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Having a parent who hoards

AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
My mum has been a hoarder for as long as I can remember, and it only gets worse over time. I’m really really struggling with it now, and I’m not even allowed to tell anyone about it. “Don’t tell anyone at school otherwise you’ll never see Mummy and Daddy again.” - the threat of my childhood. I even had nightmares about being taken from them.
I don’t think I’m in danger (it’s not toxic waste like the stuff you might see on TV lol), my parents are just very anxious people.

Now it’s got to a point where… it’s just BAD. My mum sits on the sofa pretty much permanently (she even sleeps there), just surrounded by stuff. There are pathways through the rooms. For meals, my dad sits on a chair in the kitchen, my sister at the table (most of the table is covered with stuff but there’s enough clear space for one person to sit), my mum on the sofa of course and I sit on the floor, leaning against the door. It’s been like that for years now, so I forget it’s probably kind of bad.

The worst part is how it makes me feel. My mum blames me for it. Not entirely, but she says my stuff is the reason it’s as bad as it is. I told her I have no control over the environment I live in. She just said she doesn’t have control over it either. I mean ok maybe she can’t help the hoarding, but she doesn’t have to dismiss everything I say!! She brought it up just now so I responded, and then she told me to leave her alone. I just don’t get it. She won’t let anyone help her, she won’t throw anything away and we’re just stuck in this house we can barely move in.

I’m terrified for the future. I’m planning on going to university soon but who knows how bad the house will be when I get back. I’m guessing my bedroom will be slowly consumed as well. But then I think about long-term stuff like properly leaving home - it’ll take ages to earn the money for that. In the meantime I’ll be stuck in this stupid house. I don’t know how it can possibly get any worse than this, but I know it will. It always does. My mum can’t see how bad it is, she can’t see that it’s HER problem and not ours collectively. Me and my sister both have too much stuff so she always uses that as her argument, but she bought most of it!! It’s hard to know what’s normal when you’ve never experienced normal, and she has rules about what we’re allowed to get rid of. I really want to live in a house where there’s space to do things and I get to sit on a chair. I’m sick of sitting here watching the world around me collapse. It’s so hard to be hopeful about the future when the state of my parents and my life at home only ever gets worse.

I’m safe. Please. If anyone finds out about this I will probably be kicked out of the house. I love my parents but I just wish SO MUCH that they cared enough to do something about the house. It never ever gets better. And I know one day I’ll be the one to have to deal with it when my parents are dead. I’m sick of it already. I don’t know anyone else in the same position and I really really want my mum to get some help. Except if I initiate that she’ll probably hate me forever.

I’m not sure how much longer I can live like this. I’m safe. Just terrified for my hopeless future in this fucking hoarder home.
Tagged:
lunarcat522Past UserIainJammyboyyanaAmy22amy02Matthew_04JJLemon18
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Comments

  • Past UserPast User Posts: 0 The Mix Regular
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    AnonymousToe
  • yanayana Community Champion Posts: 1,266 Wise Owl
    this sounds really tough and i can tell u feel alone in this which is totally understandable. sending lots of hugs <3

    as faolan said, could ur bedroom be your comfort space where it's like a breath of fresh air?

    I'm not really sure what else i could say to be of much help but i just wanted to say I'm here for u and that it's definitely not hopeless. you won't live there forever and I'm sure your mum won't be like this forever eirher. I've seen videos of people who struggle with sruff like this slowly work throigh it and get support from others to fix their homes so there is definitely hope for both you and your parents.

    it mighr also help to think about other things in the future you're hopeful about? what other goals do u have for the future?
    my brain is not braining the way brains are meant to brain
    AnonymousToe
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    Hi @faolan
    Thank you. I never thought about trying to get counselling at university- that might be a good idea. The trouble is that my sister is under 18 and I’m not sure what would happen if I told people about our living situation. I could always leave that information out, but I know I’d be blamed if anything happened. When safeguarding at school were involved a few years ago (different issue), my mum told me to think of my sister. So I know it won’t go well if anything happens.

