Saturday, April 30, 2016

An update on the aunt who hoards, and who is in active psychosis

This should be an episode of 'From the Mouth of a Hoarder'...

My mother's estranged sister continues to call, sometimes once a week, but I am hoping that maybe, just maybe, it will stop.

As a recap, she was involuntarily committed (known as being 302d) in May after seeing dead bodies, reporting my 1/2 sister (narcissister) for domestic violence, and the like.

Until her last call, she claimed that a neighbor put a 'device' in her furnace and in her van that he can play music and sing songs, but it is so soft and with the fan from the furnace it cannot be recorded.  Then she said he was driving by with a loudspeaker.  She stated in her discussion he was a pedophile, and the like.  She said her psychotic break in 2015 was due to him projecting holograms and she has papers from her week long hospitalization saying she isn't crazy.  And the like.

Fast forward until April 10.  I was on a Skype call when she blew up my phone.  Even though it was a Sunday, I had a Skype call, a Go-to-meeting BOD call, and had to prepare to speak at a press conference.

She continued to call, and finally I was done with my virtual meeting and answered.  Her repeated calling kept knocking my internet out since I use a hotspot.  In this call she:

  • Said it was not 'him'
  • That the songs said he killed himself out of unrequited love for her
  • That she freaked but he is okay and was told by the police to stay away from her
  • That she now 'has feelings for him'
  • That she thinks narcissister is behind all of this
  • That she was 302d by a police officer
  • That her doctors say she is not crazy and it is happening
  • That the police do not believe her
  • Went off her meds
  • Her general practitioner yelled at her for going off of her sleep meds
  • She does not know what she takes and has not bottles to read me
You get the picture.  She also kept asking about noises she was hearing in the background (my cat futzing around, me drinking, etc.)  What was the most interesting was I was working in speech notecards, and started typing to send my outline to the PR folks, and she FREAKED and started screaming she had to go, someone was calling her.

I have not heard from her since.  Perhaps I should type any time she calls.  And keep my nails long and shellac manicured...

Friday, April 29, 2016

What is the definition of insanity? Look to my family, and me, I think...

This hails from my home state.  I roll out tomorrow after having nearly a week of a lovely conference experience and good information to take back to my organization.  Being with folks in my profession who are trained in my particular discipline is always refreshing.

What is NOT refreshing is being this close to my hoarding mother.  Nothing has changed, really.  Her conversations remain full of paranoia, delusion, denial, blame, intentional cruelty, willful ignorance, revisionist history, gross and inappropriate disclosure, and rumination.  

Things I never need to hear about again:  Her scaly, peeling moles; her bleeding moles; her 'sharp' and crusty feet; her jeans rubbing off on her bra;  hair removal from places that make me wish there was brain bleach, and bodily functions... hers, the cats and random strangers.  GAH!  And you are most welcome for the mental pictures!  Tis a service I provide...

I decided to inform her I was here for the conference the day I was leaving for it, mainly because I was concerned with her increasing paranoia she would call the shelter or the office in my absence and cause all kinds of chaos.  Not a discussion I want to have with staff if I can help it, although most of them know about her after her stunt a few months ago.

After some thought, I decided to reach out once more. Give her the benefit of the doubt, and offer to go to her town and meet her for dinner.  She is almost 80, and really has no one now.  She has alienated most everyone at this point, and I let empathy get in the way of common sense. I planned to do it in a very structured way, and in a solution based manner that would minimize her strategy of 'a problem for every solution.'  Keep in mind that she has not seen me in person since April 2013, two months before I had a life threatening health challenge that resulted in two major surgeries in under 11 months.  Last year I was here and she declined to see me, then drug a cross to a former high school classmate and incited her to contact me and tell me that my mother 'just needed to be heard' and that it would do her good for me to visit.  

Fast forward to last night.  I called between sessions, and I just apprised her that I was available for dinner Friday night or lunch Saturday and would drive to her town.  She immediately declined, stating that she had dental work done several weeks ago and her gum was still sore, and besides, with the amount of teeth she is missing and the appliance she wears for her TMJ issue, she does not eat in front of anyone.  I was pleasant, and ended the call quickly.  She seemed in excellent spirits, and it did not hit me until today... she was WAITING to do that.  It obviously triggered a secondary gain of some sort for her.  I am convinced of it.  She told the neighbor what she had done, who texted me.  The neighbor told her she could sip a soda, eat an ice cream, but my mother had a problem for every solution.  Last year was not an anomaly.  Her failure to do anything remotely mother-like in August of 2013 or July of 2014 was not an accident. She has no intention to see me.  I could speculate why, but in the end, it is just that- speculation- and does not matter.  You cannot determine intent from someone that is simply not rational... Or someone who is coldly narcissistic. 

And who loses here?  Sadly, she does.  I have already realized long ago that I am not the daughter she wanted.  What she does not understand is she is far from the mother I needed and deserved when I was younger, and I have scars from that, but they are relatively well healed scars.  And I need to stop giving her the opportunity to wound me again.  Last year I was angry and hurt.  This year, it stung slightly, and I kvetched to friends via text, and I have great friends that I simply do not deserve.  They rock.  I was mostly annoyed that I knew how this was going to play out, and I did it anyway.  

I resolve to use this as the learning experience it is.  I really believe that you either succeed or you learn, and both is technically a win.  Apparently this lesson I had to repeat.  I got it now.  The saddest thing is at nearly 80 years old, she will most likely never be given the option to see me in person again.  

