Are you afraid of complaining?

Are you afraid of complaining? Are there times you hold back because you are worried about what the other person will think?

I don’t talk much about my health problems often, not even to my spouse. In fact he complains about his health more than I do and he’s perfectly healthy. When he was complaining the other day about how much he hurt after playing basketball I realized how ridiculous it was that he feels he can complain about pain and I who feel horrible pain at all times say nothing. The fact that I don’t feel I can complain is my fault though, not his. I am afraid of complaining. I use the “everything is awesome” strategy and it isn’t working for me.

Why are sick people so afraid of complaining? Because we have chronic health problems we are used to not being taken seriously. We know that most people don’t care about our chronic conditions, and yet we are supposed to care about them when they get sick. I for one am tired of not being socially allowed to acknowledge how miserable I feel on a regular basis. Normal healthy people complain all the time about their health, but those who have chronic illnesses are just expected to never talk about it? That is backwards. Sure none of us want to be around that person, the person who is always complaining about how hard their life is, but surely there is a balance between the two.

Too often I hold back because I don’t want to burden the other person, but no one holds back in fear of placing the burden on me. I’m done with that. There is nothing wrong with the chronically ill saying “I am not doing very well. I am hurting and I am exhausted.” Just because that is true more often then it is in a healthy person doesn’t invalidate the complaint. My goal from now on is to let myself share how I feel instead of pretending everything is awesome all the time.

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8 thoughts on “Are you afraid of complaining?

  1. Hi Shelly, I hear you loud and clear. My biggest peeve is when you go to the doctor's office and they keep asking "how are you today?" It used to just tick me off big time until I got creative and started answering them back with truthful statements instead of lying and saying "fine." Instead I say things like, "I'm really glad to be here today," or "I'm loving this sunny weather." Finding something positive to say can make a world of difference in how we perceive the questions of others. They are not really inconsiderate, or meaning to piss us off; but none-the-less they can seem that way. Smile, and they will think we are up to something 🙂 🙂

  2. "Because we have chronic health problems we are used to not being taken seriously. We know that most people don't care about our chronic conditions, and yet we are supposed to care about them when they get sick."

    "no one holds back in fear of placing the burden on me."

    I think I am more fortunate than most, for I find it to be opposite for me more often than not. I have plenty of people who care about how I feel, at least in a general sense, but I DO fear to be too honest too often for fear of wearing them out. Who wants to hear "super crappy!" every time they ask how I am? I know that I don't want to be "that person" for fear of losing the care that I DO possess of those I love.

    I actually have kind of the opposite problem– people feel guilty feeling sick or poorly around me, or for complaining about it because I'm so sick all the time. When they get period cramps or a flu or whatever, they feel both guilty for complaining to me who feels that way all of the time and guilty for thinking that they are indeed suffering when my suffering is surely so much greater. I tell them that pain is pain is pain, and if they're suffering then they're suffering, so stop feeling bad about the veracity of it!

  3. My response for "how are you?" Is always, "I'm alive". Its an easy way to weed out people who really mean, "hello!" from people who want to say, "dear friend, how are you holding up?". I worked on the phrase for months, and now years later, its automatic 99% of the time. I wont say fine. I won't lie. But I refuse to take the time to do a mental review of my body when someone really meant, "hi".
    Love this post
    Rachel (Megan's friend)

    1. Great reply! I do use that reply or something similar in place of saying "I'm fine". Sometimes I slip and say "I'm fine" but I really try not to say that because it's just not true most of the time. At best "I'm ok."

  4. I hold back for many reasons, but no one holds back on me. i get so disinterested when relatives start to tell me about their sore finger they cut etc. I guess they just forget I am living in chronic pain.

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