Hoarding is not a rational situation and it can be exhausting, confounding and disturbing to deal with.
The societal expectation that we are to “help our parents” is alive and well. However this expectation often doesn’t take into account the difficult relationships many families struggle with.
The norm doesn’t really look at the trauma a person may have experienced at the hands of their parent or caregiver that hoards.
When a person hoards there are usually underlying issues at play that are frequently not being addressed. In the majority of situations, the person that hoards struggles with underlying unaddressed trauma.
The person that hoards generally suffers from denial about the depth of their issue and simply cannot “see” the situation due to “clutter blindness.” Because they don’t think there is a problem, they refuse all offers of help.
There are also frequently co-occurring mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and a level of narcissism that is often not seen outside the family relationships.
This refusal of all help often leads to strained family relationships.
Any attempt to intervene in the situation often results in angry outbursts, tears and extreme melt-downs which cannot be easily understood if you don’t understand the attachment to the items.
When it comes to hoarding situations, sometimes it becomes necessary to reduce the amount of contact we have with the hoarding situation and with our loved one that hoards. The dysfunction within the situation is mentally exhausting and the lack of boundaries is overwhelming.
It is often because we care about our own mental health that we must back off and tend to our own needs. We must often determine what our own priorities are and honor them.
Low Contact Options
Low contact can be a viable option to honor both our needs and what we perceive as the needs of our loved ones.
This can mean phone only contact and limiting the amount of time we are on the call or the number of calls we take.
It may mean we only visit our loved one in a neutral location, away from the hoarded home.
Also it can mean we may recommend a service provider for our parent, giving them the resource, but letting them make the decision on if or when they call that provider.
It may mean we have to let them make decisions that we completely disagree with and release the outcome from our realm of worry.
Stepping in to intervene can become necessary, but we know it comes at the risk of alienating our loved one. Sometimes it even means they will disown us for attempting to assist.
In these situations, there are often no easy answers.
There is always room to ask more questions and seek to understand what true solutions may look like.
If you are struggling with a family member that hoards or a tenant that you don’t know how to reach, we would be glad to help.
You can complete the initial questionnaire here and we will get you scheduled for a virtual consultation!
Tammi Moses is the founder and Chief Encouragement Officer of the company Homes Are For Living, LLC dba The Hoarding Solution. This business is proudly Veteran Woman Owned & Operated.
We offer virtual consultations, workshops and training workshops on the issue of hoarding. Tammi believes in empowering & inspiring others to take their adversity and use it for the benefit of others. 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 in various ways: Email directly or connect on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.