Hoarding has long lived in silence because most people don’t know what to say or how to show their concern.
In having these discussions with folks, it seems the best way to talk about hoarding issues is to use direct statements that focus on areas of concern.
Here are some examples that might be helpful if you are bringing up your concerns:
-The amount of clutter in the house creates a trip and fall hazard for you and people that may visit.
-Using the space heater with an extension cord is a fire hazard.
-I am concerned that the refrigerator is full of expired on healthy food that can make you sick.
-Even if the food “smells fine” it does not mean the expired food is fine to eat.
-It is very expensive to pay for [X amount of] storage units.
The benefit of using a statement instead of a question is that it clearly indicates that I’m aware that there is a problem.
I am choosing to let the person know that I will not be silent. Also, as #AKOPTH (Adult Kid of Parents That Hoard) I am able to use the statement to enforce my personal boundaries.
Here are a couple of examples that can help you state your “awareness” of the situation & some remedies that I have used personally to survive the hoarded home visit:
“Mom I won’t eat food that ‘smells fine’ even though it is expired. Why don’t we pick up a pizza? Or let’s have lunch with your neighbor? Or let’s go eat at your favorite restaurant for dinner tonight.”
“I know you would like me to stay at your house when I come to visit. But I won’t stay in the house that has rodents living in it. I will be happy to visit you but I will be staying at [the hotel, my friend’s house, etc].”
Yes, I do think we need to be this direct about this with the people in our lives who struggle with hoarding Issues.
Frequently the person cannot see the problem with the situation.
However that doesn’t mean I should let all my defenses down to protect their peace of mind.
Hoarding is not peaceful or harmonious, it will fester in silence and it will NOT improve on its own.
Life is too short and precious to let our loved ones suffer because we didn’t have the courage to at least let them know we see the problem. It’s possible to let them know we see their issue, but still value the connection we have with them.
If you are struggling with a hoarding situation, you can schedule a virtual consultation and we will be glad to assist you in dealing with the specific situation you are dealing with!
I look forward to hearing from you and creating a solution for you & your loved ones!
Tammi Moses is the founder and Chief Encouragement Officer of Homes Are For Living, LLC dba The Hoarding Solution which is a Veteran Woman Owned & Operated business located in Oak Harbor, WA.
Tammi provides consultations, assessments and workshops on the issue of hoarding. She believes in inspiring others to take their adversity and use it for the greater good. She is the voice of #AKOPTH-Adult Kids of Parents That Hoard. She is also a voice & advocate for #YLITH – Youth Living in The Hoard. You can connect with Tammi at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook & Instagram @TheHoardingSolution.