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My mother keeps is using stuff to control me and I feel totally overwhelmed

(53 Posts)
Elephantgrey Tue 21-Nov-17 11:44:21

My mother is a hoarder she has never been able to throw things out and it has got to the point where her own home is virtually uninhabitable.

Ever since I left home she has tried to sneak boxes of her crap into my home. When I was a student living in one room she dumped a huge box on 1970s tea towels and other linen in my room when she was helping me to move house. I wasn't allowed to get rid of it because they belonged to her but she refused to take it away.

She also loves buying things for my house even though I have asked her not to. For example she decided that all my cups should have spots on (why). When I asked her not to buy anymore because there was no room in the cupboard she bought a mug tree with a set of spotty mugs which didn't match the other ones.

Now I am pregnant and struggling with hyperemersis. I also have hypermobility syndrome so I can't move heavy boxes. Neither can my husband as he has had shoulder surgery. The last time she came she brought an enormous box of Christmas presents despite me begging her to only buy us one thing each. She promised that she would take the box of plastic toys from my childhood she had dumped on us the last time she came but didn't.

The other day an enormous parcel arrived at the door with yet more presents in. This has just sent me completely over the edge. I quite irrationally feel that by posting me things she is forcing more stuff into my home without even being here. I had to fight the irrational urge to dump all of the Christmas presents into the bin before I left for work.

She wants to come and stay before the baby is born to buy me a cot and a pram and decorate the babiy's room. I really couldn't cope with this. She wants to choose things for the baby and come and stay when they baby is born.

This sounds like she is being kind and she means well but she doesn't really accept that it is my baby and has been saying things like that is a grandmother's right. If I let her come she will totally steamroller me and I won't be able to have the relationship I want with the baby.

I don't know how to deal with this. It seems like such a small problem but I have really bad anxiety. I have Tourette's syndrome and my tic have been so bad I have injured myself. I was referred to the perinatal mental health team but I haven't heard from them.

How can I deal with this situation?

LeCroissant Tue 21-Nov-17 12:00:54

It really isn't a small problem. I think you need to distance yourself from her as much as you can (even go no contact if necessary). She isn't listening to you at all and she's affecting your mental health. She has no right to fill your house with crap and demand you keep it - just throw it all away or give it to a charity shop.

As for staying your house - tell her to fuck off.

redexpat Tue 21-Nov-17 12:04:50

I think the first thing you should do is chase the perinatal mental health team.

Then you need to tell your mother in plain and simple english that she needs to come and collect x items by y date or they will be disposed of.

If she sends things by post refuse to accept them.

Practise saying no I will be choosing the things for my baby. You had your turn x years ago and now it is mine.

It doesnt sound small at all. I dont have anxiety but i felt quite stressed reading your Op.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 21-Nov-17 12:07:42

Its not a small problem at all; her behaviours are affecting both your mental and physical health. Her hoarding is spilling over into your H's and your lives now and she will keep giving unwanted stuff to your as yet unborn child too. Ultimately you are going to have to throw out all of the stuff she gives you, its not wanted and you do not need her hoarding to take over your home too.

Who referred you to the perinatal health team?. I would chase up this referral with them as a matter of urgency.

This website may be useful to you as well:-

www.compulsive-hoarding.org/Support.html Children of Hoarders is also a good website.

Elephantgrey Tue 21-Nov-17 12:41:41

Thank you all. It is such a relief to be told this is not a small problem. In my head I had convinced myself I was being totally pathetic.

I will chace the perimental team. Is the best way to do that through the midwife.

I had convinced myself of all sorts of terrible things like social services will take the baby away because I am an unfit parent. I know that this is extemely unlikely as I have done advanced child protection training through work. It just all feels too much.

I can't do very much with the house at the moment as I managing to go to work and go to bed and that is it.

The house is not even in that bad a state it is just about control. I do struggle with house work and organisation stuff like bills. I want to come up with a system to organise my life before the baby is born. I am not sure how to do this. I don't feel like a real grown up. I can't drive and really struggled with lessons. If we had a car I could take stuff to the tip and the charity shops it would be so much easier.

My mum knows she needs to change and says she wants to get the house fixed before the baby comes but I don't see how she can at the moment. It is too much for her to do on her own. She knows she has upset me and is sorry but knowing her she will do it again.

