Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Help for hoarding parents

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice Help for hoarding parents

This topic contains 39 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by avatar LisforLeslie 5 months ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 25 through 36 (of 40 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #677527 Reply

    Maybe you should see a therapist. It seems you have a habit of burdening yourself with other people’s problems and choices as if you have control over them.
    Like the Rex issue in the other thread. You have a tough time letting go.

    #677529 Reply
    avatar
    Anne Shirley

    I think that it probably seems that way more because I have put the two areas that I do have trouble with on display because to ask for advice.

    Otherwise I don’t really. And the hoarding issue isn’t really taking on responsibility for someone else’s issues because one day sooner or later it is going to be legally 100% my responsibility along with caring for whatever parent I have left and organising their continuing care etc. it’s not something that if I talk to a therapist I can remove myself from because it is my responsibility.

    Other than that I have autism, I am vision impaired and I have a muscular disorder so things and stuff are a little harder for me at times, especially organising things and planning things waaaaay out of my field of expertise. And therapy isnt ever going to fix those things – autism is a processing disorder, not a lack of intelligence or personality disorder or mental illness.

    #677532 Reply
    avatar
    Leslie Joan

    Anne, I’m new to this site, but I think you’re doing fine. It makes all the difference in the world to be truly understood. Don’t we all just want a little understanding? 🙂

    #677536 Reply
    avatar
    Anne Shirley

    So true Leslie Joan, and that’s what is good about Internet forums like this and what Wendy does.

    I’m only new here too – I came her by googling my questions basically.

    In real life, where we have to act a bit stronger and tougher than we really are, you don’t always find someone to understand because people come at you with their own pre conceived notions and motivations.

    I live in a different state from my parents, I live near my work. And have to travel in my state a bit. So I in effect avoid my responsibility of them – they aren’t interested in my help so it’s easier to avoid rather than push and push and get screamed at. Also I avoid all the home town people who think I am shirking my responsibilities and letting my parents live in an unhealthy environment in the worst house in town.

    It’s like grey gardens without the kittens, lol. It’s soul destroying.

    #677537 Reply
    avatar
    Leslie Joan

    The fact that they are so resistant to any outside help will probably mean that at such time as you do need to step in, you won’t have the time to prepare and scope out service providers in advance the way you might prefer. The distance makes it harder to do. But remember, there are agencies to help you, and you will find the right help when the time comes. Until then, it’s okay to feel a little wistful that you don’t have normal parents who can plan ahead for their old age and let things go. As long as you don’t let it consume you, it’s normal to think about it from time to time, and seeing that retirement community makes it hard to escape. You are human, for heaven sakes, and you are already dealing with a lot of daily challenges with your health. Those are the breaks and you have to deal with the parents you have, not the ones you wish you had, but as long as you don’t dwell on it, you’re fine.

    #677541 Reply
    avatar
    Anne Shirley

    Yeah in a lot of ways I have already mourned and lost the parents I wanted to the ones I had – I mean for starters being diagnosed with autism in my 30’s was a bit of a shock and made me really revisit my childhood in different lights – and helped my relationship with my parents because they realised that I wasn’t deliberately being difficult and literal, I was genuinely functioning on a different level. So they forgave me for being the child i was and congratulated each other on being such great parents ‘considering’ and I shook my head and carried on with being the mother of an autistic child of my own. And also a non autistic child!

    And no hoarding is done in my house!

    #677635 Reply
    avatar
    Leslie Joan

    Aiyee. Well, and you can internally roll your eyes and forgive them for being the parents they’ve been, “considering”, and recognize that they have their own condition that they’re living with. All the more reason to accept that there’s nothing you can do at this time, and when the time comes, you’ll be needing to hire professionals, will probably be having a lot of visits with the local building and fire code enforcement officer, and may be looking at having a lot of demolition with asbestos abatement taking place. But whatever it is, you will deal with it just fine with the help of your husband. Just eliminate all other expectations of them and for them, and learn to block out people who start sentences with “you should just….”. Lol. Those who haven’t walked in your path can’t know what you’re feeling, and the truth is that most people don’t understand and don’t want to. It’s a mental illness.

    Al-Anon groups can actually be very helpful at learning to let go of things you can’t control. Addiction and mental illness are similar in their effects on family members.

    #677645 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom

    @Leslie Joan

    I was replying to your comments about things like lead paint which apparently doesn’t exist in the house in question. You are imaging the situation and not getting it exactly right.

