A good book for you to read is "Digging Out". Has wonderful advice for people who know a hoarder. Helps you to know what and when to do or not to do something. Also your rights to do things as a person who lives with a person who is hoarding, like insisting on safety issues.
Best wishes :)
Posted: 09 January 2017 - 04:40 PM
I let my sister move in with me and hubby because her husband had left and she felt she could heal by moving in with family. My sister left behind a 1600 sq foot house of hoarded clothes, shoes, makeup and jewelry. I know she feels like she lost so much, and i empathize, but we grew up with 2 parents that hoarded and me and hubby had to clean out 2600 sf house twice, once after Dad died and second after Mom died. My sister tried to purge as much as she could before moving. But essentially left behind what she could'nt fit in a rented SUV. In 11 months here with us, her 10x8 room is filled with 30 plastic tubs of clothes and so much discounted makeup and protein bars, that all of it could not be used in 5 years. Well, I have decided by her living here I am enabling the hoarding. I've given her 3 months to move out. If she can't see how hoarding has affected her life and ask for help to change, I feel hopeless. I do not want to even bring it up. I'm believing if she lives on her own, she won't have extra cash to do it. Should I offer her help after she moves, when she is ready to make a change?
Posted: 04 May 2014 - 10:48 AM
What you say is true. I have been that hate-filled, raging demon a couple times. I like your phrase *suck the life out of your soul*. Even without the battles the hoard does that to us by its very existence, every day, on many levels.
As for your questions I think Cory would say that at some point other family members do have the right to walk away and live their own healthy lives. IMO that's an individual choice based on what you've already tried to do to help, how much you've already been thru (living in it since childhood is especially destructive), and whether or not you can stick to your decision. It's like finally saying to an alcoholic or drug addict, "I can't be part of your life anymore." The hoarder/addict isn't going to change with force. Sometimes those affected by it can only walk away and begin the long, difficult process of healing all the emotional wounds they will carry.
To your other question of the hoarder's choice ~ yes and no.
As a hoarder myself I know those tendencies run very deep and I have no more strength to choose to change them than an alcoholic in a bar. In a way it's harder for a hoarder because we are bombarded literally almost constantly with temptations to buy. Even if there is no ad flashing at us our brains are now wired to covet whatever appeals to us that comes into our line of vision.
As a recovering alcoholic and hoarder I can say the choice can be made to resist. But it is never a simple choice. It involves much soul-searching, emotional pain and anxiety, a willingness to step into the fear of giving up what is comforting (in our own sick minds) and a commitment to do that every single day. We will never be cured or fixed or free from the possibility of sliding back.
Do we care more about ourselves? I really do hate to think that about myself. I have all kinds of self-deceptive tricks and behaviors to make me think I am such a loving, caring person. But I appreciate you holding up that hard truth. I need to keep that more in the forefront of my motivations to change.
Posted: 03 May 2014 - 05:42 PM
Hi guys. I'm the son of a hoarder, and I have nothing but sympathy for your situations.
Roxie, all of your advice is sound, but what you fail to mention is the horrible price you'll have to pay when going toe to toe with your hoarding loved one. Following through on those reasonable boundaries, if you can, will require driving the hoarder to a place of such rage that they'll be ready to rip your eyes out. My sweet, 80 year-old, two-times-a-week churchgoing mother turned into a hate-filled, raging demon. If you've ever come close to throwing something away in front of them, then you've seen what I'm talking about.
There is nice way to "discuss" getting rid of a hoard. When it comes time to move it out, all hell will break loose. It will not happen.
Should you actually follow through with the promised consequences of buying things (i.e., throwing stuff out), then you'll be in for a fight like you've never imagined. You might actually be able to get a few items out at first, but those battles will suck the life out of your soul. Good luck with that.
At what point are other family members allowed to stop feeling sorry for the hoarders as "victims," and start resenting them for being completely and totally self-centered? At what point is it ok to admit that these people will tell any lie, no matter how absurd, in order to justify forcing the rest of us to live in squalor because it makes them feel better? When can we stop taking care of these soul-crushing entities, and start living happy, healthy lives?
In the end, are they not just people who CHOOSE to put others through hell because they care more about themselves? No one should tolerate that.
Posted: 08 November 2013 - 04:45 PM
Jon, Tillie has much wisdom to share as someone living with a hoarder. We all admire her strength and advocacy. Hope this all helps in some way?
Posted: 07 November 2013 - 04:06 PM
I live with a hoarder. He had every nook and cranny in the house filled with all his "stuff". Well, I live here too. So I moved everything out of the house and made it a "No Clutter Zone". He has his bedroom and can do whatever he wants with that one room as long as it does not impact on the rest of the house. Stuff like fire hazards or if he is attracting bugs or rodents is not allowed. He has the garage and most all the outside areas hoarded. But I defend all my "No Clutter Zones". May I suggest that you make every area in your home "No Clutter Zones"? Box and bag up anything that does not belong in a room and never allow anything new to clutter up the space.
Posted: 06 November 2013 - 11:18 PM
Hi, Jon. I am hopeful you can start to get a handle on things for yourself and your son. Family therapy is one option for therapy, which includes every member. After all, every member is affected. If you have siblings who are also impacted, you can invite them or at least continue to share with them.
