Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A blog that resonated.... Sharing...


Does it always have to be all about her, all the time? The answer is YES.

Sorry for dropping off the map a bit again.  Hard to believe that it was nearly 6 weeks ago since my last post.  

I will get right to it... A little over a week ago, I lost my sweet kitty who was 18 years old.  The one I fell in love with the moment I saw her at my best friend's home when she was almost 3 years old, and the one he gave to me at 5 years old.  We have had quite the good run of it, she and I.  Her mind, spirit, feistiness and unwavering love for me never changed.  Her poor little body just started to fail.  And she fell.  Badly.  It happened suddenly, and I had to take her to the emergency vet, and in the end it was awful, but I did the best I could for her, and the last kind act I could.  And I miss her every minute of every day.

I was to present at a local university that afternoon, and I did what I had to and got through it.  I did not call my hoarding mother until later in the evening, because I would not be able to keep the professional mask firmly on, and I had several meetings/events that day.  I had not talked to her since the week before, so I called her.  

I get the normal peevish 'I hadn't heard from you' routine, and I told her my sweet girl was gone.  She immediately started a monologue about all the animals she has had that passed, started speculating about what happened to my cat, and then trumpeted, "Well, at least you did not have THREE leave in the same week... How do you think that feels?!?"

Um... NOT ABOUT YOU.  NOT ABOUT ME.  This is there here and now, and is about my sweet, gray girl.  I was absolutely furious, and got off the phone quickly.  I have not talked to her much in the week since, and if she starts ruminating on past pets and especially their deaths, I get off the phone immediately.  I cannot stand it.

Her neighbor saw my post on social media and called to check on me, and was FURIOUS that my mother did not tell her that this happened when she spoke to her that day.  I got a lot of empathy from her, and from my other friends- for me, for my gray girl, and the kitty left behind who is lost.  It has been hard, but we are muddling through.

Now - I hope I am not making an ill advised decision because I am grieving. I have the opportunity to rescue an older cat (mid teens) that is a couple hours away that is in a rescue, saved from a high kill shelter after her owner died.  Apparently she has been there for months, and although she can be sweet, she has a quick nip response and has a pretty larger than life personality.  I still am unsure, but she needs a loving home.  I can give her that, and she would be company for my youngest cat, who at age 11, has never been alone (save a couple of days in 2010 when my gray kitty was hospitalized).  I am going to do it, and I hope it is not too soon, or a mistake.  I can never replace my special girl, but I can forge a new relationship, and help a kitty in need.  That little I can do.

This weekend I go to meet her for the first time, and she will come home with me if everything works out, and she likes me.  I did mention her to my hoarding mother.  I should know better, because she immediately fixated on the cost of rescuing this cat from a couple states away, the age... immediate worst case scenario.

I do not care if she approves or disapproves.  This is also not about her, but about the fluffy bicolor cat that has had a series of traumas over the past year, and I think I can provide the quiet, stable home she needs, for however long she is here.  

My hoarding mother has said a lot of really obnoxious things (even for her) lately on a variety of her normal topics, and it is more of the same.  But this event just really, again, reinforces why I am low contact and I do not visit, do not ... well, you all know.

Thank you for reading.  Hoarding, no one wins.  NO ONE.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Oh dear... Mold in her ear...

So the drama with my hoarding mother's health continues.  At least according to her self report, which can be difficult to sift through to determine what is accurate, what is fact based, and what is not.

She has been complaining of ear pain and discharge.  In gross and terrifying detail.  She has seen one doctor over 10 times since February, and has seen 3 other doctors in that time as well.  She went to a new doctor, a specialist, out of town.  (This is after her rigidity caused her to miss a referral to a prestigious teaching hospital two hours away.)

Long story short (saving you the drama, trauma, and craziness inflicted by her manufactured hardships and inflexible world view) she has mold in her ear.  A lot of it.  She does take a medication for lupus that suppresses her immune system so she is more vulnerable to any infection, and living in a stage 5 hoard makes this a guaranteed issue.  

She has been going on and on, speculating where and how she could have come in contact with a mold spore.  Of course, it could not been her home!  She has been coughing and hacking a lot, and keeps complaining that it happens now even when she has not been outside.

Um... No mystery here.  It is the hoard.  Her accommodation to the filth, dust, and other things that go parcel and packet with a hoard, even a 'dry hoard' is starting to leave her very medically vulnerable.  And her mental illness and her refusal to treat it will make a bad situation, untenable.  I can only imagine what she is telling the doctors to explain it, and I hope that they (the medical personnel) are not that naive...

This will not end well.  Whether it is today, this week, or two years from now.  Hoarding... No one wins.  No one.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Not your normal post- Skydiving!

This is not necessarily hoarding related, but thought I would share!

I did it.  Today I jumped out of an airplane.  And it was all I hoped it would be and more.  I had so much fun, it was such a rush, and I want to do it again soon.

I did not share that I was doing this with my hoarding mother, however I am certain that she will know at some point since her neighbor and the 'Flying Monkey/Wonderful Stranger' Chiropractor are on my social networking site and most likely saw the many photos and other things posted today.

