Frustration Aggression Theory

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why do people sometimes become Aggressive?

I am sure that you have went through at least one situation in your life where you have found yourself being excessively aggressive then felt guilty for it later.

I am also sure that you met some people who always seem to be aggressive whatever the situation is. Why are those people always aggressive and why do you sometimes become aggressive too?

Frustration Aggression Theory

The frustration aggression theory states that aggression is caused by frustration. When someone is prevented from reaching his target he becomes frustrated. This frustration can then turn into aggression when something triggers it.

For example, if you failed in your final exam you will definitely become frustrated But What if someone you barley know told you “You are such a loser not to pass that exam”. In this case, your stored frustration will surely turn into aggression. Note that the frustration aggression theory does not provide explanation to all types of aggression but it rather focuses on aggression that results from not being able to reach your goals.

Aggressive people need special treatment

If you found someone acting in an aggressive manner know that behind this aggression is some kind of frustration, your goal should be allowing that person to release his feelings of frustration in a constructive way.

Confronting him with the main causes of his aggression may sometimes be a good solution but it can also be dangerous with overly aggressive people. Your focus should be on letting him dump his feelings without being aggressive.

Aggression Frustration and Success

You may have now concluded why some people who have type A personality become aggressive. They are aggressive because they are frustrated as they didn’t attain their goals yet.

Working for longer periods of time and working on holidays are clear signs of frustration that results from unmet goals. This is not a bad thing at all but on the contrary it’s a healthy way to release the frustration. It's much better than becoming aggrieved and short tempered person.

Frustration and Depression

If frustration was not properly vented it may turn into depression. Suppose that you wanted to become rich but you couldn’t find a job. If you didn’t find a way to let go of your frustration the suppressed emotions may turn into depression.

In my book, The ultimate guide to getting over depression i explained how long term frustration can be One of the reasons that cause depression. When someone wants to achieve a certain goal but fails to do it for a long period of time he might end up depressed.

Also people who are not assertive always feel frustrated due to the daily violation of their rights they experience which may also result in depression. The bottom line is to find a way to get rid of your frustration so that it doesn't turn it into depression.

Work hard, become assertive or have faith in God, It doesn’t matter how you do it, all what matters is to find a healthy way to release these suppressed emotions.

Frustration and breakups

One of the main reasons people fail to recover from breakups are the feelings of frustration. In my book How to get over anyone in few days i explained how limiting beliefs such as "I cant live without him" or "He was my soul mate" result in frustration after breakups and thus prevent you from recovering.

If you believed that the only way to feel good is to restore your relationship then you will end up frustrated. This frustration is then turned into depression and the person gets stuck in this stage. Learn how to deal with these limiting beliefs and you will break the whole cycle of false beliefs-frustration-depression.

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