Are You Bitchy: Stop the Constant Complaining

Client: “My girlfriend said something to me the other day that got me thinking. She said, ‘You know, you’re awfully bitchy lately.’”
Therapist: “And was she right?”

Client: “Yes, she really was. My mother was bitchy all the time, and now I can see that I’m just like her. It’s like I can’t stop myself.”
Therapist: “Can you be more specific? What makes you agree that you are bitchy?”

Client: “For instance, I went into the bakery and the lady behind the counter said, “Gee, it’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” Without even thinking, I said, “I like it a little cooler. It’s too warm for me.” When I got out of there, it hit me. I realized that it was bitchy of me to complain about the weather, she was just trying to be friendly, and I shot her down. I’ve been doing that all my life without knowing it. I’m just like my mother, and I don’t know how to stop.”
Therapist: “Bitchiness doesn’t sound like much of a problem at first, but it can be very serious. It can keep you from enjoying life. It can keep you from having gratifying relationships. People don’t want to associate with someone who complains all the time. So we wind up all alone, and then bitch about how badly we are treated.”

Client: “And we don’t realize that we have brought it on ourselves. It’s true. I don’t like people who complain to me, but I’m doing the same thing as they are. How can I stop?”
Therapist: “Your problem is serious, and it is very complex. It has many facets. Each one has to be identified and replaced with more realistic and appropriate convictions. One facet of your problem is that, like most oldest children, you are an ‘obedient child.’ You are obeying the unhappy example that your mother set before you. As much as you would like to rebel against her, you continue to follow in her footsteps. You must give yourself permission to ‘disobey’ your mother and resist the temptation to complain.”

Client: “That’s hard to do.”
Therapist: “I know it is, but grownups do what is difficult. It is worth the effort. But there’s more. When someone tries to be friendly and make you happy, you feel compelled to shoot them down. It is though you don’t deserve the friendship or the happiness.”

Client: “That’s because I feel I don’t deserve it, isn’t it?”
Therapist: “That’s right. In addition, you may feel inadequate to cope with the tasks and responsibilities of an adult friendship. You push them away with negativity so that your supposed inadequacies won’t be revealed later on.”

Client: “That’s my fear of failure, and my insecurity coming out. Is there more?”
Therapist: “Yes. Another facet is your conviction that happiness is only temporary and ends in disaster later on.”

Client: “All that comes from me bitching?”
Therapist: “Yes, the issue of bitching is the surface layer. Like peeling an onion, the deeper you go, the more it stinks. The next facet is the confirmation of your prophecies of disaster. When you drive people away from you with your bitching, you can say, ‘I told you so. I knew they wouldn’t stick around for long.’ It gives you something else to bitch about.’ “

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Shared by: Aaron Karmin, LCPC, Contributing Blogger

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