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Hoarding disorder - any kids/family members? - Page 5

post #81 of 135
Thread Starter 
Just a quick update... my sister and I have been seeing a therapist to strategize how best to confront my mom about the house. A few days ago, he, my sister and I all staged an intervention with her. I was so scared! I really thought she would never speak to us again. It went much better than expected. I wouldn't say she participated in the conversation, but she did listen and we were able to drag the occasional response out of her.

Having the therapist there was such a help. He didn't say a lot, but he was able to lend credibility to our claims that APS would remove her from the house and probably institutionalize her, at least temporarily. He kept stressing that her choices were to let us help her or to face probably having the house condemned as uninhabitable.

She's agreed to let us "help" her clean the house. She claims not to have an attachment to the hoard, that it just "got away from" her. But of course she wants to be in complete control over the process. : We'll see how it goes. She allowed my sister in the house yesterday to gather and carry out several bags of trash - a HUGE step. I'm proud of my mom, because accepting help is such an emotional hurdle for her.
post #82 of 135
Now could you come over to my mom's house and help me with an intervention?
Honestly, my mom would be so pissed if I did this. She would take it so personally.

I am so happy that this was successful.

My brother just got married, and I ended up hosting all of the family members that travelled because my mom's house is such a pit.
post #83 of 135
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by IansMommy View Post
Honestly, my mom would be so pissed if I did this. She would take it so personally.
This is what we thought, too, especially since she usually gets huffy if we even mention "the House." We really expected her to just walk out and never speak to us again. But we'd reached a point where something had to be done, if not by us, then by the authorities. Her physical safety is at risk.

I think 2 things encouraged her to be somewhat cooperative:
1. Having the therapist there - Mom is naturally pretty polite so having a stranger there encouraged reasonable behavior. Plus he was able to represent "The Authorities" and give weight to the threat of outside intervention.
2. She knows that the house is uninhabitable, and that it's only a matter of time before outside forces take over.
post #84 of 135
Missy congratulations, that is so cool! I hope it keeps going. Keep that therapist on call in case you mom starts to change her mind.
post #85 of 135
My MIL saves everything! There are rooms in her house that I'm not allowed to go into. She sent my birthday gift this summer in a box that was postmarked 1996 - it's been sitting around her house for 10 years waiting to be just the right size!!!!

Luckily, DH isn't as bad, but he does have a few collections that I think we could do without, but he'd say the same about my craft things.
post #86 of 135
Wow. My husband is a hoarder. It is impossible to live with as I am only allowed to throw away things that belong to the kids and me. I have managed to keep most areas of the house livable, but the TWO barns out back are full of junk as well as the back yard. Because of this and other control issues, my dc's and I are moving away. He refuses to see a counselor of any kind and I refuse to raise my babies in an envronment that is scary because of the piles of crap and because of emotional/physical abuse.
This thread has helped me to see that its not just my less than stellar house keeping and that he truely does value his garbage over his family. I may sound harsh as it is probably a mental disorder causing this, but I can't help and keeping the kids here is just plain scary. We can't live in this and thrive. I don't know what will happen when we go - I hope it shocks him into getting some help, but I doubt that will happen.

ETA: Thanks Momof1, it totally helps to know that I am not crazy for being overwhelmed and frustrated by this behavior.
post #87 of 135
Protect your babies. Protect yourself.
post #88 of 135
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by LuvMyLittles View Post
Because of this and other control issues, my dc's and I are moving away. He refuses to see a counselor of any kind and I refuse to raise my babies in an envronment that is scary because of the piles of crap and because of emotional/physical abuse.
I may sound harsh as it is probably a mental disorder causing this, but I can't help and keeping the kids here is just plain scary. We can't live in this and thrive. I don't know what will happen when we go - I hope it shocks him into getting some help, but I doubt that will happen.
Oh, mama. I am so sorry for the pain and stress your husband's problem has caused your family. You are not crazy, or lazy, or a bad housekeeper. Your husband has a problem, and even if it is a mental disorder, your first duty is to protect your children and yourself. You are doing what is right. You are doing what you must.

