Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Wednesday, June 19, 2019 12:02:29 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Stop complaining

photo by

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.
We all complain at times. Kids complain about their friends who didn't talk to them at lunch, the teacher who was mean, the little brother who is always in their stuff, the science project that is so stupid. And we adults complain about our boss' attitude, the work schedule, our partner always being late, about not having enough sex, or… about our partner always complaining.
But for some folks, complaining seems to be a way of life. It's their default communication, from their opening comments when they hit the door at 6 till they finally fall asleep (and then complain the next morning about how poorly they slept), they never seem to stop. Being around such chronic complainers can be draining, annoying, frustrating. Why can't they stop already?  
They probably can't for a few reasons. Like most problems, there's other problems afoot driving it. Here are the common sources:
This is what most of us are doing when we are complaining - we're venting, saying to those close to us who we can drop our guard with, about life's stressors that have been building up inside us. So, our kids complain about the mean teacher, we rant about our boss and the schedule, yap to our best friend about the sorry state of our sex life. Just by getting our disappointments, frustrations, angst out and feeling heard, we feel better.
Tom complains about his boss because he feels trapped in his job. Your son complains about his science project because he feels overwhelmed. When you're feeling trapped and can't see other options, when you feel anxious or hurt and lack the skills to solve the problem, or the courage to act, you fall into complaining.
The glass is always half-empty, the skies are always gray, we're stuck at the bottom of a well with no way out. Depression saps our energy, makes us see only all that not good, we expect only more of the same and develop a why-bother stance. We complain because that is all we feel we can do.
This is fueled by all of the above, but here we are talking about role models from childhood where parents were always complaining, creating a steady negative climate that we take into our own psyche. We're also talking about couples or families who have developed for a lot of good reasons a hyper-vigilant, hyper negative you-and-me-against-the-world stance where the world truly feels unsafe, where others are out to get you and can never be trusted. Complaining for them isn't complaining but merely commenting on the obvious.
The child who is not as smart as his brother, not as athletic as his sister has to find other ways of gaining attention in the family. Complaining, being the family Eeyore may turn out to be one of the few ways the child feels he gets attention, sympathy, support. It can work for the child, it can work in an adult relationship.
Because other's complaining can feel so emotionally toxic, especially when we ourselves are stressed, it doesn't take much for their complaining and our negative response to set off a negative cycle that just makes it all worse. Here's what not to do:
Here's where you want to tell your partner to just stop talking about the work schedule and take a chill pill, where your daughter's whining about lunch makes you roll your eyes and want to say stop already it was only lunch. Try not to do this.
The person who is complaining generally has tunnel-vision at the moment. While you want push them to see that they are losing perspective, that this is truly a first-world problem, they can't do that then. Your complaints about their complaining are likely to just further fuel their own distress, make them feel judged and hurt, resulting in more irritation or negativity.
If you can't be supportive in the moment because of your own stress, say so, then follow your own advice and find ways to chill.    
Yes, you want to help; you think you can see the solution to the problem that they can't. That's fine. But if you already offered your advice - to talk to the boss, the friend - and it goes nowhere, don't keep going down that road. It obviously isn't working; you and they are just getting frustrated by having the same unhelpful conversation.
You want to be supportive and sympathetic when your child, partner, or friend complains, but don't turn it into a 3-hour drama complete with heavy sighs and coddling, especially if this happens on a regular basis. If you do, there is a danger of fueling that secondary gain where this is what we do best. It can quickly fall into a behavioral and emotional pattern that is hard to break and keeps the complaining going.
The first-aid for complaining is simple yet focused listening. Let the person vent, tell their story. Resist the urge to give advice and solve the problem. (This is the classic male/female split and source of frustration where guys want to jump in and fix the problem while their partners want them to just listen: both wind up feeling frustrated.) Once they've calmed down, your job for the moment is done.
When the emotional climate has changed and the other person is less grumpy, this is the time to circle back and try and have a sane and rational conversation about the problem. Here you talk to your child the next day about how to tackle the science project or deal with the friend; here you talk to your partner about possible ways of approaching the boss, or about her talking to HR, or you both working together to help him find a different job. The key is to keep this conversation separate from the initial venting.
Here you are trying to resolve the meta-problem, the steady complaining itself. You're not going to be talking about the science project or the job but your concern that the other person always seems to be unhappy. Your goal is to help them drill down and find out what might be driving it; Are they depressed, are there bigger problems in the family or the relationship that are not being addressed, is there something that they need most when they feel this way that you can do that will make a real difference? Ask.
When you child is not complaining about the teacher or friend, your partner about the job, or they when they take active steps to fix the problem, take note and now make a big deal about it. And be a role model yourself for positiveness. By proactively trying to change the climate in the house and the relationship, you can avoid or break that secondary gain and negative patterns.
If you realize that yes, you do complain a lot and see that it is bringing down those close to you, it may be time for you to drill into the source of your own state of affairs. Are you depressed, feeling trapped, not sure how to solve the problems or have given up, are not getting enough positive feedback and support in your relationships?
If so, work on these underlying problems. Get some therapy and / or check into medication; have those difficult but important conversations that you have been avoiding.

