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Feb 25

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Living With Someone’s Clutter or Hoarding: How Do You Cope?

"Psych Up" with Dr. Suzanne B. Phillips

“Psych Up” with Dr. Suzanne B. Phillips

The February 15, 2014 episode of the radio talk show “Psych Up with Dr. Suzanne Phillips” features an interview with Dr. Fugen Neziroglu about Neziroglu’s new book, “Children of Hoarders: How to Minimize Conflict, Reduce the Clutter, and Improve Your Relationship.”

In the interview, Drs. Phillips and Neziroglu explore the ways that hoarding may affect family relationships, particularly the relationships between parents and children. They also discuss ways that children might respond to a parent’s hoarding behaviors, including an exploration of communication strategies and techniques that may help to add balance to the relationship between children of hoarders and their parents.

Also in the interview, Dr. Neziroglu describes differences between hoarding and cluttering and differences between primary hoarding and secondary hoarding.

To listen to the forty-eight minute interview, please visit “Living With Someone’s Clutter or Hoarding: How Do You Cope?” at the Cosozo Radio Network. The interview also can be downloaded as a 92 megabyte MP3 file.

Permanent link to this article: http://childrenofhoarders.com/wordpress/?p=5041

  • William Denson

    Doc I’m 30 years of age and I have tried thousands of time to help my mother in her home. I have completely given up on the matter. I have lost children loved ones friendships ect. She doesn’t understand how this affected my development while I was a young man. I have fought my entire life to better myself, striving to be nothing like this women. I have lost respect for her. I not blaming her for all my problems. I had some roots from that home that needed to be up rooted. My journey has been a long and lonely one dealing and coping with the matter. Iv’e also been through Domestic abuse being abused and then becoming the abuser after fighting back. My life was filled with abuse and learning about what was happening I was alone! Iv’e been to prison for my actions and while incarcerated I felt no different from being at my mothers home. It’s been a long road and I’m still not right completely healed. I want to get her help, but I think she is to far gone for help. Idk! I just see myself leaving her to her fate and moving on with my life.

    • Observer

      God bless you, I hope you continue to find strength and faith in him. I came fr/ an abusive home and in my twenties through thirties, it was a work in continual separation, being totally alone, looking only to God, and persevering. Now I have everything, job, loving spouse, home, without need for the original family. You don’t choose who you’re born into, don’t feel guilty about leaving. The result of all this is I have ZERO tolerance for abusive of messed up people, I’m faithful for a long time, but then have no problem cutting off friendships immediately when I see that it’s diminishing returns. Look only to God, and don’t feel guilty in moving on w/ your healthy life.

    • Gonewiththewind

      William, my heart truly goes out to you. I only have a minute but reading your post about how you see yourself leaving your mom to her fate and moving on with your life, almost brought tears to my eyes. I have felt so guilty for feeling this way, thank you for sharing, maybe through all these people sharing , we can both find strength to do whatever is needed in each of our lives.

  • wanderlust2924

    I live with a hoarder. There is a mess almost everywhere. Every flat surface has to have stuff placed on it. He can’t find things he needs, so he goes to the store and buys more. I can’t clean out much, because he will most likely pull it out of the trash. I can’t complain much, because there is an immediate and sharp offensive launched slinging things that have nothing to do with the issue at hand. My way of coping has basically become sticking my head in the sand. And yet, I do a lot of intense work remodeling on parts of the house. A nice home is just so important to me. We have a garage, a workshop, and a covered porch. I find myself sanding and painting doors on the dining room table. There is no room for me. Sand dust is not allowed in the shop. At least he lets me have two saws and couple of other tools on the front porch now. When you step in the shop, there are boards and stuff all over the floor with things on top and under them. To top it all off, there are now two bunnies in the garage. I feel for those bunnies – take them some carrots ever so often. They cause flies, but the flies it has been sharply and quickly explained to me are caused by my dogs. There is no way to work out anything with a person who is immediately on the attack when presented with a grievance. They don’t even understand grievances. How do I continue to do this? I would like to live my life again for the little time I have left. Is there hope for change for a person who does not admit to any faults? I think there must be as much of a mess in his mind as there is in his surroundings, like he can’t streamline his thoughts to a conclusion. He is highly intelligent, so I must be the person always in the wrong and simply have nothing to gain.

    • Tessa Rose

      Any chance of getting yourself into therapy, and maybe both of you into marriage counseling? When I started seeing myself as codependent, it shifted things for me, as I realized that I could change my own way of being and doing. Your patterns of communication are likely just going in unhealthy circles, and it does not sound like your attempts to communicate are doing you any good. Best of luck … I sympathize.

      • wanderlust2924

        Thank you. You are so right about the unhealthy circles. I have little to no hope. At least I have overcome my anger that was making me ill. I lean on God.
        Your input helps me to stand back and understand what I am doing if I want to discuss something that needs change. Perhaps I can come up with a new idea. At any rate, I will try hard not to waste my energy doing what I know from experience will not help.
        Counseling will do nothing. It takes two people wanting to work something out, not one serious and one wanting to win yet another battle as he sees it.

    • Sandy

      This sounds like you have no room and no voice in your own life. You deserve to be able to express yourself. You would know this behavior was unacceptable if it was physical, just because abuse is emotional does not mean it doesn’t count. You matter. Imagine your child was bring treated this way and act the way you would if you saw this happening to them.

