Want your partner to listen to you? Relationship expert Dr. Marianne Brandon on how to nag nicely
Ladies, we've all been there. If you've asked him once, you've asked 50 times. At some point you stopped asking nicely and your tone officially turned to nagging.
Now, somehow, it's hard to stop. The nag feels strangely natural rolling off your tongue. And you feel oh so justified in doing it. After all, who could blame you? Your request is more than appropriate, and your partner is more than capable of following through. Anyway, what choice do you have? You know of no other way to handle this situation.
Well you've come to the right place, because there is actually a more effective solution out there.
I've yet to hear a woman tell me that her nagging is effective in getting what she needs. In fact, here's a word of warning. If you were to succeed in getting what you want via nagging, then you will have a new problem on your hands. You will lose respect for a man who requires nagging to get something done. But that's a topic for another article.
Here's the deal - we nag when we are irritated. Irritation is a form of anger. Anger is a natural emotion and when expressed in a healthy way, it can be a very productive one, too. BUT it's when anger gets expressed in unproductive ways that things go very wrong. And nagging is one of those unproductive expressions of anger that we want to avoid if possible.
Anger is almost always an emotion that is fueled by something else - a deeper, more vulnerable feeling. When you look "under" your anger, chances are you'll find some combination of sadness, rejection, and/or fear. (Fear is almost always at the core of everything dark, but if you get to sadness or rejection, that's good enough). So ladies, find your sadness or your rejection, and let yourself really feel it. Drop down into it, so you feel it in your entire body. These emotions make us feel defenseless, helpless, hopeless, and obviously very uncomfortable. Anger, in contrast, energizes us, and makes us feel stronger and superior.
You have to genuinely find those deeper emotions, and then share them. Note that I have italicized the word genuinely - because if you aren't being genuine in your feeling, this will become manipulation and that's even worse than nagging cause at least nagging is more direct. So don't mess up this advice by messing with his mind and manipulating.
What you need to do is find that genuine feeling of rejection or hurt or whatever, embody it (meaning feel it in your entire body), look him in the eyes, and let him see it. And then, without attacking or belittling him, tell him about it. Keep your tone soft so you don't sound like a mother speaking with her son.
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About the Author: Dr. Marianne Brandon is a clinical psychologist and diplomat in sex therapy through AASECT. You can learn more about her work here.