The Danger of Low Level Complaining

Some people complain often. It might be about the same few things or it might be many different things. 

The problem with this is it teaches others this person is just a complainer. Once that has happened, the “complainer” is ignored or given lip service. It seems they can never be made happy, so why bother?

Another possible problem occurs when someone complains about the same thing over and over without getting more serious about seeking a solution. If they have put up with something for years, why would anyone think it really bothers them?

The way to deal with problems is to focus on one or a couple at a time and keep bringing it up until it’s fixed or you’re told it’s not going to change. Start off easy, then get more adamant about it over time.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m a worse complainer than my lovely Lori.

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6 Comments on “The Danger of Low Level Complaining

  1. It’s interesting you bring this topic up. My husband and I have very different opinions on this. I am a “complainer” (according to him) but I also associate this with being extroverted. I grew up in a family where we talked about everything and all our issues, even if it was the same issue over and over. My husband is more introverted and will only bring up something if it’s REALLY bothering him, aka has been festering for a while. If he brings up something I know it’s really an issue, as he doesn’t mention things lightly. He gets extremely annoyed if I bring up the same issue over and over, and in his words doesn’t see the use in complaining about something repeatedly. You are right, he tends to end up ignoring me or giving me lip service instead of listening or being active in the conversation. When this happens I feel ignored or hurt, as it’s often something that is really bothering me and I feel I need help with. For example, we have young kids and there was a time period I was hardly ever sleeping. I was exhausted. Yes, I would bring it up often to “complain” but it was a reality that it was a daily problem for me.

    In the long run, I’ve tweaked my approach a bit and try not to bring up the same thing over and over. I’ve learned some good tips from you and Lori. Now, if I am truly bothered and feel I need support, I will bring it up in a calm, collected manner and gently ask for his input. I’m also aware that bring up issues repeatedly really bothers him, so if I feel I need to “vent” I will find a friend or other outlet (i.e. internet group, etc). I think I’ve been pretty successful, but it’s a work in progress. On the flip side, I sometimes have to gently prompt him that I really want his input and help (calmly), or he will tend to just give me a “I’m sorry” if I bring up a concern.

      • @Jessi – I’m the same type as your husband, don’t usually talk about a problem unless it’s really big, or if I’m still working through the situation. My wife, on the other hand, thinks and feels out loud, and I used to be really bothered by that. What I thought was complaining was really processing a problem.

        The only difficulty was when her problem was me. When I started to look behind the words and listen to her heart, I started making changes more easily. Her “complaining” finally got my attention. I was able to work on changes before a situation exploded.

        One warning about the venting to a friend: Please don’t EVER do this in a way that makes your husband look bad or disrespect him. That can do long term damage to your marriage.

    • I have learned to ask my wife, “Do you need to me (or us) to do something about this?” or “What can we change?” to find out if she just needs to vent, or have me empathize, etc. Hopefully, not in a dismissive way, but just to satisfy my male need to “fix” things, either by action or empathy. But if she keeps bringing up the same issue, as the head of the house, I will insist that we together address it, and figure out how to make her more satisfied or happy.

      When my daughters were at home, and they would be angry, hurt or crying, I would often hold them and listen, and after a bit say, “OK, its time to dry it up a bit and figure out what you (or we) are going to do about this. What can you do tomorrow to make this better?”

  2. It seems to me that low-level complaints can be something like minor earthquakes occurring in swarms along a fault line; they can be either reducing the stored-up energy, or they can be a harbinger of building seismic potential. Either way, they shouldn’t be dismissed as irrelevant.

    I tend not to complain, and that bothers a lot of people, especially my wife. But I have nothing to complain about; I’m not going to survive the current situation, and I do not resent it.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 317 – Lessons From The FloorMy Profile

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