The Psychology Of Complaining

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
Originally posted on RooshV.com

Woman

Nothing damages a relationship more than complaining. It is a poison that causes the recipient of the complaint to become frustrated and distant, eliciting further complaints from the complainer. In fact, if you want to wreck a relationship, no matter the type, simply complain.

Complaining stems from internal unhappiness or irritability, not from an external cause like many complainers think. “I am unhappy because my wife loads the dishwasher in the wrong way. If she loads it the right way then I will be happy.” The man complains to his wife about her dishwasher protocol, to which she humbly complies. The husband is happy initially, but in short time, even though the dishwasher is now loaded according to his preference, his unhappiness returns. Why is he still unhappy? It turns out that there are too many of his wife’s long hairs in the bathtub. He complains about that, and even if the wife diligently removes them, it will have only a temporary positive effect on him.

A person complains because they think their unhappiness is a result of their environment or other people, something outside them, when in reality it is from their own unrealistic expectations, disordered passions, demonic influences, or active sins. You can reshape the environment to remove every imaginable complaint the person has, but since the foundational way they see the world is incorrect, there will be no long-term benefit. The complainer will then have to invent fantastical scenarios that can be complained about, attributing motives and impulses that don’t exist.

In one of my relatives, I’ve noticed that her negative mood precedes the complaint. When I see that her body language is tense, I know that a major complaint about me or someone else is coming, and sure enough it does a while later. My relative thinks she is tense because of the external cause, but really the tension came before the awareness of the cause. The mind projects the cause of the unhappiness onto something worldly, but even once that cause is resolved, the unhappiness either remains or burrows into the psyche to erupt later.

woman-angry-1024x683.jpg


Complainers think their complaints are increasing their happiness, but it actually reinforces their unhappiness by making them believe that happiness is due to external situations or events. Saints who were imprisoned and tortured actually thanked their persecutors for delivering them to Lord Jesus Christ through martyrdom. Russian writers thanked their jail sentences, of living in abject squalor, as a way to learn the truth that can be displayed later through their writing. And you complain because another driver on the road cut you off? Because your spouse left clothes on the floor? Because your roommate’s music is too loud? Our lives here will never be peaceful and heavenly. For you to seek heaven in this life is unreasonable, even delusional, and shows a lack of belief in Heaven for those who faithfully serve Christ.

One habit that will make you prone to complaining is maintaining a mental ledger of the deeds or favors you do for other people. I took out the trash and did the dishes today, so I expect my roommate to clean the floors tomorrow, but when he doesn’t clean the floors, I get upset at him for not abiding by my ledger. Keeping track of all the things you did for a person alongside what they did for you is called reciprocity in the secular world but greed in the Christian. Reciprocity is what the atheists do. As Christians we are called to give and be generous, not to maintain an accounting of the works and good deeds we perform.

My roommate doesn’t want to take out the trash? I’ll take it out every single time and not expect him to return the favor. If I’m doing the right thing, my reward will be from God, not from man. A friend doesn’t offer to buy me a meal when I cooked for him a dozen times? I will keep serving him meals as I strive to be a Christian full of the love of God, without expecting anything in return, even a thank you. It’s better if my gift doesn’t receive a thank you for I know my reward will instead come from God. Your “fair share” of work is to do everything you’re able to do, in service to Lord Jesus Christ, even to those who are not paying you back, because it’s through you that the light of our Lord is brought to others.

It’s easy for me to write an article about the toxic nature of complaining and the selfishness of maintaining a deeds ledger, but it’s hard to put into practice. I struggle with the Christian ideal. I find it hard to give to a person who never gives back and I fight to withhold complaints about something trivial that is irritating me, but the closer I get to God, the easier these tasks become. It turns out that those with weak faith are the most prone to complaining, because they believe this world is all there is, and that it must conform to their whims, desires, and tastes. I aim not to fall for this folly. This world is continually passing away, and so complaining about that which will soon not exist will not change my internal state one bit, but worshiping God surely will.

Read Next: The Pain Of Limbo
Permalink
 

Elipe

Pelican
I agree with this, as long as we never confuse complaining with righteous anger/resentment.
Resentment, I don't know about. You're not supposed to carry around grudges. Righteous anger is... well, the adjective modifies the noun. Righteous anger then, is righteous by definition, but what makes it righteous? It is anger about some wrong being done, but how are we supposed to express that anger in a way that pleases the Lord? And how do we know that our "righteous anger" is truly righteous, and not rooted in some sort of worldiness like personal greed or pride?
 

