Can you buffer with complaining?


Can you buffer with complaining? When I find myself creating stress around a situation, I see that I get some “relief” when I unload all of my stressful thoughts TO someone. “Oh, that was terrible,” I say – and I’m smart enough to tell it all to a friend who I know will agree. “Oh yes,” they’ll say. “This IS terrible.” As if I’m getting confirmation that it’s a C. The terrible is a C and I know it and my friend knows it – and so I’m very justified in complaining about this terrible C.

But I’m onto myself. Even though I feel the stress deeply, I know it’s all my judgments about the C. I know my friend is being nice or they believe my T is a C – because I’ve explained it so convincingly or they can think back in their own life about something similar where a T felt like a C. But I know the truth. The only thing “terrible” is my T about the C.

But I wonder if complaining … telling others about our “terrible C’s” (actually, our terrible T’s about our C’s) is a form of buffering. A way to avoid feeling the “terrible” feeling in the moment. A way to connect and feel better – that ultimately has a net negative. Because after all of the complaining … after the small little positive of the connection and the burst of self-righteousness … is the negative feeling of disappointment about everything said during the complaint. The negative feeling of “I’m a complainer.”

Thoughts on complaining as buffering?