Voices of COHP
An Open Letter to My Hoarder Mother in Law
I see you. I see your mood swings. I see you shut down. I see your things strewn all around. I hear your screams and the things you throw around when you feel your mess is threatened. But I also see something you don’t see.
I see your son. I see the despair on his face. I see his defeated body language as you tear him down for wanting his space clean. I hear the break in his voice as he pleads you to value him more than you do your belongings.
You think I disrespect you. You think I took your son and turned him against you. You wonder what happened to your baby boy. You weren’t there when I held him as he sobbed, mourning the childhood he never had. You weren’t there when his face lit up, talking about the birthday parties our children would have. You don’t know that he regrets never having one.
What I want more than anything, is for my husband to feel safe. You never knew he needed that. You only saw your need for things. I want him to be proud of our home. You never knew he needed that. You only cared that all your things were in one place.
Today, I watched your son break as he shared empathy with another family member your illness has impacted. I watched his eyes well up when he confided how much your illness kills him inside. I watched him pace back and forth as he wondered if there was help for you.
My heart broke, when he told me I couldn’t help. I got angry when he wouldn’t talk to me about it. I cried when I realized he doesn’t feel comfortable bringing me into it, even though I’m the only one who’s ever fought for him. You did this to him. You did this to us. And you only care about your things.