Narcissistic Behavior 7: Whining and Complaining

The next hallmark of narcissistic behavior I will focus on (whining and complaining) at first seems to be rather harmless for those involved with them. However, after spending some time with a narcissist, their constant complaints, whining and dissatisfaction can become very exhausting and draining. At the beginning of a relationship, we are often deeply affected by their constant sadness, our hearts go out to them in empathy, and we genuinely want to help them feel better by showering them with our affection. We soon have to accept the painful realization that no matter how hard we try, and how much we invest, nothing ever seems to lighten their mood.

Even if there seems to be no apparent reason for complaining or for being sad and depressed, the narcissist will always find something that darkens his mood. And he will not be content with just being sad, but he will rub his sadness in your face, constantly talk about it and draw you into his negativity. In the end, you will also feel gloomy. As we deeply care about the well-being of the narcissist and want him to feel happy, we are very much affected by his somber mood and the fact that we can’t do anything at all to change it. As long as he is so obviously unhappy, we can’t be happy, because our mood is inextricably linked to his.

In the course of my relationship, I often felt deeply conflicted. Spending time with Mr. Unavailable always made be unbelievably happy and I could have hugged the entire world out of the joy of being with him. He, however, was never genuinely happy, and he seemed to always be plagued by dark thoughts – even when spending time with me. So while I was thankful and glad for being with him, he was always gloomy, in a pensive mood, and very distracted. Realizing his sadness, my mood got darkened as well and I just never could live out my happiness and enjoy it to the full extent. I was convinced that things would get better over time and that maybe I could have a positive influence on his mood. After some time, I had to realize that while his presence had the power to make me unbelievably happy, I didn’t have the same effect on him. This realization was painful and depressing: Why couldn’t he be happy with me when I was so happy with him? It is nerve-racking and agonizing to always be surrounded by negativity, when you yourself could hug the entire world. It makes you feel conflicted and your are forced to realize that your presence is insufficient to make your partner feel carefree and happy.

The narcissist I dated was basically constantly unhappy and distracted, and he always found a reason to complain or to be dramatic. When he got sick, he would describe every single one of his symptoms in detail and whine about how horrible he felt. Even when he only had a cold, he made a huge drama out of it, and you could have gotten the impression that he was on the verge of dying. He constantly complained about having too much work to do and about feeling exhausted. However, he didn’t even work eight hours a day on average (on many days he didn’t have to work at all).

Additionally, he always complained about the “unfair” treatment he received from others. He talked about professors and work colleagues who didn’t appreciate his genius or about other people who spoke down to him. He complained about how mean his sister, his parents and his exgirlfriend treated him. His unhappy childhood was a frequent topic of our conversations and he never got tired of elaborating on the details. On a regular basis I was informed about how his childhood had irreversibly damaged him, how his dramatic relation to his exgirlfriend had negatively affected his capability to trust others and his willingness to date women, and how he was saddened by the many accusations directed at him by his sister. In all of his accounts, he was always the poor victim, being mistreated and misunderstood by others. Once he even told me that he regretted being such a nice guy and worrying so much about other people’s feelings. He pointed out that this tendency to be too considerate of others often made his own life miserable.

He also loved complaining about his “unbearable living situation” and his “meaningless, intellectually not stimulating job”. I lost count of how many times I had to listen to him whining about how unhappy he was. He never got tired of pointing out how his two years of living in Germany have been the most depressing time of his life, how he couldn’t take it much longer, and how much he hated his daily routine. According to him, everything he did was a waste of time and he had accomplished nothing at all. Whenever I talked to him, I was reminded of how low he felt, how his depression affected him so much that he didn’t eat enough and couldn’t sleep, and was losing weight as a result of it.

At the beginning, I was very much affected by his constant sadness and his many gloomy tales. My heart went out to him in sympathy and I felt sorry for the fact that he was apparently so genuinely dissatisfied with his life and his interactions with others. I had the naive hope that maybe I could contribute to a change in his mood, and brighten his outlook. However, I soon had to realize that his sadness and his tendency to talk about depressing and gloomy topics was unchangeable. Even when we were most intimate, and I could have cried out of thankfulness of being with him, I saw a deep sadness in his eyes. He was never able to just enjoy being with me, because he was too distracted, too worried about other things, too sad and depressed about his life.

