Saturday, 17 November 2012

On Taking the Power Back

This week I started getting my house straight. All those little jobs you know you should do, but for whatever reason you don't. I say whatever reason - I know exactly the reason, these would be the little jobs I would have asked my ex to do. Like hanging pictures and fixing door handles, sweeping the bin cupboard and tightening that loose hinge. Little things that bug you each day, things that are easy enough to accomplish, but for some reason it's easier just to ask (and ask and nag) someone else to do it. 

And I know that some of those tasks, I could have done easily, and it would have been a good job and I didn't do them, because I just couldn't be bothered. But some of those things, I handed over responsibility, because I didn't know how to - like hanging pictures, which involves drilling holes and funny little rawplugs and in my life it has been ingrained that those are jobs for men to do. And some of those jobs - those jobs were taken from me. See my ex was a perfectionist. He could be a major control freak. And little by little I was told that I was doing things wrong, that things that weren't done his way were the wrong ways. Like how I used the vacuum cleaner or how I washed up. Things that in the grand scheme of things didn't seem worth pointing out, or fighting over. So I said fine, and I did things his way, or I didn't do them at all. I handed my power over. 

And you might be thinking that by handing them over, by not doing things I was doing myself a favour - because who likes chores anyway? But when I nodded and accepted and mumbled what I was doing was affirming my in-capability to do that thing. I was saying 'yes, you're right, so by default, I'm wrong'. And when eventually that doormat behaviour got boring and he left, I am now surrounded by things I could have done, but for some reason I don't. My confidence was undermined. My ability to cope and achieve and thrive was called into question, and every mumbled acquiesce has only served to further that. I talked earlier this week about co-dependency and this goes way further than that. To the point of plain dependency. 

I realise, through some therapy and some soul-searching and a lot of journalling how much power I gave away. Day after day. To save arguments and to save our relationship. Now I face all those tasks, the ones I didn't do because he was there, he was better than me or he was more capable than me. Those things now I have to learn and re-learn and drill and hammer and screw things to other things. I'm not going to call on someone else to come fix those things, those tasks are mine, that power is mine, the sense of accomplishment will be mine. Though I might have to call someone to borrow their drill. 

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