      • wanderlust2924

        Sandy, thank you for your insight. As I read your post, I’m just remembering why I should have broken up this union long ago. Hope against hope…. Perhaps I need to get away and get a new perspective. Hoarders are collecting trash, and that trash is very important to them. I feel like it’s also that their authority seems threatened if you throw away their trash. We should be able to re-locate them to a landfill. No telling what they could accomplish there. I know that sounds mean, but when I look up instead of down, I just get a shot of logic back for a moment.

    • elizajose

      Dear Wanderlust, i understand completely and empathise with your situation. Our eldest brother, Henry (who is single at 55 yrs) is exactly like your husband, only we live in a two bedroom fairly large apartment here in Mumbai city, India. Its horribly hoarded and Henry won’t allow any of us siblings to touch or remove a single piece of hoarded junk…My sister who is now staying with us since a year is nearly fed up of trying to coax him to part with few bits and pieces of junk at least!!..esp. being the Christmas season and most Christian families here are renovating, decorating their homes and it makes me & my sister so depressed at times. We have asked our Pastor and his Australian wife to come in next Sunday and pray for us at home, for a Christmas blessing. We are praying our Pastor is able to minister to Henry in whatever little way. Its very frustrating and difficult dealing with a person who insists everything he does is right and we are at fault for thinking differently…like your spouse, Henry is extremely intelligent but he can’t see how dysfunctional he has become…My sister and I have put all our hopes only in the Lord our God and Saviour King, Jesus Christ…but one feels sad coming home to such a big mess, its a beautifully sized apartment and most people in our building have done up their homes very well. Henry will put up a few decorations during Chrsitmas all around the hoarded stuff…My sister is praying much that her visa to Australia comes through in Feb. 2015 and she can at least leave this apartment and live away for 2 years at least. her marriage is in a bit of a crisis thats why she is at home with myself and Henry. i now understand all hoarders are very difficult to live with unless you are one yourself!! otherwise its a totally abusive situation.

    • Zola Potts

      Please get the bunnies out of there. Say you found them dead and get them to an animal shelter. There are bunny rescues that would be overjoyed to take them if you told them the story. I think they would want to rescue you, too. You live in fear of someone who abuses animals. Ive been in similar situations with an abusive hoarding mother and boyfriends just like her. They yelling and anger from the hoarder was not as bad as knowing the animals were suffering. I began to understand that their anger hurt them more than it did me — their threats were ridiculous, given the terrible life they had me trapped in — so I and would do what I thought right and let them rage. He is more trapped than you: who do you think will love him if you leave? That’s why he is grinding you into nothing, and that’ s why he has “pets” that he forces to live in misery. Control and the illusion that, if he keeps you unhappy enough, even a tiny treat will make him seem like a big shot.

  • Tessa Rose

    I married into a family with hoarding issues. I’m not the greatest housekeeper. I’m a clutterer with a strong desire to live in a tidy environment. I have issues with depression and codependence. When I was single, I could just barely deal with my own clutter and keep my environment nice. But with marriage, a house, a home business, and a child, the mess got completely beyond me, and I became depressed to the point of being nonfunctional. For the first 20 years, people were not talking about hoarding as they are now. I did not have the awareness and the intellectual tools that I have now to deal with depression, codependence, and hoarding.

    Three years ago, we moved from our own horribly cluttered home into my in-laws’ horribly cluttered home after my husband’s parents died and left us their home. This event galvanized me and turned me into the anti-hoarding warrior that I am today! I’ve spent the last three years cleaning up not one, but two Horrible Hoards.

  • Gonewiththewind

    Hello Wanderlust. This is the first time I have ventured into see if there were any blogs like this. SO this is my first post. Hopefully I am doing things correctly. My mother is a hoarder and my parents recently moved in with me. I don’t have much time right now , I have to get to work but I just wanted to say that what you shared allowed me to take a breather for the first time in a long time. My mom has always been this way but having them move in with me has really taken my energy from me. I understand the part about how if you share any grievances , you prepare for a lashing in response. I too have thought…..well so how or where do I get any kind of help? Do I just suffer in silence and live with this mind sickness ? I am not looking to complain or for any type of pity, I don’t want to see my mom live out the rest of her life like this, I want her quality of life to be better then shuffeling boxes around from room to room each day. And my dad is a passive enabler. He just works all the time and then buys her things to keep her happy. If I talk with him, he defends my mom. It is a very viscious cycle . So anyway, I hope you get this, please know that in the midst of your frustration, you gave me some hope to know I am not alone in how I feel.

    • Tammi Moses

      Hi Gonewiththewind, I can relate to your parents wanting to move in with you. My mom actually thought I would move into the house to come and take care of her. Unless it is totally necessary to have them live with you, I would suggest they have their own place to live. At the very least YOU designate some space that is yours and that they have to keep their stuff out of your space. Just going to visit my mom takes uber amounts of energy, I can’t imagine living with it at this point after being on my own for 20+ years.

  • Gonewiththewind

    Hello to all that are in here. I posted a response to wanderlust. I am new to this so I hope I am doing things correctly. I will check back later today. If anyone has any helpful hints , I would appreciate it as far as responding to people and making sure I get anyrepsonses sent to me. I am middle aged and unfortunately so are my technological skills. :0)