After some time, this constant sadness is very exhausting and burdensome for those being with the narcissists. There never seems to be a moment of genuine, undistracted happiness. Nothing is easy-going, fun and relaxed. Instead, everything is dramatic, depressing and negative. Everything could be so perfect for us, but we are constantly drawn into their negativity and therefore cannot really enjoy being with them to the full extent. We would give everything for the ability to lighten their mood, but always find ourselves disillusioned by the realization that we don’t have the power to do so. Still we hold on to them, because our hearts go out to them in sympathy, we want to be there for them, we want to show them how much we care. However, our efforts are often not really appreciated and valued – which leads us to feel even more helpless and pushed aside.

In addition to all that drama, we often feel forced to neglect and hide our own feelings. Because the narcissist is always at the center of attention with his tales of woe, we often swallow our own dissatisfaction and end up losing touch with ourselves. Whenever I dared to complain about how low I felt due to the unsatisfying treatment I received from him, he would completely ignore the issue and instead dwell on how low he felt, how unhappy he was, and how everything just went wrong. I had to accept that my feelings were never a matter of interest to him, that they were always ignored and overshadowed by his own deep-seated frustrations.

Being with a narcissist with a tendency to whine and complain can, as a result, be very unhealthy and emotionally exhausting for us. While at the beginning we still hope we can have a positive effect on their well-being, we soon have to come to terms with the painful realization that they don’t have any use for our efforts to make them feel better. They prefer to wallow in their sadness and to present us with never-ending tales of woe. We soon get drawn into their negativity, because as long as they are unhappy, we cannot feel happy. We are conflicted because while being with them makes us feel whole and happy, they don’t seem to draw much pleasure out of being with us. This inability to lighten their mood negatively affects our sense of self-worth and our self-esteem. In addition, we completely lose touch with our own feelings and desires because everything is focused on the narcissist. Once the relationship is over, and we can focus on ourselves again, we realize how liberating it can feel to finally let go of all the negativity.

After my relationship with Mr. Unavailable ended I was devastated, but at the same time strangely relieved: It felt as if a huge cloud of negativity had finally evaporated. I no longer had to rack my brain about the many sources for his constant sadness and dissatisfaction, but could start looking after myself again. I also realized how much the five months of being with him had emotionally exhausted me. I was constantly affected by his negativity, and my futile endeavors to make him feel better have sucked the life out of me. I wish I had found the strength to opt out earlier: I could have saved myself a lot of drama. It might sound cruel, but if you ever find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist with a tendency to tell tales of woe, you should seriously consider opting out. I know it might seem like a tempting and worthwile endeavor to try to make them feel better. But in the end, you will often have accomplished nothing at all, because they have no real use for our sympathy. We often end up feeling exhausted and having wasted tons of energy that we should have spent on ourselves.


13 thoughts on “Narcissistic Behavior 7: Whining and Complaining

  1. narc: “im in pain! i have been for months!”
    you: “go see a doctor, please! i don’t want to see you like this anymore!”
    narc: “they won’t do anything for me! ive tried seeing one (lie).”

    narc: “ father won’t stop calling me or texting me! he is so annoying! i just want peace and quiet.”
    you: “turn off your phone or block him; you shouldn’t have to put up with that.”
    narc: “no…that won’t do anything; he’ll find another way to get a hold of me and ruin my day.” (continues to complain about it)

    narc: “my aunt is such a nightmare. every time i want to talk to her about something it turns into an argument! (lie; they themselves turn it into an argument) I just want to have a normal conversation with her without us yelling at each other.”
    you: “just tell her what you want to say and as soon as she starts to argue with you just tell her you’re not trying to argue with her and then leave the conversation.”
    narc: “…i guess. but she’s soooo stupid and says the dumbest things, i can’t help but not argue with her…”

    ^ this last one annoyed the hell out of me! it got to the point where i told him im sick of hearing him talk about his aunt. i told him i understand he needs to vent to someone, but that i don’t want to hear it anymore. it drives me crazy. in my head, as he’s whining about her, im thinking “SHUT THE FUCK UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP! please, JUST STOP!”, but i can’t tell him that. so i calmly try to tell him that i can’t listen to it anymore.
    his response: “who am i supposed to talk to then? you’re all i have, dude. i listen to you vent; why can’t you listen to me?”
    me: “sure i vent, but i don’t vent about the same shit over and over, and when i do, it’s only for a minute or two; not a half an hour.”
    him: “no, you vent just as much as i do.”
    me: “about what? name a time i vented about something that I constantly complain about for longer than 3 minutes.”
    him: “nah you do, dude. don’t try to act like you don’t. you do it just as much as i do.”
    me: “alright; but im telling you, please, just stop talking to me about your aunt. most of the time i side with her anyways.”

