Articles (Blog)

Respect! What is your clutter telling you about your relationships? Part 2.

Respect. Are you getting it? I don’t mean systemically, as a woman in society. That’s a whole ‘nother blog post or 50… although that’s a huge part of it.

I’m talking about the basic respect we deserve from our partners, kids and parents. Yes even teenagers. But mostly, partners. There’s grades of disrespect from mild “Oh, it’s just mum…” to systemic, undermining power games. (The following is an interesting read) –

Note ~ I’ve had quite a few clients who are struggling with broken dishwashers, pantry doors that don’t open, vacuum cleaners that don’t work and partners with an expensive drum set, a gym and a bike gear habit. There’s a lot going on in these relationships, that a bit of good old fashioned couple’s therapy would help immensely.

When we first get together with our partners, we’re generally both in love. We think everything is going to be just perfect. Real life can be a nasty shock. Having to make compromises can be difficult for some to accept.

We bring a lot of conscious and subconscious patterns with us when we enter into an adult partnership.

Fixed ideas about How Things Should Be will ooze out of even the smartest, educated and apparently non-conformist mind. Often we and they are completely unaware that this is happening. Someone feels angry or frustrated, a fight starts, sulking happens. You make up but the behaviour didn’t change.

Learning how people interact may have been limited to parents, siblings, an ex and friends of the same sex. They may have been really unhealthy examples. Childlike behaviours and manipulations may have never been unlearnt.

Some disrespectful behaviours may only pop up in specific circumstances. They can be quite surprising. It can take years for them all to appear and be dealt with and if not dealt with can be the death knell of a relationship.

Awareness of the other’s needs, and caring about other’s needs may be limited in a person who was raised to never think about other people’s feelings or needs. They may have zero concept that other people feel the same as they do, about things they don’t care about.

Loving, lenient, peacemaking behaviours may be seen as weak. Defensive behaviour may be an automatic reaction rather than valuing the relationship and person with a desire to understand and move forwards.


Mmmm, straight into it then Liz?

Who has the most control over how your money is spent? Who can bully the other into following their belief systems? Bullying can be subtle, and NOT subtle and can happen anywhere, in any relationship.

If something is important to you, and will require money to be spent, how does that conversation go? Best case scenario, you both know what the other person’s priorities are. Whose priorities outweigh the other’s?

Are excuses made –

“We can’t spend money on that because we need it to do this…”. Is this important to you? Is there absolutely no possible way that and this can be managed? Or is the “We can’t” statement the final word on the matter? Request denied. Or can compromises be made?

“We can’t afford to..” and yet other things important to them are affordable? Is a calm adult conversation with an equitable outcome impossible? Would this make you feel like you are a respected, equal adult?

Clutter and Housework.

Do you feel disrespected when your 7 year old is judgy about your outfit? Or your teenager leaves their dirty clothes all over the bathroom floor [or insert any normal house sharing task], even though you’ve repeatedly asked them (screamed at them) not to? Well you’re spot on. They do not respect you. Heaps of the classic bad behaviour we see in kids and teens is based on lack of respect and pushing boundaries. (Mental health issues aside.)

Anyone dumping stuff or allowing their personal clutter to affect other people in the house, is being disrespectful. Sometimes, it’s done maliciously. But often it’s not meant unkindly or with anger, they’re just lazy, distracted, self-absorbed or focussed on their own immediate priorities.

Leaving a mess for mum to clean up is catching. Kids do it automatically and it’s so easy for partners to fall into the same pattern. They’d really rather not do it, and you always do it, so…

Expectations and personal priorities aside, anyone sharing a house over the age of potty training is capable of doing their part. Yes, four year olds can be trained to put stuff away. Not just their own stuff, but family stuff too.

Everyone’s perspective is different and talking about our expectations, needs and beliefs will go a long way to avoiding unnecessary conflict.

An equal relationship allows for negotiations, debate, compromise and the desire to understand and accommodate the needs and point of view of the other person.

An unequal, disrespectful adult relationship has Final Words, uses anger, sulking, criticism and silence as tools for getting their way.

But it goes both ways. A person who gives up their power is also giving up respect. And that giving up of power can take many different forms.

Look at the clutter around you. If it’s overwhelming you (and it’s not solely yours) it might be a good time to address some of the behaviours of the people living in your home.


The Tidy Lady

Declutter & Life Coach ~ Tidyness Expert.

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