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My Mother Sucks


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Guest Recluse

If you are reading this, I've edited this post because

it contains sensitive information, and then fucked off.

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oh lord, recluse I read it all, hon

You have watched two seasons of Hoarders and nothing you have seen is as BAD as your mother's place? She truly is a danger to herself. Yes, the doctor has totally missed the boat. He obviously does not recognize extreme mental illness even when it sits in his office in a 300 lb package. He is an idiot. However I think Effexor and Seroquel are as good as anything for her. Maybe a higher dose of the Seroquel would help her disordered thinking.

Actual psychologists who deal with hoarding are very rare, very very rare. You can find them through the OCD Foundation - Hoarding Site. They are expensive. But even more important the sufferer must want to change. And it is excruciating work - exposure therapy.

I think there is too much shame and humiliation to talk about it with a family member or her daughter. She is really very ill. She is not old yet, but a case could be made that she is incompetent. But the doctor would never cooperate with that. You went to his office and showed him pictures and he did not help. Did not even demand that she wee a psychologist. She was once diagnosed with BP 1 ? She could have a mood disorder and an anxiety disorder (hoarding) plus a personality disorder. And there is not much to do about this level of PD. The stealing and lieing in a woman over 50? It is very pathetic.

Recluse you could call in the health department and let them condem the place. That is a legitimate option. But then you and your siblings need to be prepared to find a place to house her. I imagine no one wants to bring her into their home. What with the lieing and stealing and ......her filthy habits.

How exactly has she been supporting herself?

We did actually call Adult Protective Services about my mother-in-law. She was however 70, not 55. A very cooperative social worker helped us pressure her out of her home. He took some liberties with the truth, god bless him. It took multiple family members weeks, WEEKS to clean out her home. A dumpster was in the driveway. There were clothes and adult diapers w feces in the bathrub, all piled up. and etc etc. it was hideously disgusting.

Years before I refused, TOTALLY refused to ever go in the place again. I put my foot down and refused. She had stopped cooking years before and would drive through fast food also. When we visited you could not find even a coke or ice tea. We placed her in assisted living where the management will come down and threaten her when her single room is too cluttered. Her daughter comes up once a year from CA and cleans out the room. TG goes over also.....but not so much.

Lots of resentment in their relationship for her years of lieing. He spent valuable time and money on her that he wishes had been spent on his children. But her lies pulled him in. So, resentment. She is still disgusting and recently was cutting up a sheet to use as toilet paper. She is 15 mins away and I visit about four times a year. I tried, I really tried for years but you cannot actuallly have a relationship with someone that ill. There is something wrong with your mother's brain and my mother-in-law too. Something very wrong that lithium, or prozac, or an AAP cannot fix. Her narcisscism does not allow empathy for others or any guilt about how her behaviors affect others. It is very twisted.

I am sorry you have to deal with this. Try to protect yourself and your marriage. Because she will suck you dry, suck the life out of you. Ladybug

ps Therapy to talk about your parents is a good idea. Plus you could deal with some of your social and anger issues. yes, if you spend any money on therapy let it be for you.

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I read the whole thing too, though I don't know how helpful I can be with this one. Ladybug's suggestion about calling in APS, or the health department might not be a bad idea. As far as her diagnoses and meds, her behavior really sounds more like a personality disorder than a mood disorder. I'd guess borderline, but who knows? And totally some kind of OCD thing going on. Odds are, meds aren't going to do all that much for her. She needs therapy. Kind of desperately. Would it be possible for you to find a tdoc in her area, make the appointment, and just drag her there? She might not follow up once you've gone back home, but maybe after taking that first step, she'd be able to continue?

There's a site called something like squalor survivors, I don't remember the url, but you can google it, that might have some good info. Its focus is on strategies for addressing both hoarding, and just kind of pathological mess.

ideally, you and your family could collaborate to find her someplace else to stay, at least temporarily, while she gets going with therapy, and someone does something about her home.

