1. I want to be in control. Of my circumstances, my fears, my life. I’m not. So to counteract this, it is very important that I ‘manage’ my surroundings and those in my immediate sphere of influence – primarily my husband. I can even tell myself it’s for his own good. This looks and sounds like nagging.
2. I don’t feel safe. So I need (want) you to help me ‘fix’ it. Maybe my mind feels scattered or I’m struggling with feeling overwhelmed by the demands of life. Suddenly it becomes imperative that the house is cleaned or the bin emptied because when my environment is neater, I feel safer. And the more unsafe I feel, the more important it is that this task is completed, Right Now. But I can’t sort out the world by myself, which is where You come in. If you won’t help, right now, then you don’t care.
3. I don’t trust you. I say I want you to take charge, but when it comes down to it I’m frightened. Frightened that you’ll do it (making me obsolete) and frightened that you won’t (making me frustrated). But if I treat you like a little boy, it’s not surprising if you start acting like one.
4. I want things done my way. It’s not enough that you help – it has to be in my time and according to my rules. Otherwise it’s not done ‘right’. Or I can’t handle waiting, so I’ll do it myself and then get overtired and angry.
5. I want you to notice me. I don’t feel like I’m being heard. I need to know you love me, but I don’t know how to ask. So I nag instead.
6. I confuse nurturing and supporting with mothering or smothering. You don’t need another mother. You do need a wife.
7. I don’t know what I want. But I’m feeling miserable and wobbly and maybe nagging will make it better.
8. (Related) I want someone to blame. I want a reason to get angry or upset, to justify the feelings that are already there.
9. I’m bored.
10. I want you to turn off your computer.
11. You’re not like me and I’m finding that difficult.
12. I don’t cope very well with unstructured time – so when I see you enjoying it, it makes me feel jealous and anxious.
13. I’m working up to broaching a bigger issue.
14. I feel taken for granted. I want you to see some of what I do and appreciate me. I know I keep banging on about lots of little things. But my life sometimes feels like a collection of these little things and I want to know it adds up.
15. I feel guilty because I haven’t been pulling my weight, so I’m going on the offensive to protect myself and to make it look like I’m the domestic goddess and you’re Mr Lazy.
16. I want to show you I care but I’m not sure how.
17. My brain works in multi-tasking lists. I’m not sure yours does.
18. I assume you’ll pick up on what I’m thinking. When I say I want an early night, I don’t necessarily mean alone. But when you don’t mind-read, my frustrations leak out in other ways.
19. I like talking.
20. I don’t give you the time or opportunity to respond.
21. I’m scared of losing you.
22. I want you to be my Saviour, not my husband.