Please let us know how it goes for you. I'll be sending lots of good thoughts for strength and healing for you and your children.
post #89 of 135
thanks! Yeah, my mom was definitely a hoarder. And I have a bit of it in me, too. I will read up on it. I know it was pretty bad to grow up with, not having anyone over. I still don't know how to host a party or get together...
post #90 of 135
Mom & Saphire,
Thanks, I will keep things updated. This weekend I am looking at apartments!
post #91 of 135
Thanks for this thread.
My sister is a hoarder, or on her way to being one. She is bi-polar so that plays into all of it. I have never been to her house ( I live in Japan, she lives in the states) but every year when I visit we never make it over there... my folks went and cleaned up this winter and it was bad. Not as bad as some situations, she has only lived there 7 years or so. It was our uncles house. She is in a depressed state and wants to move back home with my mom and stepdad. But she would loose her SSI if that happened, and quite frankly my folks don`t want her there...
Anyway reading the posts helped me to understand what is going on a bit. My mom is a packrat, but it is just that, lots of stuff and some general clutter.
My Japanse apt. is small (but moving to a house next week, so why aren`t I packing???) and I struggle to keep a lid on the STUFF. Moving has been a good chance to get rid of stuff. I want SPACE, not clutter.
OK really must go and pack
Hugs to everyone in difficult situations.
post #92 of 135

Hey....we haven't checked in lately.
This season is such a pain for me--with my mom having hoarding issues...
For instance, what do you get a hoarder for the holidays?
My brother just got my mom a gift card/membership to BJ's....(for those of you who aren't familiar with it, it is a buy-in-bulk warehouse-type store)...great. Just what a hoarder needs...more bulk.

And my mom's update is, that there is no improvement.
I have not visited her home in over 3 months (she lives 10 minutes away). She does come to visit me, but I still feel bad.
post #93 of 135
This is interesting - we are doing a secret santa type thing this year, and my sister (one of the hoarders in my family) made her wish list up of intangibles - help around the house, a night out at a play, etc. I guess she is trying to make some progress. (Incidentally, her hoarding problem is more about paperwork & gifts for others than things for herself).

But that might be the way to go - consumables - give her a night out, a homemade meal, etc. I know not everyone appreciates those things, especially people who are attached to things, but it's a start.
post #94 of 135

My favorite places - Hershey's (just got a S'mores kit from SIL), Harry and David (send Bro and SIL chocolate and pears), gourmet meals (I get two catalogs from places where they send frozen gourmet meals), Willimans and Sonoma sausages or cheesecakes for anniversaries or birthdays.
post #95 of 135
Thread Starter 
Thanks for bumping the thread! Oh, IansMommy - what was your brother thinking? Gifts are so hard - my sisters and I really try to avoid giving physical objects, even consumables. You wouldn't believe the boxes of petrified chocolates, etc. we've found in the hoard from past gifts. Ugh! We give gift cards for necessities like gas or groceries, or take her out to dinner - although even that produces leftovers which MUST be taken home so that they can rot in the car or house. :

I've broken ranks for Christmas and gotten her a pair of Crocs. I figured they would be good for when her feet are swollen, and they're easy to clean after she's worn them at the house.

Our update:
In October, Mom grudgingly agreed to let us "help" her clean her house after an intervention with a therapist. We started with the garage, then moved to the house. It is an overwhelming job! Inside, we've widened the goat trail through the kitchen to a 4-foot path, gotten rid of 2 refrigerators and a freezer full of rotting food, cleaned the upstairs bathroom and one bedroom to use as a staging area. That leaves the rest of the huge kitchen, one bathroom, 4 bedrooms, 2 living rooms and the full basement yet to do. :

Mom is semi-cooperative although she really slows us down when she's there since she has to look at every little thing. Her physical limitations are getting worse (lupus, etc.), and I think she realizes that getting the house cleaned up is the only alternative to assisted living.

We've kind of lost momentum with the holidays, illnesses, etc., but hope to get moving again after the first of the year.
post #96 of 135
Well, I'm getting the hoarders in my family nothing We have a gift lottery thing every year. Each person picks three names. I realized last year this had become a huge source of holiday stress for me. Trying to find gifts for people who have what they want/need and probably have too much? Not fun. (and some of them I'm not close to at all like the cousin I see - literally - once a year for Christmas). So this year I used the money I would have spent on gifts (there's a suggested amount) and bought a gift from Heifer.org with it instead. No shopping stress and I feel like the money is going to someone who will appreciate and need it, instead of just adding to the clutter of my family (one time I was over my mom's and saw she had gifts from year's past still in the gift bags/boxes! Why would I want to add to that?).

My in-laws are not quite as bad. SIL/BIL have a big problem. Mostly BIL. They have a storage bin where they've been paying to keep stuff for YEARS just because he says it's worth something (not worth the money he's paying on the storage bin, that's for sure!). Their living space is neat and organized but you can't use the garage because of his stuff. The rest of the family is ok but still, I just don't want to give people tchatchkes anymore (did I spell that right?).

This year the in-laws are all getting food gifts. The two SILs and their mates are getting an Italian Dinner in a Box. Vodka sauce, organic pasta, pesto, cheese ravioli (it's dried so doesn't need to be in the fridge), organic black olives and a small pannettone for dessert. MIL is getting white chocolate peanut butter (she's a HUGE peanut butter fan), a pound of organic coffee and three kinds of cookies. My GM and GMIL are getting similar items.