As far as the question of whether or not it's even your job to try to help her, that's a really hard one. Because you have your own life, and I'm guessing you've put in some therapy time of your own, to deal with having grown up with such a troubled mother, and you don't want to get sucked back into a fucked up dynamic with her. It sounds like she's in so much pain, part of me wants to encourage you to help her, but at the same time, I want you to maintain a healthy distance from what sounds like a black hole of need. I guess it depends a lot on whether or not you think ou really can help her, if she's helpable, really. If you think she is, then I think you should probably try. In large part because not doing so seems like something that could leave you feeling shitty later in life.

I wonder what the options might be for helping her, largely from a distance? Maybe go to visit, get her set up with therapy, and some kind of help with handling the house, then leave it mostly up to her to follow through. Encourage her, but from your territory, you know? And maybe use visits as a kind of positive reinforcement? If she's making some kind of progress, go see her for a couple of days. Not to get wrapped up in her stuff, but just to have a pleasant visit.

I don't know. I'm sorry this is so rambly, I'm a little zonked on neurontin, so... you know.

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I am so sorry Recluse. What an unimaginable situation. Your mom sounds very similar to one of my cousins. There is no simple answer here. I don't quite know how to say this, but what kept jumping out at me is the danger of fire. This is what happened to my cousin. It was horrific.

And as well with my cousin, no matter how many times her ex-husband and kids cleaned out her space, she filled it right back up again. I agree with Sasha about helping from a distance. She is your mom and you do want to help, so maintaining some sort of contact is important. I hate being pessimistic, but it seems like talk therapy would be like putting a band aide on a broken leg. Too little too late.

My suggestion would be to get her out of that house. Have it declared inhabitable. If she is a couch jumper that means she does need to be around people. Could she move to some type of group home? An apartment? She will never be able to clean out that house. The weight of her life is in that house. The only thing to do is walk away from it. I have no idea about her finances, if she needs to sell the house. Yes, even if she moved to an apartment she would start hoarding again but that house sounds dangerous. I cannot imagine she could ever get better or ever come to terms with her illness while living in that hell. There is no way.

And ultimately, there really is absolutely nothing that you can do unless she is willing to address her illness herself. But you can tell her she is a danger to her neighbors if the house caught fire. Would that get through to her?

I do know that my cousins children maintained contact with their mom throughout her life and that was a huge source of pleasure for her and for them after she passed. Calling your mother even if nothing changes IS doing something.

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What a story Recluse! WOW! I don't think she's on a high of enough dose of seroquel, 100 mgs for me was nothing and I went up to 300 but I know of people here on CB who had higher doses. I also agree with the above posters who said that you need to focus on YOU above all else and you can't help your mother at the expense of your own recovery. It sounds like she's overwhelmed by the hoarded mess she's created, aren't there clean up crews you could hire that could help out with the clean up? Maybe you could locate one in her city and see about getting help to clean up. I understand her siblings don't want to get their hands dirty, but if they could help her with a place to stay that would be useful. Its probably going to take a week or longer to get it under control and managable, but unless she gets help for the root issues she's suffering from be it OCD and BPD or even the old dx of BP I with OCD, she will just fuck it up again like you know she will in your heart. I really wish you luck with this, I don't know how you can approach it without it upsetting her so be prepared for her to BE upset, if you attempt the cleanup and even just TALKING about cleaning up the cesspool, thicken your skin so her rages (if she rages at you) don't hurt so bad. She will lash out at you and that's just the nature of the beast I think, so you need to be prepared for that.

I am sure the Adult protective services would get it condemned but that won't necessarily be useful unless it triggers her into action and makes he SEE that she's living in denial and NEEDS to clean up NOW and get her act together. Living in denial isn't healthy for her and surely living in that squalor isn't healthy for her either....GOOD luck Recluse, we're here for you....Vent away!

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Recluse,

My mother was a world-class hoarder so I understand how painful and frustrating it is for you. If you met her away from home you would never suspect it as she could get dressed and keep herself clean, at least until she got elderly. But it was terrible, the town used to come around and threaten to clean up the outside of the property (single family house), and occasionally they did, and filed a lien on the property since there was no money to pay for their services.

My siblings and I tried numerous times to clean it up, but it was like trying to empty out the ocean with a bucket, and we never succeeded, and it was obviously painful for my mom. I loved my mom and got along well with her, but I couldn't stand to be in the house (plus all available seating surfaces were buried), so instead of visiting her at home, I would take her out to eat or to go shopping or something.

