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Whining and Mental Health

Whining and mental health. They’re closely connected.

Whine, whine, whine!

I could slap her! Yes, Lourdes. She’s so whiney and complaining.

She exhibits things I dislike. Like refusing to change, external control,, criticalness, and getting stuck.

During session, I wondered about what creative things I could do to get through her. And have a break!

According to one Merriam Webster’s definition, “whining” is ….

“An act or activity of complaining in an annoyingly childish or petulant way.”

Writer Elizabeth Drew blurted “I’m sick and tired of it!” when he referred to her companion’s constant whining.

It’s a distasteful sound and sight. This whining. It can be high pitched, crabby, and rude … prolonged enough to get into your nerves.

Psychologist Dr. Guy Winch points to what most don’t realize: the way we complain, how we voice it, has huge implications for our mental health.

How do you survive whiners? Complainers in a conversation?

Social worker / therapist J. Diane Barth of Off the Couch recommends 4 steps in a Psychology Today article:

1. Acknowledge their distress and helplessness;

2. Recognize that you cannot change their feelings;

3. Try to let them know that it’s not completely their fault;

4. Set firm, clear limit on how long you can listen and what you can offer.

I’m reminded of the whining and complaining of the people of Israel against God (Exodus 14, Numbers 11-14, Psalm 106).

The Psalm recounts 4 times the Israelites grumbled, murmured, and whined against God after they left Egypt. It angered God. And brought the consequence of the waste of disease and death onto them.

As Paul reminded the church in Corinth, “We must not … grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer” (1Corinthians 11: 9,10).

Whining and mental health. There is more to it.


an image of whining affecting mental health




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