You can tell her exactly which room she can put things into and all else is off limits. Tell her that for any one thing coming into the house by her, three things must leave. And then follow through. Also, you can give a time limit on clearing out afflicted areas and then after that, get a dumpster and all goes, or call in a charity and have them haul it away. You are absolutely entitled to reclaim your spaces.
As she is unable or unwilling to overcome her spending, either take over her finances or take her to court and have someone assigned to that job. No credit or debit cards, no way to get to a bank. Also, read in all areas on this board and google other assistance you might need.
Posted: 06 November 2013 - 10:45 AM
Good for you Jon! You have set boundaries. Let her know what the consequences will be if she ignores your boundaries.
Many people see multiple therapists before they find one that they are comfortable with. It's good that you're going with her. If you're both in the same room with a therapist maybe she will hear how her hoarding is affecting you.
You are taking action and that will give you a feeling of strength. If you're not able to find a good therapist within a reasonable distance educate yourself as much as possible on living with a hoarder and how you can cope.
Posted: 06 November 2013 - 08:48 AM
I have met with her and we discussed some options. I messed up and was not watching her bills closely. Huge red flag is when you do their finances and they decided to 'phone pay' an account. She has ramped up spending and is making daily trips to goodwills and thrift stores.
I at this point hate goodwill. They are the root of her addiction. She is able to buy so much 'bargain' items and they have a 'pound store'. Its like they know what group they are targeting.
I am no longer allowing goodwill in my home. I told her that I love her but it has to stop. I am worried that she will ignore me and continue but my dining room now looks like her home. No paths or furniture access.
I am actively searching for a therapist in my area as the closest one is Midlothian VA and she will use distance as an excuse not to attend. She already says she has talked to one and it didnt help. I am going to go with her as I have a mild form of it.
Posted: 05 November 2013 - 08:36 AM
Hi JonJ :)
At the top of this page is a link to "National Resources". Click on that link and you will see a map of the country. Click on your state to find a list of therapists and organizers and clean up companies near you.
Very often when a hoarder is asked to stop they will get worse in their acquiring. This is why it is good for you to read "Digging Out", a book to help you understand the hoarding condition better.
You can also join us here in the thread "The Daily Chat" and we will try to answer your questions and give you emotional support.
Good luck and best wishes, Tillie
Posted: 05 November 2013 - 08:29 AM
My advice is going to sound harsh. It's coming from a place this morning where I am dealing with the fallout of my hoarding and the damage it has caused and the very frustrating difficulties of making repairs.
Your mother is going to have to live with you for the winter and early spring at least right? It's not like you can put her out now and it make take time to find another place for her to live.
Take any and all measures to stop her bringing things in. Take her credit cards, give her no money, take her car keys. If she finds a way to bring things in anyway tell her you will take whatever it is to the dump, even if it is brand new and then follow thru. If she can't comply she can live with someone else. (But like I said you can't throw her out with winter coming and she's your mom but you can start looking for alternative places for her to live.)
You absolutely cannot allow her hoard to take over your house. If it was just you living there maybe you could just live with it. But it is not right at all to let your son live like that. A Great Dane is going to make things difficult also. I have 2 very large German Shepherds and when they go bombing thru the goat trails things get knocked over and there's more mess and more discouragement.
Jon, you've seen what you mother is capable of in gathering crap. Therapy is fine but I can tell you from decades of experience it is a long, slow process. And your son's life will fly by.
I know she's your mom and you love her but please put your son first. His welfare is your priority. I have a daughter who is 33 with developmental disabilities that make her more like a 10 year old. Now that my eyes have been opening to my hoard it just kills me to see how she has suffered and how much of her life is being lost in this mess.
Yesterday my despair reached a breaking point. You have a chance to nip this in the bud before your life gets out of control. You do not want your life and your son's life to be destroyed. You do not want to be in the year 2023 thinking, I wish to God I could go back and change things. You have the chance to change it now. Use tough love.
I apologize if I sound like a mean, crazy person. Usually I am much softer and considerate of the hoarder's feelings. I just don't want this terrible disorder to trash anyone else's lives. Take good care ~~~
Posted: 05 November 2013 - 06:22 AM
I need helpful suggestions. I am looking for a therapist in the Chesterfield/Colonial Heights VA area to try to work with my mother.
She has destroyed a 2800 square foot house along with my Grandmother's house. (The Grandmother's home was cleaned and sold by my Aunt and Uncle) I made a horrific mistake and purchased a 12X24 shed to help clean the house. I made things worse as I built shelves for bins and she promptly filled it to the top of the doors.
Now since she had no kitchen/fridge/hot water/heat I took her into my home. I have a son who is 10 and a Great Dane. She has filled my dining room now. I have tried asking her to stop and for some reason she ramps up and gets worse. I just pulled her credit card statement and I see daily trips to thrift stores and Goodwill.
I have cleaned her car so it could be inspected several times now. I am lost. I know I have the gene/problem but it seems to be under control as I am claustrophobic and I do not like the clutter but when gifted items I have problems parting with them.
What can I do to deal with this? She is here and has income but I don't know what to do as its my mother.