Friday, January 29, 2016

The Narcissism of the Hoarding Mindset

It is one of those deals where you laugh and find humor in the situation or you may start screaming and not be able to stop...  

Last weekend parts of the eastern United States had significant snowfall.  Facebook in all its irreverence hyped it to be Snowzilla and other such simpering titles.

We had lots of notice, and is my hoarding mother's custom, she has a problem for every solution, and cannot get out of her own way to get most any mundane thing done.  

She kept saying she needed to go to the pharmacy for her meds, her cat's meds (who has glaucoma and heart issues) and groceries/sundries.

Guess what she did?  If you guessed NOTHING... you would be correct.  She did nothing.  And now she is 'stuck'.  

She refuses to ask her one neighbor to pick up her prescriptions 'because they won't let you do that!'  She refuses to ask her for a ride and won't really state why, instead ruminating on a neighbor who is in the hospital and how she had asked her to help her... um... she is in the freaking HOSPITAL!  

She is still pontificating on the recently paved sections of the road... And saying really nutty things like depersonalizing the neighbor by calling him 'the asshole' and making fun of him for removing the snow from the paved portion of the road, railing they they blew the snow from the snow blower against her fence and she was TRAPPED IN HER YARD!  She said, "I wish someone would lock him in his house without a phone and..." before I cut her off.

They got about 17 inches, which is significant.  The other piece that is amusing, we got over 3 feet in our area.  And it is not a contest.  But... it is amazing to hear her go on and on about how horrible it is and yadda, yadda, yadda.  Um... it is what it is.  We will be inconvenienced for a while.  And it is not the 'snow oppression Olympics' but she will ask a question always prefaced with "Up there" and when I remind her that yes, whatever happened here too since we got over 36 inches she will peevishly say thing like "well the news said [her state] got hit the hardest!"  No, it did not.  Or things like "parts of [her state] got over 40 inches!"  Yeah.  In the bedroom communities near DC.  She just cannot acknowledge that things were tough here as well, and we are all dealing as best we can, and each place has unique challenges.  Someone else's experience does not diminish one's own... unless you are so unable to see anyone as having individual experiences and they only exist as supporting actors in your own Lifetime Network drama/movie.  

I just have to laugh.  And because I am evil, I have to poke her with it once in a while.  The mental acrobatics are something to watch.

And each conversation she is complaining she does not have food, medicine, etc.  I do not offer any solutions as she shoots everything down.  Yesterday she was going to try to get the car out, and decided not to because there was 'activity' at the hated neighbor's house in the turn.  Translation, he was home and she does want him to see her leave because she accuses him of stealing, breaking in her house and loosening lightbulbs, stealing her notes to herself, and even putting snake poop in her basement.  

You cannot make this stuff up.

Have a great weekend!  Thank you for reading...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

And there is not a break for the wicked, it seems...

Wow.  That is all I can say at this point.

WOW.

I just hung up from my hoarding mother's equally narcissistic and mentally ill sister, from whom she is totally estranged.  She also is on the hoarding scale, and has much of the same trauma history as my mother, and much of the same co occurring disorders as my mother, mental health and other.  My hoarding aunt had a psychotic break in the later sixties and was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital for a while.

If you are a regular reader, you might remember some drama between her and my narcisster (my lovely play on words for my half narcissistic sister) in May (about the time of my birthday) where the events culminated in my aunt calling the police for domestic violence on my sister, and ending up in the psychiatric ward of the local hospital.

At Christmas I got a lovely holiday card filled with a crazy rant about my half sister.  I have not initiated contact, and even downloaded the 'silent' ringtone for my smartphone so it does not ring when she calls.

Well, tonight she called.  I was eating a quick dinner prior to a Skype meeting, so I did not answer.  After the meeting, I listened to the message, and realized if I did not call her, she would continue to call, and this was going to be a doozy...

So I girded my loins.  And I called her.  And I said little else other than 'hello' and 'well, I have to go'.

