Publicador de contenidos

Back to 2019_01_07_ICS_opinion-terminos-mentalidades

José Víctor Orón Semper, researcher of the 'group Mente-cerebro ' del Institute for Culture and Society

Terms and mentalities: frustration

Just hearing the word frustration causes decay, but it was not so for the child at birth. I think frustration is the only feeling that is neutral in origin, which soon becomes sadly meaningful as something painful.

Mon, 07 Jan 2019 10:25:00 +0000 Posted in Education PRESS

Briefly stated, frustration is the feeling we experience when what is expected is not found. The non-emotional way of naming the same experience is called error: error is the distance between what is expected and what is found. Frustration and error are related as the feeling and the concept. While frustration describes the affectation staff, error tries to objectify status.

Frustration occurs at the moment of birth. It would be necessary to evaluate whether or not there can be an experience of frustration in the maternal womb. In principle, we can think that it emerges at birth for a very basic reason: frustration and error require distance in order to exist. Distance between desire and reality or between what is expected and what is found, but always distance. On the other hand, in the maternal womb, there is no place for distance. The contrast between desire and reality also demands that there be an intention in the subject. To be a subject is to be the author of some action, even if it is merely interior. It is amazing, there are programs of study that show the intentional movement in the maternal womb. That is to say, in the maternal womb, movements are discovered in the child that are not explained by mere reactivity, but have the characteristics of voluntary movement (those interested can study what Delafield-Butt has published). Regardless of what happens in the womb, frustration is the experience rules and regulations required for human growth. The term normative is a very serious term, because in the human development something is understood to be normative when it must be lived in order for the development to be healthy and not living it causes disorders in the development. It would be difficult to assume that an experience rules and regulations has to be considered intrinsically negative, although sad philosophers would have no problem assuming this. Thus, avoiding frustration leads irremediably to growth failure. Frustration is avoided when we proceed with overprotection, but also in severe deprivation. For for there to be frustration there must be a play of desire and dissatisfaction of desire. If the desire is always satisfied (overprotection) or if the desire is annulled by the severity of the received attention (deprivation) the experience of frustration is being prevented. The demanding child (fruit of overprotection) or the cowed child who hides, denigrates himself or reacts violently to go against another (fruit of deprivation) has not been able to have a healthy meeting with frustration.

From the day of our birth, frustration accompanies us. The child who is breastfed, sees how his mother's breast moves away and then he knows the distance. To know the distance is frustration. The child at birth is already equipped with certain dispositions that psychoanalysts (in particular Winnicott and Kohut) qualify as innate: creativity, trust and integration. We do not have to educate people to acquire creativity or confidence or to know how to integrate the events of life. We already know that at birth. The question is not to achieve these dispositions or not, but to confirm or deny them. When intention and distance meet, frustration emerges. The intention is marked by those dispositions that we receive in our creation and the reality of this world will mark the distance and with it frustration will appear. In fact, in psychoanalysis this perception of distance is called the 'reality principle'.

Like everything in this world, I am not thinking about the human being itself, nothing has meaning in itself as the world is not challenge for the human being. The world is simply there present in front of me. What is challenge for the human being is another human being and creativity, trust and integration are launched first of all to be able to meet another human being and we achieve this to the extent that we transform the world in the service of meeting inter-staff. Then 'the world' becomes 'The World' because it has been personified. If this paragraph is not understood, don't worry. Leave it in your mind and it will bear fruit. Not understanding something is also an experience of frustration because we want to know. How do we react to it? Do we think badly of ourselves (How short I am!), do we think badly of the writer (He doesn't understand himself!), do we make a compensatory movement (I stop reading because it generates a tension in me and I look for something that gives pleasure) or can we live the distance with peace without losing the tension that there is something to understand? Forgive me for having generated this experience of frustration, but it is in this way that we will better understand what frustration is. Let's go back to frustration.

Along with the reality principle, there is the principle of satisfaction, which is usually understood as a way to compensate for frustration. But this is a mistake that also implies that frustration is negative. If we were to state the principle of satisfaction in the UpToYou style, we would say that, following the maternal example, it is the mother's capacity to be the author of an action that consists of using frustration as an opportunity for interpersonal meeting . Put another way, satisfying the child is the mother's ability to creatively turn the experience of frustration into an experience of interpersonal meeting enjoyment (it is worth reading the term 'enjoyment' into this vocabulary).

