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Hoarding disorder - any kids/family members? - Page 4

post #61 of 135
This is also a very good video
post #62 of 135
I looked at the site below. Interesting--thank you for the link. I have to say her commentary reminds me of what's in my head when I visit or talk to my mom. It sounds mean, but it is SO FRUSTRATING to listen to the nonsense logic. As we all know. My parents' house doesn't have the piles of stuff in the open--it's all hidden. But there are some--well, I don't want to say funny--similarities. My dad stores stuff (boxes!) in the garage rafters. My mom has calendars _all over_. She doesn't buy them, though. They are store freebies. So when you sit on the toilet, you get to stare at a Longs ad. They can't pass up something free, and need to "use" it. Mind you, they don't work, they don't do volunteer work, they don't really have friends, don't go to bingo or bowling or anything. There hobbies are: reading and stopping by Walmart to see "what he's got on sale!" She doesn't toss them when the year's over either--she keeps the pretty ones and gives the cute ones _to my kids_. Then I toss them a month later when they've forgotten about them. They also have, I think, every school thing my brother and I ever did up to about 7th grade (when I started tossing my own stuff, even though I would get in trouble).

About 6 years ago, we were up there visiting, and she announced that she had some boxes of MY stuff from the attic for me to go through cos I was taking up their space. OK....so she opened one. It was elementary school papers. I told her it could just go in the recycling, I didn't even want to look. She flipped out, went through it by hand herself, and tossed one paper. Then my dad taped it up, and it went back in the attic!! She also has my old closet full of clothes I wore in high school. Every once in awhile she goes in there and claims on old shirt. Fine. And she gets angry at me for not "taking my clothes"--I told her to take them to Goodwill, but she sees Goodwill as a place for trash (um, no, that goes in the garbage can...), and these clothes are good! I lived out of state for 9 years (still 350 miles away) and I didn't know she kept all this stuff!

Their attic DOES look like the rooms on the site below--but everything in boxes. And you can't stand up, my dad has to crawl through the pathways.

Originally Posted by ShannonCC
I was looking at this http://www.badjason.com/RegularArtic...eBay%20mom.htm She's a bit harsh on her mom but I think some of you can understand her frustration and forgive her that. This house is far worse than my moms but there's one picture with a Christmas bag on a couch. My mom does that. She has Christmas gifts from years past still in the bag/wrapping, never used but she won't give them away because they were gifts.
post #63 of 135
First,, Shannon, thanks for that link. I completely agree with your thoughts on gifts. My mom FREAKED out that I *gave* a bunch of Lenox vases (wedding gifts) away two years ago. She told me that it is just mean to give away gifts that others lovingly pick for you. She too, thinks that you give away the person when you get rid of something. And well, I just gave away a little tykes rocker that she gave my dd two Christmases ago---guess I'll have to cover up that one!

Craftymom--I so understand what you said about what goes through your head as you walk through the house. I feel so mean, but GOOD GRIEF!!! I just want to shout from the rooftops--LIVE your life mom!!! Don't cage yourself away from relationships and life with all of this crap. And like your situation, my momstill calls and complains that my college stuff is in the garage. Ok...ummm...and my three boxes are a problem because...???

I get SO frustrated. She gets so defensive, angry, and the big fight happens every time I have ever tried to talk to her about the hoarding.
post #64 of 135
Ians mommy--I finally have most of the boxes of "my stuff" other than my elementary school papers, and of course the closet of circa 1984 clothes. My parents packed up their station wagon (a roadmaster--lots of stuff) with "my" boxes and drove them 700 miles to bring them to me. DH was horrified--we didn't know until they _drove up the street_ (what if we'd been out of town?). More so as I started making my way through it. Broken old toys (mom said they were "my favorite"), every bottle of "perfume" I ever owned as a kid--dried up. All sorts of cheap plastic toys I didn't recognize, a beat-up binder I had in like 7th grade. Just tons and tons of odd stuff. And a whole box of sports clippings of my brother's, but I just threw those out too (shh!). All I kept were some books (but not all of them!), one of those silver deer Avon perfume bottles, and a collection of small glass animals that holds a lot of memories.

They do still have all of my brother's boxes, and stuff not even boxed but still in drawers. They actually WON'T LET him have his (and he's just crying over this ) because since he doesn't have his own house, he isn't responsible enough and he'll just bring it home again. Maybe this is why he doesn't want to buy? He is 35, FWIW.

