Saturday, February 21, 2015

Long work days, long phone calls, narcissism and hoarding...

This past month has been a busy one.  Unrelenting grant deadlines, work fundraisers, and time sensitive projects have been consuming my days, and evenings.  Despite my efforts for balance, I once again find myself working 75 hours a week, or more... Not including my consulting jobs on the side as well.  Not a 'look how/busy/important/martyred I am' statement, but just setting the stage that I am barely hanging on by my fingernails.  I am making time to work out/run 6 days a week, but due to the subzero temps and the snow and ice we keep being pelted with, my marathon training has not progressed the way I had hoped, and I am only 2 months out from the race I hoped to run.  With that being the case, I will need to re-prioritize, and move forward.  I have been trying to stay a bit more connected to friends (and failing miserably) and I have gone out on a couple of dates recently, and have gone out a handful of times with one gentleman in particular.  

I am still keeping my hoarding mother on the low contact plan, calling her 3-5 times a week for very limited amounts of time during my commute.  Her deterioration and her increased narcissistic behavior continues.  She is aware of my work expectations, consulting deadlines, and other things that I choose to tell her in very limited doses.  She is simply exhausting to talk to.  She continues to operate in a weird, paranoid worst case scenario type of mentality, and due to her mental illness has no ability to self regulate, self soothe, or see any other perspective but her own.  

Our conversations... if you can call them that... consist of her skipping from subject to subject, including her speculation about the neighbors, her nosey questions about things that are none of her concern (financial questions regarding folks and the like), a lot of fat shaming and appearance shaming of those she knows and those she does not know, violent and vigilante type ideations for manufactured affronts and long forgotten petty grudges, and bizarre and incorrect assumptions on a host of topics.  

It is absolutely sad.  At the beginning of the month my former brother-in-law (married to my half sister) committed suicide.  He and I had stayed in contact, and life had not gone well for him of late.  It was sad, ugly, and my heart broke that he was in so much physical pain that he did not see any way out but that way.  Then my mother got wind of his passing, and the probing, inappropriate and morbid questions began.  She wanted to know how he killed himself, if he had pets, how long it was until he was found, did he die instantly, did he still own the house he did, who that would go to... you get the idea.  And she was baffled and angry that I would not acknowledge that I knew anything or not, and kept repeating that those questions were not anyone's business and if she could not find another subject to discuss I would end the call, and I did.  

Next call, she would eventually come back to it.  She was absolutely excited to talk about it.  After about two weeks of lower contact, she has tried to be more subtle about her questions, and she has made several derogatory comments about my sister and the fact that her last husband committed suicide, and now an ex husband as well.

SERIOUSLY?  That is the connection she made?  I just ended the call immediately.  I am absolutely sickened... and dealing with the relative that was still in contact closely with him and knowing more details than I ever wanted to is disturbing enough.  This gentleman was always kind to me, was the only father my niece every knew, and I am sorry he is gone.  I wish him the peace he never found in this life.  

I know the next thing that is coming.  She will go to the county seat and get public records that include death certificates and the like.  And I hope for her sake she does not tell me.  When a guy I was dating in college was killed in a car accident, she went and got the death certificate and got her hands on the autopsy report.  I was beyond livid.  

It hit me that this is another form of hoarding... the insatiable need to ferret out information and the like.  I have to say that she simply exhausts me.  Her self reported arguments with the utility companies that she calls a half dozen times a week, and her over the top sarcasm and insults to the folks is deplorable at best, and she is proud of her intentional cruelty.  

All of this stems from the misuse of power and control, feeding her addiction (for stuff and gossip) and the narcissistic personality traits that many who are this extreme side of hoarding demonstrate.  

Is there a point to this post?  Not so much, sadly.  Life is extremely challenging, and rich in experience for me.  2015 has already been a hard, hard year for many close to me.  I am close to losing my nearly 18 year old cat and our final days, weeks, months are precious.  And my mother?  

She exists in a small world where little things become big things, then they become the only things.  She did not ask to be born mentally ill, or to grow up in the abusive home she did, acquiring a significant trauma history.  She does, however, choose to not address anything and to focus all blame onto everyone around her, then criticizes and 'drags her cross' that she is alone and has no one in her life to help her.  

I finally have, in a very direct fashion, told her that sometimes folks live to experience the consequences of their decisions.  Folks that will not allow others to connect, that cannot engage in reciprocal and not transactional relationships/friendships often end up alone.  It is sad, but those who choose to self isolate often end up getting their wish, with terrible consequences.

All I have to say is this will not end well.  Hoarding, no one wins.  No one.

Thank you for reading, and if you are in the snow and ice impacted areas tonight, please stay safe and warm.


  1. Sorry about your loss. And sending healing thoughts for dealing with your mother. I'm glad you are getting your exercise time in--it's a potent form of health care. Wishing you the best . . .

  2. wow! You really hit on something with the observation about ferreting out details. It IS a hoarding trait. Terrible loss and I'm try sorry. I am impressed that you kept relationship AND that you are keeping the details from her. It is for your own sanity that you do not discuss any of that with her. She will only grab hold of it and feed her own illness with it. I'm so glad you are well. We did get ice in Dallas but it melted pretty quick. I did miss three days of work though. You stay warm and safe.

  3. Yeah, I think my HM is starting to feel the effects of being so entitled and aloof - no one really wants to have a lot of contact with her. You described how this happens so well; I enjoy reading your posts. Even when you feel they don't have much to them, they do.

  4. Valerie:

    Thank you so much. I appreciate your positive thoughts and energies for me and my mother! Hope you are enjoying Spring!


    Hope Dallas is much more pleasant now and no more ice! I almost had a consulting gig there but I had to pass on it, this time! A month later and she has other things to focus on, but I am sure she will -at some point- succumb to her need to pick around the edges. His birthday is 4/1, and she is aware of that, so I am waiting. Hopefully she is otherwise distracted, and my silence or ending the call has hopefully 'conditioned' her, however temporarily. Hope things are well!

    I am sorry your HM is reaping the consequences of her behavior. It is hard to watch. Thank you for your support!