    this resulted in him spending, no joke, the next half hour about how wrong i am for siding with her, saying that the only reason i side with her is because she supports me financially. the whole half an hour i sat there, staring off into space, trying not to listen, shaking my head every now and then when he said something ridiculous and untrue, him scolding me for it. “you can shake your head all you want; you know im right.”

    did he stop complaining about his aunt to me after that? no. everyday he would do it. every goddam day! and why did he do it? because he didn’t care how i felt about it. he didn’t care if it was annoying the hell out of me. he didn’t care if i wanted to rip my ears off. when id get sick of it, get up and try to leave the room, he’d respond with “oh, that’s right; do what you ALWAYS do (another lie) and leave while im talking to you. so fucking disrespectful. im tired of your passive-aggressive bullshit.”
    at first this accusation and guilttrip would work on me, luring me back to sit down and listen to his whining until it would finally finish. after a while though, i would just leave the room and he would ignore me for several days.
    sorry i rambled again. i can’t help it. when i see other people’s posts, they remind me of the shit that i went through and im just hoping my experiences add more to the post in hopes that it helps people.
    another great post btw. keep the coming! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Please don’t apologize for the length of your comment. I appreciate your contributions! It really helps me a lot to see that others went through/are still going through similar situations. Everything you write sounds so familiar to me and it is another proof that narcs do indeed show common modes of behavior and are sucking the life out of us with their annoying habits. Thanks again for commenting and sharing our experiences! It is always highly appreciated πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh; sounds like we’re involved with the same guy:

      We have internet access AND a paper copy of the schedule for every bus around here. I leave the room now every time he starts snarling and whining about how he JUST missed the bus and had to stand freezing/sweating his cojones off;

      He claims to be unable to sleep but WILL NOT seek medical attention for it: “I don’t LIKE taking pills! YOU’RE the pillhead around here!” (I am ON DISABILITY for chronic pain and take opiates to manage it);

      He doesn’t like the unsalted butter I prefer and has been complaining about it for at LEAST the past eight years. He goes to the supermarket ALL THE TIME. Guess how much salted butter he’s bought for himself?

      He doesn’t like the Kosher salt I prefer; see “unsalted butter” above.

      They don’t WANT resolution; they want to COMPLAIN.


    • IT’S. NOT. YOU.

      If you tell them you HATE something, they KEEP doing it just to fuck with you. I’ve learned to put up with it quietly during the occasional poke-jab times he drags it out to see if it still works.

      If you tell them you LOVE something, they STOP doing it just to fuck with you. This was much more difficult at first, because “pleasure” and “feeling good” are so RARE that I used to be like the dying person in the desert who dives into the pond at the oasis.

      Too bad I shortly afterward ALWAYS got TORN TO SHREDS for, oh, being thirsty in the fist place; looking stupid / fat / corny / ridiculous jumping INTO the pond; getting all wet while I WAS in it; being greedy about how much of it I drank; what “EVERYBODY” / “PEOPLE” / “THEY” were “Saying About” me; how smeared my makeup and messed up my hair when I came out; I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir.

      I have, over time, said less and less to him about fewer and fewer topics. Most days now we go literally HOURS without exchanging a word. Are you at all surprised that now he whines to me about, “You never TAAAAALK to me” or, my FAVOURITE, “I’m SICK and TIRED of sitting here by myself with NOBODY TO TALK TO!”

      “Yeah; I know the feeling!” is now how I answer, in a very serious tone with a very straight face.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know how long exactly it took me. After the relationship had ended I was so exhausted and devastated as a result of all the drama, that my capability to assess the situation rationally was impaired. I felt so extremely low that I read lots of books on codependency. I learned that codependents often end up with narcissists, and that’s when I first realized that the guy I dated might belong into that category. I think this was about a month after the end of the relationship. Everything I’ve read on the topic since then has confirmed my suspicion.