    I do have some of my mum’s things in my bedroom, but not a lot. I have so much stuff myself but there are rules about throwing stuff away and I struggle with it because she’s taught me to. I am trying to sort my own room out but it’s not as easy as it sounds. I’ve been taught that I need my mum’s permission before getting rid of anything, and then she gets stressed about it and it’s just a load of arguments.
    Past Userlunarcat522
  • Past UserPast User Posts: 0 The Mix Regular
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    AnonymousToe
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    @faolan I just wanted to say sorry because I realised something I said was potentially kind of insensitive. Just worrying lol. Thank you so much for responding to me, it means a lot to have someone validate me. Don’t worry about not knowing about hoarding, I didn’t expect anyone to and what matters is you’ve tried to help. :heart:
    Past User
  • Past UserPast User Posts: 0 The Mix Regular
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    AnonymousToe
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    Some stuff fell so the living room is like an obstacle course today. It’s so crappy. I’m just so confused why my mum won’t get help with it. She knows it affects us all but it’s like she just doesn’t care. She’d rather keep all her stuff than have her children feel happy. That’s a bit of an exaggeration of it all but it’s just depressing. I usually turn to my teacher for support but obviously I can’t about this. It’s sad though because she doesn’t know how my life really is. I tell her literally everything, except about the hoarding. I just so badly wish I could tell someone and have it actually get better - without my parents literally kicking me out the house for creating problems. I just want someone to know. I know you people do but it’s not quite the same - you don’t know who I am after all lol. I really want it to get better. I want it to not be my responsibility, because I feel responsible right now. I want someone to help my mum and to tell me that I haven’t done anything wrong. My mum blames me for bits of it. I just want to know what’s real, like is that part of her disorder and she can’t see how it really is? I don’t know. I want to tell someone but I might lose my little sister 😭😭😭
    lunarcat522Amy22
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    I feel like I might just stuff it and tell my teacher anyway. Yeah I’ll be abandoned by my parents but I can’t live like this anymore. I have no idea wtf to do anymore.
    lunarcat522Amy22
  • MaisyMaisy Moderator Posts: 594 Incredible Poster
    Hey there,

    Living with a parent who hoards sounds really difficult, especially when they don't want to get help, and it's impacting on your life.

    Chances are, your mum doesn't want to get help because she might feel ashamed, anxious and upset at the thought of getting help. She might be ashamed at the state of the house and wouldn't want anyone to come in and judge her for it. She might feel anxious at getting help because that might mean someone coming in and helping her to sort out her stuff and possibly throwing away some of it (and that might bring up feelings of loss and also feelings about wanting to remain in control, even if the hoarding itself is a bit out of control). She might also be upset at the thought of potentially losing her children if social services were to deem things bad enough. That's probably why she made that comment when you were younger about not seeing your parents if you tell anyone, and that must've been very difficult to live with.

    Your parents probably do care but are possibly overwhelmed with all sorts of feelings that might be making it difficult for them to take responsibility and get help. All of which is unfair to you.

    But you haven't done anything wrong and you are not to blame for your mum's hoarding. It's also good that you are trying to sort your room out too (even if it takes some time and effort). It can help to have a little space of your own that you can focus on, so even if you can't do much about the rest of the house, you have a space that is yours and is less cluttered than the rest of the house.

    It makes a lot of sense that even though you have The Mix community to talk to, it's not the same as an actual person who knows you and can help you. I also understand it's a very difficult position to be in seeing as you have a younger sister and don't know what will happen if you do reach out to someone. But you mentioned talking to a teacher and I'm wondering if you did? Feel free to keep us updated <3
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    AnonymousToe
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    Hi @Maisy thank you :heart:
    I haven’t told anyone. That teacher is ill right now anyway and also I need to think carefully before I do tell anyone. Who knows what will happen. I’ll definitely tell someone eventually but I might have to wait until my sister is 18. In 5 years…
    lunarcat522
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    I can’t do this
    lunarcat522
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    I’m so stuck and i dont know what to do
    Amy22
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    I’m going crazy. Why is this my responsibility? I don’t want to ever see this house again 😭
    Amy22
  • Laura_tigger82Laura_tigger82 Moderator Posts: 5,066 Part of The Furniture
    I can really hear how stuck you are feeling at the moment @AnonymousToe, especially with continuing to live in the house you don't want to ever see again.

    It also sounds isolating to not be able to talk to anyone about this yet, am I hearing this right? It is really positive that you have felt able to reach out to us and talk to us about this.

