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Old 02-03-2008, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Black Hammock Island
4,539 posts, read 13,494,673 times
Reputation: 4396

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I read every post in the older thread and can see many of you (us) have had experience with hoarders. I'm not talking about simply cluttered homes of this week's newspapers, but one of years of newspapers and the like.

I've put it all together and have come to the conclusion that hoarding is definitely a symptom of something much more serious - lack of self-esteem, depression, feeling out of control of any part of life, etc.

Now that I know what it is and what probably causes it ....

The scenario:
My forty-something male single cousin - 6 years of college but no degree - has held a number of jobs (from selling vacuums to Amway to a large internet provider) - was always a neat freak until the last decade or so - three years ago was let go from a decent job with a large company, kicked out of his apartment for nonpayment and for ghastly lack of housekeeping skills - moved in "temporarily" with elderly parents - has at least two storage units full of stuff and his room at his parents' house is stacked with junk (bags of freebie stuff from sporting events, stacks of newspapers of unknown age, 4' high piles of paper, and who knows what else.) It's quite obvious where is psyche is at to cause all this. And now it's quite evident it's been a problem for a long, long time.

But here's the dilemma:
My aunt and uncle are desperately seeking a solution. They cannot use tough love and just kick him out because they know he'd end up on the street or worse and learn nothing. It wouldn't solve their problem because they would constantly be worried about their son. Just telling them to do it and not allow themselves to worry is not an option. His job right now is fast-food delivery which means bizarre hours, and his paycheck is not one he can live on. He tells himself and everyone that he really likes what he's doing.

He treats his parents quite disrespectfully - not abusive, just demanding - therefore their relationship is not one in which they can give him suggestions or confront him with his problems.

As the closest relative, it's up to me to try and do something. My aunt and uncle's sanity is my priority - the situation is escalating and taking a major toll on their lives. If I help my cousin along the way, that's great, but it's my aunt and uncle I'm concerned about. Just going into his room with a shovel and dumpster would get rid of the current junk, but all your experiences say that wouldn't make the problem go away.

How does one confront a hoader and help them return to a normal life? He can't affort traditional therapy and I can't afford to swing it. Is there a Hoader's Anonymous out there?
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Old 02-03-2008, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Missouri Ozarks
7,356 posts, read 17,933,919 times
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You need to step in if he's hurting your aunt and uncle.
As long as your aunt and uncle keep pampering him, he'll continue to stay the lazy bum he is and will never do anything with himself or his life.
Maybe your aunt and uncle for whatever reason, enjoy the clutter and supporting a bum of a person or they would have thrown him out.
He's in his 40's, and being treated like a child. He needs a wake up call.
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Old 02-03-2008, 01:24 PM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
1,354 posts, read 5,963,195 times
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Stepping in by yourself might be hard, and it might lead to an altercation with your cousin. Can you and other family members have an intervention of sorts to all confront him together? Does he have any siblings or is he an only child? You might want to invite a social worker over for that also. If he mistreats his parents even verbally, it can probably be viewed as elder abuse. If he is in his 40's, I am assuming his parents are in their 60's, so elder abuse would probably apply.
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Black Hammock Island
4,539 posts, read 13,494,673 times
Reputation: 4396
Stepping in by yourself might be hard, and it might lead to an altercation with your cousin. Can you and other family members have an intervention of sorts to all confront him together? Does he have any siblings or is he an only child? You might want to invite a social worker over for that also. If he mistreats his parents even verbally, it can probably be viewed as elder abuse. If he is in his 40's, I am assuming his parents are in their 60's, so elder abuse would probably apply.

You need to step in if he's hurting your aunt and uncle.
As long as your aunt and uncle keep pampering him, he'll continue to stay the lazy bum he is and will never do anything with himself or his life.
Maybe your aunt and uncle for whatever reason, enjoy the clutter and supporting a bum of a person or they would have thrown him out.
He's in his 40's, and being treated like a child. He needs a wake up call.


songinthewind7 and Inthesierras -- you are both SO right with your conclusions except for my aunt and uncle enjoying the clutter - my aunt has always had a Better Homes & Gardens home, so the disarray and discord is driving her to the edge .. this has all gone on so long one might think it's too late, but I never see things that way.

