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to have watched this show (about hoarding) with a massive knot in my stomach?

(13 Posts)
FlyMeToTheMooncup Sat 20-Aug-11 14:18:39

My Hoarder Mum and Me sad

Just stumbled upon it, and was surprised at how uncomfortable it made me. My parents are hoarders, although not nearly so bad as the woman in this show. But coupled with major lack of cleaning it still made for a very embarrassing house.

I've recently decided to not go to my parents' house any more, certainly not with my DCs, since my mum said they had rats. They've already had mice, weevils and slugs. I just can't do it. Even when we have visited I am scared to eat anything. I had no idea about this show until an hour ago (we don't have proper telly so I hadn't heard about it) but bizarrely last night I dreamed my mum started getting upset because we weren't visiting and I couldn't say why we weren't sad

I remember when now-DH first moved in, we took over a lot of the cooking as he used to be a chef. They agreed to let us clear out the freezers and cupboards, but they were furious when we'd finished because we'd got rid of too much - stuff that was completely frostbitten and random crap that expired when I was a baby.

We certainly aren't perfect. We've got too much crap as well, which we are getting rid of. They've been great at helping us with boot fairs and trips to the dump, and taking loads of stuff to the charity shop where I work. I've suggested they do some too, mum could even bring her clothes here to sort out with me, and it's all great until the last minute and then they refuse. Even when I was a kid and mum would be on at me to tidy my room (!) she would go through every single thing I threw out.

She still does that - I'd got loads of stuff for the rag man (over £20 worth which considering it's only 50p a kilo is pretty damn good) and they went through some of it while it was in the car. And yet my mum 'tells me off' (in a 'helpful' way - maybe she just doesn't want me to end up like them?) when I buy something - "are you sure you need that?" confused ... and then gives us a bag full of books that are falling apart from her library. WTF.

Don't really know why I've posted, not on MN much lately, just wanted to get it out. Sorry for the essay.

gotolder Sat 20-Aug-11 14:53:09

Watched this because I know it is becoming more recognised as a mental health issue and we have a friend whom I will no longer visit for much the same reasons. We do see her and have her to visit because we love her, but I can no longer pass her front door because of the mess and the smell: the annoying thing is that she loves beautiful things but they can no longer be seen in the clutter and dirt.sad

We have tried so hard to help (used to clean her kitchen every visit until she refused to let us) but it has got past any reasonable/ordinary help. We dream of being able to afford to send her away somewhere for a week whilst we get in professionals but unless we win the lottery (which we don't even do!) there is no way that we can. We have talked with her about it on many occasions but although she is always "ashamed" she cannot understand herself and, so far, has been unable to change.

Sofabitch Sat 20-Aug-11 14:57:33

I have a friend like this. The more depressed she is the worse it gets. I'm always surprised the hv never says anything. I went round the other day to help her because she has a newborn and after 3 hours and 6 black sacks I felt like I had barely made a dent on her kitchen.

TalesOfTheUnexpected Sat 20-Aug-11 14:59:49

I cansympathise. My ex-h was a hoarder, especially with food. He would fill the freezer up to bursting point and I had to ask him what I could throw away - even if it was 3 years old, frostbitten to hell and inedible. I had to show each item to him and ask permission shock

I once threw a very out of date, part opened pack of bacon in the bin in the kitchen without telling him. He went mad, got it out and cooked it!

It wasn't even as if he had been deprived as a child. He came from a wealthy family who never had a mortgage, or debts, owned their own business, holidays were cruises, etc, not a week in Blackpool like the rest of us!

I used to do the family shopping once a week, but he would then insist on further food shopping (alone) and come back with bags and bags of food. I remember more than once crying "where are we going to put it all?"

He had more clothes and shoes than I could count. It was scary in the end. It really was. When we finally parted, I literally spent my life at the tip and charity shops clearing out all his stuff. He said he didn't want any of it?!

I don't blame you for not letting your DC's visit your parents anymore. Especially with the issues you say are present (vermin).

I'm sure your mum doesn't want you to end up like she has. She loves you. She probably just can't help her habit. It's very hard to explain. My ex could never explain.

