My father the hoarder – Photo 2.

The garage: a place he kept all the things that could not fit in anywhere else. I hated it. It never had a purpose, it was just a dirty storage unit for my father. When I was growing up, the garage was filled with garden equipment, old suitcases, our childhood bikes, ladders and occasional cleaning products. It was kept just like a garage should be. When my mother left, it’s purpose became unclear and my father began using it as a dumping ground. Old chairs began to surface as did other furniture we had stopped using. He started collecting crates of wine and endless bottles of beer there. Several sets of garden furniture appeared over the years, just in case he ran out during his BBQs for his “friends”. His hoarding was growing out of control. Worst of all, this space one day became my father’s gym. He bought a rowing machine and exercise bike and placed them into the already cramped area. I kept well away. No one ever entered the garage except him. That was until he started using it as an airing room. The damp, mouldy garage became the place he hung his clothes to be aired. When my father decided that he wanted entire control over every aspect of my life and began washing my clothes,* the garage was the place to let them dry. As he had been tirelessly looking after me, it was then my “job” to make sure all the clothes were hanged up on the washing lines he had now attached to the garage ceiling. ALL the clothes. Including his underwear. I refused of course. I would not attach mine either, he hated my insolence but nothing was going to let me degrade myself any further. He just laughed at me reiterating how ridiculous I was being and to “grow up and take responsibility”. I stood my ground, I already felt belittled enough.
I dreaded Sundays.
The day of “rest”. Well, it wasn’t for me. It was the day my father would do the few chores he set for himself. It was the day of “inspection” where my father would check on my cleaning and tidying. It was the day where I would often find piles of my “mess” the abuser had discovered strewn and scattered all over the house. It was my day to hang up the laundry and enter the disgusting garage. Sunday was the day I hated, when my father would follow me in and watch to see if I was doing it correctly otherwise it would all be taken down and done again. This time as he waited.

*See post: The right to wash my own clothes –  Published 2nd April 2013

 

Am I passive?

One word.

Yes.

I could easily describe myself as passive.

My mother disagrees after looking through a list of passive behaviours I was given at the course. Certain words that I had highlighted, she negated. I circled “subservient”. She totally disagreed. In all honesty, I have elements of this quality and do not demonstrate or believe I possess it all of the time. However, in the past, it definitely played a strong role in my life. Do I feel that is is easier to agree with people? Yes. I do. The want to have an easy life, a less stressful life, has left me sitting back, being passive and watching others take control of their lives. It’s left me feeling jealous and tired at the monotony of my own.

Once upon a time, I would never have described myself as subservient. Even living with the abuser did not make me feel like that. I fought against it. But as the years have gone by, my reality has changed and I have been left with a life I am not entirely happy with. 

I am indecisive especially when it comes to making requests. I plan in my head what I need to say or what I want to do but saying it out loud is another story. I feel nervous and as though I am putting the other person out. I am expecting criticism and fault finding within myself. I constantly criticise myself. It’s no wonder I expect it from others too. That’s not to say that I want it. I don’t. 

I put myself down. A lot. 

A key sign of passive behaviour. I do not respect myself enough, regularly finding fault in my body image and appearance. I am the person who hears my complaints the most. I do not want to seem aggressive or attention-seeking. I do not put myself first or value who I am. I wish I could.

I run from confrontation. I fear it. It is no surprise after enduring hell with the abuser. I can’t stand it at work or home.

Am I passive?

Yes I am. Some of the qualities will stay I’m sure but I am making a change to the others. I want to like myself and feel good about myself. I want to feel self-value and respect and be able to stand up for myself in challenging situations. I do not want to play the victim or agree to everything for an easier life.

It’s time to change.