  2. Your narration of your narc ex resonates very well with how my narc mum behaves. She will whine and complain on a daily basis. And even when you give her solutions to her problem, she will ignore you and keep whining and complaining. She never likes seeing others happy and fulfilled with their lives.
    I remember when we were way younger, if we were laughing and happy in the evening she would say, `before the night ends, someone will cry.’ We were never sure who that someone will be for she always created that intentional suspense for my sister and i but sure enough, it could either be me who would be yelled at and reduced to tears or my sister who would be hit. As i grew older, i started acting like my narc mum to my horror. I was this young woman who always complained. I pushed away so many elligible guys and friends with my lack of satisfaction in life and happiness. I’m still on a process to rid myself off the complaints and whines because i have since come to learn in life, that everyone has their own problems which of course, they don’t keep talking about.
    Talking about yours always only raises eyebrows and makes people keep off from you. I have a feeling that narcs always whine and complain as a way to get attention. It is so irritating but since they are always fixated on themselves, they don’t realize just how much their actions torment others or make others feel like they could be elsewhere.
    I remember a few months back meeting a guy who always complained and knowing about NPD then, i just cut off links with him for good. He would text and i wouldn’t reply. In the end he got the message and kept off. I just didn’t feel striong enough to deal with a narc mum and a boyfriend too exhibiting narc tendencies. I would rather cut off links with the one i wasn’t related to by blood and remain with the one who i had to learn strategies to navigate through life with due to her relation to me.
    Very informative post. Thank You for posting it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! You are right: even when we present the narcs with solutions they are not interested in it but prefer going on complaining about their miserable lives. There were definitely many solutions to the problems my narc was complaining about…he just never really wanted to solve them…he was too satisfied with being the center of attention with his whining. Thank you again for your comment. I appreciate it very much when others share their experiences. It helps me to see that I’m not alone and that my assessment of narcissistic behavior is correct πŸ™‚


    • May be we shared the same mother??? Mine always complained of disease but never interested in seeing a doctor.
      Its hell growing up as a child around such a scr&*ed mother. I have paid the price to hell and back. Therapy has been like
      a phd study for me…. in the hope of making sense of my life.


  3. I could have written every single one of these comments. YES they love to complain. It IS exhausting!! And.. NO, they do NOT want solutions. I’ve offered MANY. HIs out of control dogs? TRAIN THEM. Did he? NO. Don’t like your job? Quit!! Did he? NO. (He is retired, on a pension – this was an extra job). Complained about people wanting him to do side jobs. Did he say NO? No.. he wanted the money but LOVED complaining that people were monopolizing his time!! Complained about his back aching. EVERY DAY. Did he just take a pill and stop complaining? NO. This went on for TEN YEARS. I am EXHAUSTED. I try to share my problems – even OUR problems.. and he ignores me.
    OR I get the silent treatment for days.. Then he comes back like nothing ever happened. WHO DOES THIS? A NARCISSIST. You are all correct. They cannot be fixed. You either shut up, accept that you will be ignored/neglected, agree with EVERYTHING they say or want…. or LEAVE. Well.. I left. We are still married but don’t live together. But the kicker is.. he STILL manages to suck the life out of me!!! He sides with his family against me — invests nothing in our relationship – I get no money from him. No little surprises. You know why?? He claimed his PRESENCE was PRESENT enough……… !! He wines and dines women to trap them. But afterwards – after getting you hooked? They could care less. You are a piece of FURNITURE. To be shoved around at their whim. My husband places more value on his spoiled, rotten, dogs than he does his WIFE OR his family. And.. does he see anything wrong with that?? NO. So ladies.. gentlemen.. Stop asking what is wrong with THEM? Ask what is wrong with US for accepting such
    deplorable behavior. There is a lot of cognitive dissonance ( words don’t match up with actions).. It’s confusing.. SOOOOOO confusing to be the victim of one of these
    empty shelled vampires. I guess we spend the greater part of our lives trying to figure out.. WHAT just happened?? WHY that happened?? And.. The ONE time they do listen to you – agree to a solution? 5 minutes later they have forgotten about it – like the conversation never happened. I could write a book on this stuff. Crazy Making at it’s finest.
    The twists – turns – lies – rewriting history – blatant delusions – projection – gaslighting – excuses – complaints – blah blah blah blah. NO WONDER WE ARE EXHAUSTED!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I could not agree more…you are so so right! We should never change ourselves to adjust to their whims…we should recognize narcissists for what they are and get the hell out


  4. OMG!! You are 100% spot on! Excellent job collecting all these sad truths and putting them into usable form! I enjoy your writing style and want you to know you are helping many others through writing the truth about narcissists!


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