ProcrastinatorGeneral Sat 20-Aug-11 15:00:22

If anyone seeing this has hoarder issues, there is a thread in chat for helpsmile

janelikesjam Sat 20-Aug-11 15:23:32

I watched some of link, Mooncup. Clearly suffering from some mental illness she still managed to raise apparently lovely children.

springydaffs Sat 20-Aug-11 15:52:39

I'm not surprised you had a knot in your stomach when you watched it OP - it was a very upsetting programme sad. I can honestly say I half hated the mother for putting her children through that. Jasmine's pain about it was so obvious - awful. The mother also became very manipulative when she was backed into a corner (grrr) and when one of her sons asked her which was more important, her stuff or her kids, it was quite obvious that the answer was: her stuff.

I realised when I watched it that I have 'issues' with hoarding. The house is clean and everything is well organised but, frankly, I've got

too

much

stuff

sad

(how to clear it out <nightmare>)

fifitrixibellesmith Sat 20-Aug-11 15:55:00

i watched the Discovery Series about hoarding

it really is a mental problem more than anything else. All of them had to oversee every tiniest thing to throw away - even a piece of cotton wool!!

tbh if that was my mum or dad, i would get them taken away on holiday for a week, and blitz the house. It would be gone then. No argument

edam Sat 20-Aug-11 16:02:54

dh is a terrible hoarder. He hangs onto everything and the house is full to bursting but what really pisses me off is the rubbish - empty food packaging, for instance. When I put it in the bin, he fishes it out (and often puts it in the car - wtf?).

Sadly from everything I've seen about hoarding, there doesn't seem to be a cure - if you clear everything out, the hoarder just replaces it. I feel terrible for ds - you can't move in this house without knocking something over, and it's really hard to clean properly so it does look like a tip much of the time. Plus dh has dumped loads of crap on top of ds's model railway so ds can't use it.

dh wasn't always like this, it kind of crept up on us. But it turns out his Dad was a terrible hoarder, it's just his Mum was much stricter (and they had a much bigger house). Since it got really bad, the only time the house has been clear is when we got someone in to go through it. And I can't afford to do that again.

springydaffs Sat 20-Aug-11 16:12:07

oh gosh, I feel really sorry for you edam sad

Is hoarding in the OCD category do you think? I hope this disorder gets some more attention and research (therefore treatment) as it can be completely overwhelming. It's only recently that it's got a name I think?

TalesOfTheUnexpected Sat 20-Aug-11 16:14:39

I agree that most hoarders will slowly but surely replace stuff if it's cleared out. I also agree with the mental illness angle. Ex's mother was mentally ill (never given a definitive diagnosis).

I met ex-h when I was 20. It took him MONTHS to take me to see his parents. I now understand why. Their house was a tip. Dog hair everywhere, clutter, dirtyness because of the clutter. It was a real eye-opener.

Over the next few years, although I regularly cleared the marital home, my ex-h would very soon get it back to it's old level. He just couldn't help it.

FlyMeToTheMooncup Sat 20-Aug-11 16:51:11

Yes hoarding is currently under OCD but the psychologists in the programme are hoping to get it classified separately so it's taken more seriously and gets more research.

The "send them away and get rid of everything" idea is so so tempting but it just doesn't work. As the lady in the show said, she would feel unable to trust anyone, and she needs to control the clearing out or she gets upset. It is so frustrating as I know they wouldn't miss a lot of it. At our boot fair recently my dad found a nice book that they'd bought on holiday (in Spanish, can't buy it here) and I'd ended up with. He bought it off me without realising they were the original owners, even when I tried to tell him.

The ridiculous thing with my parents is that they both have these tendencies and they criticise each other for it! Mum is always on at dad about clearing up and yet won't get rid of anything herself. I wonder if they actually like having each other as an excuse not to clear out their stuff.

ggirl Sat 20-Aug-11 16:56:58

It was a very movind documentary.

I have a friend who has a child who has hoarding problems.

He is only 6 and has been hoarding rubbish for a yr or so. Very hard problem to get help for.

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