Nagging and The Three Gatekeepers


ADHD & Marriage - Weekly Marriage Tip - August 15, 2012

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“Imagine three gatekeepers standing between you and the actions you want to take…Each of these gatekeepers represents one question:  Is it kind?  Is it necessary?  Is it true?  I check in with these gatekeepers when I’m unsure about my course of action.  If it doesn’t pass one of these gatekeepers, I know I need to rethink my decision.”

- Suze Orman

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Nagging and The Three Gatekeepers

Some number of clients have told me they like to use a set of questions such as those Orman talks about when making decisions.  These questions provide moral and personal clarity.

So let’s apply them to the topic of nagging.

Is it kind?  I would argue ‘no.’  In fact, it is unkind to both the ‘nagger’ because it puts him or her in an awkward, unlikeable position and to the ‘naggee’ because it is demeaning and controlling.

Is it necessary?  Though many would say they have resorted to nagging because it is the only way they can assure the completion of a task or get their partner’s attention, the reality is that nagging is NOT necessary.  It is simply one choice for getting a partner to complete something.  A different (and better) choice would be to express what you need to your partner and work with him/her to figure out how to get that done constructively.  (In ADHD impacted couples, this usually includes better treatment of ADHD symptoms…)  In fact, nagging is not only not necessary, it is very destructive to a relationship.  The more you nag, the more your partner tunes you out.

Is it true?  This one may be unanswerable for nagging…proof that not every system can be applied in every instance!

For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
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Melissa Orlov

© 2012 Melissa Orlov