Brace yourself, I’m going to indulge in a bit of introspection here. I won’t be offended if you leave now. Really.
I’ve been re-reading the book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, and something struck me when I got to a section dealing with self-sabotage. I’m doing that. I get going really well on getting a handle on the house, then I get in my own way and make myself stop. Yes, there have been numerous times when life gets in the way and things backslide, but I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about the times when there’s lots of opportunity, but I just can’t seem to overcome the inertia, or when things are going really well and there’s this building aversion against continuing. Not just “I’m tired of doing it so I’ll take a break”, but a feeling of anxiety, sometimes near-panic, that grows as I work on things until I simply can’t continue. Sometimes I can feel it building even when I only think about doing something. Like now.
Similarly there’s a part of me that regularly refuses to even let the thoughts enter my mind, like the always “forgetting” to take “before” pictures. I know how crazy it sounds, but there have been times where the option of doing something around the house has literally not entered my mind when I have free time. In retrospect it’s like a huge blank spot with no explanation. The thought should have been obvious, and in hindsight it is obvious, but at the time it’s anything but; it’s simply not there at all.
It’s not just a passive lack of caring. It’s more active than that. It’s like a part of me is diligently working against me, deep behind the scenes, preventing me from getting anywhere in this whole thing, and I don’t have the slightest clue why.
According to the author, there’s always some kind of pay off behind all self-defeating behaviour, but I can’t imagine what it might be. I’m not happy with my house as it is. I’m ashamed of it and what people think it says about me. It’s really not pleasant to live in, on many different levels. On the surface I should be highly motivated to change things and, on the surface, I feel highly motivated, but there’s something in there that’s actively working to ensure that it doesn’t happen. When I’m away from it all, it seems so easy and straightforward, yet when I’m standing there able to do something about it, it’s so overwhelming that I mostly just want to cry.
So, this has me thinking. What’s the pay off? Where’s the reward? What does this perverse part of me think it’s protecting? What’s is it about an organized home that could possibly be scarier and more unpleasant than what I’ve got now? Why? Why? Why?
Naturally, this part of me is a coy bugger and is clearly very skilled at hiding not only its motivations, but its very existence. Writing this has been an effort in will-power and has taken about 5 days so far.
You guys know me. Some of you have followed me through this journey for a long time. Any suggestions? Anything leap out at you? I want to get this project completed so I can use this blog to tell everyone about all the happy and wonderful things that I’m doing in my newly unencumbered home, but it’s pretty clear that it’s not going to happen until I can track this gremlin to its lair and evict it.