As you may know from experience with a hoarding relative, know from reading my blog, or know from talking to other COHs, our hoarders tend to repeat themselves. They will tell the same stories over and over, with the same vernacular, the same details, even the same inflection. It is like listening to a tape recorder of crazy! Try to head a story off by saying something like; "Yeah I remember that. I was there." Or- "You have told me that story before" and you get it anyway, but the long defensive version. My favorite was when I tried to intervene in a horrendous story of a small child running into a fire after her dolly (the reaction, not the story- the story makes me want to puke) she actually started speaking faster to get it out before I hung up on her.
So- Mom and I have several subjects that I will not give her an audience for, such as:
- Her personal grooming of her public hair (or questions of mine!)
- Her discussion of her fungus infested toenails and skin eruptions (taking a bath more than once every 2 weeks or so might help a bit)
- Any discussion of her poop, pee, phlegm (that she pronounces 'flame' ), or any other liquid that comes from an orifice... or the orifices of her cats, her neighbors, folks 14 times removed that are not pooping, etc.
- Gun rights, politics, or something she heard on Fox News
- Violent or vigilante types of ideation and paranoia
- When she is endlessly speculating and making assumptions about folks that she does not know well or at all- she is using it as a precursor to judge them
- When she is judging, bigoted, or just plain cruel
- When she takes indirect or direct swipes at me and attempts to guilt me or martyr herself
- Medical questions about her, the cats, about folks she knows. My response is 'ask your doctor' or 'ask the neighbor' or 'ask your vet'.
- Endless questions about Internet service, the Dish Network (she pronounces it DEEESH) and what she needs for her laptop that has not been out of the box since purchased in Feb or March of 2006- I am not discussing this anymore after YEARS of this conversation at insane detail.
- Talking about churning the hoard.
- Anything about her car.
- Anything about home maintenance or repair.