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Hoarding disorder - any kids/family members? - Page 6

post #101 of 135
www.homebistro.com is an option. A friend has bought some of these meals for her mother (who has everything - but not a hoarder) and the mom LOVED them, but told her daughter they were too expensive! Easy to prepare too. Know others who've liked them as well.
post #102 of 135
post #103 of 135
post #104 of 135
I was so hoping this thread would be revisited...bumped...
Nothing new is up with my mom...still hoarding, still cluttered.
My dd is starting to really notice that we are not over there much, though.
She is also starting to talk about the mess. Sometimes when she is cleaning up her room, she tosses all of the dollhouse furniture in her dollhouse haphazardly and says, "Look, now it looks like grandma's house."

As cute and funny as it seems, it's kind of sad. And I don't really know how to explain it to her.
post #105 of 135
thanks for this thread, and for the bump.

mom is a hoarder and i survived helping her move TWICE. she still asks if I know where her blah blah blah might be, that's been missing/buried/thrown out by me ten years or two houses ago.

I never knew that this was anything but normal as I was growing up, and had to learn a LOT when I got married. ("what? you can wash the goopy toothpaste off the outside of the tube? you don't have to wait until it completely crusts over and then open a new one from the stash? wow!")

She moved across the country to be near us a year ago and no one in my family can set foot in her house. "goat paths" through the stuff, prescription drugs, dust and mold. . . I need to keep my kids away. It's as bad as ever, only now it's right here in town and it cost dh and me two years' worth of savings to accomplish.

unfortunately I still react to her behavior with anger. . . I'm just so embarrassed by it, and am afraid that dh will see her in me.
post #106 of 135
Originally Posted by andiamomama View Post
I'm just so embarrassed by it, and am afraid that dh will see her in me.
You know, I feel this way too...down deep. I suppose it's why I am vigilant about decluttering all the time. I just never want to be as overcome by "stuff" as my mom is.
post #107 of 135
for the people on the other thread
post #108 of 135
Its funny to find this thread now at this time, I just had an argument with my sister (She's OCD) She has an impeccably clean house but once you go up into the attic or in the basement you see that she has a tendency to hoard! She has 1 ds who's now 17 and she still has his toys from when he was little "just in case he would like to give them to his children!" We went over to help my other sister clean out her small room to turn it into an office of sorts (She is not a hoarder per se I can't identify what she is quite yet) She had an old acrylic fish tank in the room and she offered it up to either of us if we could use it, I said no I had no use for it (Fish kill themselves so they won't have to live in my house! ) My other sis said "I'll take it I'll put it with the other tanks in the attic!" We joked about it saying that once you go into my sisters attic that all you would be able to see are fish tanks stacked to the gills in there (No pun intended ) She tried to defend herself by saying "I'm not hoarding them! I only have 2!" I asked her if she intended to use them some time in the near future and when she said she didn't know I explained that even though she only had 2 at the moment she would be considered a hoarder. I told her to think about what she would put in them if not get rid of them! (BTW- I gave her the fish tanks for a garage sale she was hosting because I fear hoarding!) Dh and I now live with my pack rat mother and we spent nearly 2 yrs getting her to trim down what she brought from her other apt. Let me tell you in this house we are all borderline hoarders to some extent and I'm very proud to say that we've been doing so much better! I've been purging things that I've held onto for so many years I can't even remember why it was so important in the first place! I've been able to purge down so much baby stuff that all the things I saved fit in one large rubbermaid tub! I'm so proud! Well thanks for listening! Erin
post #109 of 135
Yes, yes, yes! My parents do this in a very messy, disorganized fashion. My mother always brings some kind of nonsense to me, articles from 10-15 years ago she "saved" because they reminded her of something I did in college, etc. Lots of magazines, furniture, CLOTHES, more furniture. I hated that, but I could handle it. My mother's claim with that stuff is that she wants us kids to go through it all before she "sells" it. I told her there's one book set I want. When we finish unpacking from our move in June, probably will be done this weekend, I promised to take it to our apartment. She'll just come up with something else I'm supposed to do that prevents her from going through it all, though. I once accepted furniture from their house (as a poor college student), so surely I'll want some of the moldy junk in the basement someday, right? She also claims to be going through things, but she just moves them around.

