Sunday, October 14, 2012

You can't help someone find happiness that is determined to avoid it at all costs...

I should not be surprised... and I am not.  I am, however, disappointed.  Today I called my hoarding mother to check in on her.  And for 20 minutes, input from me was not required.  I heard about:
  • Neighbors that I have never met, and she does not know.  She watches everything they do, and judges their spending, consumption, carelessness... You get the picture...  She often asks how much a certain car, etc. costs, or asks how much a profession pays.  WHO CARES?
  • Neighbors that I know who they are but little else. I have not lived at home for over 25 years.  She talks about them, their relatives, etc. in agonizing detail, and in a very critical manner.
  • A hated neighbor, and accuses him of all kinds of things, things that are most unlikely he is doing.
  • Ruminating on horrendous occurrences in the news.  I work for a nonprofit in which I see the best, and the worst, of what humanity has to offer.  I do not want to discuss this stuff, it is simply morbid.
  • Everything triggers a story.  A long story.  A dramatic story.  A story that I have heard hundreds, if not thousands, of times. All with the same inflection, etc. as if it were being played by a tape.  Telling her things like "I remember that" or "you told me that" just prolong the inevitable.
  • Everything launches a discussion about her, her bodily functions, the bodily functions of her cats, the bodily functions of her neighbors and people long dead.
  • Petty grudges, the museum of unfortunate misunderstandings that became the fodder for lifelong hatred, and other happy things.
Not one topic was happy, or even neutral.  Narcissism is so tiring, yet I keep trying.  It is so sad.  If we had a healthier relationship, one that did not have the bogey of compulsive hoarding hanging over us... we could visit.  We could go on vacations.  We could experience the wondrous experiences the world has to offer together.  We could... but we won't.

Why?  Because my mother's decision to not address her mental health issues... her decision to live in denial, blame, and avoidance.  Oh- and squalor.  Her decision to view life as 'opportunity lost' and see herself as as someone who... no matter what... is the victim of any situation.  

I say it again.  Hoarding... no one wins.  


  1. I relate to your post/struggle on a very intimate level. It's hard to hold a conversation of any length with my mother without it turning negative. Not always against me, but against my sensibilities and even logic. She hoards and we live only 30 minutes away, even though it feels like light-years.

    As frustrating and hopeless as it feels, I hope you reach a point in your relationship that you and your mother can relate like you want, I used to have it, and I miss it.

  2. Thank you for your comments and sharing your thoughts. I am sorry that you have the experience of being a COH.

    I have just had to accept the relationship I have, and I hope she does not cut the thread. Take care.