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cmomoCPA's avatar

I have a high tolerance for bullshit, what steps do I take to begin to change?

Asked by cmomoCPA (142 points ) February 3rd, 2012

I a 34yr. old male, I’m experiencing the same problems over and over in different facets of my life, that is I have a high tolerance for bullshit. I was psychologically, emotionally, physically bullied and abused by Mom and Dad as a child…blah blah blah. I need to change, I’ve been through therapy and I’m starting to turn things around, what does the group recommend that I do to change my tolerance level? Assertiveness training? Return to therapy?

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14 Answers

ScurvyChamp's avatar

Life is about adaptation. Even on a biological level, organisms go through three stages: performance, feedback, revision. In natural selection organisms do something and if it doesn’t work effectively the process is reviewed and next time it is done differently.

Noone can tell you what’ll work best for you in the long run! But I think it’s worth being mindufl of the fact that you can change anything in your life at any time, and you don’t have to put up with anything you don’t want to!

troubleinharlem's avatar

I think that maybe assertiveness training would help you as well as therapy to get you rid of this tolerance. It might not work immediately, mind you, so you’d have to be patient. Sometimes I don’t feel like starting conflicts and stuff when I’m in a situation with a lot of BS, but you should realize that if it’s for your own good, then you should stick up for yourself.

jazmina88's avatar

Let things go. grudges are bad. Boy, am I one to talk??
Speak up for yourself.

My family is verbal abusive and I see the trait travel down the generations. Only you can be honest enough to fix it. I am talking about me, again. I hope it helps.

Write in a journal to get the bad stuff out of your heart.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know whether you are describing your problem very well. Having a high tolerance for bullshit? What does that mean? It sounds like a good thing to me. Sounds like you don’t anger easily. You don’t sweat the small stuff. That sort of thing. Valuable trait, I think. It will extend your life.

I think you should trust the process of therapy. It is, let me emphasize, a long term thing. It takes years for people to turn themselves into someone more like who they want to be, and even then, it is always easy to slip back.

I have my own family and mental issues. I was in intensive therapy for about four years. Now I’m only in “tune-up” mode and I wouldn’t even do that if my wife didn’t insist. I feel much better about myself now, but I also feel like I have to constantly be on guard against falling back.

Therapy has taught me to be aware of my triggers, and I’ve identified the feelings that are dangerous to me, and done some work to learn to tolerate those things better. For example, it used to be really scary to even think about suicide. Now I can remember the times when I did, and I can talk about my old plans and it doesn’t feel like the feelings will suck me back in and put me in danger again. I know I’m not going to do it. I don’t feel so fragile there.

But it’s a work in progress. My mood goes up and down, but not the way it did when I was sick. It’s more stable now. Still, I am on guard and that’s the way it will be. I can’t take my mental health for granted any more.

I think if you expect to be in the process of recovery for the long haul (like the rest of y our life), it can be easier to give yourself a break. Don’t worry about bullshit tolerance so much. Let it settle. Let yourself work on it. It will change in the way you want it to over time. Let therapy help. Let your friends help. But most of all give yourself a break. This shit is hard!

xnightflowerx's avatar

I think it would be helpful to hear some specific examples of the kind of bullshit you put up with. I mean there’s bullshit everywhere. But are you putting up with bullshit from a significant other, from relatives, from situations at work, from your children, etc? There’s definitely different paths to take depending on where it’s coming from.

But I would start with looking at your self esteem and confidence. This is where many people (and I say this from lots of bull-taking experience!) develop a high tolerance for taking shit. If you aren’t in a good place in yourself, you tend to let people walk all over you. You accept the mean things people say about/to you without pushing back for fear of the consequences of doing so. You don’t want to create confrontation, or you fear getting torn down by them further if you argue their assertions about you.

After you spend enough time taking all that crap, it eats away at you, you start reluctantly believing their assertions maybe true. You get frustrated with yourself for not being able to just do something about it. But as your opinion of yourself is weakened its so much harder to muster up the personal strength and resolve to stand up for yourself. Because you feel like its not worth it to try to get through that you don’t like the way you’re being treated. Its a vicious cycle. Its very hard to break. Is this where you’re at or there-abouts?

So since I don’t know specifically the sort of shit you’re taking. I’ll just say a few things…

Get toxic people out of your life, if there’s no way to get them out completely, minimize their presence as much as possible. Also spend more time with people who are positive influences on your life. If you don’t have very many people like that, start making new friends. And the great thing about finding new friends they don’t know about your bullshit taking past, so they’re most likely going to treat much better then the people you’re used it. Fresh start at being the sort of person you wanna be.