    Repairs do need to be made but probably won’t get done. The house will continue to deteriorate and at some point she will probably end up with a house that needs to be demolished. I get that. There is absolutely nothing she can do about any of it. It is their house and they get to decide how and if they maintain it and what they keep in it. If they live in an area that requires a certain level of maintenance in the zoning the town/township might condemn it.

    My parents filled two rooms in our upstairs with stuff. Not hoarding but my mom learned to save everything during the Great Depression because it might one day be needed and it wouldn’t be available. I say not hoarding because when they needed the rooms for other things they got rid of the saved stuff with no emotional problem. They cleaned them out in a few days time. I grew up in a house with two rooms filled with stuff. The stuff was there for over 30 years before they got rid of it and it wasn’t covered with inches of dust and it didn’t have dead insects all over it and we lived in a dusty area. I have a very good idea of what a room looks like that has been filled with boxes for decades.

    My parents did always maintain the house. They repaired the roof when hail damaged it and fixed windows as needed so it didn’t have water damage.

    #677661 Reply
    avatar
    Leslie Joan

    Anne, there are websites that might be helpful to you, such as childrenofhoarders.com. Also, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen A&E network’s show on Hoarders, but there is information available about it on their website, as well as links to some of the specialists they used. Hopefully following up with some of these will make you feel, if not exactly better, but better adjusted to accepting the situation in its reality. The children of hoarders website mentions the business about perfectionism that I’d figured out on my own, plus the similarities to being an adult child of an alcoholic. Since there are plenty of hoarders, you certainly aren’t alone. Good wishes to you.

    #677676 Reply
    avatar
    RedRoverRedRover

    My mom is a hoarder too and I feel you. I’m lucky in that she’s a “clean” hoarder. Things are sorted and categorized and put into plastic bins and stacked neatly. Anything out in the open (not in a bin) is cleaned regularly enough that it’s not dusty. Bugs aren’t an issue any more than they normally are in an old house.

    But. We’re still going to have a hell of a job clearing the place out. There’s just SO MUCH of it. The entire attic and basement, both of which are the full footprint of the house and have normal head-height ceilings. These are not crawl spaces. Plus three bedrooms worth, plus everything else just crammed around in the corners and closets of all the other rooms. There is so much stuff that they aren’t maintaining the house properly. I think it’ll just be a teardown by the time they either move out or are gone. My bigger concern is that they want to downsize, but my mom keeps making excuses why they can’t. When really the reason is obviously that she can’t get rid of all her stuff. Her sister’s a hoarder too, same kind (clean and organized). Their mom caused it, I’m pretty sure.

    I do wish she could let go of it. She’s so unhappy in that house, she says she’d love to be in a little condo or something, and she could come live closer to me. Or she could even come live WITH me, we’ve offered. But she’s tied to that stupid house with her hoard of crap. It’s frustrating. But there’s nothing I or anyone else can do about it, unless she decides on her own that she wants to make a change. You just have to let it go for now, and worry about it later when you’re forced to.

    #677699 Reply

    Anne,
    You sound like you really do have a good handle on what is going on with your parents. That in itself is so awesome. Leslie gets it too and that is the important thing as to why her advice is so good. If you need someone to second her advice, I do!!! Take it! I’m glad you were able to have a good time when they came and visited you. Keep it up!! You realize their house isn’t healthy, can you meet them for lunches/suppers at restaurants in cities/towns half-way between the two of you? Keep a good relationship going with your parents, enjoy them for who they are, and, hey, you never know, maybe you will be able to convince them to move into the retirement housing going up next to where you live, IF that is something you would like. Just do your best to make sure their problems, that you CAN’T do anything about stay with them and you make a conscious effort to not let them be a burden. Translation: If you get to a point where you realize they have started to weigh you down, take a deep breath and remind yourself you can’t be responsible for them, but you do love your parents!!

    You are human and allowed to be!! Also remember to enjoy your little family! Also, have you talked with your husband about all this? He might be a good source for a sanity check every now and then.

    #677708 Reply
    avatar
    Ron

    You can live with lead paint. If it’s not flaking, you aren’t trying to sand it, and you aren’t a small kid it’s not much of a problem. It most likely would be on window sash and wood trim.

Viewing 12 posts - 25 through 36 (of 40 total)
Reply To: Help for hoarding parents
Your information:




Comments on this entry are closed.