Johnnyvee

Ostrich
Resentment, I don't know about. You're not supposed to carry around grudges. Righteous anger is... well, the adjective modifies the noun. Righteous anger then, is righteous by definition, but what makes it righteous? It is anger about some wrong being done, but how are we supposed to express that anger in a way that pleases the Lord? And how do we know that our "righteous anger" is truly righteous, and not rooted in some sort of worldiness like personal greed or pride?

Well, Jesus turned over the tables of the money exchangers, so I think that there is a place for that. Like with the covid situation.
 

aphron

Chicken
I live this daily. People that complain a lot are the very unhappy. Instead of dealing with and improving their unhappiness, they expect others to take care of them. A large child.

Resentment this causes is very difficult because they do not take responsibility for themselves. Therefore, there is no true resolution. That's the rub. Trying to forgive those that do not feel they did anything wrong.
 

Khan Krum

Chicken
Orthodox
Originally posted on RooshV.com

Woman

Nothing damages a relationship more than complaining. It is a poison that causes the recipient of the complaint to become frustrated and distant, eliciting further complaints from the complainer. In fact, if you want to wreck a relationship, no matter the type, simply complain.

Complaining stems from internal unhappiness or irritability, not from an external cause like many complainers think. “I am unhappy because my wife loads the dishwasher in the wrong way. If she loads it the right way then I will be happy.” The man complains to his wife about her dishwasher protocol, to which she humbly complies. The husband is happy initially, but in short time, even though the dishwasher is now loaded according to his preference, his unhappiness returns. Why is he still unhappy? It turns out that there are too many of his wife’s long hairs in the bathtub. He complains about that, and even if the wife diligently removes them, it will have only a temporary positive effect on him.

A person complains because they think their unhappiness is a result of their environment or other people, something outside them, when in reality it is from their own unrealistic expectations, disordered passions, demonic influences, or active sins. You can reshape the environment to remove every imaginable complaint the person has, but since the foundational way they see the world is incorrect, there will be no long-term benefit. The complainer will then have to invent fantastical scenarios that can be complained about, attributing motives and impulses that don’t exist.

In one of my relatives, I’ve noticed that her negative mood precedes the complaint. When I see that her body language is tense, I know that a major complaint about me or someone else is coming, and sure enough it does a while later. My relative thinks she is tense because of the external cause, but really the tension came before the awareness of the cause. The mind projects the cause of the unhappiness onto something worldly, but even once that cause is resolved, the unhappiness either remains or burrows into the psyche to erupt later.

woman-angry-1024x683.jpg


Complainers think their complaints are increasing their happiness, but it actually reinforces their unhappiness by making them believe that happiness is due to external situations or events. Saints who were imprisoned and tortured actually thanked their persecutors for delivering them to Lord Jesus Christ through martyrdom. Russian writers thanked their jail sentences, of living in abject squalor, as a way to learn the truth that can be displayed later through their writing. And you complain because another driver on the road cut you off? Because your spouse left clothes on the floor? Because your roommate’s music is too loud? Our lives here will never be peaceful and heavenly. For you to seek heaven in this life is unreasonable, even delusional, and shows a lack of belief in Heaven for those who faithfully serve Christ.

One habit that will make you prone to complaining is maintaining a mental ledger of the deeds or favors you do for other people. I took out the trash and did the dishes today, so I expect my roommate to clean the floors tomorrow, but when he doesn’t clean the floors, I get upset at him for not abiding by my ledger. Keeping track of all the things you did for a person alongside what they did for you is called reciprocity in the secular world but greed in the Christian. Reciprocity is what the atheists do. As Christians we are called to give and be generous, not to maintain an accounting of the works and good deeds we perform.

My roommate doesn’t want to take out the trash? I’ll take it out every single time and not expect him to return the favor. If I’m doing the right thing, my reward will be from God, not from man. A friend doesn’t offer to buy me a meal when I cooked for him a dozen times? I will keep serving him meals as I strive to be a Christian full of the love of God, without expecting anything in return, even a thank you. It’s better if my gift doesn’t receive a thank you for I know my reward will instead come from God. Your “fair share” of work is to do everything you’re able to do, in service to Lord Jesus Christ, even to those who are not paying you back, because it’s through you that the light of our Lord is brought to others.

It’s easy for me to write an article about the toxic nature of complaining and the selfishness of maintaining a deeds ledger, but it’s hard to put into practice. I struggle with the Christian ideal. I find it hard to give to a person who never gives back and I fight to withhold complaints about something trivial that is irritating me, but the closer I get to God, the easier these tasks become. It turns out that those with weak faith are the most prone to complaining, because they believe this world is all there is, and that it must conform to their whims, desires, and tastes. I aim not to fall for this folly. This world is continually passing away, and so complaining about that which will soon not exist will not change my internal state one bit, but worshiping God surely will.

Read Next: The Pain Of Limbo
Permalink
Thanks for this! I can see a lot of work ahead...
 

