Okay, thank you. Please make this anon? I suffer from anxiety and depression, and I am living in an abusive household. My mother regularly shames me about the state of our house and when I make her angry, hours of cleaning is usually my punishment, and it has been this way for almost all of my life. How do you or your followers think I could work to disconnect the act of cleaning things from the emotions of being abused? It has SERIOUSLY fucked up my house because I dread cleaning so much.
First of all, thank you for being brave and awesome enough to ask this, and please know that if you need help or support for aspects of your life that aren’t cleaning, there are resources, and we can help you find them. But that’s not what you asked, so I’ll leave that alone, and ask that anyone responding also respects that.
And, as always, please remember that I am not a qualified expert on anything.
For starters, you’re already miles ahead of the game because of your level of self-awareness about your situation. You can identify and separate out the factors that are contributing to how you feel about cleaning. You have a desire to improve your mindset about cleaning, and to remove the negative associations you have with it.
So here’s my advice: you need to take back cleaning. You need to start interacting with your environment on your terms. So pick a spot. Somewhere that means something to you. Somewhere you’d like to have a nice place. Somewhere that can be a refuge. And pick a time, not now because I’m telling you to do it, and not some other time because someone else is telling you, but a time that you decide on in advance because it’s when you want to.
At that time, just work for 20 minutes. When that time is up, do something you enjoy. Eat something you like. Read something that makes you laugh. And then pick another time. Schedule it in your mind and do it again. 20 minutes, then stop. Do something fun. Come tell us about what you did so we can celebrate. You tell me what sparkle text or gif you want, and it’s yours. Keep doing this until the feeling of pride in what you’re accomplishing outweighs the feeling of dread because of what you have to do.
Work slowly. Understand that it’s going to take time, and that you may have setbacks. But do this for you, because you want to have someplace nice to go. If you get to a point where you can take back cleaning of other spaces, great. If not, that’s great too. Only you can make that decision. But you can make at least part of it on your terms.
Please, be safe, be happy, be strong, and take care of you. We’re all rooting for you, I promise. You can do this.