I have some more conversational gems from my mother who hoards. I was dining with a friend the other evening, and she always asks about my mother. She made a very astute observation that had not really occurred to me... I am too close to the situation. After laughing about the latest dash of crazy conversation...
"You realize that your mother is getting worse, right? It used to be that when we talked that some of her conversations were a bit more normal. Lately, none have been, and they are escalating."
That really hit me, and thinking about it, I immediately told her she was correct. And she is. Now... what to do about it? Unfortunately the hell that COH's are caught in is there is nothing I (or we) can do. You cannot help someone that will not help themselves, especially if they do not meet certain criteria (completing ADL's, do not come to the attention of the County Codes Office, and such). Yet we are damned by society, the neighbors, et al for being uncaring children for 'letting' his or her parent live in squalor. So- now onto the most recent...
My mother has an 19 year old import that has been typical of its brand, extremely reliable. It is garage kept, and although it is hoardy, she is one of the hoarders that is very concerned about outward appearances and she keeps it up and it is in very good condition with only 70K miles on it. She has burned her bridges at:
- The dealership in which she purchased it new in 1994
- The more local brand dealership that opened in town a few years ago... she refuses to go there since they hired (and subsequently FIRED) a person she does not like
- The local individually owned repair facilities that can be trusted, folks that were friends of my father's... Not only burnt those bridges, but dropped the crazy equivalent of the A-bomb on them
- Screwed up, judgmental assumptions based on her skewed perceptions, and nothing remotely do with fact...
- "I guess they decorate for Christmas because they have grandchildren."
- "I cannot understand all the decorating for Christmas. It is not like they ever have visitors or even have kids... [clucking over their poor choice]"
- "I think the neighbors must be running a rooming house with all the cars that are in and out of there."
- "There are people next door working. The windows are all open again, I bet that place STINKS. The basement was full of water (in the 70's). Why doesn't someone condemn that house?"
- "Those people must have more money than they know what to do with. YOU WOULD NOT BEEELLLLIIIIIEEEVVVVVEEEEEE the pile of garbage they put out each week! A lot of it is NIIIICCCEEEE stuff! Not tore up or anything! Why don't they donate it? People are in need you know!"
- A whole lotta projecting, gaslighting and guilt mongering occurs as well:
- "...[speaking of an elderly, reclusive widow] You NEVER see her, and you never see anyone there but the yard service. They never had kids, and no one comes to visit..."
- "...and those kids never once came over to help their stepmother care for their [abusive, bigoted and a hoarder] dad when he was dying at home with dementia..."
- "...[speaking of a woman recently widowed at the end of the street] She put up all kinds of decorations for Christmas. She never did that when he was alive. Who was she trying to impress? And all that junk in the back yard (which honestly, when I saw it in 2010 looked fine... Mom's house was the worst looking one on the street) why doesn't someone make them clean that up?"
- "Now I have to get an MRI on my hip! TELL ME THE TRUTH! What are they looking for that a bone scan wouldn't show? I swear, that bast@#& at the physical therapy place, my hip wasn't in bad shape [despite advanced osteopenia and osteoporosis] until he made me do those things. I WANT HIM FIRED! I WANT SOMEONE TO BEAT HIS HANDS WITH A HAMMER UNTIL HE NEVER TOUCHES ANYONE AGAIN!"