I will spare you the exact quotes, but the high points (low points?) of her communique were:

  1. She is hearing faint music at night, near her refrigerator, in her heating ducts, and sometimes outside near the heating air return.
  2. She blames my narcissister.  
  3. She is convinced she has put something in her house.
  4. She is convinced it is a tape player, but one of those newfangled ones that is smaller than a fingernail.
  5. She has had an HVAC repair person in to check, but in her opinion he did not believe her, and was too young to do such a job.
  6. She also has people stopping in the street to stare into her house at night.
  7. She has people running between her house and the house next door and scratching her new windows, slapping the siding, and all kinds of drama.
  8. She has gone to Best Buy, and to other electronic purveyors to find out what this is.
  9. She has decided it works remotely like a drone, and she knows drones can only operate from 500 yards.
  10. She says her psychiatrist is who told her something was planted in the house by my narcissister.
  11. She also said the psychiatrist told her that it is possible I escaped the mental health issues my mother and sister have, however most of those show up by 52 or so... [Um really?  Most mental illness shows much earlier... dementia is another story...]
She also told paranoid stories and chattered on for almost 2 hours  I am done.  I have done my time.  No more of this.  

She made sure to slip in her birthday (which I did not acknowledge) and also discussed how she was strapped for money (not touching that one either).  

It would all be funny if it were not so flipping sad.  My hoarding mother hears music when she goes off her psychotropic meds.  She hears orchestra music, and my aunt hears a variety of fundamental church hymn type of music.  They both also hear and feel a 'motor' running.

Hoarding... no one wins.  No one.

Here is another older woman who sits alone due to the choices she has made... estranged from most everyone.

Have a good week everyone.  Thank you for reading.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 already?

Goodbye to 2015, and hello to 2016!  I have to say the past year was full of challenges and accomplishments, and it was seldom boring.  I am looking forward to 2016 and beyond...

My last entry had me in a bit of a low spot due to the intrusiveness and the guano loco behavior of my hoarding mother.  I am dealing with that, and realized that part of my discomfort is I am apparently ready to move on to the next stage of healing, whatever that may be, and it may ultimately involve going no contact with my mother if she continues her path, which I honestly see little chance that she will not continue to physically, mentally and emotionally decompensate.  This is NOT going to end well.  

My year has started off with a bit of a new health challenge, nothing earth shattering, but yesterday I got a diagnosis for a autoimmune issue that I thought was merely an infection.  It is not huge or all that serious (like RA, lupus, or MS) but is still a pain in the proverbial rump, and something I had never heard of before.  Upon doing some deeper research, it appears that for many folks this occurs with another co-occurring autoimmune issue.  Now I have a couple of health issues, and I am not clear if the one is considered auto-immune or not, but I think it is.  The new one is uncomfortable, makes me more susceptible to a certain form of cancer and prone to some other issues, but for the most part should be relatively invisible to others.  I am less than impressed with this, but I am starting a 6 week regimen of more intense treatment and then will have a maintenance treatment  a couple times a week for here on out.  Life goes on, and I refuse to allow this to occupy a lot of headspace.  I may have an upcoming biopsy and appointments with a specialist looming if things do not settle down SOON, and I will manage it as I do the other health issues I have.  It will require a few changes to my daily routine, but... At 46 years old, it is what it is.  It could be much worse, and I accept that some disease process will undoubtedly occur as I age.  

Now- I called my hoarding mother as I was enroute to work.  Ever the observant one, she asked why I was so late in leaving for work.  I told her I went to the doctor, and when she asked why, I just skimmed over the diagnosis and the issue.  She immediately diverted back to herself, talking about her 2 front teeth that have broken off at the gumline and must be removed this week, and how she takes such good care of her teeth and self and does not know how this happened.

SERIOUSLY?  Personal hygiene is not her forte.  An ER doc listed her dental hygiene as 'extremely poor' a while ago, something that sent her into the stratosphere.  She now only will have 14 or 15 teeth.  She started going on about how her underwear elastic pulls her pubic hair.

WAIT.  WHAT?  No... Do not repeat that.  Ever.  Please.

She then started down the list of taboo subjects...

  1. Public hair and grooming (lack thereof)
  2. Her crusty, scaled feet and nasty toenails
  3. Her distended belly
  4. The weight of one person and the female pattern hair loss of another
  5. Asking what I think a neighbor gets paid for selling cars
  6. Asking if I 'had talked to the woman that works at the Humane Society about the dog' that she caused all the problems about a couple of weeks ago.
You get the idea.  Each time I would shut her down she would start on something else.  Finally she came out with an asinine statement of political willful ignorance and threatened violence at a neighbor.  I ended the call.