Ultimately, a year after she died the house burnt down, and my brothers that were still living there were lucky and escaped with very minor injuries. I was actually relieved when it burnt down, even though we lost all the family photos, antiques, etc., because I'm not sure there would have been any other way to clean it up. Of four siblings, two are single and certifiable hoarders, and two others are hoarders but are married so their spouses keep things under control.

As far as all the other issues, I don't know what to tell you. It would be great if you could convince your mom to see a different doctor, but I don't know how you would convince her to do that.

I did feel validated when my current pdoc said that growing up in the home of a hoarder qualifies as child abuse in his estimation. I have struggled mightily to overcome the feelings of shame I experienced growing up, and even now when I'm staying in a nice hotel in the back of my head I'm always waiting for them to come along and throw me out. I know some of my friends find it strange that I will spend the money on a really nice hotel (I do okay, but I'm not rich by any stretch), but it's important to me because it helps me distance myself from the all the pain caused by my family's hoarding.

Maybe hoarders and children of hoarders also write really long posts! :wtf:

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I'm sorry about your situation Recluse. It sounds extremely trying and difficult. I agree with what others have written about any help being given being given from a distance, if at all.... you have your own issues and mental health to worry about.

hoarding is a very painful illness, most often for family members as well. It is a shame your mother isn't getting the right care, but she really cannot be forced into it, she will have to do at least some of the reaching. You could offer to help try and find her a new treatment team, but if it were me, that would be about as far as I would take it.

Anna

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Recluse, I am glad we could all be supportive of this very tough, difficult situation. I do NOT think it is cowardly to report the house anonymously. I think it is wise. My sister called the Department of Motor Vehicles when our step-father was too infirm to drive. She reported his medical issues anonymously. The Department of MV is used to this as is APS. It was great to have a government agency suspend his license instead of pointless and unsuccessful arguments and family strife.

What you are considering is a much bigger, and more serious problem. If you mother loses her work then she loses the stabilizing influence of having to get up, get dressed, show up and function. It is quite possible that the anxiety disorder will totally take over and she could become much worse. I hope not but just saying. I think it is highly unlikely, knowing the intense disorganization of hoarding. that she is capable of sorting through her own things and selecting important belongings to move out of town. If she could sort through and discard she would not be a hoarder.

Does your mother have grand-children? If so she might find a lot of happiness living near them. Do you have certain siblings who are your ally in this? Or is there a general 'let her do what she wants' attitude? And who inherits that house? There is not going to be much value. Even if it is shoveled out there will be damage and years of neglect. I hope no one thinks that house is their golden ticket. People get some wierd about family real estate and inheritance.

I would not want this situation traced back to me professionally. No, not at all. Would someone actually ask you about your mother at a writer's conference??? I hope not. Is that an anxious fear or is that a possibility? If the hoard piles are too high, and the goat trails too narrow than she could get seriously hurt. There was that set of brother in NYC..... Well, you have enough imagination.

Cleaning advice - I knew an attorney once whose mother was a serious hoarder. After the mother was moved to a nursing home it took them a year to clean out. There was a giant dumpster in the driveway. You had to wear a mask of course. It took a year. Part of the challenge - the reason she did not just hire some muscle with shovels, is that there was jewlery, family photos, and other valuables tucked away and hidden through the hoard. And so she did it herself with a little help. There were rats living in the house. But her brother was a hoarder and crazy as a coyote. He would come and stand in the driveway and scream at this woman that she was throwing away his mother's valuable posessions. Talk about a folie a deux. I hope YOU have support from a sister or cousin or others. You are going to need it. Ladybug

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I suppose I should say I feel guilty for my mother's hoard-filled house burning down, but really I don't, since no one got hurt.

I don't know what your finances are like, or where you're located, but I have read several newspaper and magazine articles about professional organizers who have experience with cleaning out the homes of hoarders. It certainly wouldn't hurt to make a few phone calls and check into it. I had fantasies of getting my mom's place clean and then hiring a cleaner to come in once a week, but it never happened.

I'm sorry you have to go through this, I know it's painful from start to finish.

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