    You are looking out for your sister but it also really important to take care of yourself. What might help this feel more manageable for you at the moment? We are here with you <3
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  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    Hi @Laura_tigger82 thanks for replying.

    Yes I feel really alone in this because nobody knows and I have to keep it secret. I’ve honestly only managed to talk about it here because it’s got to the point where I feel like it’s seriously affecting my life. Or maybe it’s just taken me until recently to realise that living in a hoarder home really isn’t right. I think it’s a bit of both, but I’m struggling a lot with it now, so I can’t keep it to myself anymore.

    I really don’t know how to make it feel more manageable. I think clearing my own bedroom a bit will be helpful to at least have some space somewhere, but then that’s difficult because of the way my mum is about it. Like she’ll want to keep things to give to other family members in case they want them, or something needs to go to charity so she’ll just keep my old stuff downstairs in everyone’s way (for months before it’s given away), and she tells me off for bombarding her with it or doing it at the ‘wrong time’. She’s very controlling when it comes to what we get rid of, but she says she isn’t. It’s very confusing being told things by her that literally aren’t true.

    I just wish someone could tell me what to do. Nobody knows about hoarding, and I don’t know anyone who’s going through the same. I want to know how I convince my mum to get help, because it’s literally impossible. I want someone to do it all for me because this affects me enough as it is. I don’t want to do all the hard work researching how to be my mum’s therapist, because I’m not mentally capable of doing any of that - and I think I’ve suffered enough!! I just want to get her help without being in trouble or literally kicked out and abandoned for it. My mum doesn’t see how bad it is, and it’s like she doesn’t care. I can’t live like this anymore, and I don’t want to deal with everything that’s to come. I just want her to get help before it gets any worse, but she can’t even see that she needs it!!

    I’ll have an escape from the house soon enough when I go to university but there’s the whole thing of coming back and seeing how bad it really is. Plus I feel bad leaving my sister in such an awful environment with nobody who’ll speak up if it gets dangerous. I’m scared the house will burn down and they’ll all die while I’m away at uni. I guess that could happen anyway, the risk is just slightly higher for my family. I just don’t like how I won’t know the state of the house. I feel kind of responsible for it now because I’m one of 4 people in the world who knows what it’s really like, and now I realise it’s not right.

    I want it to get better. Everyone will be happier in a nicer environment. I wish my mum would let me help her get rid of stuff, but even talking to her about it is almost impossible. She’s so defensive, like why can’t she just admit the problem to me - I can clearly see it!!

    I don’t know at what point I should reach out to someone to get help for my mum. Do I wait until something bad happens? Wait for her to start hoarding rubbish or for the house to become toxic? I have no idea and I really hate having to be the oldest child in charge of all this stuff. I need help for myself too now because I was forced to live like this for so long. I love my mum but I don’t think I’ll ever forgive her for this. She must’ve known it was bad if we’re not allowed to tell anyone. I just wish she cared enough about me to do the right thing. She says she cares but she doesn’t show it. It’s incredibly confusing.
    lunarcat522amy02Past UserAmy22
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    I’ve found out online that people don’t get better without help. The house can be cleared but the stuff comes back. I’m so fucking stuck, I wish it wasn’t like this
    lunarcat522Past UserAmy22
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family

    We don’t have any of the major issues though, like we don’t light candles or anything so it probably is safe, oh god if anyone finds out about this I’m gonna be abandoned
    lunarcat522Amy22
  • Past UserPast User Posts: 0 The Mix Regular
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    AnonymousToeAmy22
  • MaisyMaisy Moderator Posts: 594 Incredible Poster
    It sounds really difficult for you having to live in a cluttered home and not be able to tell anyone about it. It makes sense that you'll be feeling lonely too....it's worse because hoarding isn't often talked about let alone living with a hoarding parent. But just because it isn't talked about, it doesn't mean you are on your own with this <3

    I'm wondering whether you have to involve your mum when it comes to your bedroom? Or whether it would be possible to slowly declutter your room without her knowing or noticing too much? And if she does find out, you could just let her know that you didn't want to stress her out.

