This book foregrounds the life struggles of an individual, Brenda, in such a way that argument and theoretical exploration arise organically out of experience. The "frustration" of the title is traced to avoidant attachment - pretending not to need others. In Brenda this is associated with a body-energy pattern that is both over-charged and over-contained, generating a self-frustrating process. Such a repressive defence works against her, so that she experiences her life as dry, soulless, and uncreative. A variety of existential difficulties are traced to how such core developmental issues interact with our socio-cultural environment. A way forward is outlined: play and finding meaning are identified as transformational hubs that bring wellbeing into Brenda's life and restore her capacity for experiencing.
Introduction , The Frustration of Aliveness , How attachment styles are mirrored in energy regulation patterns , The roots of boredom and addiction , Attention and the soul: the scientist versus the poet , Impingement and Loss of Self , Boundaries and contact: outer and inner distortions , Time, space, and silence: regaining our capacity to experience , Thrownness and Limitation: Navigating The Social World , Competitiveness as the struggle for recognition and respect , Activism versus integrity: resolving the dilemma? , Beyond Frustration: Towards Integration and Well-Being , Reflecting and creating the self: the uses of narrative , Integration: perspectives from complexity theory and neuroscience , Achieving well-being: play and spiritual practice as transformational hubs