And then it hit me.  I was a bit more disconnected than usual, as I had something on my mind (my experience at the doctor's appointment and the fact I am being referred to a specialist to rule out some larger, scarier things).  Many friends, acquaintances, family, etc. might have noticed and asked if anything was going on... But not my hoarding mother.  Since I was even more disengaged that usual, she was attempting to get a rise.  She thrives on disappointing expectations, and pushing buttons and she apparently needed her narcissistic supply.  And I was not obliging. 

We move on.  I will do what I need to do to take care of me, and I refuse to let her take up any more real estate in my head.  I know that stress can exacerbate some of these conditions, and I plan to manage mine as well as I can.  I am fine, and I will be fine.  However, my hoarding mother will NOT be fine.  And there is nothing I can do about that.  Sometimes self determination is a double edged sword.  So be it.

Have a great remainder of your week, and thank you for reading.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Can I just hide for a bit?

Today is the Monday before Christmas.  It has been Monday all day, if you know what I mean.  Not all bad, but intense and full of ups and downs.

Today I got a call from my hoarding mother as I was within 10 minutes of the office.  I told her I was almost to work, and I would call her when I started home this evening.  And I did, post doctor's appointment with the chiropractor.  I knew that I would hear from her since it had been a few days since we last spoke.  

She was in a ruminating mood, and first she said that she got a poundcake in her mailbox which is most likely from the lovely couple she went scorched earth on since they dared to try to improve the dirt road they all reside on.  I did not comment or give any feedback, and she progressed to accusing the hated neighbor 'in the turn' of stealing a scale from her laundry room and hanging it on his porch, stealing a chair from the attic of the hoarded garage and putting it in his flower bed, and stealing a wind chime set and putting on his porch as well.  Oh- and he stole a wooden ladder from her that against his garage.  I told her we were done on that topic, if she felt he engaged in theft to call the police, and if not, it was all speculation and not worth the headspace.  She then said she wished he would "move to [the city where his brother lived] and get a job as a pizza delivery driver and run from the police".  The hated neighbor lost his brother several months ago.  His brother relapsed, and while out delivering pizza ran from the police and was killed in the pursuit, he was shot fatally.  Just an absolutely hateful and shitty thing to say.  I advised her we were done on the topic, and that was simply enough.  I ended the call, grabbed some dinner at the local taqueria and went home.  

There I found some lovely holiday cards, I have the best friends anyone could ask for.  One sent a card from my kitties to 'Mom Grey'.  Then I got to the final two, and they were from my sister and my mother's sister.  And I felt like a set of cinder blocks dropped on my shoulders.  My sister's card was over the top sentimental, and I got the "I love and miss you" stuff.  Yeah.  Actions speak so much louder than words.  My aunt's card was full of scrawled writing still going on about the incident in May where she called the police on my sister, and a whole lot of paranoid craziness.

I just can't.  Cannot.  Will not.  I am in a really strange place where I simply need to withdraw from all of them, and I have decided that it is time to seek a therapist that understands hoarding to work through whatever this is.  I cannot remember feeling this tired ... and I cannot even describe how I feel right now.  I find joy in my job, my friends, my cats, my hobbies, but for some reason this is a quagmire.  

I am not sure what is happening.  I was a bit low this past birthday, and I was glad when it passed.  I just want this holiday season to be over so they will not have the usual excuse to reach out and give me a poke.  

I have some decisions to make.  Nearly 20 years ago I essentially estranged myself for self preservation and so I could have a shot at a life.  I think what is happening now is my willingness to deal with the narcissistic behavior of those who are supposed to love me, but only see me as an extension of what they want to happen, is getting very depleted.  Is this what the space before the jump into no contact feels like?  

I have created a safe and quiet life for myself, and yes, work is exceptionally stressful and very busy, and my side business is booming, my friendships remain a key support for me, as do my fuzzy family members... my cats.

Why am I allowing these folks who are related by biology but not necessarily affinity to send me into a tailspin?  Enough.  Just enough.  If they keep pushing me, I will just *poof* on them.  I am good at that, sadly.  

