everything eventually works for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
I have too many things to be thankful for to be overcome with frustration. With some encouraging words from Angie over a text on my break which said, "You will do fine, you got this." That is all it took to remind me that I would do fine because God has got me. That is why "I got this."
Be Encouraged, Chris
Bolt, M. (1999). Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis. In D. G. Benner & P. C. Hill (Eds.), Baker encyclopedia of psychology & counseling (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.