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You call it a low frustration tolerance, my sister and I both refer to it as "having reached our lifetime bullsh*t capacity".
:-) Personally, I think it's because we were 'the responsible ones' in our family of origin and anything that even smelled like too much trouble was immediately dumped off on us. She responds by snapping at people and being stressed out. I responded by eventually dumping my family of origin. Now I'm the scapegoat again (or still, depending on how you look at it). That's no skin off my hide, though. How can an absentee scapegoat get scapegoated? I can't lose a game I refuse to play. Now most of the little things in life seem slightly less irritating.

Interesting article. Maybe some people need to dump some of the irritants of the rat race, some need more tolerance, and some need a combination of the two tactics depending on the person and the situation.

Well said. Being used up by others can definitely leave you with very little patience. Your statement, "I can't lose a game I refuse to play" is wonderful. I may hang that on the wall of my office! It takes two to tango and when refuses to dance, the tango ends. Thank you for sharing your feedback.

This sounds very much like the program Recovery, Inc.

How so? I see nothing about low frustration tolerance at this link.

Hi Kellen, thank you for your article. I was looking for some advice because for a long time I've been the "doormat" kind, which is the opposite of the "snapper".
However, even doormats reach their limit, and what's happened to me is that I've unfortunately moved to the other extreme, which is, becoming a snapper. Both kind of behaviors have affected my romantic relationships, and I can't seem to find the balance... which makes me very sad.

Hi Carolina,

Finding that perfect balance is so hard! Most of teeter back and forth a bit, but with practice the teeters become closer and closer to the center and less dramatic.

What you said is so true, when doormats reach their limit they become snappers. That's why it's so important to learn about good, healthy boundaries and learning to saying "No" before we get to that limit. I think this can be especially difficult for women because many of us are raised to take care of others, often at the expense of ourselves. That is not to say that many men don't struggle with this same issue too, but it seems particularly common in women.

Keep practicing setting limits and you'll get better and better. Being willing to take responsibility for making changes is 90% of it and you are already doing that.

Good for you and good luck with your journey.

I don't know if I'll get a response this was posted awhile ago..but I think my frustation stems from feeling helpless my bark is definately worse than my bite...I just don't know what I can do to control issues are more with people not really the above examples..I feel like if I were to try some of these exercises I would worry about becoming a doormat and resulting in feeling even more helpless.

Hi Christina,

First of all let me say that if it doesnt feel right to you - dont do it. Period. Trust your feelings and your instincts.

Secondly, I dont know you and I certainly cant tell whats going on by only reading a single paragraph, but your comment makes me wonder if you are a trauma survivor. Someone who has survived a trauma and has lingering PTSD symptoms has a ferocious bark, much larger than their bite. Their highly sensitive to anything that might cause them harm. They can also experience a great deal of helplessness, in the face of having had something unpleasant inflicted upon them and having control of themselves and of situations in which they find themselves are paramount to their feeling of safety.

If you suspect this is the case you might want to read more articles on this site about Trauma and PTSD. You can find these topics in the left side bar.

If you feel I've missed the boat on this, honor that as well.

I wish you well,


Thanks for this article. It was just what I was looking for.

You're very welcome. Thank you for the feedback.

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