She will be PISSED.  And I simply do not care.  At 46 years old I do not need, nor do I require, her permission or approval.  She will be angry that I did this and 'kept it from her'.  She will be angry that should could not verbally vomit her negativity, fear, and threatening worldview prior to it.  She will be upset that it was such a lovely day with friends, and that nothing she can do can change it.  And that is all her stuff, none of it is mine.

I stepped way outside my comfort zone today.  I am really not a fan of heights, and small planes.  I do not surrender dominion of myself easily.  And today I did all of it.  And it was fun!  (And no 'oopses'...)

I will continue to live life at full volume, very unlike my hoarding mother who considers life as 'opportunity lost'.  She is making a choice, as am I.  I choose happiness, experiences, relationships... I think I know what is important.

Hope you had a great weekend.  Thank you for reading!

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Hoarding and Narcissistic Family Tree

Egads.  I am still processing my relationship with my NPD, hoarding mother and am low to no contact with other relatives... Or so I thought.

One day post 46th birthday I was rushing home from a lovely Ethiopian late lunch with a friend and had to change into 'professional CEO lady' clothing to attend an evening dinner event.  I rushed home, and was getting out of the car when my mobile rang.  I had been talking to my staff about a shelter issue, so I answered without looking.


It was 'narcis-sister'.  My 1/2 sister who was given up at birth and found us when I was 26.  The thing that terrifies me is she is proof that there is a strong genetic link to this thing, with the narcissism, hoarding, and she is also struggles with Oxycontin addiction.  I got the "Hey little sister, sorry I missed your birthday by not sending a card, so happy birthday, and by the way, [your mother's sister] went insane and is seeing bugs and lizards in her house, stayed over here with with me and called the police on me today for domestic abuse..."  I explained that I thought that was unfortunate, but I needed to get dressed for a work event and ended the call.  She asked me to call her back... Hope she is not holding her breath on that.  She kept repeating she wanted to give me a heads up that I "will be getting a call" from my aunt.

Fast forward a couple of weeks.  I had just left a dinner date with a gentleman I have seen a couple of times now, and had just left my polling place and went to the grocery store.  I had just pulled in when my mobile rang.  It was my aunt, who also scares me on the genetic link piece.  She also is on the hoarding scale and is also demonstrates the clinical indicators of narcissistic personality disorder.  I selected ignore on my phone, removed it from the holder on my dash, dropped it in my leather handbag, and entered the grocery store.

Now, there are a couple of things that could have happened... Perhaps I did not lock my iPhone, and the leather from my handbag was enough of a contact with the touchscreen to 'buttdial' my aunt back.  I think the more likely scenario was she called, I hit ignore, she left the demanding voicemail that I retrieved later, and she immediately called back and my handbag 'answered'.  Either way, I hear her shrill and demanding voice screaming my name.  I knew if I disconnected her she would then continue to call my phone, and if I blocked her, would go to neighbors, etc.  So I answered.  

For over 40 minutes, other than my initial 'hello' and 'I have to go, I need to cash out my groceries' I said nothing.  I did not have to... It was a solid monologue of made up drama.  The short version is...  She was hospitalized with her back, and she claims that some meds they gave her made her see dead people and dead bodies in her yard.  She asserts the lizards, the rats, and the men talking under her windows at her home and at my sister's home was real.  She states that she was in the mental health unit for 5 days, but she has papers proving she has nothing wrong with her, that it was the medicine, and she has most of the blankets and towels off the windows now.  She states she is DONE with my sister, and told the story regarding the events that culminated in her calling 9-1-1.  She also is angry at the 'wonderful strangers' that she has included in her will chose to leave when she started having 'problems' and have not been accessible since.

Ugh.  Double ugh.

I think I have enough of this with my hoarding mother.  I simply cannot, or will not, deal with 2 others, and I will not allow myself to be triangulated into their pettiness.  

Hoarding.  No one wins.  No one.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The final day in the month that contains Mother's Day...

I truly have no issue with May, although from my last few posts and the title of this one it seems that I do.  This was just a hard May for me, and full of events that put me in a place of introspection.  Although I often state that some wounds do not need to be reopened in order for a body (and figuratively… mind) to heal, opened they were. 

The weekend of Mother’s Day I attended a retirement party for a woman I have known professionally for nearly 16 years, and the last year as a member of her Board of Directors.  I was part of the CEO search, and another person I know from the organization was selected, someone I have also known for the same amount of time.  It was an unusual event to say the least, irreverent and quirky, and honestly I would expect little else. 

Since it was the evening prior to MD, many folks brought their mothers.  The incoming CEO was one.  I had the pleasure of sitting with her, and another senior member of management that brought her mother as well.  The woman who was the incoming CEO emceed a good portion of the event, and the outgoing CEO recognized her for her work, her loyalty, and her new position.  The new CEO spoke about her early days, the mentoring she received from many in the room, and spoke to the large role her mother played in inspiring her, putting her on the path to where she was, and her mother’s selfless service to others as a public health professional.  I watched her mother’s eyes well up with pride, and the happy tears.  I watched the other mothers in the room, and saw their appreciation of, and pride in, their daughter’s achievements.  I was so happy for them all.  And I also wondered what it must feel like to have that kind of unconditional love…  Especially as an adult.  I enjoyed chatting with the folks and the mothers, and I drove away in the warm evening air. 

