Reddit Reddit reviews Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring

We found 4 Reddit comments about Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Health, Fitness & Dieting
Mental Health
Compulsive Behavior
Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring
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4 Reddit comments about Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring:

u/sethra007 · 9 pointsr/hoarding

Tell her 'no'.

Maybe not as bluntly as a straight-up "No!", but I think you should decline the request because of this part of your post:

> We've been here before. She won't get rid of anything. Therefore it's impossible to tidy, therefore impossible to clean and I'm accused of being unhelpful.

She's creating situations that allow her to say that she tried to clear up, but that it's your fault when she fails.

It's not unheard of for hoarding parents to blame their child(ren) for the hoard. We see it happen when the children are minors. Hoarding parents may still look for ways to blame their kids for the hoard after the kids have grown up and moved out. Based on your post, it sounds like that's what's happening here.

> I can't win and don't know what to do.

I get the impression that it's time for you to start setting healthy boundaries. So for the long-term, please see the following resources from our Wiki:

  • Setting Healthy Boundaries
  • For Loved Ones of Hoarders
  • The book Children of Hoarders: How to Minimize Conflict, Reduce the Clutter, and Improve Your Relationship explores strategies for communicating with hoarder parents, and outlines practical intervention skills. There's also the book Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring by Michael A. Tompkins. This is an excellent book, written specifically for the spouse, family, and/or loved ones on how to deal with the hoarder in your life who won't accept that he's a hoarder. It's not a book on "organizing tips" or anything for people who are merely disorganized. This book actually gives you a plan for communicating with your hoarder, identifying issues, working on your relationship with your hoarder, and in general coaxing your hoarder to a healthier way of doing things. It advocates a harm reduction approach, in order to get the hoarder to cooperate.

    In the short-term, however, tell your mother that you'll be unable to help with her clearing. She's not going to like that answer, of course, so be honest--ONCE. Tell her--ONCE--that you've attempted to help her "clear" multiple times in the past, but actual clearing involves removing some items permanently from your home. Since she refuses to do that, and she forbids you from doing it, then the clearing she wants to take place can never happen. You have no desire to to be blamed for her choices, so you won't be helping until she's ready to start letting go.

    When she responds to your statement, only reply with, "Mom, I know this is very frustrating for you, and I'm sorry about that. But it's impossible for me to help. You need to clear things out yourself."

    If she pushes back: "I'm sorry, but it's impossible. You need to clear things out yourself."

    The third time she pushes: "I'm sorry, but it's impossible. You need to clear it out yourself. Now, I'm not going to talk about this again. We can change the subject, or I can hang up/leave right now."

    If she still pushes, hang up the phone or leave. Put her in "time out" for a couple of days--go no contact and do not respond to calls/texts/emails/PMs/etc.. You can try again after you've had a break, but be prepared: if she starts in again about you "helping her clear", your response is "I'm not going to talk about this again. We can change the subject, or I can hang up/leave right now."

    You basically have to train her that you're serious and she can no longer use the mother/child relationship to manipulate you into being the scapegoat for her hoarding mess.

    Good luck.
u/bevbh · 3 pointsr/hoarding

I'm a hoarder and I think this is really good advise. I think also that you need to emphasize that you deserve to have a room of your own that you feel comfortable in, where you can safely get to your window to open it or escape if there is a fire.

As an experiment, you could try collecting stuff in your room that is clearly not yours and/or clearly trash and put it in a bag or box and give it to her. Tell her that it needs to go someone other than your room. Offer to help her to sort it and put it somewhere.

There is a book for the family of hoarders called Digging Out

I also really liked the book Stuff

Most hoarders have suffered a trauma that causes them to shut down when they are overwhelmed. I am back in therapy for PTSD and reading the book The Body Keeps Score about PTSD and finding that very interesting. Some hoarders have other kinds of problems with decision making or other cognitive issues.

u/Saga_I_Sig · 2 pointsr/hoarding

When packing, keep all the items you personally would deem important/necessary/"good" into boxes separate from the junk/unnecessary, and in a third category, trash. Have her unpack the first category when she moves in, and see if you can save the rest for until she's in a better place mentally and will have a better chance of recognizing that not all of that trash and junk is actually useful or necessary for her life. Try to unpack together IF and only if you personally have the mental energy. Do not do anything that stresses you our or makes you depressed/unhappy/anxious, etc. You need to take care of your own well-being first - helping a hoarder is exhausting, frustrating, and depressing, and you have no obligation to subject yourself to that if you don't want. You can help your sister with some things and then quit any time if you feel like it's negative impacting you and your happiness.

