Every time I walk into my daughter’s A. room I have feelings of disgust. Besides a narrow strip that is leading to her bed the whole floor is filled with a wide variety of objects like pencils, dolls, doll dresses, Playmobile, Lego, and tons of dust since the room has not been cleaned for months.
We helped A. to clean the mess on a couple of occasions but she never managed to keep it tidy. Here I have frustration popping in. Frustration because I see there is an issue pending with no apparent solution. Frustration because every time A. makes a progress in the way she is dealing with her life there is no change to the situation in her room.
We’ve been avoiding to put pressure on the issue in the previous months because of A’s middel school exams. Now summer holidays have started several weeks ago and the situation is still the same. We have had the whole story with D. and connected to it we’ve established A. had lived in fear and depression for a while. Now she’s working on the outflow of this experience but nothing leads to changes in her room. I was left speechless when asked about cleaning up her room A. answered with no hesitation that it was not something she planned to do during summer holidays.
When tonight again I entered her room to collect a cup to put in the dishwasher I was confronted with this messy room. I made a comment on something that was still dropped (to my opinion) on the floor and A. said she will take care of it later. “later” is for me the same as never, since she uses this word just to make me happy and make me leave.
I am possessed, obsessed by this room. I need to work on this and let it go. The physical situation in the room is not my problem, the reactions I have are indeed. I really need to work this out because I feel that a part is reflecting my own shit. On the other hand I know that A. is dealing with big time resistances and only when she has dealt with those she will be able to clean up the mess. Imposing or forcing A. into action might lead to a clean room, but it will return to a mess in no time if the source of the problem is not adressed.
Quite complex to separate the emotions from the facts. Besides feelings I also see my ego that tells me it is not fair A. can go on with this behavior without consequences. If in a specific situation the outcome is she was wrong in saying or doing something a simple “sorry” is all she gives before going on with her life as if nothing happened. Big time ego here that is suggesting revenge, punishment to make sure A. understands that she is not allowed to do that. A. needs to be more aware of the consequences of her actions but it is not up to me to judge what the consequences should be. They will be there anyway.
I am very allergic to the mess in A’s room and any kind of mess she leaves for days, weeks, months just laying somewhere in or around the house. You can ask A. repeatedly to collect the stuff and bring it to her room with no result for many times. A curious thing is again the frustration connected to the fact I can justify why I am not doing certain things, too busy with other more important stuff while A. is either watching a movie, sleeping in until late, making a drawing, playing with a girlfriend, doing nothing.
The toughest part of this is that it is a mirror to myself. I too have a lot of mess to clean up, not physically so visible as in A’s case but my resistances are equally tough. Meanwhile I am struggling with the question to what extent we can accept A’s behavior in the context of our small family community like leaving her stuff for days, weeks and sometimes months somewhere in the house with no apparent goal or motivation. Stripping as properly as I can this question from any feeling or ego related matter I still see a couple of points we need to agree on within our family context.
So, wrapping this up, I need to work on finding the starting point of all this shit so I can clean up my own mess. From the practical side I am going to propose an agreement between all of us about how we should deal with our stuff in the house and in our own rooms/studio’s, within the context of our small community. Meanwhile, the most effective thing I can do is being an example. This morning I started to clean up one of the tables in our garage! Immediately started to develop a feeling of hope this will influence A. immediately and motivate her into action… I have a lot of self forgiving to do here!