Sorry for a whiny and rather repetitive post.  I will post a humorous one soon.  Have a great holiday if, and how, you choose to celebrate.  

Thank you for reading.  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Gaslighted Christmas...

Yesterday I checked my mailbox.  Something I do not do often as all my bills are taken care of online, and I receive very little in snail mail that is substantial. 

I received a Christmas card from my hoarding mother, one full of schmaltz and nostalgia for me as a child under the tree, yadda-yadda-yadda.

In the past couple of years she has resumed signing cards 'Mom' instead of her first name, something she did for nearly 30 years as some sort of punishment for setting boundaries as developmentally appropriate as a pre-teen.  The lovey-dovey and overly sentimental cards are a relatively recent development too.

And they make me sad.  And a bit angry.  

If I felt that I existed as anything other than an extension of her, or at best, an extra in her drama that she plays the main character and protagonist, maybe I would have a different reaction.

Maybe it is just because I am so stinking worn out from 75-85 hour work weeks between the day job and consulting, and I am a bit concerned something might be happening health wise.  I have appointments with my doctors so no worries there.  My running game is improving, and my race last weekend was a personal record, so I think it is just stress and lack of sleep.  

I maybe have erred in not taking the next two weeks off as I usually do, but honestly, I just am not in the 'staycation' mood and I want the holidays to hurry up and get past.  I am in a bit of a funk, but thank goodness for my cats, a job I love, and my wonderful friends and supportive people.  

This too shall pass... And still I rise...

Have a great holiday everyone, if you celebrate any kind of holiday tradition.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Oh no she didn't! She is pushing me closer to going no contact...

Let me start with what a rough week this has been.  Nothing earth shattering, but just a tough week at work, in my personal life, and this is a tough time of year it seems.  I am also getting sick, and am really tired and not sleeping well.  And what does my hoarding mother do?  Makes it that much more difficult.  Just because she can...

My last post was about my amazement at her soaring over boundaries.  Oh... that was just the warm up for today.  Let me give you a bit of background.

A few years ago my mother met a slightly older woman who was narcissistic as she is, and definitely on the hoarding scale.  They hit it off, but as any relationship with her is doomed to fail, this one did.  Sadly, the friend (who I will call Edna) developed severe dementia, and the drop into confusion and paranoia was UGLY, and for her, relatively quick.  When my hoarding mother became the newest villain in Edna's lifetime drama, my mother went no contact.  Prior to that, she was obsessing over a small pedigreed dog Edna had purchased, and had never potty trained, crate trained, or fed dog food.  I asked on Facebook if anyone knew of a rescue for that breed of dog, and a high school friend stated that she volunteered with an animal rescue and she loved those types of dogs, and she would be glad to help.  I let my mother know that I had found a resource when the time came, if she had the opportunity to get the dog.  This was most likely almost a year ago.  I did not give her much information, but I must have inadvertently said this person's first name.  And it is a common first name, and is shared by one of my best friends in high school that has worked at a local discount store that my mother shops at for the past 20+ years.  Not that my mother speaks to her or acknowledges her, but she knows she works there.  I will call her Gidget.  

So... Today...  I run a residential nonprofit, and it is an understatement to say that some days are a bit busy.  Today was one of those days.  I had a 7:30am board meeting for a civic service club I am part of, and then I (with two other staff, one being my business office professional I will call Meg) had an appointment at the courthouse for a work related matter.  Since we have to go through security, I did not take my phone or purse to the courthouse.  I was there approximately one hour.  I returned to the office, met with staff on a couple of matters, when I went downstairs briefly to the staff main office where I encountered one of my front line staff members who seemed confused and conflicted, and asked if Meg was in her office and had listened to her voicemail after a bit of stammering and awkwardness.  I went upstairs, and the staff had reached Meg, who told her that someone calling the direct services number rather than the office number had called and asked if this was our agency's name, and identified herself as my mother, sounded really upset, and that she needed to speak to Meg right away.  (She has pulled this crap of calling Meg to try to get information before, and Meg has her MO).  

I looked at my cell, and I saw a missed call and a voicemail.  At that point it was about 70 minutes ago, so she would have called about the point I left for the courthouse.  I did not listen to the message, I just called her.