    It makes sense that you wish others could help your mum to see sense and get help rather than feel like you have to do it yourself or even be your mum's therapist (which isn't your responsibility by the way). I'm not sure if this is helpful for you at all but MIND has an article about helping someone with hoarding https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/hoarding/helping-someone-who-hoards/ and the NHS has an overview about hoarding https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/hoarding-disorder/ You could also try the OCD UK forums too https://www.ocdforums.org/ seeing as hoarding can sometimes be related to OCD.

    We're here for you <3
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    I'm a community moderator. I'm here to help guide discussions and make sure Community Guidelines are followed. I can't send DMs, but you can message @TheMix or email [email protected] with questions or concerns.
    AnonymousToeAmy22
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    It’s only getting worse here. Thanks for replying guys, it means a lot to have people actually care.
    Anyway, I tried to beg my mum to get rid of some stuff or just to do something about it. She said she’s trying (as she was throwing away some old packaging) but hoarding is ‘incredibly untreatable’. Looks like it’s never gonna get better. She said I was being horrible to her when I really wasn’t, so I reminded her that I could literally just throw her stuff away while she’s out of the house, but said I’d never do that. She snapped as if she was fucking possessed, “NO YOU CAN’T, YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO THAT.”
    I said I could just report it to someone but she told me no one would care because I’m 18, so I should be able to move out.

    My dad heard me screaming and crying in emotional agony and he said we’d try harder to change things. I just really hope it actually gets better. My mum is insane and I’m not in a state to cope with that. She’s annoyed with me right now because I can’t cope with her hoarding. She can’t see things as they are and it’s so upsetting because that’s literally my mum - she can’t support me at all anymore.

    We’ll see if anything happens this weekend, maybe we can try to clear some space somewhere. At least we’d be moving forward. I wanna sort my own bedroom but it’s not the same as getting to sit at a table for dinner or walk through the house without bumping into something, or actually shut the bathroom door(!!). Getting out the house will help but the only thing my mum leaves the house for is shopping - probably not the best idea 😂

    I’m just so glad I’ll be off to uni soon.
    IainJammyboyAmy22
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    Yeah it’s not gonna get better
    lunarcat522Amy22
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    I’m the only one who’s willing to get rid of anything so yeah my room might be somewhat clear but we still can’t do anything anywhere else. It’s so crap
    lunarcat522Amy22
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    I’m trying to get rid of stuff, my old stuff, and my mum just demands to be in charge of it all. I can’t do this anymore
    lunarcat522Amy22
  • lunarcat522lunarcat522 Posts: 327 The Mix Regular
    @AnonymousToe I don't have much more to add to this, but I'm really sorry to hear that you're struggling with your home situation right now.

    You're doing really well, even if it doesn't feel like it!

    I would try to keep in mind that you will be going off to uni, as it helps to have something to look forward too, especially in circumstances that are more long-term.

    Is it possible to access any sort of counselling in the meantime to help you offload your emotions on the situation or see if there's any strategies that might help you cope in the meantime, or even to address the situation from a different angle.

    It sounds like you're feeling quite defeated which is completely understandable, so I'm wondering whether counselling may help you gain a degree of autonomy over the situation, even if it's just to help you process what's going on.

    I hope things get better for you soon <3
    AnonymousToeAmy22
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    Thank you @lunarcat522
    Yes I think it’s a good idea to keep focusing on uni and how I can soon leave this house. I hadn’t really thought about getting help for myself with this but that’s an idea, I just need to work out where to get it from lol. Thanks for replying <3
    lunarcat522
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    Oh god I have no idea what to do
    lunarcat522
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    I wish I could just get away from it sometimes, like school used to be my escape but I don’t have that anymore.
    lunarcat522
  • lunarcat522lunarcat522 Posts: 327 The Mix Regular
    So sorry to hear this @AnonymousToe

    Is it possible you have anything you could do in the community to fill your time or distract you like volunteering, or a club?

    Do you have a library close to you that you could spend your time in and read or watch something/listen to music with headphones in?
    AnonymousToe
  • AnonymousToeAnonymousToe Posts: 863 Part of The Mix Family
    @lunarcat522 it sounds so simple, but my social anxiety is so bad that I struggle to leave the house for anything lol. I definitely need to work on that
    IainJammyboylunarcat522Amy22
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