Sometimes, mother, you reap what you sow.  Sometimes you get what you want.  Tonight, I had dinner with lovely friends and a wonderful restaurant, and I got to witness another patron propose to his fiancee.  It was such a happy event, and I am so glad to have had such a great evening.  Epic win for me, I think!

Tomorrow I am driving to my hometown to eat at my favorite restaurant and to see a couple of friends before I roll several hours home.  Once home, I am invited to a bonfire at friends.  Sunday is brunch with another group of friends, then back to work for two gruelling deadlines.  Life returns to normal.

I will be back for the conference next year, but she will not know it.  Or maybe she will, but I will be simply too busy to see her.  I choose to fill my life with what is positive, affirming, and pleasurable.  I have no more time for this.  

My life has challenges.  I am still fighting to get into the specialist to evaluate the autoimmune issue that is continuing to escalate.  I have hit a few roadblocks to getting into the therapist I wish to see that has experience with adult children of hoarders and adults with significant trauma histories.  I will persevere and will figure it out, even if I have to pay for them myself and figure out insurance later.  Work/life balance is still wonky, but after the 9th it should resume 'normal but busy' rather than 'bone crushing deadlines'.  I am still struggling to get ready for a marathon- but it will only change the race I choose to run, not whether I race it.  I have Mother's Day coming up the day after my birthday.  That has me in a weird place, but I will push through and focus on all that is right with my life, and it is a lot.  I have essentially no biological family that is not toxic, but I have many great friends that are my family of choice.

Life is meant to be lived at full volume, and I refuse to do anything less.  Lesson learned.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  

Thank you for reading!  

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday- 2016

I am embarrassed that it has been almost 2 months since my last post.  No excuse for it, I have once again allowed my work/life balance to get out of whack, and although much of this is really a one time thing, I realized that I have done what I always do when the situation with my hoarding mother and my narcissistic family erupts, I put my head down and I simply WORK.  And that is what I have done.

Now, in the midst of opening a new program at work, moving our Admin offices to a new location and having multiple grant deadlines and EOQ reporting deadlines looming I am still training for races, so two priorities have emerged... work and running.  And my cats are always a priority!  

Today is the observance of Easter in the US.  Other than a nearly 10 mile run, I have not been off the place, have not worked (or not much anyway!) and have spent a lovely day cuddling with my cats, cooking lovely healthy food and had wine with dinner.  My day has been peaceful.  I have napped in my favorite chair, caught up with emails, and rested as the next week will be a descent into moving and deadline hell.  The thing I have done, however, is use work to shield from friends and have not had a lot of interaction with them.  I have to say that most of my friends understand my chaotic work schedule, and at times, I disappear for a while, but it is simply not fair to them.  And some of them have going through rough times this year, and because I was immersed in work, or dealing with my own issues, I feel I was not the friend I could be.  I will simply HAVE to change that. Must.  

From the family front, I occasionally get a call from my mother's sister, my hoarding aunt who is in the process of decompensating.  She calls to tell me things like the neighbor has cameras and technology in her house and car, and he is playing music to her, and watching her and harassing her, etc.  She claims my narcissistic sister is at the heart of it, and her delusions are on par with her limited and dated understanding of technology.  She has now decided that the psychotic break she had last May was not a medication interaction, but a hologram by this neighbor.  Ugh.  She is called the police constantly, so I am hoping that action will be taken by them to get her into care if she continues to deteriorate.  Like my mother, she has pushed everyone away.  She calls, and blows my phone up by hanging up and calling back tens of hundreds of times if I do not answer, which effectively blocks my phone from any other calls (like work since I am on call 24/7/365) and my response has been to answer and let her pontificate and end the call when I can.  Other than 'hello' and 'I have to go' I do not have to say anything.  Luckily, my narcissister is otherwise occupied, as is my niece so I do not have that level of drama right now, however, I suspect since my birthday is coming up I will hear from them.  

With all of that, my hoarding mother has continued to decline as well, and it is terrifying to watch her and her estranged sister progress down a parallel track of mental illness, paranoia, narcissism, and decompensation.  She is convinced the neighbor is sneaking in, and she too, like her sister, has alienated almost every physician in a small rural area and is now having issues get her prescriptions refilled and is having doctors who are referred refuse her as a patient because of her behavior in the past.  Her ability in creating a revisionist history amazes me, and again, I simply do not know what is true and what is not.

Next month I will be traveling to my home state for a conference, and last April I tried to see her and she declined.  I really have no intention of making an effort to see her this time.  Now, I know I may feel differently... Maybe I should read the entries from the end of April last year and the beginning of May to refresh my memory if I start to waver...  I do not need a helping of misery.  I continue to keep my contact very, very low, as going no contact would kick off a hate campaign of crazy that I do not have the time or energy to deal with right now.  

The other thing that has become apparent to me is I continue to put others first, and I have rescheduled my doctor's appointment to get to the root of the autoimmune issues I am having and the fact that I tried to push on in spite of having Type B Influenza earlier this month (before I knew I had it).  I have also rescheduled an initial appointment with a therapist, but I have the doctor's appointment and the therapist appointment in May.  Last May was a hard month with Mother's Day being so close to my birthday, interference and guilt from 'flying monkeys' of my mother's, and other things.  I was in a very lonely and isolated place a year ago.  I want to be prepared this go around.  

I am doing okay.  I could always do better, and that is what I want to do.  I do not want to get into the mindset of 'good enough' as I see how well that serves dysfunction.  And we all know I have seen plenty of THAT.

Have a great week everyone.  Thank you for reading.  

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.


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.