Eavesdropping is not a nice activity to engage in, especially in the privacy of a senior staff club, where elite members of society socialise. But from the angle of public interest, controversial comments not made under the effect of booz can be brought up for public debate. Is it right for anyone to assert that women are born to nag, in a private conversation?
Nagging is the habit of finding faults, worrying, annoying, scolding and making someone else sad through continued verbal attacks. Historically, nagging as a regular life-style, is associated with wives and mistresses of busy kings, tyrants and rigid men of power. Women develop and use nagging as a foxy strategy for gratifying selfish ambition and libido, but when it becomes domineering attitude then it is resisted.
Nagging is most common among the category of human personality profiles referred to as the hysterics, the hypochondriacs and the obsessive. The hysterics express their emotions easily and freely; they love attention, admiration and the limelight. They can be dramatic and talk endlessly, but get angry easily when they do not get the desired attention. Nagging would follow.
The hypochondriac personality is usually preoccupied with bodily functions and their health, accompanied by complaints that can be boring and irritating. Their style of nagging takes the form of self-pity. The obsessive personality is a perfectionist, so meticulous and over-bearing that nobody is good enough to be a matching companion.
From the point of view of social psychology, men and women who fall into the category of the hysteric, the hypochondriac and the obsessive personality profiles are born to nag. Another research view on nagging is that that life-style has something to do with personal deprivations and propensities connected with libido. And unsatisfied libido results in nagging. Aggression arising from libidinal deficiency or deprivation can be quite furious, with Potiphar’s wife in the Scriptures being a classical example of transferred aggression.
Similarly, like Jezebel, the wife of an ancient Roman general ordered that a soldier whom her husband assigned to her as a guard, be castrated. Her anger was that the soldier was too dull to understand the body language of a woman whose husband was always away fighting senseless wars. The poor soldier became a eunuch. That is one of the vicious shapes that nagging can take. There can be sadism when nagging does not achieve its intended goal.
Why nagging is associated with women is because like foxes, women speak more through body language which obtuse men rarely understand, thus inviting nagging. What feminine charm fails to achieve, then lashing and stinging tongue would follow. Although men also nag, male nagging arises from traumatic experiences, fears, anxieties and failures, expressed physically through aggressive sports or wife-beating.
Another theory about nagging attributes the habit to geographical zones and radiations from the ground and the nature of foods which people consume. This theory would classify certain racial groups as aggressive and prone to nagging. The Blacks are placed as a race of nagging people, whereby arises the suggestion that genetic factors predispose some people to nagging and aggressiveness.
Studies have also attributed nagging to harsh economic, domestic and marital conditions, with the view that a hungry man is an angry man. The truth is that nagging cuts across racial and social boundaries; rather, the habit can take different forms and guises, depending on individuals and circumstances.
Historically, boredom has been a predisposing factor which fuels the habit of nagging, especially wives of powerful and busy men. Obviously, women long for attention, admiration, affection and companionship, but when they are left lonely at home, with nothing to do, the tendency is that nagging can become a means of drawing attention to the plight. Tension can arise if attention is seen to be diverted elsewhere, a situation which no one would like.
Nagging is not peculiar or exclusive to women, but when a woman discovers the peculiar weaknesses of a man, she would use them as weapons to bargain for attention when she is not getting enough of it. The point has to be made that nagging, talkativeness and a domineering habit are three different sources of domestic plight. Studies in domestic violence and failure show that a combination of nagging talkativeness and a domineering attitude can ruin the peace of a home. Nagging is inheritable, but money can reduce the intensity.
Dr. Amirize is a retired lecturer at the Rivers State University, PH.