Coja Petrus Uscan

Crow
Orthodox Inquirer
Gold Member
To complain is to communicate you are better than the subject of the complaint. It is delivered with a tone that denotes the lower position of the other. If they object in the same manner, it becomes an argument - two people who think they are better than the other.

I believe there are two primary drives here:

1) to establish oneself over someone else, this act provides a temporary relief from ones material torment. I find this is extremely common. Just having one person below you in material-social terms is used to avoid seeing oneself and ones material position. They can at least say they are better than they who accept being below them. For materialists there is nothing else in the world. No other way to view social dynamics.

2) people are addicted to these negative states, as they are also addicted to drugs, sex out of wedlock and self harm. One who does not want to be in such a state, is not. I know of a rabid atheist. Christianity is his target. Something that has no bearing on his secular life, with such highlights as stealing his best friend's girlfriend when the friend was ill. If Christianity was vanquished would he be sated? Would he suddenly feel a great burden removed? No, after a brief euphoria he would require a new target for him to continue this negative state. A state in which he can see himself as superior; a source of wisdom, morality. It is much the same as 1), but can be done from the comfort of ones own mind - merely telling yourself how stupid others are, to avoid looking at yourself.

1) ropes others into this perversion. Others are bent, like sacrifice, to maintain the illusion of the annoyed.

All you have to do is disagree with them and they will turn on you.
 
About complainers, of which I regrettably am too often one, I cannot judge. I don't know another person's traumas. I don't know their generational lineage. I don't know how their DNA works. Only God knows any of that. If I were in their shoes, for all I know, I might complain even louder. I only know that God loves that person and desires their salvation.

The Bible is full of admonitions against grumbling and complaining so we know that we ought not. Yet Job and David in the Psalms both complained mightily. And both were blessed by God. Even Jesus on the Cross, quoting David's complaint in Psalm 22:2, lamented, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" So complaining occurs. And if Jesus did it, we know that it's not always sinful.

I will do my best, through God's grace, to approach liife with confidence In the knowledge that God is sovereign over all things. Therefore, all that happens is either caused by God or allowed by God. Since God loves me and all people, I can relax, knowing that God is working all things out for my good and for the good of all people who love Him. I know that God has placed each person and event into my life for the benefit of my salvation. If something or someone irritates me, I look at it as God revealing to me another area in my life that I must surrender to Him. God wants me to hand over to Him all of my burdens and anxieties. How can I not be grateful to God for loving me like that?

And when I fall short as I often do? I turn that over to Him too (again). I fall upon His mercy. I thank Him for loving me enough to humble Himself by taking the form of man so that He could die for my sins and make possible my salvation.
 
Last edited:

Johnnyvee

Ostrich
This song deals with this subject well, and I`m a certified complainer btw.


Blind and Black could make you blue
Willie Rathbone was a blind man
He’d pick and sing for a buck or two
Songs about the sunshine

Every note was like his last
He’d sing the colors of the rainbow
But Willie didn’t only sing the blues
He’s bring you songs of sunshine yellow

Seen enough…. I’ve seen enough
Seen enough I’ve seen enough
Lord above I’ve seen your love
I’m looking at the world thru Willies shades

I read the love in every line
I tried to see the world as Willie saw it
And it made me wonder who was really blind
When Willie told the story

Seen enough…. I’ve seen enough
Seen enough I’ve seen enough
Lord above I’ve seen your love
I’m looking at the world thru Willies shades

I read the love in every line
I tried to see the world as Willie saw it
And it made me wonder who was really blind
When Willie told the story

Seen enough…. I’ve seen enough
Seen enough I’ve seen enough
Lord above I’ve seen your love
I’m looking at the world thru Willies shades

Seen enough…. I’ve seen enough
Seen enough I’ve seen enough
Lord above I’ve seen your love
I’m looking at the world thru Willies shades

Looking at the world thru Willie shades
Looking at the world thru Willie shades
Take a look at the world thru Willies shades
 
I was eating in a crowded place today and all I could hear above all the noise was a loud female on the opposite side of the large dining floor complaining about other people to whoever she was sitting with.

I sat at my table trying to focus on my meal but could not help but think to myself how I sounded when I used to complain.

To other people, I probably sounded no different than that female.

I make daily effort now to keep all complaints silent, even to myself. I have found that there will always be something to complain about, and if someone lets complaining take their attention, they lose sight of good knowledge and solutions to what bothers them.

Complaining is placing too much value on your own self-righteousness, while abandoning your faith in what God has planned.

Man knows nothing next to God; our righteousness means nothing.
 

messaggera

Kingfisher
Woman
A person complains because they think their unhappiness is a result of their environment or other people, something outside them, when in reality it is from their own unrealistic expectations, disordered passions, demonic influences, or active sins.

