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Children and grandchildren of hoarders

(6 Posts)
cheekyangel Mon 08-Apr-13 00:25:48

I have name changed for this one just want some advice. I am married to a lovely DH who is the child of hoarding parents. They had 3 kids the oldest two are unaffected and actually reject clutter etc but the youngest child my SiL is also a hoarder. Her house is filthy beyond belief, all her cups and plates are cracked and chipped, every surface is covered and she bulk buys and stores all over her house.

There are two children aged 11 and 13 they are very quiet children and seem to have lots of illnesses, now the youngest has symptoms that are like CFS and I am worried. With both now adolescents my DH says there is no way that friends could come 'round to visit.

They live 250 miles from us but my DH visited last week and he was very concerned......they prob wont listen to us. How would you help the family? Is there a good way to talk to hoarders? I wondered if I should talk to the non hoarding GPs but don't think they are close and they have always been a very self contained family.

In addition my SiL is the product of a non harmonious upbringing as a late addition she was always told by her parents that she was a mistake. I think my FiL is an narcissist and my MiL is an enabler. SiL has strong ideas about parenting and everything ....we are not close although I keep in touch through cards and gifts (money not knick-knacks) these are not reciprocated.

My concern is how to best support the DNs. Any advice would be gratefully received.

BackforGood Mon 08-Apr-13 00:43:09

Have you, or your dh tried asking thm what support they might like ?
I'm a hoarder, and my dh is a hoarder. I would dearly love someone non-judgemental to come and help me get rid of things from my house.
The way it goes here, is I have a clear out / tidy up of a room, putting everything I can live without aside for taking to charity shop or throwing out or passing on to other people piles. Then, I have to stop what I'm doing to get tea or go to bed or go to work or whatever, and the piles that I'd decided were able to go out, get raided by the rest of the family and some stuff creeps back in, or I take a 2nd look at something 2 days later and decide to keep it, or dh sweeps the 'putting out piles' into a cupboard or back room because he's tripped over them in the hall, etc., and they never actually leave the house. I'd love for someone to come and actually help me by physically taking it to the charity shop or wherever, but it has to be someone who understands a little about the whole psychology of hoarding, and will support without judging.
Can you or dh offer that to your SiL ?

cheekyangel Mon 08-Apr-13 23:01:05

Yes thanks for this insight, I hope you get someone to help. I also took advice from my own DSis and she thinks any offer of help has to come from SiL's own DB at first. I had a chat with him....and will keep plugging away like you say in a supportive non-judgemental way. thanks

Leafmould Tue 09-Apr-13 20:28:53

I would love to understand a little more about the psychology of hoarding. Any links?

Sorry for hijacking, and I hope you find a way to give and receive the support that is needed.

cheekyangel Thu 11-Apr-13 21:04:55

I did see some stuff on I think and even NHS choices, I think it is a coping mechanism for SiL. Will try to get back to this thread with a useful link.

DoTheStrand Thu 11-Apr-13 22:02:38

I grew up in a house like this. my mum was physically ill, the house started to descend into chaos, then over the years she developed hoarding tendencies too. she now orders lots of things and finds it impossible to get rid of stuff. It is very very difficult to counter. My mum is very stubborn and (unsurprisingly) didn't take kindly to being told how to live her life. However living in that kind of environment is incredibly stressful for teenagers. When i was young it was very embarrassing if friends came round, none of them understood and some of them (and some of their parents!) did bitch about it to me.

If SIL will accept help from your DH with decluttering and you can help her practically then that would be fabulous but it might be worth concentrating on coping mechanisms for your DNs - is your DH in contact with them regularly, could he find out if they have good friends (with nice parents!) who don't judge them who can offer them a bit of a haven when they go round to their houses? Also what are your DNs' bedrooms like, could you / your DH go up there and help them turn their rooms into a bit of a haven for them to retreat to from the rest of the house? I keep repeating the word haven but that is what I wanted: a calm, clean, private, tidy place amid the chaos.

btw it's interesting that you say the other two children haven't been affected as they reject clutter - it might be that they have been affected and this is their response. My house is quite minimalist, I loathe clutter, I am at my happiest when I have just ordered a skip smile I am actually quite materialistic, love clothes and nice stuff, but anything not being used I want to get rid of. I often tell DH (to his horror, and only half-joking) that if I could get him down to two pairs of trousers - one to wear and one in the wash - then I would...

Good luck cheekyangel, you sound lovely and very caring. Sorry for the immense post and I hope I haven't depressed you too much - if you find any successful strategies please share them!

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