Editor's Note: Why do some
people always seem to find things to complain about. Constant
complaining seems to be about things, people, circumstances that are
affecting the complainer. But complaints are more the result
of the state of the person doing the complaining than they are of
the outside world.
Complaining can actually become
addictive, filling a personal need that they don't even know
exists. If people think of you as a constant complainer or if
you generally just feel like the world is a source of aggravation to
you, Dr. Paul may offer some insight.
Addiction to Complaining
Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Complaining is a way of life for
some people. It was certainly a way of life for my mother. I donít
remember a day going by without her complaining, endlessly. I
donít think I ever heard a word of gratitude out of my motherís
No matter how good things were, she
would manage to find something wrong. No matter how perfect I was
Ė and God knows I tried to be perfect! Ė she always found
something wrong with me, as well as with my father.
Over the years of counseling
others, Iíve noticed that some people start every session with a
complaint. They canít seem to help it. Like my mother, they are
addicted to complaining.
Why do people complain? What is it
they want or hope for when they complain?
People who complain are generally
people who have not done the emotional and spiritual work of
developing a loving, compassionate inner adult self. They are
operating as a wounded child in need of love, attention and
compassion. Because they have not learned to give themselves the
attention and compassion they need, they seek to get these needs met
Complaining is a way they have
learned to attempt to get this. They use complaining as a form of
control, hoping to guilt others into giving them the attention,
caring and compassion they seek.
Complaining is a ďpullĒ on
other people. Energetically, complainers are pulling on others for
caring and understanding because they have emotionally abandoned
They are like demanding little
children. The problem is that most people dislike being pulled on
and demanded of. Most people donít want emotional responsibility
for another person and will withdraw in the face of anotherís
This is what my father did. He
withdrew, shut down, was emotionally unavailable to my mother as a
way to protect himself from being controlled by her complaints. Of
course, he didnít just do this in response to my mother.
He had learned to withdraw as a
child in response to his own motherís complaints and criticism. He
entered the marriage ready to withdraw in the face of my motherís
pull, while she entered the marriage ready to make my father
emotionally responsible for her. A perfect match!
My fatherís withdrawal, of
course, only served to exacerbate my motherís complaining, and she
constantly complained about my fatherís lack of caring about
Likewise, my motherís complaining
served to exacerbate my fatherís already withdrawn way of being.
This vicious circle started early and continued unabated for the 60
years of their marriage, until my mother died.
While my parents loved each other,
their ability to express their love got buried beneath the
dysfunctional system they created. Unfortunately, this is all too
common in relationships. One person pulling Ė with complaints,
anger, judgment, and other forms of control - and the other
withdrawing, is the most common relationship system I work with.
A person addicted to complaining
will not be able to stop complaining until he or she does the inner
work of developing an adult part of themselves capable of giving
themselves the love, caring, understanding and compassion they
As long as they believe that it is
anotherís responsibility to be the adult for them and fill them
with love, they will not take on this responsibility for themselves.
inner child Ė the feeling part of us Ė needs attention,
approval, caring. If we donít learn to give this to ourselves,
then this wounded child part of ourselves will either seek to get it
from others, or learn to numb out with substance and process
addictions Ė food, alcohol, drugs, TV, work, gambling, and so
as a child, a person saw others get attention through complaining
Ė as my mother did with my grandmother Ė and if complaining
worked for the child to get what he or she wanted, then it can
become an addiction.
all addictions, it may work for the moment, but it will never fill
the deep inner need for love. Only we can fill this need for
ourselves, by opening our hearts to the Source of love.
we can do the inner work of developing a loving adult capable of
opening to the love of Spirit and bringing that love to the child
within. People stop complaining when they learn to fill themselves
About The Author
Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books,
including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?"
and ďHealing Your Aloneness.Ē She is the co-creator of the
powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Learn Inner Bonding now!
Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com