(Bob Taibbi, L.C.S.W., has 40 years of clinical experience. He is the author of 10 books and over 300 articles and provides training nationally and internationally).

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Business & Economy »

MBL's award giving ceremony held

Economic Reporter :Mercantile Bank Ltd on Monday organised the 'Mercantile Bank Sommanona-2019' to award four eminent personalities and one institution for their outstanding contributions to the society. Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir handed over the gold medals, crests and cheques to all the awardees at a graceful ceremony at Hotel ...

Entertainment »

Maera Mishra is excited about her upcoming projects!

Maera Mishra is an Indian actor and model. She is as in the 11th season of MTV Splitsvilla. Ever since she featured in Splitsvilla Maera has not looked back. Maera is also a budding actor and she could be seen in love on the run on MTV, Savdhan India, Fear ...

Entertainment »

Soundarya Sharma yet again strikes a humanitarian chord

It was just recently when she instead of attending an event chose to help an injured cyclist. Now we just learned that Actor Soundarya Sharma is sponsoring health care for an elderly couple for a year, she came across an article about how elderly are lacking proper health care, as ...

International »

Trump heads back to base for 2020 campaign kickoff

President Donald Trump will get a big crowd of his most loyal supporters at Tuesday's official 2020 reelection campaign kickoff in Florida but dismal early poll numbers show the larger-than-life Republican businessman is vulnerable.Organizers claim the Orlando rally has sold out a 20,000-seat arena, with many more to gather outside, ...

International »

China warns US against opening ME 'Pandora's box'

AFP, Beijing :China on Tuesday warned against opening a "Pandora's box" in the Middle East after the United States announced the deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the region amid escalating tensions with Iran.Foreign Minister Wang Yi also urged Tehran to not abandon the nuclear agreement "so easily" after Iran ...

Cricket »

Shakib Al Hasan: A man born to create milestone

Talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan now won two matches for Bangladesh in this World Cup, all by alone. When most of his teammates looked inconsistent, he did it by his own almost, albeit with little support from two different men in two different games.In Bangladesh's 21-run victory over South Africa, ...

Editorial »

No development projects destroying the Sundarbans

TRANSPARENCY International Bangladesh has called upon the government to immediately suspend all controversial projects, including the Rampal Power Plant near the Sundarbans. TIB also expressed deep concern following the UNESCO's recent proposal to put the Sundarbans on the list of "World Heritage in Danger" in the proposed agenda for its ...

Cricket »

Jason Roy to miss Afghanistan, Sri Lanka games with hamstring tear

England opening batsman Jason Roy, who left the field during the team's eight-wicket win over West Indies, has been ruled out of their next two matches, against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, an England and Wales Cricket Board release announced on Monday, 17 June.Roy had left the field during the West ...

International »

"Khashoggi death painful, stop exploiting case": Saudi Crown Prince

 AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has warned against "exploiting" the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for political gains, in what appeared to be a veiled attack on Turkey.Turkey's ties with Saudi Arabia have come under strain since the brutal murder last October of Khashoggi in the Saudi ...

Editorial »

No end to pain and miseries of slum dwellers

LOCAL Government Division Minister on Sunday informed the National Parliament that about 6.46 lakh people were living in 3,394 slums in the capital city Dhaka. Responding to a question from a lawmaker, he said there were 1,639 slums housing 4,99,011 people in the Dhaka North City Corporation area and 1,755 ...

Entertainment »

Taylor Swift releases new single You Need To Calm Down

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift needs us to calm down but with the release of her latest single we just can’t! The 29-year-old singer dropped her new single titled You Need To Calm Down from her upcoming studio album Lover. The artist shared the lyrical video of the song on her official ...

Cricket »

No fracture found on Mushfiqur's forearm

Bangladesh heaved a huge sigh of relief after an X-ray report revealed that Mushfiqur Rahim had no fracture on his forearm.Mushfiqur, considered as the most dependable batsman of the country, got hit on his right forearm during a batting practice session while facing a bouncer from pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman.He ...

International »

Saudi Crown Prince lashes out at arch-rival Iran over tanker attacks

AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused arch-rival Iran of attacks on oil tankers in a vital Gulf shipping channel, adding he "won't hesitate" to tackle any threats to the kingdom, according to an interview published on Sunday.Two tankers were struck by explosions on Thursday in the Gulf ...

Cricket »

More than just a game: India face Pakistan in World Cup battle royale

Virat Kohli will have history on his side when India take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a World Cup blockbuster on Sunday -- a clash that is always more than just a game of cricket.India cut off bilateral cricket ties with its neighbour after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, with authorities ...

Cricket »

Eoin Morgan downplays England's injury concerns

England captain Eoin Morgan said that his team is "not at panic stations", after he and Jason Roy left the field with discomfort during the game against West Indies in Southampton on Friday, 14 June.Both Roy and Morgan had left the field at different points during West Indies' innings and ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news