How To Protect Your Boundaries!

When a person won’t stop telling you what is wrong with the world!

In this article

We have all been caught at least once in our life by a person who just complains…endlessly! It is exhausting and boring to say the least, but how do you escape the ever tightening vines of gloom around your legs and arms without appearing disrespectful or rude?

True, some people may feel comfortable by saying “Shut up you are depressing me!”, but most people are taught to be more accommodating in the emotional sensitivity department… of which the complainer is happy to rely on!  

What is a complainer?

How often have you noticed yourself completely switching off when someone is talking to you? It is not because you are tired…it is because you are bored.
The complainer is an attitude where a person will continually talk about everything that is going wrong with their life, other peoples lives or just the world in general.  They always seem to find something new to complain about and decide that you are their next willing listener! 

In life, we work out what is healthy or unhealthy by talking things through. When doing this, we will start to notice what is not right and then comment on that to then move towards what is right for us. But this is NOT what the complainer does.

The complainer is in a metaphorical swamp. Rather than talking things through to get out of the swamp, they just tell you about what the swamp is and how bad everything is. The reason we find this exhausting is because they are not trying to live a healthy life. They are wanting to stay the victim (see the article on the 5 main emotional manipulators CLICK HERE

Why is complaining emotionally manipulative?

To complain without aiming to seek a solution is to force another person into listening to unhealthy discussion. 

The complainer is showing no respect to another persons boundaries or emotional well-being.

An emotional manipulation is where one person will use a social interaction for their own gain. This interaction is not concerned of the other person’s well-being in any way at all.
As we can see with a complainer, they are more concerned with off loading all their stress and criticisms. They are not stopping to ask how the other person may be feeling during the conversation. Very often the complainer will avoid eye contact so they can ignore that fact that they are aware (even at a subliminal level) that the other person is not enjoying the conversation

How to stop a complainer in their tracks

I want to scream shut up…but isnt that rude??

What you may want to say and what could land you in trouble may not be too far apart. Even though you may want to scream, when it comes to the victim emotional manipulation using a rational and mature tactic is always best. Remember, the victim is always looking for reasons why they are so hard done by. Having an emotional outburst will often be used against you in the future. 

So if telling them straight or walking away won’t work…then what?

Get them to take responsibility!

The victim complainer is pointing out everything that is wrong, so if you ask them what they are going to do to help create a solution…the complainer becomes immediately stuck. They can’t continue to complain because if they do, they they ‘become part of the problem’ and therefore they would be criticizing themselves which they would never do. 

Power Phrase…

“So what are you going to do about it?”

The sure fire way to stop the complainer is to ask them…”So, what are you going to do about it?” – If it is their job…ask! If it is their relationship…ask. Whatever it is they are complaining about…ask them…”So what are you going to do about it?” 

Ensure you ask in a genuine way, ask them how they are going to take responsibility and resolve it. If they say they “can’t” then they are admitting to being uncooperative, ignorant or a victim. So they have to answer OR stop complaining. Both ways you win!  


This may take time to practice and at first the person who is complaining may become more “complainy” saying your not listening to them or even show slight aggression to try to get you to back down. Patience is the key to this and it may sometime mean asking and then backing down a little until the person complaining gets used to your new boundary. 

Write out each and every situation that you try this and notice how you felt. Record everything and become aware of how all the different people in your life act and react when you calmly and rationally ask them to take responsibility.