Saturday, April 27, 2013

Just a note to 'Wonderful Strangers' of people who hoard...

Many quote worthy conversations in the past few days, but none that trigger me like the one she had yesterday with her chiropractor.  For those of you just reading for the first time, this person graduated from high school with me, and my mother has used her 'audience' with this woman to run me down and play the 'poor elderly woman who is neglected' role with her.  She is also obsessed with the fact this woman is a lesbian, and is constantly speculating about her income and cost of her vehicles and such.  Oh... and is fixated on her mode of dress and weight.  

So, I called her today, and she informed me that 'Dr. Wednesday' asked her if she had any relatives in town.  Mother advised she did not, which is partially true.  Most of our relatives are dead and gone, and she essentially drove her hoarding, narcissistic sister out of town with her campaign of hate and craziness. She is totally estranged from any of her maternal or paternal family, to the point I do not know surnames or if they are alive, etc.  'Wednesday' asked if she thought I would ever return to town to live.  She was informed that no, I would not.  And she preceded to expound on the reasons SHE perceives I will not... some are true (like being so economically challenged - my home state is in the heart of Appalachia, job opportunities, I have lived elsewhere so long that my current state is home) and then she had to start in... that I hate my home state, "I think she is afraid she might have to actually lift a finger and help around here" and blah blah blah.  NICE.  She was asked if she would consider moving closer to me ... to which she said that traffic, etc. was too bad, and several other excuses, like this area is the 'big city'.  Um... NO.  She also stated that she doesn't know why I wouldn't come back, she 'wouldn't bother'  me.  She further stated that all I do is work, I am never home (true during grant season at work) and that I am always out 'running' her derisive descriptor for the things you do with friends...

That kind of discussion strikes a trill of fear into my little, cold, black heart.  <You're a mean one, Ms. Grinch...>  I am very happy with 7 hours of travel between us.  It keeps the craziness limited to phone and ground mail.  I have been contemplating my next career move, and whether I will move out west... Even further away.  The problem with that is, my friends who are like family are here.  And although I am confident I would meet new and wonderful friends, and would stay in touch with the ones so important to me, I am not sure I WANT TO at this point.  So no rush.

I know this doctor means well, and although she has to suspect my mother has mental illness, (the personal hygiene should tell her if nothing else) she is my hoarding mother's newest 'Wonderful Stranger'.  She is probably using conversations regarding me to keep a rapport going with my mother.  We are connected on Facebook.  I just wish she would STOP. Honestly, I wish she had never acknowledged she knew me.  

I wish 'Wednesday' well, as she will undoubtedly find at some point in the not too distant future, that the fall from the 'Wonderful Stranger' pedestal is a hard and crazy one.

What I really wish is simple.  I wish folks would stop pushing and assuming that all families are functional and healthy families. Or at least, understand that some families are so full of abuse and narcissism that it is unsafe, both physically and emotionally, to have any sort of close, meaningful relationship.  I would also like for folks to understand that if someone is estranged or has taken the 'geographical solution' most times there is a reason, and to quit picking around the edges of it.  Some things cannot be fixed, nor should they be.  Some decisions have consequences, and sometimes the hoarder gets what he or she wants, to be alone with their stuff.  And some distance from an what seems to be a vulnerable elderly relative is not abuse or neglect, it is simply protecting yourself from further harm.  There is a minimum of 2 sides to each situation...

You cannot want something more than the hoarder does.  You cannot fix it in spite of or under the radar of the hoarder.  All an adult COH can do is set appropriate boundaries it takes to give you the space to heal.  In my case, that is 7 hours of driving time and 5 or so phone calls a week to check in.

Dr. 'Wednesday' will find out how 'pathetic, lonely, misunderstood and frail' this hoarding person is when she no longer serves the role my mother has scripted ... since no one has different opinions, life-truths, etc. than her... everyone is merely an extension of the Lifetime movie script that plays in her head.

Hoarding, no one wins.


  1. It is quite likely that Dr Wednesday already senses the reality of the situation but is being tactful for professional reasons. It is also possible that your mother's report of her conversation with Dr W is not 100% accurate.

    Unless Dr W contacts you to complain about your alleged misconduct I wouldn't worry about it.

    Also, still 5 calls a week? I didn't call my (late) mom that often, and I loved her dearly. You have a right to take care of yourself, even if that means reducing your contact with your mother.

    1. Rosemary:

      I think you are right. It is so hard to tell what is absolutely true, and her recollections have most likely been 'enhanced' for effect.

      The 5 times a week thing is something I really, really fight with. I would be happier with one, perhaps two calls a week max. When I call less frequently, the nastiness and 'crazy' is simply off the meter. Giving her the illusion of 'almost everyday' contact keeps our interactions slightly more tolerable. Slightly.

      I used to lovely and regular FB contact with Dr. W. It has been pretty much radio silence since her first sound off to her that was reported to me. And ultimately, what it comes down to is Dr. W was not raised in that house with all the abuse, manipulation, and screwed up priorities... and if she is buying into what is being spun, then she is truly naive.

      Thank you for your candid comments and concern. I am in the process of figuring out my next ongoing contact strategy... since this one is working so well! (Sarcasm added:-).


  2. Rosemary is DEAD ON CORRECT. Dr. Wednesday is just that...a doctor. There is no way she doesn't sense the truth and she needs to listen to your mother to help her. Back to our earlier conversation, how much of what your mother is telling you is true? For all we really know Dr. Wednesday has no clue if you really exist. Your mom (and mine) are manipulative enough to tell us "other people are judging you." It's a classic move.

    I had contact with my Momster this weekend. I'll be contacting my therapist today to restart sessions. These women wear me out!

    camaraderie. That's all I got right now.

    1. (Hugs)) Lisa. I hope you were able to get set up with your therapist. I think I will follow your lead andre-engage mine.

      Sadly, Dr. W is the least of my worries, I saw the 'mompire' this past week. (Although I simply LOVE Momster!) New blog forthcoming... I was in my home state for a conference. Last minute decision, but OY.

      Hang in there. The camaraderie of the crazy will keep us sane...


  3. I agree that distance is a great defense against a HP. I'm 4 hours away, just far enough that day trips are tough and overnights - well, we have to stay in a hotel. That part sure confuses people from normal backgrounds!
    I, too, wouldn't take too much stock in what your mother tells you about her visits with Dr. W.

  4. TC:

    Thank you for reading and weighing in! Ahhh... to be one of those folks with a more 'typical' family experience eh? But then again, dealing with those who do not have a frame of reference can be very frustrating as well.

    And I appreciate your reinforcement of the Dr. W situation. Mother is uniformly consistent in her 'divide and conquer' strategy Let's see how long this works for her in this scenario... I suspect it will not continue long if Dr. W is 'drinking the koolade' for now.


  5. Just a FYI/Humor Update:

    So my mother had an appointment with Dr. W this Monday. And walking into the exam room... she asked, "So, did you see Lisabeth when she was in? I see she was in for the conference."

    Good thing I did not try to 'sneak' in and back out. If what she is telling me is true. And who knows if it is or not... it could be more of her gaslighting...

    Goodnight and peace.