Low … Frustration-Tolerance Men

Big things do not drive a man over the edge: not the death of a relative; not the loss of a job.  Its the little things: the repetitive “talking-back” from a son; the snap of the shoelaces when there is no more time.


The movie “Falling Down”, the protagonist is William Foster, portrayed by Michael Douglas, is a story about a man who tragically succumbs to frustration; his frustration turns into rage.   An unemployed man keeps “going to work” with his briefcase when he is really not working; his ex-wife does not know he lost his job.  William Foster walks away from his car, being stuck in a traffic jam, in Lost Angelos.  Foster’s attempt to reach his estranged wife’s home in time for his daughter’s birthday party comes across difficult situations, one after another.  In the end Foster goes over the edge; a tragic ending.  I would not recommend the movie. William Foster’s frustration represents an extreme end of the spectrum for most of us.

“Low Frustration-Tolerance”, a well known term when it comes to some kiddos, comes up for adults as well. One article suggests the correlation between selfishness and Low Frustration-Tolerance.  My thought? Whatever.

Men, women, sustain stress differently, regardless of gender.  Consistent stress can lower one’s tolerance for frustration.  Outlets to burn off frustration are good, and finding an outlet is not always easy or simple.  It is good to be … attentive … to family, friends, those at the workplace.  “Community” comes to mind as I tap the keys of my laptop.  An easier, more time-efficient, approach is to recognize one’s heaviness / disruption and ignore the person.  Continued isolation can intensify stigma, alienation, and frustration.  Men who exude calmness, confidence, and appear to have no problems are good examples for me.  If I sense arrogance happening, my appreciation quickly fades away.  I have had a few seasons of multiple stressors.  I have also had men and women who chose not to alienate me, but entered my world and offered a good word, real encouragement, and a message of reassurance. 

There is an expression I heard in New Orleans: “Where Yat?”  Translation: “Where are you at?”  When someone I know, someone I trust, asks me “Where are you at?” I am usually honored by their effort to respectfully enter my world.  So, Where Yat?



  1. Hey man, this stuff great. I read through a lot of your posts. It does me good to know i aint the only one concerned bout the deep stuff like the relationships with my kids and the common everyday frustrations of being an adult male in this culture, on this planet. Thank you.

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