I just realized that they're starting to do it with food, which is where it turns scary for me. They wanted to feed dd and I orange juice that expired in May ("it just gets thick, but it's fine, we're drinking it"... it was BROWN. and frosting for cupcakes that expired over a year ago. ("Must be fine b/c brother (who will eat pretty much anything on earth as long as it isn't a vegetable and his physique shows it) ate it and he's not sick").

I think it's interesting with the OCD/germaphobe connection that when I'm around them, I tend toward germaphobe more so than usual.

Dh's family is very good about keeping down hoarding, although they do keep some amount of primarily useless junk. We strive to keep it to that sort of level--it's clean, there are a couple of junk drawers or boxes that accumulate for a year or so and then get trashed/sorted. Dh and I are both really sensitive to junk piles, which is why the not-yet-done-renovation is driving us batty. The boxes we can't unpack because dd's room is unfinished, tools, wood, etc. is piled up behind the couch and I just want to go dump it all!!! (It's been 2 weeks)
post #110 of 135
Bumping this thread.

Things with my mom are pretty bad right now. The whole issue of her disastrous house is a large part of it, but there are so many other emotional issues that she hasn't dealt with. Our relationship is so strained now.
I suppose I am putting this in this thread because if you are a child of a hoarder, you know that there are so many other emotional issues involved.

As a college student, I saw a therapist years ago, and it really helped. My mom needs to go SO BADLY. She is a mess, both literally and figuratively. I can't talk about it with her, and we are currently not speaking. It's as if her emotions are like her house. She can't focus on one topic when she is upset...it ALL comes out, stuff from over thirty years ago...as if it is in real time. I struggled so much growing up in the clutter, the embarrassment, the yelling, the blaming me for the mess (I know, I know...how can a small kid cause that?).
Have any of you ended your relationship from a parent/parents, with the ultimatum that they get professional help (emotionally)...in order to continue the relationship in a healthy way? Thanks for listening.
It's been a really bad week.
post #111 of 135
I'm the child of a hoarder. While I don't visit a lot I haven't disowned my parents (and have no plans to do so). I do get extremely frustrated, and take breathers from my mom, but living hours away has it's advantages. I invite my parents to come and see us at my house instead. I've learned that no matter how good mom says it's gotten, it hasn't changed. So, I've quit going and subjecting my kids and husband to the mess. It's been great for my relationship with my parents.

Now, I'm struggling to know when I'm hoarding and when I'm keeping something I might actually need. We're moving soon and I've got the overwhelming urge to dump everything I own and never look back so that I won't have too much stuff.
post #112 of 135
Iansmommy :

My mom has issues but they aren't so bad. And she's been in therapy most of her adult life so either it hasn't helped much or I should be grateful she's not worse

My mom says she's cleaning up. Yeah, ok. But I offered to help and the first time she said NO. The second time I offered she said she'd think about it. Finally one day I said mom, I grew up there, what's the big deal and she said (really quietly) "it's gotten worse". Be afraid, be very afraid.

Last night she told me she tossed 4 garbage bags of paper and 2 garbage bags of trash and she's now really nervous to let me see it because I'll know it looks the way it does even after all that leaving. Puh lease. As if I thought 6 garbage bags would clean even a single room of hers. I'm not that naive.

But I'm gearing up for the day she accepts my offer. I need to be able to not make a face, not make any comments and help clean without anything negative coming out of my mouth. It will help that I have an allergy to dust so I'll need to wear a mask while cleaning.
post #113 of 135
Subscribing because my mother and aunt have hoarding disorder and I have to fight every day to keep from having it myself. It's a really big issue in my life.
post #114 of 135
Originally Posted by ShannonCC View Post
Iansmommy :

My mom has issues but they aren't so bad. And she's been in therapy most of her adult life so either it hasn't helped much or I should be grateful she's not worse

Thank you for the kind thoughts. Your post made me smile. It's good to have a sense of humor about it.

Juiacat...I struggle every day too. Dh and I are on top of things, and have really subscribed and followed the getting rid of seven things per week. Tomorrow is actually bulk garbage pickup in our part of town, so my dh is piling up crap on the curb from the garage. I am really proud of his efforts. It's hard to be vigilant. I just never want to be like my mom in this area.

