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Voices of COHP



A recurring issue of being an adult child of a hoarder, especially as my mother has become a widow and gets older, is the combination of her expecting “help” from me (without defining or specifying what that means) while rejecting help that is offered, which spirals to my own sense of wanting to help someone who is suffering without being able to.


My mother often calls on my sister, myself, and others to solve problems in an abstract sense, but refuses to allow solutions in a practical sense.  The common example is that she expects us to take action that leaves her with a clean house without either moving or purging any of the items that form the mess. I internalize this by mentally punishing myself for not finding a solution to a problem I am not the cause of.


It’s like every relationship or interaction my mother has is filtered through her “stuff.”  Almost all of her human interaction is with store employees as she buys more decorations, knickknacks, and “gifts” for people that don’t want them.  All family interactions focus on cheap decorations for parties, single-use items, and poor quality gifts that she sneaks to the younger children, invariably causing fights with the parents of said children.


She is able to keep a few rooms clean, as far as the extended family sees, because she has some sort of themed party every other month.  But this means her entire house is cluttered with decorations as she takes weeks to take down the last party and set up for the next.  Meanwhile, the basement, attic, garage, shed, and spare room are filled with forgotten items.  When she finds something has invariably gotten moldy, broken, or affected by vermin, she takes it as a chance to buy replacements, but never a reason to rethink her situation.



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