And like that website, my father is convinced he has a lot of "very valuable" stuff. He has a whole collection of unopened cereal box toys--when I was a kid, we weren't allowed to have them. He packed them into a box because "they'll be worth something"--and he thinks they are. And anything old is "valuable." And anything sold as a "collectible" is "valuable." Every once in awhile he tries to figure out the worth of his "collectibles" by buying those books that list values, but then he can't find anything listed. And then 5 years later he buys more books, keeping the old versions, of course! This is me--
post #65 of 135
Iansmommy, I also never let my hs/college bf (of FIVE years) come to my house. No, I take that back. He came once. I was so mortified. And he actually stayed outside playing ball with my brother for most of the time, so I think that's why I didn't have a complete heart attack. It occurred to me only a couple of years ago that he probably thought my family didn't like him or something (our families had different religious beliefs and they were somewhat touchy over it).

Evem when I took my dh (then fiance) home, I was soooooo nervous. Now, he laughs about it (he isn't as emotionally tied to it, though), but when our house gets disastrous (with 3 kiddos), I secretly wonder if he's worried I'm turning into my mother, lol.
post #66 of 135
Originally Posted by Chinese Pistache
but when our house gets disastrous (with 3 kiddos), I secretly wonder if he's worried I'm turning into my mother, lol.
Me too!
Thank goodness my dh came from a messy home--not quite hoarding-messy...but his mom has mental illness...so he is very understanding about it. In fact, he recently told me (when we were discussing his first visit to my home as a teenager), --Honey, I knew how much you truly loved me when we were younger, because you let me into that vulnerable place...your home.

God, I nearly cried when he told me this.

I did just recently go on that site for children of hoarders. That was like therapy. I got a little choked up reading the stories.
post #67 of 135
Thread Starter 
I am so excited! I finally get to CLEAN something at my mom's house. She's agreed to let us "work on" the garage. So my sister, BIL, husband and I are going to clean it this weekend. My MIL is going to watch the girls for us, so we have all day to totally clean it out. Of course, Mom is trying to put limits on it already ("don't throw any furniture away, I want all of that"), but there is still so much that we can do even within those parameters.

We will need a clean garage as a staging area for cleaning the house, whenever that occurs. I know it will be a lot of work and that there is some truly disgusting stuff waiting for us in there - critters have occupied the garage for years - but I'm so tired of talking about hoarding and just want to DO something.

Wish us luck!
post #68 of 135
momof1sofar...how did it go? Give us an update of your progress. I am so jealous that your mom is letting you clean.
My mom would NEVER let us in to clean. The mere suggestion of it starts a huge fight.
post #69 of 135
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by IansMommy
momof1sofar...how did it go? Give us an update of your progress. I am so jealous that your mom is letting you clean.
My mom would NEVER let us in to clean. The mere suggestion of it starts a huge fight.
Well so far Mom is only willing to let us "work on" (she would never say "clean") the garage and yard. The house is OFF LIMITS even for discussion.

We got about half of the garage cleaned out on Sunday. There was raccoon poop everywhere - it was awful. We found treasured childhood toys, completely ruined by animal filth. My sister and her husband worked for about 7 hours on it, and DH and I were able to help for about 2 1/2 hours. Unfortunately, at that point DH got a call that his grandfather had suffered a massive stroke, so we had to take off for Chicago.

We're planning to rent a dumpster to finish the rest. There is so much that needs to be thrown away, regular garbage pickup just can't handle it. I will say it felt wonderful to finally be DOING something constructive, instead of endlessly talking about it.
post #70 of 135
Originally Posted by momof1sofar
Well so far Mom is only willing to let us "work on" (she would never say "clean") the garage and yard. The house is OFF LIMITS even for discussion.
Well hey, it's a start

My mother claims she's cleaning up her house. She was telling me (a month ago) about how cluttered the garage is. I gave her some suggestions on how to clean it out but of course, she had all sorts of reasons why my ideas wouldn't work. She told me she has items in her basement/garage from a tenant who moved out 20 years ago (and who she hasn't had contact with for most of that time). Also, some from another tenant who moved out about 15 (?) years ago. I told her to toss them (or open the boxes, donate what is good and toss the rest) but she thinks they might come back for them. I'm not exaggerating - TWENTY YEARS. Call me a big blue meanie, but I think a year would be my limit (unless they stayed in contact and I knew they were coming back - even then, there's got to be a reasonable time limit!). But then, this, in addition to the "it might be worth something/used for something" is why her house looks the way it does.