He does have a sister, but although she's been out on her own - normal - for years since college, she's also at a crossroads herself. She's quite disgusted with her brother, thus at her wits end, too, and no help.

Lots of backstory which makes it all the more interesting, but the crux is that I've decided to become the 'bad guy' and step in - think I'll go it alone since I might make inroads if he doesn't feel like the whole world is against him -- should make for some interesting months ahead, and perhaps I'll update this thread as time goes on!
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:28 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,883 posts, read 70,193,781 times
Reputation: 22577
Quote:
Originally Posted by mawipafl View Post
Stepping in by yourself might be hard, and it might lead to an altercation with your cousin. Can you and other family members have an intervention of sorts to all confront him together? Does he have any siblings or is he an only child? You might want to invite a social worker over for that also. If he mistreats his parents even verbally, it can probably be viewed as elder abuse. If he is in his 40's, I am assuming his parents are in their 60's, so elder abuse would probably apply.

You need to step in if he's hurting your aunt and uncle.
As long as your aunt and uncle keep pampering him, he'll continue to stay the lazy bum he is and will never do anything with himself or his life.
Maybe your aunt and uncle for whatever reason, enjoy the clutter and supporting a bum of a person or they would have thrown him out.
He's in his 40's, and being treated like a child. He needs a wake up call.


songinthewind7 and Inthesierras -- you are both SO right with your conclusions except for my aunt and uncle enjoying the clutter - my aunt has always had a Better Homes & Gardens home, so the disarray and discord is driving her to the edge .. this has all gone on so long one might think it's too late, but I never see things that way.

He does have a sister, but although she's been out on her own - normal - for years since college, she's also at a crossroads herself. She's quite disgusted with her brother, thus at her wits end, too, and no help.

Lots of backstory which makes it all the more interesting, but the crux is that I've decided to become the 'bad guy' and step in - think I'll go it alone since I might make inroads if he doesn't feel like the whole world is against him -- should make for some interesting months ahead, and perhaps I'll update this thread as time goes on!
You need to proceed very carefully. These are your cousin's personal belongings and all he has to do is place a call to the local police and you will have a mess on your hands, as you have no legal right to do a thing w/ his belongings. Even with Aunt and Uncle standing right there, you have no legal right and it may be unclear whether they do or not.

You really should consult w/ an attorney or perhaps get in touch w/ your local NAMI chapter and see what they advise. Hoarding is a behavioral disorder and NAMI will have info to share w/ you as to how to handle this situation.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Missouri Ozarks
7,356 posts, read 17,933,919 times
Reputation: 3966
Be careful Mawipafl. Good luck taking on this challenge. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 02-05-2008, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Black Hammock Island
4,539 posts, read 13,494,673 times
Reputation: 4396
Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
You need to proceed very carefully. These are your cousin's personal belongings and all he has to do is place a call to the local police and you will have a mess on your hands, as you have no legal right to do a thing w/ his belongings. Even with Aunt and Uncle standing right there, you have no legal right and it may be unclear whether they do or not.

You really should consult w/ an attorney or perhaps get in touch w/ your local NAMI chapter and see what they advise. Hoarding is a behavioral disorder and NAMI will have info to share w/ you as to how to handle this situation.
Oh goodness certainly, anifani821, I do understand what you mean! But rest assured, my "stepping in" means with my mouth and not a shovel. And thanks for the NAMI contact idea ... plan to do that first to get proper guidance.

There's a lot of family dysfunction, and the more I've thought about it over the past few days, the more I realize how deep-seeded the entire issue is.
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Old 02-06-2008, 06:52 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,883 posts, read 70,193,781 times
Reputation: 22577
Quote:
Originally Posted by mawipafl View Post
Oh goodness certainly, anifani821, I do understand what you mean! But rest assured, my "stepping in" means with my mouth and not a shovel. And thanks for the NAMI contact idea ... plan to do that first to get proper guidance.