I think that therapy could be very, very helpful for your sister. Try to find a psychologist who specializes in or has experience working with people wth hoarding disorder. My mom (a hoarder) finally got a skilled therapist, and is already making good progress after two sessions. That said, my mom 100% acknowledges that she has a major problem and has hoarding disorder, so she is very open to treatment and wants to change (even if she doesn't know how and can't fully control her hoarding behavior).

As I'm sure you know, hoarding often goes along with other mental illnesses, which create a negative spiral and make the hoarding worse. For my mom, it's schizoaffective disorder (a kind of schizophrenia with both manic and depressive episodes). In my experience, getting effective treatment for her other mental disorder(s) made the hoarding much better. Now when she's manic, she isn't AS manic and doesn't go out and buy hundreds of items at a time to add to the hoard. When she's depressed, she isn't as depressed or for as long, so can get back to cleaning/daily life sooner. And her attachment to useless possessions and trash also seems to be lessening.

With comorbid mental issues, it's really hard to stop the spiral. It may not even be possible - most often you have to aim for "harm reduction" or "harm minimalization" rather than them being cured, because hoarding disorder is virtually incurable in traditional senses of the word. It will almost certainly always be there in some form, and you and your sister need to learn how to work around it, live with it, and minimize the damage it causes. You're lucky that you realized the problem now and can take steps to change the course of it. I didn't realize how horrible my mom's disease was until she was almost 70, and now I'm afraid that it's too late because her whole house and basement are stuffed with trash and there are only goatpaths. She won't have repair people into the house, so there is no electricity to half the sockets, only one stove burner out of four works, half of the sinks and toilets are broken, none of the drains work properly, and there is a massive mouse infestation. It's horrible what hoarding can do. It starts slowly, but given a couple of decades untreated can absolutely ruin your house, your mind, and your life. I am so, so glad that your sister is getting help now rather than later.

Before you can worry about how the place looks, you have to prioritize safety, and make sure that your sister's living situation is liveable and not dangerous. So, make sure that things function (her bed, sofa and bathtub are not too covered in trash to be used; there are no flammables near the stove; no tall piles that could tip over and hurt her or her animals, no rodent or bug infestations, etc.)

Not all hoarding is a form of OCD, as previously thought. Current research suggests that there can be many different causes including OCD, past trauma, genetics, difficulty with decision-making/making value judgements (pre-frontal cortex), past poverty, etc. I recommend getting some books on hoarding and reading them if you have time. I like Digging Out, a book for relatives of hoarders, and Buried in Treasures. I hope you can find copies in Germany.

Best of luck with your sister and the move. She is fortunate to have you there to help her, and I hope that you can work together to help her get to a better place mentally.

EDIT: Also, if you run out of time while packing, prioritize the important things. Worse comes to worst, you can take all the necessary items and pay someone else to help you bag/box up the trash and/or throw it out. I recommend not getting rid of anything that could be perceived as vaguely useful, but literal trash... I would personally throw it out. Your sister may be mad at you, but your mom shouldn't have to deal with it in her house. If sorting the good items from everything else is overwhelming, maybe you can ask your sister if it's alright for you to bring in outside help, like a friend. She may not want to agree, but if it's that or lose a lot of her possessions (in the event of a severe time crunch), it may be necessary. Just do the best you can - it's a really hard situation.

u/Cainmos · 1 pointr/Fitness

I'm sorry to hear that. It's difficult when you do truly care about someone and the relationship just isn't working anymore.

If the clutter is as serious as it sounds she may have some sort of OCD/hoarding issue. It is difficult to deal with and you may want to read something like this to try and help her overcome the issue.