Why do some people complain a great deal while others complain rarely, if ever?
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The distinction between reacting and responding is an important one and one I have emphasized in my psychotherapy and counseling practice.
When patients control more of the doctor-patient conversation… they often have better medical outcomes.
While self-blame is something to avoid, a self-inquiry into what they might have done to contribute to an unfortunate circumstance might prove extremely helpful.
Sometimes Condolences Can Hurt, More Than Help.
Eric Hoffer, the social writer and philosopher, once said "the search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness." Similarly, John Stuart Mill, the British philosopher and social theorist said, "ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so."
Sara, a person who has consulted me frequently for help for many years, has been a harsh self-critic; essentially, picking up where both her parents left off. While therapy has helped her to become more accepting of her shortcomings and occasional failures, Sara still, at times, can berate or belittle herself for an occasional error in judgment, a social gaffe, or even a disappointing experience on a blind date.
"Stop being so defensive!" is a phrase known to have begun or to have escalated many a battle between people in a relationship. The person told to stop being defensive usually responds by stating that he or she is not being defensive. The accuser then uses that response as evidence to prove his point and an argument ensues. The issue that was the subject of the exchange gets lost in the anger-storm and not reopened for some time, if ever.
I often hear clients expressing concern about an event or a situation of some kind for which they are experiencing something known as anticipatory anxiety. This is a heightened sense of worry and vigilance about some dreaded event or experience that the anxious individual fears might overwhelm him, sometimes known as the "what-will-happen-next" fear.
This intriguing question – in so many variations – has been asked by many people who are struggling with both the joys and the consequences of being involved in a serious romantic partnership. For some, being single is a most desirable state and valued for the many freedoms and opportunities it affords. There are many who choose to be single and resist serious romantic involvements because they do not wish to complicate their independent and autonomous lives. For others, being single is a time of waiting; waiting to be partnered so that they can, as one client remarked, "feel whole again." For them, being single is just unacceptable; or, worse, a possible indication that they are 'undesirable', as in "nobody wants me."