Who gets to complain?

We’ve all become sick of listening to other people’s complaints. This could be because all a person does, because we do not feel their problem is all that problematic, and a whole slew of other reasons. I myself am guilty of this; most of the time I hate listening to people complain, especially when it comes to really petty problems. It is this fact that kept me from pursuing a career in psychology. It is this fact that keeps me from voicing my own complaints.

Of course, I do complain. I complain about the weather and temperature, about needing to go grocery shopping, about being tired, etc.. To be honest, I think I might die if I stopped complaining about such stupid little things! It’s the bigger complaints that I find harder to voice, such as “I’m really sad, and you’re not helping that at all.”, “You’re using me.”, or “I hate living.”, Something has always kept me from mentioning these things, even though I do believe them to be valid complaints.

Sometimes i don’t feel that I can complain because ~there’s always somebody who has it worse~. Well, yes, there’s always going to be somebody who’s in a worse situation, hell, some people are dead (this could be seen as a better situation, but I digress)! Should a starving child in Africa make me hold back one, or any of my complaints? Must I wait till I am truly the most unfortunate soul on the planet before complaining?

I would like to give a specific example to illustrate this. I will use my family, dysfunctional as they may be. I was never happy with our life, at least not from the time that I had the cognitive ability to recognize the situation. However, I never really complained, though I’m sure I spent some time sulking about it. My father, the sole supporter of the family most of the time, did complain though; he complains a lot. When working during a busy season, he would complain during his few free hours that he had no life, and never got to see his friends, or do anything. Was this true? During the busy season, yes, it was true. They worked him like a dog, and the man barely had time to sleep, let alone do anything recreational. So how, in this situation, was I to complain that I had no life, and never got to see my friends or do anything? I wasn’t trapped at work, and being a child, nobody would have expected me to provide for a family, but I was trapped at home. The question is if that was enough to give me good reason to complain.

I’m still not good at complaining. I once had a stomach ache during the day, only to be berated later by my girlfriend for not telling her: “Why did you tell me you weren’t feeling well?” “It was just a stomach ache, nothing to complain about.” “But still…”. A few more of my complaints may get voiced, and blogging about them certainly helps to at least get them of my chest. Still, I think I need to figure out when a complaint is appropriate, and when it is not.

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