Why Abuse Survivors Often Forget to Tidy Up Their Things

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One of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming that the effects of abuse are only visible on the surface. Living through abuse leaves deep emotional and psychological scars that can manifest in various aspects of life, including daily routines like tidying up personal belongings. Here are 10 reasons why abuse survivors often struggle with keeping things organized.

Let’s start with the first one: hypervigilance.

Have you ever noticed how some abuse survivors seem constantly on edge and struggle with keeping things tidy? It’s not just a matter of being disorganized; it’s tied to their experience of trauma. Survivors of abuse frequently develop hypervigilance as a way to stay safe. This means they’re always on high alert, scanning their environment for potential threats rather than focusing on everyday chores like cleaning up. This hyper-awareness can make it hard for them to relax enough to tidy up. Imagine feeling like you need to watch your back all the time—it’s exhausting, and it makes simple tasks feel overwhelming. When their mind is busy scanning for danger, organizing personal belongings might not seem important. Their energy is focused on staying safe, not on making sure everything is neat and orderly. Sometimes, reminders of past trauma can trigger this hypervigilance. It’s like their body and mind react automatically to any sign of danger, real or perceived. In these moments, cleaning up or tidying their space becomes less of a priority. Their mind is occupied with survival instincts rather than household tasks. It’s not that they don’t want things to be tidy; it’s that their brain is wired to prioritize survival over cleanliness. This constant state of alertness can be exhausting and draining, affecting their ability to concentrate on tasks that might seem simple to others.

Number two: emotional overload.

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