Roosh presents reasons as a result of an individual’s perceived unhappiness: their environment, their company, or an external factor.

But the most significant part of Roosh’s piece is the listed realties on why individuals complain. Those realities can be controlled by the individual; especially if the individual is meaningfully seeking a Christ like way of life. Although, this world is concerning.

Happiness is a feeling strived for this world, and is empty. Jesus Christ brings us the Kingdom of Heaven, and lifts us up.

Complaining brings negativity. Perhaps we should pray if we feel an urge to make a complaint. As many have heard the Serenity Prayer, the first line goes:


God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference

And perhaps, we will find ourselves simultaneously going over the list of options:
Can I change this?​
How will I change the things I can?​
Do I have the wisdom to know what things can be changed and how?​

We chose our environment, and the company we keep.

Edit:

Some more insightful behaviour to consider.

Keeping track of all the things you did for a person alongside what they did for you is called reciprocity in the secular world but greed in the Christian. Reciprocity is what the atheists do. As Christians we are called to give and be generous, not to maintain an accounting of the works and good deeds we perform.
Your “fair share” of work is to do everything you’re able to do, in service to Lord Jesus Christ, even to those who are not paying you back, because it’s through you that the light of our Lord is brought to others.
 
Last edited:

Philonous

Sparrow
So, you thought you married a diamond, but instead she turned out to be a bit more like the lump of coal that has yet to be made a diamond. Perhaps she will be made such, but it may take all your future years of marriage to achieve it—and even then she might not be the perfect counterpart to your soul, or the one truly meriting St. Chrysostom’s “eternal marriage in heaven”.

Divorce her?

Do that and you’ll dispirit the whole earthly community that stood by and supported your marriage. You’ll leave your wife with a permanent psychological mar, and if you already have children, then you’ll psychologically warp them, too.

And so you start to see the loving wife and children are all a reflection—however imperfectly—of the more perfect family you’ll have in heaven. Accept them as being that much, then rely on the Paraclete for your own comfort. You’re here to serve God in this world, just as Christ did.

In contrast, this world doesn’t owe you a thing.

And what’s the alternative?

The alternative is you mope around as a man with a weak character, one easily beset with his own sorrows—cries tears for his own agonies before and beyond anyone else’s. Fails to contain himself, to subdue himself—a “girly man” in the truest sense. If he has any sons they lose all respect for him, as now they have to fulfill the role of the family’s male leader—do so at the expense of what would otherwise be their own childhood and/or young adulthood.

There was a time when America taught husbands and fathers to honor such ideals. That time has passed, and we have completely lost our country. Yet the above model doesn’t change. It is reality.

 
Last edited:

BetaFool

Chicken
So, you thought you married a diamond, but instead she turned out to be a bit more like the lump of coal that has yet to be made a diamond. Perhaps she will be made such, but it may take all your future years of marriage to achieve it—and even then she might not be the perfect counterpart to your soul, or the one truly meriting St. Chrysostom’s “eternal marriage in heaven”.

Divorce her?

Do that and you’ll dispirit the whole earthly community that stood by and supported your marriage. You’ll leave your wife with a permanent psychological mar, and if you already have children, then you’ll psychologically warp them, too.

And so you start to see the loving wife and children are all a reflection—however imperfectly—of the more perfect family you’ll have in heaven. Accept them as being that much, then rely on the Paraclete for your own comfort. You’re here to serve God in this world, just as Christ did.

In contrast, this world doesn’t owe you a thing.

And what’s the alternative?

The alternative is you mope around as a man with a weak character, one easily beset with his own sorrows—cries tears for his own agonies before and beyond anyone else’s. Fails to contain himself, to subdue himself—a “girly man” in the truest sense. If he has any sons they lose all respect for him, as now they have to fulfill the role of the family’s male leader—do so at the expense of what would otherwise be their own childhood and/or young adulthood.

There was a time when America taught husbands and fathers to honor such ideals. That time has passed, and we have completely lost our country. Yet the above model doesn’t change. It is reality.

I hope Jesus was married and give a living example of how to live with an unfaithful, non-working, complaning, shopholic housewife who teaches your children to turn against you to justify herself in the name of love.
 
I agree with this, as long as we never confuse complaining with righteous anger/resentment.

Is there any righteous anger or resentment that can come from man? "The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." Also, as an abject sinner who receives the gift of salvation by God's free gift, I don't see how I am justified to be irritated at anyone else for anything.

Edit: as Christians I believe we should not try to judge and oppose others who we think are evil, because of our limited knowledge. Instead we should judge ourselves, wait on God and wait for the final outcome.
 
Top