Last week I worked with a couple who were feeling stuck in their clutter. The woman talked about being so overwhelmed with her stuff that she hadn't been able to move forward and begin letting go. Her husband said that living with her clutter made him angry. He said that he didn't have much stuff and he was frustrated that she couldn't live the same way.
They couldn't look each other in the eye. They looked away when they spoke. The woman was feeling a lot of shame. The man was mad. They'd been living this way for a long time.
I noticed that they were holding hands. Their grip was tight and powerful. I asked the woman if she liked her man. Her heart opened and she said yes. I asked the man if he liked her and he passionately said yes.
I pointed to their holding hands. I said, "This is serving you. The connection between the two of you is powerful." I said it was obvious that they fed each other.
How they were feeling about their clutter situation was the actual clutter. When she felt shame for not being able to let go, she was separating herself from him. When he was angry at her stuckness, he broke their connection.
I said some part of her must have felt that the shame was serving her, that it was the means to change, otherwise she wouldn't have continued feeling that way. His constant anger must have felt like it would create a change in her. Anger is often used to induce another to do what we want them to do. But neither the shame nor the anger was producing positive change. It added to their stockpile of stuckness.
I told them that the genuine article was their connection. It brought them their greatest joy. And maybe they could step off the gas of their shame and anger, and figure out a kinder way to help and encourage each other. I suggested they could take some time together to gently clutter bust things in their home. It would bring them closer. And it would increase the comfort they felt in their home.