I told my mom today that I would talk to her if and only if there was a therapist or family counselor present. I have no idea how this is going, or IF it is going to work.
post #115 of 135
My parents have a two-story, 4 bedroom, 2 car garage, 1 full basement house that they can't move out of. They need to get into some sort of assisted living situation; my dad is in poor health. But they can't because of their stuff. Right now my 40-year-old unemployed brother is living with them, taking care of them. He's been unemployed for 5 years now and can't move on with his life because he has to take care of our folks.

My dad used to get furious at us kids because he couldn't find his tools. When the kids moved out, he still couldn't find his tools. Soooo, he would just go out and buy more. My poor mom tries to straighten up, but every time she clears a spot, my dad moves in and takes over.

I get really frustrated with my family whenever I visit, which isn't often since I live 1500 miles away. It's probably for the best.

post #116 of 135
I have a hoarding mom and grandma. I too grew up thinking that was normal and am fighting really hard not to do the same, but I have the tendencies.

Sometimes I get freaked out when I need to clean up the house quickly because someone's coming over unannounced or something, (I'm getting better about keeping it neat, really) and I realize there is something totally out of place sitting somewhere and it has been there forever, but I have visually tuned it out for weeks.

I also find a bit of clutter comforting and feel really uneasy in an immaculate house. Now that I'm trying so hard to declutter my house, it makes my skin crawl to be in my mom or grandma's houses and see the stacks and stacks of catalogs and junkmail and packets of sweet & low, and 400 towels, and recycling... They love to recycle, but save up all the plastics forever before taking them back. It is insane. Plus my mom is a germophobe. How does that make any sense to have so much dust and clutter and be scared of germs? They are also both broke, but pay for storage spaces to store the extra stuff they can't fit in their homes. My blood pressure starts to go up just typing this stuff. :
post #117 of 135
Oh my goodness, where have you ladies been all my life? My grandmother is what we call a "packrat," but it's hoarding really. Her thing is paper products. Napkins, scratch paper, newspapers, GREETING CARDS, receipts, canceled checks, etc. She has an antique breakfront that she uses as a filing system. The drawers were so stuffed full that they were hard to open & the bottoms were coming off the sides. When she was hospitalized in October '05, my mother went through all Nana's stuff and cleared it out. Culled the herd, you could say. It's worse now than it was then. Nana mentions going to the store to get a card so she can mail me a check and I remind her that she has a drawer FULL of them and her answer is "But I want to send you a SPECIAL one." Umm Nana, I put it in the recycle bin after I read it once. :

My mom is a "save stuff from being thrown away because we might be able to use it" type person. When we moved from Eugene to Seattle (approx. 300 miles), we got rid of about 75% of our stuff. Mom would say "Ooh, can I take this?" And sometimes I'd lie, because I didn't want her hoarding it in the guest room or the garage, and tell her I'd given it away and was just waiting for it to be picked up. Sometimes when it's really ridiculous (you don't need more juice glasses, Ma), I'll say something like "Ok, NANA, take them if you really want them" and she gets the hint. Her worst fear is turning into her mother, and it's starting. The funny thing is, she thinks she's escaped it because she doesn't have "knick-knacks," but she has my old Barbie dolls (they're in lude poses with Ken in the living room) and some of my old baby dresses (worn by teddy bears and dolls, also in the living room) and furniture no one else wanted (instead of a TV stand they have a HUUUUUUGE office desk) and clothes from the 70s and 80s (a leather halter top, violet t-strap pumps, a leopard print tie & vest set), and the list goes on.

My brother is also a "save stuff from being thrown out" person, so when his friends move out of state and can't take stuff with them, it goes to my brother. Stuffed in his 10x10 room at Mom's house (he's 18 & going to college in Sept. but he'll stay at home for the duration) is a HUGE barcolounger, his bed, 3 bookshelves stuffed with books & random detritus, an old TV (it works, to his credit), and a TON of other stuff. More stuff is in the guest room.