Has anyone ever hired a professional decluttering service? I read an article about children of horders in the guardian. The lady who wrote it decluttered horders houses for a living. I wonder how much it would cost to hire something like that to sort out my Mums house and if she would accept it.

Anatidae Tue 21-Nov-17 12:45:44

Decluttering services could certainly help. I’ve no idea how much they charge... perhaps a sympathetic cleaner as well after that?

Reading your OP I can feel the anxiety - I feel so sorry for you! MIL does this to us, stuff she can’t have in her house she dumps on us. It’s like an invasion. We currently have a hideous dresser and various things taking up space and yet she tells us the house is messy when she is here!!

Definitely chase that mental health team.

Do NOT have her over after the birth.

Anatidae Tue 21-Nov-17 12:48:05

Also don’t feel the need to sort her out - your priority is YOU and YOUR health as the baby arrives.

Concentrate on that - get a cleaner in for you.

LordSugarWillSeeYouNow Tue 21-Nov-17 12:53:17

Hi op- sounds tough sad

I have OCD and cannot imagine the situation you are in- and preganant too.

Really sounds like your mum needs professional help in dealing with and organising her clutter.
Does she admit to having a problem?

Maybe you need to be a bit more asssertive here as she will just continue to bombard you with stuff, especially when you're trying to get your own house in order.

Where abouts are you from? There are many professional de-clutterers, I'm thinking of doing this myself once my own house is exactly how I want it.

If you're able to- please watch Clutterbug on YouTube, she's a Canadian mum who hates cleaning etc so has devised tons of organising/de cluttering techniques, she's quite addictive.

Best of luckflowers

Grimmfebruary Tue 21-Nov-17 12:54:14

Ask a friend to come over and help you start decluttering a room at a time. Be ruthless. Make piles - the tip, charity shop. Then make sure they are disposed of the same day.

Get on top of your mental health - I am no expert but maybe ask your midwife for extra support and to chase a referral up for you.

Tell your mother that you and your partner are deciding on the baby's room decor, it is not her right as a grandmother. She will be surprised at how few 'rights' she actually has if she tried a legal route.

Just put you and your little family first. Good luck!

ijustwannadance Tue 21-Nov-17 12:55:25

Getting professional declutterers in won't solve the problem. It's her mental health that needs dealing with.

There will be a deep seated reason for the hoarding. Loss of a loved one, shit childhood etc that needs to be addressed before clearing the stuff or it will never stop.

You need to be much firmer too. Does your DH drive? If so can he stick her crap in car and take it back to hers? Tell her not to bring any more stuff for YOUR home or it will go straight in bin or to charity. YOU will choose and buy baby stuff and that no way is she staying after baby is born.

Maybe you should also try counselling to get yourself to a place where you no longer have to feel responsible for your mothers behaviour.

How does she afford it keep buying junk?

Justbookedasummmerholiday Tue 21-Nov-17 12:56:54

Could you look at a care website like care.com? I am a cleaner but am currently assisting a housebound man who has just had major surgery to get his hoarder house back on track.
Maybe place an ad on Gumtree?

ijustwannadance Tue 21-Nov-17 13:04:53

It's also very shitty of her to use xmas presents as a way of getting more unwanted crap into your home.

GruffaloPants Tue 21-Nov-17 13:05:22

That sounds very stressful.

Agree you should get rid of the stuff, including excess presents. Could you perhaps find a local charity who would take them - if it would make it easier for you. They might collect too.

Hopefully if you get some help from the mental health team it will help you set some boundaries too. It must be really hard to push back against such an ingrained pattern of behaviour.

AtlanticWaves Tue 21-Nov-17 13:07:35

Not a little thing at all - there was a previous brilliant thread by an OP whose parents (or in-laws?) just would not stop bringing stuff over. She was drowning in it.

I can't remember the outcome but MN really helped.

In the meantime, I wouldn't bother trying to work on your mum's house - you've got enough stuff on your plate.

Just worry about your own house. Refuse as much stuff coming into your house as possible and have a huge declutter.

I don't know if I'd even bother warning your mum - if you do, be really strict. She takes her stuff back by X date or it goes.

Are there any charities that pick up ? Try googling. If not, get DH to do several trips to the dump over the next few days.

It is really liberating.

deste Tue 21-Nov-17 13:09:14

I am a professional declutterer so if you want to ask a question, fire away. One thing I will say is that if you manage to clear her home she will probably start again and it will be just as bad in a few months.