I dropped the windows and opened the sun roof to let in the warm air… I drove my little sports sedan, I thought of achievements I had worked so hard for.  I thought of school achievements such as recognition for grades, science achievements, scholarships, and the like.  And how most of those I attended alone.  I never experienced the selfless pride, the love I saw that night.  I thought about working my way up from direct service to professional staff, to management, to executive management, and to the position I am in now as a CEO.  I thought of earning my Master’s Degree, and the other recognition that folks had kindly bestowed upon me in the past several years. Very seldom had I had someone there with me.  My earning of my Master’s was unacknowledged by anyone.  Even running a half marathon, which I had to overcome huge and overwhelming obstacles, was not something she found worthy of saying ‘well done’ or expressing any sort of pride.

Now, in previous years, and posts… This was fodder to be as sad as I allow myself to get.  Not tonight.  It was not happy, but I just recognized it for what it was.  It is my reality.  As I often quip, I am like the Green Day song… Boulevard of Broken Dreams where the refrain is “I walk alone…”

There are worse things in the is life.  I have experienced MANY.  And I survived and overcame.  This is one of those curious things that arises from those circumstances, and I take this as the learning experience that it is.

We have had a couple of lovely and exciting things happen at my job.  My agency was recognized and nominated for an award, and we managed to secure a large grant for a huge unmet need, and we did not expect to succeed.  When I mentioned it to my hoarding mother, her response was “Why?  Why did they pick you?”  She immediately launched into her tired collection of petty annoyances and overblown misunderstandings, and has not mentioned either the award nomination nor the grant award since.  Her depth of narcissism is so sad.  And the saddest thing is her decision to do NOTHING to address her issues will have lifelong reverberations for everyone around her.  Unlike her, I choose to use these experiences as a springboard to learn, to evolve, and to move forward.   As I have said many times, to her life is a small, frightening and limited place.  She operates from a place of ‘opportunity lost’.  I refuse to do that. 

So the point of this blog?  I am continuing to make the life I want, and I continue to choose to be happy.  Just in the next few weeks I am doing several things that I have wanted to do for a while, and for circumstances beyond my control, was unable to do.  Well, they are happening in the next few weeks.  In two weeks from today I am skydiving.  It is scheduled and paid for.  Three weeks from today I am taking a Segway Tour of a nearby historic community with friends.  In a week I am going horseback riding.  I am in the process of scheduling a zip-line excursion, and am hosting or co-hosting two parties. 

Life is meant to be lived at full volume, and live it I shall.  I am also training for a full marathon in the fall.  I have taken some steps back, but sometimes it is like the analogy often promulgated on Facebook, before an arrow can fly, it must first be drawn back.

I am ready to fly.  And folks can either support me, or clear the way, because either way, I will not accept defeat.  If there is a positive to what I have experienced, it is that. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Okay folks, it is time for From the Mouth of a Hoarder!

Today's FTMOAH is a doozy... 

In the US many high schools and universities put out cards that have a local contact that is part of the Alumni contact, but is basically a multi-class directory that is then sold to folks.  I had thought those had gone by the wayside like many publications of that sort, displaced by social networking media and the internet.

Nope.  I received three, one for my high school, one for the university I attended for undergraduate and one for my graduate school.  The cards immediately went into shred folder, not because I am secretive, but because folks who know me are already connected via social networking sites, and I am wise to how this particular scenario plays out.  Nothing bad, and for some, quite enjoyable.  

My hoarding mother got one.  And she went simply ballistic... Calling the 1-800 number and demanding to 'be removed from the list NOW!' and telling the hapless call center person her dramatic and sad story...  A story that I have heard nearly 5 million times that includes:

  • She was not allowed to go to parties or to socialize so why would she now?
  • All she did was go to class and then go to work.  
  • She did not have any friends in school, so she does not know or care about 'those people'.
  • A long, drawn out story about someone who came into her cake and candy supply shop in the basement of her home in the early 80s who told her they told the reunion committee for her class her address and she went absolutely batsh^t crazy on that person, screaming 'Why?  WHY? I do not want anything from them!' and similar sentiments.
  • How she has never attended a reunion and does not intend to start now.
She planned to go into the local Alumni contact's office, who happens to be our former insurance agent, and she loathes him.  She planned to go in and demanding that her information not be included, and telling him what she thinks...

You get the idea.  Another person I should send flowers to when she is gone.  It is just so sad.  Granted, I took the 'geographical solution' and 'poofed' on many folks from high school, and I own that behavior, and I know I have hurt many folks I did not mean to, I just needed to be able to live and do so from outside the shadow of the hoard, or her toxicity.

I feel I had little choice... but the friendships, both consistently maintained and rediscovered are precious.  It saddens me that my mother makes the choices she does.  And as we all know, choices wreak consequences, both positive and negative, as well as natural and contrived.

Have a good one, and thank you for reading.  And please keep our former insurance agent in your positive thoughts.  He may need them!  

Hoarding... No one wins.  NO ONE.