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Hoarding Help Message Boards : The Daily Chat : Son of Someone With Possible Squalor Syndrome
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Son of Someone With Possible Squalor Syndrome

Posted: 26 August 2014 - 05:40 PM
Thank you for sharing with us all that you are thinking about and doing. I think it is wonderful that you are using your rehab time to tackle this huge problem to make life better for you and your mom. At 21 you will be able to change and have a different life in the future. You are such a blessing to your mom, I wish you well.
Posted: 26 August 2014 - 03:38 PM
Dianne: I appreciate your warm reply. It reaffirms how glad I am to have found this forum. I have been working around the downstairs for now but it is pretty bad down there. Spiderwebs, animal messes, basically it hasn't been touched other than going down there to do the laundry and occasionally empty the litter boxes in years. Last time I made some progress on it, the inside of my mouth actually turned white after about 4 hours of cleaning with a mask over my mouth. And by the time I built up the courage to go back down there, it was already beginning to become a mess again due to the pets.

One of our animals is very old and needs to be put down. However, due to my mom's loving nature this is probably one of the most difficult tasks imaginable for her. She has been saying she would make the appointment for weeks now, to no avail. Since she is so old, she goes to the bathroom and sometimes vomits on the tile floor down there. I cleaned up quite a bit of nasty stuff the last time I went down there.

As for our relationship, it is confusing. While it may sound like we are very close I think we definitely have our challenges. We have gotten in some very heated arguments over the years but for more reasons than one we are always able to continue living together. I would like to work towards a much better relationship with her in the future.

As for the appliances, I think it is actually quite bad but she will not acknowledge it. Maybe she is displaying signs of cognitive dissonance when these issues are brought to her attention, I don't know. But lots of things are going wrong. The fridge is over heating underneath which is an obvious sign it needs a repair. But she says
"it's always done that" and sees no issue. When we plug in appliances sometimes lights will flicker, which I believe would indicate an issue with either the ground wire and/or the neutral wire. But she refuses to acknowledge this also. She said we had the electric checked over when we first moved in (~14 yrs ago) so it is fine. I believe that it could cause a fire, but do not have the know how to fix it on my own or the money to call a professional without her agreeing to pay for it.

The reasons she won't call them vary. From outright denying an issue exists to literally making up reasons as to why something is the way it is. Typically this includes "it's always been like that". I really don't know what to do about this since I don't believe anyone would come to fix it for free.

Again, thank you for your reply.

As to the poster who mentioned the books, I forgot your name due to that long post ^ I'm sorry. But thank you and I will make it a point to check those books out in the future. I appreciate the suggestions!
Posted: 26 August 2014 - 11:10 AM
Hi :)

Some great books to borrow from the library are
"Digging Out" and "Buried In Treasures"
"Digging Out" is for people who know/live with a hoarding person.
"Buried In Treasures" is for people who hoard but you could gain insight from reading it even if she doesn't want to read it herself.

Good luck & best wishes :D
Posted: 26 August 2014 - 10:33 AM
Hi Anonymous,

First I'd like to say it is so wonderful to hear you speak so lovingly of your mom despite the messiness! Clearly her good heart has been what has influenced you the most growing up. That goes a very long way in overcoming the negatives of a messy environment. :)

I also find it uplifting that you feel badly that because of your accident your mom is supporting you, meaning she has to work more and may not have the energy to put toward the house. You have an empathetic, outward focus which isn't very common for young adults. That's so refreshing and that attitude will take you far in life.

Although you may feel like you're not able to do as much as you'd like right now, you are doing what you are able to ~ picking up after yourself and decluttering a little at a time. There are times in living situations where the amounts of responsibilities shouldered are unequal. That's fine. When each family member contributes what they can it works for the good of all, whether that be financial, cooking/cleaning, yard work, etc. At some point positions usually shift and the work rebalances.

If the downstairs areas are too physically challenging for you right now just work around them the best you can. When your mom sees all the effort you are putting in do you think she might be more willing to consider repairing the appliances? Is her refusal to call anyone right now because she can't afford it, or because it's hard for a repairman to get to the appliances or because she's ok living without those conveniences?

It sounds like you have a good loving relationship and could talk gently about things. I understand you both haven't seen the messiness or broken appliances as a problem. Most everybody on this board has been blind to it at some point. But gradually we see that things could be different and it would actually be pretty nice. Your mom could have the same shift in perspective that you have been having. As far as her falling into the same routine after you move out, you're right. Messy living/hoarding gets ingrained and it's a daily struggle to work against it. But it can be done.

I am so impressed with your loving heart, your level of maturity, your willingness to see there is a different way to live, your understanding of your mother and your desire to help her and most of all your lack of resentment and bitterness. It sounds like she nurtured those traits in you by the example of how she has loved and helped others in her life and work.

Continue to post, we'd love to hear how your successes build. And they will! :)

Posted: 26 August 2014 - 12:58 AM
I am the son of a wonderful woman who is kind and loving in every way and to every individual who crosses her path. However, I believe that she may be suffering from a possible type of hoarding behavior or squalor syndrome. I am a bit relieved to have found this message board. Here's my story...

My whole life the house was always messy. Dirty dishes piling up, cats urinating on the carpets, neglecting to fix appliances when they malfunction, spider webs everywhere, and just neglectful behavior towards the home in general. While there were occasional times where the home was tidied up, it is hard to recall these times vividly.

This is not to say my mother didn't try. She mowed the lawn, vacuumed where/when she could, did the dishes when they *really* piled up, cleaned up animal waste every so often but typically only once it had "accumulated", and more. Not to mention she is alcohol and drug free, and works a full time job as a social worker. However, keeping a tidy house just seemed too big of a task for her to keep up with.

Because of this, I never really learned how to "keep house". I always thought being messy was normal. I was never taught that it was "bad", so it never bothered me. In fact, up until recently, I had tended to take on some of these traits myself. I am 21 at the moment.

Only recently did I learn more about hoarding/squalor/things of this nature. I still live at home with my mother, in a home which is usually very messy, but as of recently I am and have been taking steps--one day at a time--to reverse some of these issues. Even if it is only for awhile, I want my mother to have a clean place to call home.

As stated, I never understood that being dirty was something to worry about or stress over. But now that I have read other people's stories and learned more about these issues, I can see a part of what needs to be changed.

I have began de-cluttering the house, cleaning up some of the rooms, and trying to clean up after myself the best I am able to I make sure not to fall into the same routine that I see my mom in. I am just worried that cleaning up the downstairs is going to prove to be too challenging for me. I am also worried about the fact that I don't have much money myself, and some appliances need fixing which she refuses to call anyone about.

Lastly, I am worried that my mother will fall back into the same routine at some point down the line when I move out or whatever happens. I want her to get help but I honestly do not think she will because she does not see this as a problem. And I can understand that, because I didn't either until recently.

It is also hard for me because I was in a serious auto accident (faster than recommended high way speeds, right into a wall) so I cannot work right now. I am financially dependent on the woman who I would like to assist with this situation. So I feel bad that she pays for things for me, because it means she has to work more and I feel like it contributes to her inability to have time/energy to ever tidy up around the house.

Phwew. I'm glad to have got this story out there. Can anyone offer me any advice, or share similar experiences? I hope to hear back from some people. Thanks in advance!!
Hoarding Help Message Boards : The Daily Chat : Son of Someone With Possible Squalor Syndrome

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