What is Chronic Complaining?

Are you a chronic complainer?

“Don’t pray for rain if you are going to complain about the mud”- Proverb

Chronic complainers see their world through a negative lens and believe they have no power to change it. This person sees the downside of everything in their life and will try to see the downside of everything in yours. If you go out to dinner, nothing is right about their meal but they won’t send it back. If they hate their job, they tell you everyday but they are not even looking for a new one. They have been in the same bad relationship for ten years and have no thought of breaking up or trying to get help to make it better. They are perfectly happy complaining about everything, but have no plan to make it better. My mother would refer to them as people that, “want to sit on a tack.”

At times, you may selfishly engage the Chronic Complainer to have someone join you in your whining, anger or sadness. Most of the time, it can be frustrating to listen to someone that has no interest in fixing their problem. Imagine a movie where the hero must save the princess from being imprisoned by the evil pirate. Instead of making a plan and launching into action, the hero sits and complains about why she is always getting captured and how hard it is to be a hero. Would you pay nine dollars to see that movie? I doubt it.

What is complaining? It is fear and attention rolled up in one. The chronic complainer is paralyzed with fear. They are afraid that they can’t change their circumstances. Instead of trying, they are telling everyone and trying to get them to believe it too. At times, complaining can bond a group together when they are in similar circumstances. It’s also possible that complaining can lead to solutions. There are times when it is healthy. However, if it’s repeated that means that the action necessary to resolve it hasn’t happened. More than likely, fear is preventing the action from happening. The person complaining is seeking attention and agreement from everyone around them that it’s okay for them not to take action. Eventually, chronic complaining backfires. People, that don’t feel the same, will begin to avoid the chronic complainer, basically adding to the complaints. It’s a vicious circle.

Complaining is telling yourself that you are powerless to change your situation. That is not at all true. You always have the power to change your situation. If you hate your job, start applying for a new job. If your relationship is bad, you can either try to make it better or choose better for yourself. You can’t always wait for someone else to change for you to be happy. You have a right to make changes in your life. If you find yourself constantly complaining about the same thing over and over, it means that it’s time for a change. If you know a chronic complainer, challenge their complaints. If you are at dinner and they are complaining about their meal, tell them to send it back or send it back for them. If you call them out on their complaints, be prepared to listen to their fears. The fear is what is keeping them in victim mode.

As I have learned, life will make the decision for you. Eventually, if nothing is done to fix the problem, it will either get worse or something will happen to end the issue. A job will be lost or a relationship will end. The person has the opportunity to see it as another reason to complain or the answer to their problem. Life can be difficult and complaining can relieve frustration. But, after that, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and work to change the situation. As long as you are focusing on the closed door, you are missing the open window. The opportunity to change your life may be within your grasp. Take the first step and the steps to follow will be easier than you think.