If any experience of frustration is used as a platform for such an experience, it ceases to have a tragic component. Let us see it through the error. Error is the objectification of frustration, which is a subjective experience. Error is an experience rules and regulations not only for knowledge, but also for growth. I am not going to explain it here, but we could say that the brain learns not because it knows the right, but because it knows the error, that is, the distance between what is found and what is expected. Once, a beautiful girl told me about a sentence her teacher had said to her that made me deeply indignant, even to call director of the center. The devastating phrase was: "if you make a mistake you will never learn". That is the best way to cow a child in the face of his own learning and growth. It's the best way to make frustration and error into something horrifying enough to run away from. And, furthermore, that statement is not true through and through. What average between a child who is frightened by the error, hides it and does not recognize it and the child who teaches the error to his teacher, average between an unhealthy and a healthy experience of frustration.

If we live in a society in which we have made frustration an unpleasant feeling and error a condemnation, it is not because they are, but because, educationally speaking, we are clumsy, tremendously clumsy. And what this is showing is that we do not know how to use the contrast that we live in our meeting with the world to know how to relate better among us.

I said that frustration is the only neutral feeling and it is the feeling that triggers growth. Emotionally speaking, we can say that we grow thanks to the binomial frustration - enjoyment. What frustration opens, enjoyment closes, making it grow, because far from rejecting it, we have turned it into an opportunity to find ourselves more intensely.

When we are born, we don't know what to do, we have to be taught. The way the parents behave is teaching the child what to do with the experience of frustration. If the parents know how to creatively use the experiences for the meeting, the child will give a pleasant value to the experience of frustration. But if the parents do not act creatively or, what is more common, leave the child alone with the experience of frustration, the frustration will take on negative tones.

A good experience of frustration leads to new frustration being the prelude to new growth.
Although we have placed frustration and error in parallel, it is necessary to point out that we naturally think of error as something that happens outside of us, for example, when we make a mistake in a sum. However, error can also be an internal dynamic. For example, if a child in the supermarket starts screaming because his mother does not let him take things on a whim, he is living an experience of frustration, which, if we objectify it, is also an experience of error. The difference is that here everything is internal. For us adults, the child's tantrum is a nuisance, but for the child the tantrum is a subjective experience that he also has to know. The child does not know what it is, nor why it happens, nor what to do, nor what it means, nor how to value it. If the mother reacts compensatorily by letting him take whatever he wants or if the mother severely prevents him from taking anything, in both cases he is not using the experience of frustration creatively. This is recognized because, when they leave the supermarket, both mothers think that the annoyance is over. And that is the big mistake. The mistake, educationally speaking, is not properly what happens in the supermarket, but what happens on the way out. In both cases the child will understand himself as a being driven by impulses, which will be satisfied or unsatisfied, but always impulses. Another way to approach status is to creatively use frustration which involves using frustration as an opportunity for the child to learn about a new reality and how that reality can be put at the service of interpersonal meeting . If the mother creatively uses the tantrum to interact with the child, the child will learn that it is possible to be a subject that acts and not a bag of impulses. In the moment of emergency (the scandal in the supermarket), let the mother do what she can (she will learn to be more and more creative), but the topic is in what she does when she leaves the supermarket: she can talk to the child, she can propose something (apologize to the cashier again), she can anticipate the next purchase and make him participate by distributing tasks... "Creativity to the power". Could you now make a list of possibilities to be creative in the face of this or other frustrating experiences? Creativity always has the same goal: transforming reality to favor the interpersonal meeting .

In order to be able to act in this way, the mother's acceptance of the child staff is found to be fundamental. That is to say, it is necessary that the child discovers that his tantrum does not break the interpersonal relationship of the mother with the child. If the tantrum breaks the relationship, the child will not want to know what he has done, but simply to control it. But, if the child discovers the unconditional welcome of the mother, he will be able to study this behavior that surprised him and he will be able to know himself more and more.

As opposed to "if you make a mistake, you will never learn", we propose "if you make a mistake, you will always learn".