...And Then The Dam Broke.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
My mother is moving this weekend from a house she has lived in for more than 30 years. She has sold the family property that has belonged to my father's side of the family since the 1880's. While I am not at all pleased about this, I am not allowed to say a word against it, because apparently I just don't understand these complicated adult sorts of matters (I am 40 years old and I'm a home owner).
Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if my mother wasn't a hoarder. That's right she's a hoarder. Picture the scariest episode of "Hoarding - Buried Alive" you've ever watched...that's my mom's house. I can't step foot in the place, if I do, my asthma goes nuts and I usually have to make a visit to my doctor.
There are six children in our family. Do you know how many of them are helping her right now? One. That's the one who lives with her. He keeps calling me to tell me how awful the whole thing is. So, I'm getting a play-by-play account of the madness. She is apparently yelling at everyone because they are going to "ruin her stuff."
I live my life in terror of the idea of one day becoming a hoarder myself. All of my siblings are hoarders. Somehow I escaped it, but I suspect I could become one if I found myself in dire circumstances. I do love collecting little things. I have a great affection for nicknacks and antiques.
My mother doesn't have her new house yet. So, everything is going into storage. I see this leading to her buying all new stuff and keeping the old stuff in storage...forever. This will lead to outrageous storage bills. She won't part with any of it. It'll rot as she collects a whole new pile of stuff.
Hoarding is a disorder. It's crippling and tragic...and I would feel sorry for her. Truly, I would...BUT she's the most judgmental person I have ever met in my whole life. She walks into my house and starts teasing me if she sees a cobweb. She'll giggle if there's a dirty dish in my sink. Her favorite thing to say is,"Oh, I guess you didn't have a chance to straight things up before company arrived?"
And I said all that after my last blog where I promised not to unload on you darling little Sparkers! I guess I just couldn't hold it in any longer.
I'm going to go clean my house now.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
Wow - the more I read your blogs, the more I can relate. My Mom is not a "full blown" Hoarder but she is what I consider borderline. She does have rooms filled with crap she doesn't need but can't part with. I have gone the extreme opposite and probably throw things out I should hold onto - then wonder 2 months down the road "where is that manual?" that I now need to figure out a working VCR.
I'm 53 and my sister is 60 and we keep telling each other we won't morph into our mother as the years pass. We'll see. I know it's hard to be patient; I'm so often NOT patient with my Mom.
Hang in there - I hope your Mom and siblings get some counseling to deal with the situation.
1492 days ago
It's so sad about the family land! You obviously are a very strong person! Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do about your mom. You are right, your mom is sick. It's common for people to be more critical of others when they, in fact, have "the problem." Try to ignore her comments as it won't change anything.
Although, I know I'd have a tough time with my own advice. I'd want to tell her to look at her own house. Hang in there and take care of you. It's hard, but sometimes that's all we can do.
P.S. I like the idea of really good Tequila, too!
1495 days ago
What a mess!!! I have nothing to say, that you haven't already said yourself!
Her drama will come and go again and again, you just focus on taking care of your self and try to not to let it disturb your peace!
Oh, and good luck!
1495 days ago
Snarky and sarcastic is probably the best way to handle her. My family is VERY much adverse to sentimentality of any sort. Compassion is seen as a weakness. While my mother may be using her quips as a defense mechanism, she also means for them to hurt. She will say, "You know I'm no great housekeeper..." And then trail off with a loaded silence that is filled with contempt.
Once, she wanted me to buy a house with her. I said that would be fine, but that if we lived together, I wouldn't be her housekeeper (as I was when I was a kid). She looked at me with disgust and said, "We'll, never mind then, because I'm certainly not going to clean a house."
Honestly, you'd think she was a Rockefeller or something.
As for being on hoarders...I'd love that, as long as didn't have to go in her house. They'd be carrying me away on a stretcher!
1496 days ago
I imagine that your mother picking on your housekeeping skills is really her being defensive. She probably knows she is dysfunctional and wants you to be dysfunctional too. It means she's not so bad if you are also imperfect.
Every time I try to think of a come-back for what to say to your mother, it sounds snarky and sarcastic. Probably what is needed is more on the lines of compassion, since clearly her life is a train-wreck and she knows it.
You are not her. Take deep breaths. Keep your boundaries.
Maybe you can get your whole family on Hoarders! I bet the producers would love that!
1497 days ago
"Hope she was too busy whinging about moving and worrying about her stuff to give you too much grief about the imaginary shortcomings of your place."
It would have been nice if that had happened. She made me feel bad about my house and then she made me feel bad because I'm not helping her move.
Typical sort of thing for her.
1497 days ago
Medication should be taken when the symptoms require it.... so, no, it's not too early for whiskey!
Hope she was too busy whinging about moving and worrying about her stuff to give you too much grief about the imaginary shortcomings of your place.
I get this feeling that you have the same reaction that I do when family leaves: I look around my house, smile, and heave a huge sigh of relief that I get to live exactly how I want and don't have to suit any of their expectations or desires any more. There was a reason I moved out as soon as I was legal...
Hope the rest of the weekend gets better for you!
1497 days ago
My mother was just here. She was picking up my little brother. Is ten o'clock in the morning too early for whiskey?
1497 days ago
I sagree with ICEDEMETER: you are keeping remarkably calm in the middle of all that mess... Staying away and keeping her away from you is the best you can do at this stage. I wish you patience and good luck.
1497 days ago
My little brother said everything went into storage...and she's watching it like a hawk. She's the only person who is allowed access to it. I guess she suspects that we might accidentally lose some of that junk.
I tell you, I wish booze didn't have so many calories!
1498 days ago
Well, I read it over twice, and still didn't find a single burst of profanity.... I'd have to say that you are far more calm about this than I would be! Obviously more practical, too, since house-cleaning can work up the endorphins as well as kick-boxing while still actually accomplishing something!
Hang in there... It totally sucks dealing with the effects of someone's illness, but you have to keep your boundaries clear so that you don't get sucked in to the madness. Venting here is a great option.
Not much you can do at this stage of the game with how your Mom is, other than to never invite her in to your house and make sure that you stay out of hers. You might want to mention to your brother that he should keep an eye on what actually goes in to storage --- if he can, this would be a really good time to pare down the piles so that only necessities get stored and the rest gets "lost"... It might be worth listening to her complaints for a while just so that you all have less to deal with in the future.
Strong thoughts that things get easier for you...
(I'd send you some really good tequila, too, but don't know what border customs would think of that!)
1498 days ago
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