DarkPeakScouter Tue 21-Nov-17 13:10:01

This is a tough one. First things first box and. Ag all of the stuff she gave you. Pop it away somewhere. Tell her she has two weeks to collect it or it’s off to charity. Be firm. Look on Facebook for a man with a van who can drop it at a charity shop or the tip. It may cost a tenner but it gets rid of the problem. Write her an email and say no to the decorating the room as you are really looking forward to doing this yourself. Any new boxes in the house - repeat.

blueskydreams Tue 21-Nov-17 13:11:21

Your mother is trying to Sabotage you and you must protect yourself from her

deste Tue 21-Nov-17 13:13:00

By her giving you her clutter she is thinking only of herself. She doesn’t feel guilty if she has found a home for it, she doesn’t care about you or if you want it. Give her a date to pick it up or get rid if she doesn’t come. BTW some hoarders just need permission to throw stuff out.

kalinkafoxtrot45 Tue 21-Nov-17 13:13:09

Could you contact a charity to pick things up, if you and your husband are unable to carry things? There are many charities which help people set up home, for example, and I'm sure they'd be thrilled to have the stuff. And don't even discuss it with your DM - get yourself on an even keel first. You didn't ask for this stuff and you're not obliged to keep it.

OnTheRise Tue 21-Nov-17 17:07:00

The state of her house is sad, but it's not your problem. All you have to worry about is your baby, yourself and your partner.

When she dumps stuff on you tell her no. That's the only word you need. No. She probably won't listen and will continue to force things on you. So tell her that you don't want it and will bin anything she leaves at your house from now on in. You only have to tell her that once, because after that you just bin everything she gives you. (Or give it to charity if it might be useful to them.)

You will have told her what you will do, so while she might complain you can just repeat, "I did warn you," and stick to it. Be a broken record.

I'm so sorry she's putting all this stress on you. No wonder you're feeling so bad. Just stop worrying about her, and her stuff, and focus on your baby. All will be well.

Elephantgrey Tue 21-Nov-17 22:01:45

I think you are all right this a mental health problem. She is aware that she has a problem and wants to change but that does not solve the problem. She manages to do bits of her house then it gets worse again. She had nothing when she was little as she was very poor so the hording comes from a fear of doing without.

That's why she gives stuff to me even though she knows I don't want it because she doesn't like to think of me doing without things. Because of this I know it will be worse when it comes to buying for the baby.

I know I need to focus on my house and not worry about her. It isn't that bad now that I have calmed down.

Some of the stuff charities may well want to collect I will research to see if there is anyone in the area who can come and collect it. There is quite a bit off stuff that can only go in the bin. It is mostly the spare room that needs to be cleaned out to be made in to the babies room but the boxes in the kitchen need to go. My Mum is going to collect the box of old toys which is good.

I know that it's not her fault that she is the way she is. Hording is a mental health problem. If the house was tidy she would feel the urge to collect more stuff. It makes me sad because I was probably make my baby feel the way she is making me feel one day because I have all sorts of mental health problems.

I have contacted the midwife about perinatal mental health. I was really happy at my appointment and they did the how sad have you been in the last 2 weeks test as part of the referral from so I am probably bottom of the queue at the moment. What is need is a sense of control over my life.

ijustwannadance Tue 21-Nov-17 22:08:23

She really does need to see that 'things' are actually worthless and won't make her happy. Her habit will actually be keeping her poor, and the money she is wasting could be put to better use.

Ask her to open a savings account for baby rather than buy tat you neither need nor want.

Would she see a counsellor and get help?

IHeartDodo Tue 21-Nov-17 22:09:31

Have you thought of freecycle? You list stuff you don't want and just say that whoever wants it has to collect themselves.
I've got rid of loads of stuff that way, including stuff I thought nobody would want like old mattresses!

Aquamarine1029 Tue 21-Nov-17 22:29:19

The bottom line is that you need to express VERY clear boundaries and rules when it comes to what is in your own home. Tell your mother you WILL NOT keep/store any of her crap. Period. If she brings something over, it will go to charity or the skip. Stand your ground.

LisaMed1 Tue 21-Nov-17 23:02:39

If you have regularly seen posters for church jumble sales then it may be worth contacting them to pick stuff up.

Good luck

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