Work on yourself. Seriously. Take a good hard look at the things you want to change. Because taking shit and not standing up for yourself generally comes back to your problems with yourself. The people influencing your life are being negative forces by feeding you bullshit and they help to further your internal issues. But you have to step up to yourself before you can really step up to other people. So pin-point your issues. Start taking steps to fix them. Doesn’t have to be leaps and bounds. But you must resolve to start, and keep it in your mind all the time so you will start taking the steps to change.

I could write a book about this… Much of it from learning the hard way through most of my life. And I say all this as someone who used to take shit constantly, and down right refuses to now.

gailcalled's avatar

I too would like one specific example. We solve our problems one by one, in sequence.

Did your therapist not teach you techniques for confronting those who make you unhappy in one way or another?

If not, why not?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Why change? As a friend of mine once said, “90% of everything is bullshit anyway, so just learn to live with it.” : )

wundayatta's avatar

I think you should pay attention to @xnightflowerx (welcome, by the way). She sounds like she knows what she is talking about.

tranquilsea's avatar

When I started my journey of repairing the damage that had been done to me I had to work like crazy on boundaries. I think of boundaries like an invisible wall. The crappier someone is to me the further out the wall goes and along with it that person. That meant that I didn’t talk to them on the phone and I would minimize the amount of time I had to spend in their presence. If they started in on me then I’d leave. I didn’t/don’t need that kind of crap in my life.

This sounds easy but it’s not. I am a person who likes to try to give people second chances. It’s been hard to decide the difference between second chances and being a doormat.

I’m at a time in my life now (with the help of a stupid amount of therapy) where I have really truly great and kind people in my life. I think it took me a while to understand that I deserved to have good people in my life. I understand it now.

My bullshit level is low. I sense it fairly fast and I’ll call people on it. But if they keep dishing it out I axe them out of my life.

SpatzieLover's avatar

It’s time to put what you learned in therapy into action. It sounds to me like you are stuck in the transition from being the abused child to being the proactive adult.

Like @xnightflowerx, I get rid of toxic people, or set limits for them. EX: While he was alive, I would only see my dad between the hours of 11am to 4pm. That way, I knew he’d be somewhat coherent and he would be less volatile.

My in-laws are no longer allowed to email my husband at work and no longer allowed to call his cell phone. We informed them in a straight-forward manner that any undesired contact would not be tolerated.

For now, figure out what you need to keep yourself moving forward. Write it down. Who fits into your life? Who can you not tolerate at all? How much time do you want to dedicate to family? How much time to supportive friends or hobbies?

My BS tolerance is set at almost 0% at this point. If I see an area of my life that requires adjusting, I pounce on it.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am not sure what you mean by bullshit. I see two possibilities. The usual meaning of bullshit is that someone is spouting a bunch of malarkey. Given that you mention being abused, the other possibility is that someone is that someone is verbally abusing you.

There is not much that can be done about the first type, but it is sufficient to recognize it.

In the second case, I have what may seem like an odd solution. If someone is dumping on you, actively agree with the person. The person is trying to make you angry by either having you not saying anything or by getting involved in an argument. You can’t argue with someone who agrees with you. It is amazing how cool a head you can maintain while the other person’s frustration keeps increasing. At some point the other person simply runs out of steam.

I have used this approach. It can be very disarming. The other person may end up saying, “Are you poking fun of me?” You just answer, “No, I am just agreeing with you. Why would you think I am poking fun at you?”

Once you get used to speaking up, you can switch to working up the courage to ask the person not to be so rude.

cmomoCPA's avatar

To qualify this question, my high tolerance is when someone is verbally abusing you in both my personal and work life…I definitely think it’s related to a self esteem issue.

I’ve been told I care too much what people think and that’s true. The question should be how do I stop caring soo much about what people say? I’m a pretty big guy, 6’2”...240lbs. So physical confrontations never come about.

I try to be nice too often because when I say no I feel bad. I’m thinking it’s an assertivness/self-esteem thing.

tranquilsea's avatar

@cmomoCPA You sound like a people pleaser to me. My hubby is too. The thing is people will like and respect you if you gently, calmly and reasonably set limits around what you will and won’t do and what you will and won’t let other people do.

When setting limits I have found that it is really helpful to state the limit as something I need (if the person in question starts questioning it). But most often I find it’s better to say nothing at all. Set the limit and let it stand. You can commiserate with the other person in the kindest way possible but don’t change your mind.

If this is something you have a hard time with then start small with people you trust. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to branch out to harder situations like ones at work.

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