David I. Brandt,  - Psychoanalysis • Psychotherapy • Counseling
Tools & Insights

The 2% Rule ™ As Regards Nagging

The 2% Rule ™ Regarding Nagging a Spouse or any Other

[Note: Push the "MORE" button after this paragraph to continue this post.] 

If someone is nagging us and driving us crazy with their relentless nagging, it is important to realize a couple of things: Firstly, the other person is   probably not   crazy in that   something   about whatever they are perceiving in our actions or in-actions truly   is   hitting some button in them (e.g., increasing their anxiety, offending them, maybe we really are ignoring them, etc.).  In other words they have their subjective truth about what they are experiencing in our dynamic.

Secondly, how often is the "mis-step" that they perceive occurring? Are they nagging us obsessively with no sense that our "mis-step" is unusual, rare and/or just human?  For couples or people that get into these sorts of dynamics, it might be useful to agree upon a percentage amount, say 2-10%, whereby if the "mis-step" occurs less than that percentage of the time, then the "perceiver" of the injustice (or the infringement) gives them a pass and doesn't raise it or nag them about it.  But if it starts to get over the percentage, then they have an agreed upon right to raise it and have an intelligent and calm discussion about the matter and dynamics afoot (or go to psychotherapy [or the like] if they cannot). 

Of course this presumes that the couple or pair   have previously agreed   upon whatever it is that is getting nagged about.  If that is NOT the case then THAT becomes the issue that first needs to be negotiated!!

(NOTE: No one idea is always the right solution for all people all of the time.  These tools are just a part of a picture when working on couple's or pair's dynamics, not the whole picture.)

2 Comments to The 2% Rule ™ As Regards Nagging:

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jenny on Saturday, September 14, 2013 11:36 AM
Love the percentage tip! I think that even when a nag (and the behavior preceding it) dips below 2-10%, it can be perceived as a bigger, more frequent problem when there is ancient history coming into play. If someone historically has an issue then every new occurence (even infrequent) becomes the straw that broke the camel's back to the partner who is "done." So even though the nag-ee is moving in the right direction, the nagger is putting the behavior into the big pot that might extend back 20 years or so. His/her "barrel" then, is always going to be full and ripe for a nag, even if the behavior happens just once a year! I think you have to add some sort of statute of limitations to the 2% rule as well. I'm sure you'll have another post on that as I keep reading!
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David Brandt, LCSW on Saturday, September 14, 2013 4:40 PM
I like your idea about "His/her "barrel" then, is always going to be full and ripe for a nag". A saturation point means the need to find new tolerance levels - just as the nagger needs to find new tolerance levels. In this proposed model (admittedly only a model to give an idea of compromise), it is assumed that both parties have agreed upon the issue that gets nagged about. So when the "loaded-ness" factor rears its head, as it is indeed apt to do, it is certainly calling on BOTH nagger and nag-ee to develop the ability to take a deep breath and put the matter in some sort of perspective. Limits on the limit may indeed have to be developed too, btw, if needed! But eventually more underlying phenomena may be at play. Thanks much for your thoughtful feedback.

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