Clare’s Clutter Clearing Story
When I started to clear my clutter my relationships with family and friends started to change – not all of them for the better.
Not everyone knew I had a clutter challenge because I was an expert at moving or hiding it when I needed to, and I limited people’s access to my home and rooms. Only my therapist knew how bad it really was and that I was trying to clear it. It was simply easier not to tell anyone – I didn’t need that added pressure, especially when I had failed so many times in the past.
Everyone on their Journey experiences a shift in their relationships because of the shifts in themselves. Our self-confidence and self-belief grow. All those people who told us for years or decades that we would never successfully clear our clutter Forever are being proved wrong. These shifts feel great to us – but they can be unsettling to others who have been used to us being this way and don’t want us to change.
That’s because we – and our clutter – are part of their comfort zone. We are stepping outside our comfort zone, and that inevitably changes their comfort zone. We are making life uncomfortable for them, and they can often unintentionally turn into gremlins who try to sabotage our success to maintain their comfort zone.
My experiences were no different. As you may already know, I am estranged from my parents and although that didn’t happen overnight, I can clearly trace it back to clearing my clutter. The self-reflection, learning and understanding I did on my Journey with the help of my therapist, and the confidence and self-belief that I gained as a result changed our relationship forever.
My LIFE Timeline and therapy taught me that I was co-dependent on my parents. I was the ‘good girl’. I would do anything to hold on to my emotionally unhealthy and unfulfilling relationship with them out of fear of being abandoned or appearing ungrateful.
My brother was sent away to boarding school when I just 5 years old. I didn’t understand why, and my parents didn’t have the emotional intelligence or skills to explain it to me. I must have sensed that my mother struggled to bond with my brother and consequently, I believed that upsetting my mother meant you were unloved, ungrateful and sent away. That led to me always desperately trying to get my parents approval by doing whatever they decided was best for me. This led to my extreme people pleasing that would plague me for decades. In our family my parents’ decisions were just accepted without discussion or debate.
I wanted to feel unconditionally loved and accepted by my parents. I only felt that with the family dog, Heidi. I wanted – needed – to feel emotionally safe and genuine affection. Instead, I felt ignored, unheard, and that my feelings and opinions weren’t important. I never asserted myself, and because of my co-dependency and people pleasing, my parents were able to passive-aggressively control me. Of course, I didn’t realise any of this until I cleared my clutter, and I like to believe my parents didn’t do it intentionally.
With my newfound understanding of my behaviour and habits, I could see that I had allowed my parents, especially my mother, to take over different aspects of my life. One clear example out of many was when I moved into my first house. She offered to buy me a new kitchen, which of course was very generous. However, instead of giving me a lump sum or a budget to work with, she insisted on coming to the showroom and proceeded to tell me what I did and didn’t want. I felt I had no control over the choices because she was paying, and because I was a ‘good girl’, because I didn’t want to appear ungrateful, I accepted her decisions. 6 months later she had the exact same kitchen – except for the tiles and flooring – installed in her house. 6 months after that my brother had the exact same kitchen, a ‘gift’ from my mother.
As I started to understand myself, my clutter and my relationships more with the help of my LIFE Timeline and my therapist, things started to change.
The first change my parents noticed and reacted to was when I started to protect my boundaries. At a practical level that involved me not calling them as frequently. My pattern with my parents had been to speak to them three or four times a week, telling them what I was doing, listening to their opinion on what I was doing, changing my behaviour based on their opinion because I was a ‘good girl’. As a result of fewer calls, that led to an increase in e-mail communication.
My Clutter Clearing Journey was a full-time job. Unlike Journey members now, I had to work out, research and test the Journey as I built it. Having consciously decided not to tell my parents what I was doing for fear of judgement, our regular calls were brief, and I probably came across as evasive. Clutter Clearing was ‘my’ project and I wanted to keep it as my own without their input. I had to do this for myself. When we had our regular calls and I wasn’t sharing every detail about what I was doing, the shift was definitely noticed by my parents, felt, and unwelcome.
When I completed my 7 Step Journey, I visited my therapist Meg with my newfound self-confidence and self-belief to get her help to work out what I was going to do with my life. I felt like I was capable of anything – but there was no ‘job’ I particularly wanted to do. Meg recommended that I do something called N.L.P. (Neuro Linguistic Programming). She said it would help me work out what I wanted to do next and give me some valuable skills which I could potentially use in whatever my next step in life might be.
N.L.P. is the study and application of effective communication both with yourself and others, and the way thoughts affect behaviour. With hindsight, I don’t think it is a coincidence that Meg suggested it. She had also been therapist to my brother and my dad. Although she never saw my mother professionally, she heard about her extensively from me, my brother and my dad, so she knew that our family had ‘issues’ and that my parents lacked emotional intelligence.
With hindsight, by recommending the N.L.P Meg gave me an amazing gift – the key to my Best Life and my own voice. I did a one-day N.L.P introductory taster workshop and I absolutely loved it – it felt like this was what I had been looking for. However, because I had given up my job to clear my own clutter, I needed my parents help to fund the 6-month Practitioner course.
I sent the brochure to my parents to get ‘approval’ for a loan to do the course. When they didn’t mention it in our calls the following week, on the next call I asked my mother if they had received it. ‘Yes’, was her reply, then silence. ‘So what did you think?’, I asked. ‘It’s very anti-Christian’ was her reply. It was the ‘no’ without saying no that I was painfully familiar with.
‘OK’ I said, ‘but I’m not asking for your approval, I’m asking you to lend me the money’. Where did that come from? I had never questioned or challenged my parents in the past for fear of the consequences. I had always just accepted everything. I had found my voice.
Mum was as taken aback by my answer as I was. She was clearly flustered and didn’t know what to say or how to rebuff me. Unlike in the past, I didn’t try to fill the void in the conversation, so she reluctantly agreed to fund the course, presumably feeling she couldn’t challenge the advice of Meg the therapist. She would later go on to tell friends and family that the change in me – which was simply growing confidence, self-belief, voicing my own opinion and starting to live my Best Life – was due to me joining a cult called N.L.P.
When I decided to do the next level N.L.P. course, instead of asking for another loan from my parents, for the first time in my life I got a credit card to pay for it myself to avoid the questions, judgement and control.
This was the first significant experience of my parents struggling to accept the change in me that resulted from me clearing my clutter and starting to live my Best Life. I had realised I didn’t have to provide full disclosure to explain the choices I made. Clare version 2.0 was in the process of uploading, a version that others might not recognise or like. Defects in the original version were now – finally – being debugged.
You can clear your clutter fast, or you can clear your clutter forever, but you can’t clear your clutter forever, fast.
If you NEED to clear your clutter and you’re ready to accept that you can’t clear it forever FAST, click on this link and visit my Help Centre to find out how I can help you get started. https://www.clutterclearing.net/clares-help-centre/