Really, I don't think I care. I don't mean this to be harsh, but I'm not stressing over it. Doing all this reading has helped me a lot in looking at myself but at this point, I've accepted I'm not changing my mom. If she really is cleaning up her house then I'll be pleasantly surprised though
post #71 of 135
My husband is a HORRIBLE hoarder. He keeps EVERYTHING. I end up throwing stuff out for him because it TAKES OVER our house!!!!
post #72 of 135
My mom is a hoarder, mostly of newspapers and random stuff. She has ocd so that's part and parcel of that. Dh while not dx'd I'm pretty sure has a form of ocd, most of his immediate family has it and he is what I call an organized hoarder. It's not in piles or everywhere but he hoards a lot, he puts it in boxes or totes. He is so afraid to get rid of anything, even little bits of paper. I might need that....It's a bit frustrating for me, I want to be free of it all.
post #73 of 135
so glad you got a good deal of work done at your mom's.
Raccoon poop...yuck!
Although, I'm sure my mom has worse in her garage!
post #74 of 135
Originally Posted by thedevinemissm
This might be OT ~ but I'm curious about the need to "aquire" stuff....
I read this somewhere, that the things we WANT, and the things that make us happy, are not the same things. So we buy stuff expecting that it will make us happy, it does not. And then we buy more stuff...
post #75 of 135
I'll come back and read replies...
My mom is ahoarder. I don't know if she has some defined disorder (why does everything need a label?! 'nother rant, 'nother day). I was mentioning her hoarding to someone recently and she asked how old my mom is. At the time she was 58, she's 59 now, 60 in a couple of weeks. The person I was talking to pointed out that that is probably the root of it. She grew up with parents who grew up at during atime when hoarding was kind of a necessity/way of life. I poitned out that my Daddy was born during that time and grew up durin the Depression (born in 1926) but that he did not hoarde. She pointed out that my father was not white and my mother was. I hadn't given it much thought but then I started talking to more people. While both sets of family in that time grew up poor, I noticed that fewer non-whites were hoarders than whites. I don't konw if there is any correlation. anyway, I saw this post and al of that just popped back into my mind.

Namaste, Tara
post #76 of 135
My father and stepmother are hoarders. They enable each other. I can't even look at those sites because they bring up all these feelings of absolute RAGE for me, and then I feel guilt My father had depression for decades, and I should understand because I suffer from severe depressive disorder myself. We are visiting them in 2 weeks and I dread it. I think they may have improved somewhat (they own a home now, and have remodeled it), but they don't seem to understand that my kids cannot be around their filth.
I feel like my father took so many years from me, I can't bring myself yet to forgive him fully :
post #77 of 135


I just recently have begun to consider the possability that my teen daughter may have a form of this. I say consider because as a teen how much of just these symptoms is a state of normal teen behaviour??? But theroom has progressively gotten worse. I decided I would no longer give it the "mom" touch as I did on a montly basis, and what has ensued is a full bore chaotic mess. I finally gave in and had a go at it, while she was on an overnight trip. 13 trash bags later and a bed full of folded and categorized clothing, I walked out. A full 10 hrs, and I still hadn't fully cleaned the closet. I found empty boxes,crumpled school papers( she's an honor student) and every nick nack since childhood.A holey smelly comforter from childhood, she later retrieved from the trash heap, witht he remark that it was the comforter she had last held her now deceased poodle on. This I can understand, so I suggested we cut a few squares and use them as a mat to frame the dogs paw prints and picture( I'm afraid she shot me down) it now resides in her cluttered room. BTW her room 2 weeks later is again strewn with clothes and trash. As if it had never been cleaned. Any suggestions????
post #78 of 135
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mydoula
I just recently have begun to consider the possability that my teen daughter may have a form of this.
Oh, mama. That sounds very frustrating. I will admit to having a tragically messy room at times as a teenager, and I do think to some extent that this is normal teenaged behavior. However, it sounds like maybe there is a bit more going on here - attaching emotional value to items beyond what most people would consider reasonable. Getting the blanket out of the trash really caught my attention, and her unwillingness to agree to your very reasonable compromise.

Hoarding is a symptom of several disorders, most commonly OCD. I'm not a mental health professional, but I would guess that early detection of OCD would facilitate treatment, especially with regards to behavior modification. If she is hoarding, those behaviors will become more entrenched over time. I can say as a child of a hoarder that you will be doing your daughter and her future family a tremendous service by addressing this now if it is truly an issue.

Have you considered having her speak to a therapist? Would she be willing to do that? I would seek out one with lots of experience treating OCD, and specifically hoarding if you can find one. You might also ask her to read Overcoming Compulsive Hoarding, which is a self-help book with lots of great information. Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

ETA: A more gentle way to approach the subject might be Organizing from the Inside Out for Teens by Julie Morgenstern's daughter, Jessi. Julie's original book delves into some of the psychological reasons for hanging on to stuff, but I don't know how much the teens book addresses this.
post #79 of 135
Thread Starter 
My mom's garage is CLEAN!!!! So far, she seems ok with it - only a few "Where is this random, useless item?" questions...

post #80 of 135
Originally Posted by momof1sofar View Post
My mom's garage is CLEAN!!!! So far, she seems ok with it - only a few "Where is this random, useless item?" questions...


Wow, I'm jealous. I have offered many times to be there to help my mom but she doesn't want any help. She says only she can do it. I understand I guess, but it's oh so frustrating. Any progress she makes is like a drop of water in an ocean!
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