She sounded escalated and upset.  She told me of Edna being out in the yard naked waving her pistol (that she has a concealed carry permit for) around and the police were called and they got adult protective services over there, and Edna ended up being 302'd (involuntarily committed) and she will go to a memory care center when she is out of crisis and medicated properly.  Her stepson had flown up from FL, and called my mother and asked if she could see about the dog, which started her off and going.  She said since she could not get me, she called Gidget and Gidget acted like she did not know what my mother was talking about, and she mentioned she found her at a local school.  I asked her who she called... and she clammed up on that part, only saying APS called the humane society and they had the dog, and one of their volunteers 'fell in love with it and is adopting it'.  I ended the call.

WHO DID SHE CALL?  I was furious.  I briefly considered the only Gidget she knew that I knew was the one that worked at the discount store, but I did not understand the school piece my mother mentioned so I dismissed the thought that she would have called her.  

I was also furious that she again made something a capital-E-emergency that was not, and called the direct services line of my organization.  Now, I tend to be a bit of a private person, and I have not had the discussion with new staff that I have a seriously mentally ill mother.  Now, thanks to this, I had to have an uncomfortable discussion with a few staff members, and as I left the room I saw their look of empathy... 

I went on with my day, and it continued to be a long and hard one for multiple reasons.  I left to come home, and I decided to call my mother to get to the bottom of who she called.  She again directly evaded any discussion of her calling Gidget.  I ended the call and ran a few errands, including picking up some Chinese take out.  I got home, checked social media on my phone, and saw a message from Gidget, my high school friend.  This IS who she called.  Gidget said she called the store multiple times, and somehow found out where her son goes to school and that she works there on Wednesdays, and called her being demanding about the dog.

I was horrified, embarrassed, angry, and I am also just so defeated at this point.  I know this will pass, and I reached out to a dear friend to vent to.  Thankfully, Gidget was gracious and saw the humor in this.  

She exhausts me.  I may have more to say on this later, but right now, all I can think about is this is why I jumped at the chance to move over 7 hours away.  This is why I keep her on the low contact plan This is why I do not visit, and why she sits alone on holidays and the like.  She is absolutely toxic, and that toxicity just tears me apart.  She keeps working to puncture the nice, organized life with appropriate boundaries I have created for myself.  And she seems to go for the sphere that is the most off limits... my career space.  I have not listened to the voicemail she left earlier today.  I may just delete it without reviewing it, as I feel it will just stoke all the feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness that I am trying to process tonight so I can keep my game face on at work tomorrow.

She is getting worse.  Much, much worse.  And she still has a long way to fall before she can be forced to accept help.  I just hope we do not have her shooting her guns naked in her yard someday before that happens.

Thank goodness for good friends, and my two sweet kitties that have showered me in love and affection tonight.  I do not know what I have done to deserve the folks and furry family in my life.

Hoarding.  No one wins.  No one.  This will not end well.  Thank you for reading.  I think I am heading to bed.  Tomorrow will be a long day as well.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sailed over THAT boundary

Wow.

That is all I can say after the phone call today.  WOW.

My hoarding mother is apparently on a mission to alienate everyone that has shown her a bit of compassion.  If not through her off-the-charts and 'scorched earth' reactions, then to her inability to maintain the most mundane of boundaries.

A neighbor a few streets over has a dog that tore his ACL a couple of months ago, and has not responded well to surgery and is now up for a consult for laser surgery.  The poor thing has been in a cast for almost 2 months.

So what does my mother do?  She calls the emergency vet clinic and 'blue skies' the scenario with whomever answered the phone.  Her takeaways from that call were:

  1. There is only one vet in that town qualified to do that surgery, and it is not the one used.
  2. The other options are university hospitals with veterinary programs about 2 to 2 1/2 hours from where both these folks live.
I am sure there was more, but I was just gobsmacked.  Then it gets better.

My mother calls this woman and imparts her newly found knowledge to her.

I ended the call before she could tell me the reaction, but I know what many folks' reactions would have been, and they would not have taken kindly to such presumption and intrusion.  The arrogance of such an act boggles my mind.

I suspect she talked to a reception professional or a veterinary technician, and I am sure they were THRILLED with that phone call.

I say it again.  Wow.

Have a great evening, and thanks to all that read this!