I had to work to get over the tendencies I learned from Mom & Nana. I need to call my mom & tell her to just throw away the stuff that's under the workbench in the garage because seriously, it's all crap. Notes from high school, and I mean the kind you pass in class not the kind you take in class. Random holiday and birthday cards, posters from plays I forgot I was even in, etc. My house now is uncluttered, but it's a constant effort to keep it that way.
post #118 of 135
Thanks for the resources. I've joked for years that my parents will be killed by falling newspapers.

Their house is full of rubbermaid containers of junk arranged in a maze-like formation that snakes its way through the entire first floor. My grandmother's place was full of junk also, and both she and my mother would go take things out of the trash when I wasn't looking.

I go on throwaway binges because I live in fear of turning into them. I've actually lost everything I owned twice, and yet I still acquire stuff at an alarming rate. :
post #119 of 135
Coming back to post my story.

My mother and one of her sisters are hoarders. My aunt is actually ten times worse than my mother but for some reason I feel less comfortable posting about my aunt's life than my mother's, so we'll leave it at that.

My parents had an insane amount of furniture. Most of my childhood was spent in this extremely cram-packed small rented house with junk piled to the ceiling in every room and narrow walkways. People said "Why don't you just sell your extra furniture?" but my parents reacted as though they had suggested shipping it to the moon on a rocket. While my dad could still see, he kept the miscellaneous clutter to a manageable amount, but as his eyesight worsened, so did the clutter. My mother saved every single piece of paper, medicine bottle, cereal box, broken appliance, article of clothing, doll, gift, knickknack, cardboard box, plastic sack, empty food container...EVERYTHING that came into our house. She also bought way too much food and would not throw it away until it was DEFINITELY spoiled, often making me taste it to make sure--to this day, I am slavish about expiration dates. My dad kept books, college papers, records, and outdated computer supplies. He must have had over 300 neckties.

I was a terrible packrat, too, as a child. I got over it in stages. Coming home to visit after I left for college at 18 was a real wake-up call. "This is not normal!" Buying a 680-square-foot house at 23 was another real wake-up call. "The world is not going to end if I throw something away and later discover I could have used it." Helping my parents move out of their house after 20 years (while I was pregnant, hormonal and wanting my future child to have his/her own space) was the final wake-up call. "My happy childhood memories are not going to disappear if I let go of my toys." I discovered I felt happier the less I owned. Now I'm obsessive about decluttering, yet I still have to fight the packrat impulse.

The sad thing for my parents is that if they had bought a medium-sized house when they got married, they'd have owned it free and clear by retirement, which would have given them financial security. Instead, they bought a mansion, lost it, and spent 20 years crammed into a small rented house. Even then, they could have afforded the mortgage payment on a small house in the city, but were unwilling to give up their storage barn full of they didn't even remember what was in there. So they spent their retirement money buying a plot of land in the middle of nowhere away from any kind of social services, home help, elder transportation, and put a doublewide mobile home on it along with the storage barn. Then my dad died and so now my mom is stuck out in the sticks all by herself in a trailer full of expired grocery coupons and worn-out armchairs, and boxes of work memos from 1977, and she still won't throw anything away. It would take the rest of her life even if she decided to start today. I think it's tragic, the way my parents wasted their space all those years. They loved each other, but they would have been happier without the millstone around their necks. And now I worry about my mother falling over a pile of catalogs and not being able to get up, out there alone in the boonies.

So I am vigilant about not being a clutterbug, and that may be weird, but so be it. Dh has no issues with this either way--he keeps a normal amount of stuff, much more than I would like him to but much less than the average American.

Like I said, my aunt is ten times worse than my mom and I sometimes want to talk to my cousins about it, but I don't know how to bring it up without risking offending them. "So, tell me what it was like to grow up in a pigsty." :
post #120 of 135
Originally Posted by it's just apples View Post
I'm the child of a hoarder. While I don't visit a lot I haven't disowned my parents (and have no plans to do so). I do get extremely frustrated, and take breathers from my mom, but living hours away has it's advantages. I invite my parents to come and see us at my house instead. I've learned that no matter how good mom says it's gotten, it hasn't changed. So, I've quit going and subjecting my kids and husband to the mess. It's been great for my relationship with my parents.
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