Dealing With People That Constantly Complain, but Won’t Do Anything to Change
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We all go through challenging periods in our lives and may find it helpful to talk with friends or family about our struggles.
But for a help-rejecting complainer, complaining is a way of life. They don't want help, only sympathy and validation for their perception of being mistreated and their inability to improve their situation. Because help-rejecting complainers don't want solutions, they tend to drain the energy from the people around them.
They often suffer from an underlying depression, and depression skews their thinking and make them feel helpless. They also feel lonely, unheard, and unseen in their pain.
They want to connect, but because they are help-rejecting complainers, they push people away, creating a vicious cycle.
Don't try to challenge their belief system. The best thing to do is to over-validate their position but without any trace of sarcasm. For example, "Your boss should be fired. It's terrible that there's absolutely nothing you can do to make things better."
Once they feel understood, there's not a lot more to say. They will also hear their own complaint from you and may turn the argument. "My boss is awful, but I don't know if I'll be there forever."
When help-rejecting complainers feel heard, they may eventually realise that they can change their position. But they may also continue to complain incessantly.
In that case, you can set a compassionate boundary where you validate their suffering and admit that you don't think listening to what's bothering them is helping. Then change the conversation. Whenever they complain, remind them of your limit and redirect the conversation.
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