There's a lot of family dysfunction, and the more I've thought about it over the past few days, the more I realize how deep-seeded the entire issue is.
Thank you for letting me know you didn't feel I had over-stated things w/mentioning concerns . . . I work w/ behavioral healthcare organizations, and I asked a therapist about this yesterday as it has been on my mind . . .For background, let me mention that in my dad's family - we had true hoarders who literally filled up their own homes w/ "stuff" and then it overflowed into outbuildings and porches b/f their deaths. Of course, the difference is - their homes - not someone else's as w/ your situation.

Back to my mentioning this to one of my therapist friends. She had another suggestion - she asked if there is a Council on Aging or an agency that works w/ the elderly that you could also interface with - as they can help protect your Aunt and Uncle. They may need to get legal help to move the rat-pack mess out. I wanted to pass this on . . .

You are doubtless the one ray of light for your relatives as I am sure they are past being able to deal w/ any real solutions by themselves. Good luck and please let us know if you need more brainstorming or some moral support. There are those of us who truly understand what you are dealing with.
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Old 02-06-2008, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Black Hammock Island
4,539 posts, read 13,494,673 times
Reputation: 4396
anifani821, you've been a ton of help. And I'm continuing this thread in public rather than DMing you because it can be helpful to those who are just "lurking" and are facing a similar situation.

I'm feeling a bit of guilt because I unknowingly and unintentionly behaved like an ostrich -- I'd been hearing about the situation for quite a while, but the reality and severity didn't sink in until my aunt opened the door to his room and I saw first-hand that what she'd been describing as a "slob" was actually something more serious.

Lots of stuff is now hitting me square in the forehead -- such as, he told us about a great restaurant in a nearby town and jovially refused to give us directions because he wants to go, too. At the time we laughed about it, but I'm not laughing today because I'm understanding the psychology behind his "joke" ... control issues -- since his life is spinning so out of control, he feels the need to assert in the oddest ways.
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:17 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,883 posts, read 70,193,781 times
Reputation: 22577
Quote:
Originally Posted by mawipafl View Post
anifani821, you've been a ton of help. And I'm continuing this thread in public rather than DMing you because it can be helpful to those who are just "lurking" and are facing a similar situation.

I'm feeling a bit of guilt because I unknowingly and unintentionly behaved like an ostrich -- I'd been hearing about the situation for quite a while, but the reality and severity didn't sink in until my aunt opened the door to his room and I saw first-hand that what she'd been describing as a "slob" was actually something more serious.

Lots of stuff is now hitting me square in the forehead -- such as, he told us about a great restaurant in a nearby town and jovially refused to give us directions because he wants to go, too. At the time we laughed about it, but I'm not laughing today because I'm understanding the psychology behind his "joke" ... control issues -- since his life is spinning so out of control, he feels the need to assert in the oddest ways.
Oh, I am sure his illness expresses itself in many ways and on many levels! Probably highly manipulative and I am sure he keeps his parents totally off balance. Add to that their concerns that he will end up on the street (inducing guilt) . . . but actually, they are enabling his behavior, wh/ has probably had more devastating consequences than kicking him out would have had in the longrun. He may be dealing w/ a more serious mental illness than the family realizes or this could be just one component of anti-social behavior. As lay people, we can only speculate. A good therapist could assess his history and make that judgment . . . but this may be a lot more than depression . . .

Regardless, the end result doubtless has been an abusive situation for his parents.

I am a writer, not a therapist, but I see case studies on this type of behavior and you are so right - nothing is going to change w/o some sort of intervention. With his parents being elderly, someone does need to step in. I am hoping you can find appropriate community resources to help you figure this one out.

Do you know if he has any insurance or EAP benefits w/ his job? I am thinking it may be part time and therefore no bennies. Just thought I would throw that out in case there may be resources available through his work.

Don't feel bad about looking back and thinking you have been an "ostrich." Sounds like your Aunt and Uncle have been minimizing the actual depth of the situation by using descriptions such as "slob" when this does not begin to relay what is truly going on. How could you have known? You are attempting to do what you can now and that is all that matters.
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