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How do you avoid complaining?


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My mom is a HUGE complainer and she repeats things a million times over. She is also a terrible listener. She was the only caretaker in my life, so I have learned a lot of things from her, and unfortunately I feel that I have picked up her habit of complaining, as well of repeating things (although not nearly as bad).

I'm a pretty sensitive person, so if somthing upset me, it's hard for me to "get it out of my head" so that's why I'm prone to venting incessantly...it genuinely makes me feel better! However, I don't think it makes other people feel better ;) This isn't so much a problem with acquaintances as it is with close friends or boyfriends...when I really let them know what's going on in my head and what I'm thinking, often it's "I'm annoyed about..." this or that!

The "repeating things" habit is really hard to break b/c I always felt that I wasn't being listened to when I was growing up, and the only way to get my message across was to repeat it...more than once! So that's just a conversational habit I'm trying to break.

How do you avoid complaining? Do you have any ways to get that "vented" feeling without driving others away? For instance, how do you know when you're complaining too much or repeating yourself too much? Do you have a "no complaints" policy? Or do you avoid talking to others when something is bothering you? What about repeating things? It's hard for me to even know I'm doing it...how can I catch myself?

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I've been going through an awful lot of stress and have been called on this kind of complaining by my s.o. I find it useful to remember it's a problem and also to try to remember if something interesting or something I liked has happened lately. This doesn't mean I've become a sunshine dispenser. Far from it. But I'm finding it also helps me to remember some of the good stuff. Particularly helpful to remember the good stuff I've done, which my s.o. doesn't mind hearing about. If I hear myself spewing a lot of the bad stuff, I try also to mention some of the other stuff. For instance, I saw an enormous (well, large) beetle land on the screen today. Really weird looking, and I've never seen one like it before. Therefore, it was pretty cool. If my s.o. says my complaining is bothering her, I can now mention x.y, and z that I've said lately to demonstrate that it's not continuous or relentless.

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When I catch myself complaining, I'll come up with something positive to counter it. There is a positive side to everything. It's cool because it doesn't necessarily negate the complaint, it just kind of balances out the negativity.

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Once I start bitching, I really can't stop. So I set time limits. I'll spend this much time complaining and this much time finding solutions and this much time finding a postive. I don't watch the news or talk shows, those are triggers for me. When the day is especially crappy I watch "nothing tv" like a kids show sesame street. Its so simple in these shows, problem leads to solution leads to "it's all ok". I need the reminders that it will be ok. I also avoid people in my life that are really negative without looking for a way to change it. Sometimes its not just you bringing you down its all the little shit out there that piles up. At bed time i go over the day and find one thing that made me smile and i replay the scene over and over. Yesterday it was this really ugly puppy playing in a puddle. At the time it didn't crack me up, but I noticed it. At night i remeber what he looked like and how it was prancing all around and yipping and it made me smile, that was my last thought of the day, how I closed it. Sounds sorta simple, but it does work.

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