Many people can’t get organized because they don’t have the skills or knowledge about how to organize. They may be overwhelmed with stuff, or have brain based challenges such as ADHD which make organizing very difficult. Some people may also have issues with codependency. Depending on how the codependency is manifesting itself, it may make it impossible to get the house organized and keep it that way. In this post, I’ll give some examples to help you figure out if you have trouble with codependency and some recommendations on what to do about it.
- Do you chronically put the needs of everyone else before your own? Do you lose sleep because you’ve overextended yourself? Do you bail from your own personal commitments because you need to solve someone else’s problems? Do you have regular scapegoats (kids, pets, elderly relatives, volunteer work, significant others) that you will use as an excuse to get out of fulfilling your own personal responsibilities such as organizing your home?
- Do you know what your needs are? Perhaps you’ve attended to so many other people for so long that you can’t even identify when you’re hungry, full, exhausted, stressed, when you’re being taken advantage of, or not being treated with kindness. When you can’t tune in to your own needs, you won’t be able to hear/feel/see/notice when your internal notifications are trying to alert you that it’s time to tidy up. You also probably won’t have slept enough or nourished your body with healthy food so that you will have the energy to organize.
- Are you are afraid of upsetting others, and so are stuck in a habit of perpetual people-pleasing? This one is especially exacerbated for those who have ADHD as well, since people with ADHD are often also people pleasers. This is rooted in poor self-esteem, where people have a strong need for external validation so that they can feel a sense of approval and acceptance. You may not be in tune with your intuitive sense for keeping your home organized because you’ve spent so much of your energy tuning in to everyone else’s to-do list.
- Do spend a lot of energy thinking about what others are doing, worrying about them, or worrying about what others think of you? This could include relationship anxieties, but it could also be a result of having an addiction to watching the news. This has detrimental effects on your nervous system. All this energy drastically lowers your vibration, which will make it very hard to feel motivated to get organized.
- Do you let yourself get lost in someone else’s drama? How often do you call a friend just to have them monologue all of their problems to you? This usually happens from a well-intentioned desire to connect with someone, but where the emotional intimacy skills are still in development. While it may feel like bonding, this very unbalanced conversation is not serving either of you, nor is it nourishing your own creative and productive energies to get organized.
- Is it easier for you to take care of others rather than take care of yourself? Many people find it MUCH easier to assist someone else with their work rather than prioritizing their own work. I think this martyrdom has been popularized by a misinterpretation of the bible. Not prioritizing your own self-care is dangerous for you as well as for others. As cliched as this saying is, I’ve got to include it here: Always put on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else. Invest in yourself so that you can be of service to others. If you don’t do this, you’ll never be able to give yourself enough time and space to organize your stuff.
- Do you struggle with establishing and maintaining boundaries with others? Do you feel like a doormat with people walking all over you? Do you have a hard time saying no? When your boundaries are too permeable, any time and space you’ve designated in your calendar to organizing your house will quickly evaporate.
- Were you raised by an alcoholic, narcissist, or non-nurturing caregiver? If so, you have either become a narcissist yourself (and probably have not read this far into the post), or you’ve become so attuned to others needs that you have not learned how to nurture yourself. You may have trouble with emotional reactivity because you have not been taught healthy ways to comfort yourself. If you don’t have a good set of self-nurturing skills, you’ll turn to other addictions such as food, shopping, and workaholism to try to feel better. Do you often second guess yourself and doubt your perspective? Those are hallmark signs that you’ve been raised by an alcoholic, narcissist, or non-nurturing caregiver. If you haven’t resolved your addictions, you’re definitely trying to win an uphill battle to organize your house. The self-doubt will also make it very difficult to make decisions when decluttering and organizing.
If you’re curious if you have issues with codependency, here are some action steps you can take:
- Acknowledge when you notice your codependent nature to be triggered. Journal about your feelings.
- Read books about codependency. Codependent No More by Melody Beattie is a classic.
- Curate your social media feed with people who regularly post about codependency. @LisaRomano and @the.holistic.psychologist are two accounts that I like to follow on Instagram.
- Join a support group. Look up your local CODA chapter.
- Engage in some sort of therapy (traditional mental health psychology, hypnotherapy, energy work, or even acupuncture) to help you sort out your codependent patterns.
- Make time for yourself! Set aside time each day to focus on fulfilling your own needs and nurturing yourself. Make this a priority.
How do you like to prioritize your self care? Please let us know in the comments.
By Jean Prominski, Certified Professional Organizer
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