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My mother and I also had this push/pull relationship you've been discussing, with me trying to clean the house, and her using every excuse I am hearing from your guests. The big breakthrough came when I was approaching middle age myself, and I suddenly saw the essence of her humanity: that she was unable to control this compulsion and knew it. I talked with her about this, with sympathy and daughterly love, and she admitted it to me for the first time. After that she was able to let me clean without reciminations, only the occasional lapse where she would accuse me of throwing away something precious (and apologize later when she found it). I should also mention that my Dad said after she died, that she was an incredible woman, and if he had the choice, he'd take her back mess and all. Not having the choice, we cleaned the house (took three of us three weeks just to make a dent in the mess), and he remodeld it at the age of 75.
posted 3 years, 9 months ago
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