For my mom for her birthday in January, I'm giving her a gift box of natural cleaners. I'll probably buy her some dish soap but other than that I'm making them. Just baking soda, water, some doctor bronner's, maybe some essential oils. I just need to get containers from the dollar store. Not everyone would appreciate a gift like this but my mom loves this sort of stuff.

Bath items are also a possibility *if* you think they'll use them. If I gave my mom bath items I'm pretty sure they'd end up on the shelf but my SILs might use them. It depends on personality.

In other news, this summer my mom said that come October she'd have me over for tea to see her new, neat kitchen. That never happened. She got some kittens and now, everytime I see her, she makes sure to tell me how her house is messy "because of the kittens". According to her the kittens are trashing the place. Yeeeeeeeeeah. Right. When we (sis and I) lived there the place was messy because of us. When we moved out it was messy because of the dogs. When the dogs died it was messy because of the other adults living there. Now it's messy because of the kittens. I'm not giving a lot of mental energy to this. I knew she wasn't cleaning up. I just think it's funny really. I didn't know kittens could trash an entire house
post #97 of 135
I'm glad to find this thread. I haven't read through the whole thing, but I'm subbing and will catch up when I have more time.

I'm starting to believe that my Dh is a hoarder. I think were he given free reign to collect, that our house would resemble those you see on talk shows and such. Our basement already does. So far I've been able to keep it somewhat under control, but it's getting worse. Initially I just thought he was a packrat (I sort of was too.). But when we bought our house several years ago and the sheer enormity of his "storage" boxes starting piling in, it became clear that it was something else. We've been here 3.5 years and his parents are still finding boxes of his around their house and are bringing them here. (We used to live in a 425 sq ft apartment, so everything was basically packed away.)

I feel for them. They deserve to not have his things cluttering up their lives, and they now want to sell their house, but I can't understand why it needs to come here. My MIL could just as easily dispose of the things at her house (we live in different states) and Dh would never miss them. But when they come here, I'm stuck with them forever.

I've started just throwing things away - the moldy boxes in the basement etc. But I can't do that with the things in say, my bedroom closet. But the more I throw away, the more he buys (is compulsive shopping part of this? because they seem to go hand in hand.)

It's causing constant fighting between Dh and I, and I'm totally at my wit's end. He won't consider counseling, because he still sees it as simply collections or being a packrat. And not as a disease. I really don't want my marriage to dissolve over stuff, but I'm not seeing that things will ever get better and I simply can't live like this anymore.

post #98 of 135
Originally Posted by Mavournin View Post
(is compulsive shopping part of this? because they seem to go hand in hand.)
It can be a seperate issue but for almost all of the hoarders I've met, yes, the compulsion to acquire and the compulsion to keep what you have do go hand in hand. But there are some people who aren't compulsive about aquiring, just don't get rid of stuff they are given or the normal stuff they buy. And there are people who don't keep, but have compulsions to buy (maybe they give it all as gifts or donate a lot, etc).

sorry about your dh, but maybe you'll find some help here. Or at least not feel so alone
post #99 of 135
Hi thanks for the bump, in my case it is my sister who hordes. I did get her a gift this Christmas, a plate to eat sushi on, I was torn as others wrote. But this is the first year my daughter can sort of understand Christmas and I want her to understand the joy of giving. DD didn`t help with the shopping, but we did talk about how this gift was for Aunty Stacy and wrapped it up in recycled paper DD colored. (note we live in Japan where Christmas is not a traditional holiday so I really, really want DD to understand the true meaning of the holiday, the nice thing is people here don`t go totally crazy with gift giving)
In years past I have given her consumables or contributed to a gym membership, new cell phone, tires for her car... but it is hard. My mom and step dad are pack rats and it is hard to get for them as well.

What are the names of the gourmet meal companies, I might look into that.
post #100 of 135
Luckily, as much as she hoards, my mom admits that she doesn't "need" anything. So... I give money to charities/causes that are dear to her in her name like the humane society or something. She says she likes that.

I did get her a digital picture key chain this year. It holds like 55 pics. I figure its a good way to get her pictures of the kids w/o lugging around a big album. I plan on loading it up every time she visits.

I know this is a hard time of the year for everyone with hoarders in the family. Sadly, what is going to be worse for us is actually January ~ because the rest of the world tends to get rid of old crap after they brought in the new and donate LOTS of stuff to charity resale shops (and b/c the temps are mild here in TX) have garage sales. My mom LOVES to shop at these kinds of places... doesn't everyone need more stuff that's broken but COULD be fixed???
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