my good friend is a hoarder.
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  1. #1
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    Default my good friend is a hoarder.

    about a year ago i kept posting about a friend who i dropped because she was too expensive to hang around. every outing ended up being a hundred dollar day.

    wow. where to start.

    now i think i understand why she never wants to go home. always wants to "go out". and why she wants to go out for lunch, outing, and then dinner. home is not a refuge to her.

    about a year ago she kept asking for the name of my professional therapist . i gave it to her. she kept trying to go to a "christian counselor" but i always thought that was just a delaying tactic or an excuse to not seek help. I kept saying to her that i heard cogntive behavioral therapy worked well to undo faulty thinking or weird stuff one may have learned from parents. I dropped the subject because i didn't want to be codependent and turn into "little miss Fixit".

    yesterday i went to her house for the first time. I asumed she just had clutter. well, it was just like on the "hoarders" show.

    she wants to recycle everything. the house is full of recyclables. she said "it's really important to me to recycle." but she doesn't get any further than that.

    I said, well why don't you? you can recycle to freecycle, to charity shops, to plastics and paper recycling. I said take a box with you and drop it each day on your way home from work. she didn't get it. I said "have you considered just dealing with a square foot of clutter or one box of clutter per day? and a camera for taking photographs for memories. "

    i learned today that it is better called disposaphobia, which fits exactly this situation. the friend cannot get rid of anything.

    i helped another friend with this problem about ten years ago, different flavor, but same problem. never again, i said.

    i feel really sad.
    i will pray for her, and submit her name to the temple. any thoughts?
    baby step 2- see blog for actual amounts

    "stop being a victim, you are a perpetrator, taking things without paying for them is stealing, you are not a victim, you are a perpetrator. PAY THE PEOPLE YOU OWE, pray for the people you owe, and make it right. " hard nosed AA person, thumping his big book, addressed to me in AA meeting 7/30/2013

  2. #2
    Registered User MaryCarney's Avatar
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    do you think she would watch Hoarders? Might be a start.

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    Registered User hotprincesscm's Avatar
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    Wow tough situation! Hopefully she gets the professional help she needs!

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    Registered User NikoSan999's Avatar
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    Did she invite you over or was it a drop in? Was she prepared for you to walk in the door?

    Mainly, does SHE know she has a problem? When you asked her these questions, like why don't you recycle what was her response?

    You said you did it once before and never again. Do you think you can help her without making your life, which sounds like you have back on track, miserable? If not, just be her friend. She needs one obviously. Like her as the friend she was before you found this out. She really hasn't changed from the person you knew. Now, you just know more. Don't let that alone destroy your friendship.

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    Professional counseling probably would help, but you can't drag her there.

    I might have become her in another life. We had piles of crap in the house, my stuff his stuff, his parent's stuff... I didn't realize I had a problem until a friend of mine offered to become my "cleaning buddy". It took me over a year to work out my emotional attachment to "stuff", and it is still hard to throw out junk. There are memories attached to everything. Having my "buddy" come and help really motivated me to throw stuff out. There's still a lot of clutter I can't part with but at least I am no longer saving boxes to re-use, just in case. I need to tackle the garage again some day (my buddy helped the first time) but it is so overwhelming I won't try it myself.
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    I'm sorry to hear this. It must be very hard to watch your friend suffer with this. to you.

    I'm sure you'll find a way to help, in time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NikoSan999 View Post
    Did she invite you over or was it a drop in? Was she prepared for you to walk in the door? i was invited and i could tell it was because she trusted me.

    Mainly, does SHE know she has a problem? yes, she knows she has a problem, which is why she kept asking me for the name of the therapist last year.When you asked her these questions, like why don't you recycle what was her response? she said she just wanted to go to a recycle facility.she kept repeating it. her faulty thinking needs to be addressed, which is the job of a professional. also her mom died a few years ago, and she has all her dead mom's stuff in there too, in addition to her own stuff. a very loaded issue.

    You said you did it once before and never again. Do you think you can help her without making your life, which sounds like you have back on track, miserable? If not, just be her friend. She needs one obviously. Like her as the friend she was before you found this out. She really hasn't changed from the person you knew. Now, you just know more. Don't let that alone destroy your friendship.she is a true blue friend.

    acquaintances are many
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    true friends are a rarity
    this problem is bigger than me, but is not bigger than our group of girlfriends. i will call them and ask if we want to get involved at all or tackle small projects, like "just the front entryway", or "3 square meters". we are members of the SCA Society for Creative Anachronism, so we could have 100 people there within hours if needed. tight barony.

    if i were running the show (which I'm not) i would have just two good friends, three empty SUVs, designated consecutive saturdays. six month break from SCA events, responsibilities and offices, and "chunk it" into small pieces. Weekly therapy would be required. Her faulty thinking is she only thinks it has to be done in a day, which will never happen. of course it's overwhelming. (edited to add: it will take six months of diligent "chunked" work to make decisions and physically get rid of the stuff.)

    the problem was when i helped another friend a long time ago. cleaning it up did not address the problem and within a year she was living in filth again.

    edited to add; she WAS asking for help, i am not butting in or going all codependent
    Last edited by ladykemma2; 12-22-2009 at 06:53 AM.
    baby step 2- see blog for actual amounts

    "stop being a victim, you are a perpetrator, taking things without paying for them is stealing, you are not a victim, you are a perpetrator. PAY THE PEOPLE YOU OWE, pray for the people you owe, and make it right. " hard nosed AA person, thumping his big book, addressed to me in AA meeting 7/30/2013

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    Quote Originally Posted by Contrary Housewife View Post
    Professional counseling probably would help, but you can't drag her there.

    I might have become her in another life. We had piles of crap in the house, my stuff his stuff, his parent's stuff... I didn't realize I had a problem until a friend of mine offered to become my "cleaning buddy". It took me over a year to work out my emotional attachment to "stuff", and it is still hard to throw out junk. There are memories attached to everything. Having my "buddy" come and help really motivated me to throw stuff out. There's still a lot of clutter I can't part with but at least I am no longer saving boxes to re-use, just in case. I need to tackle the garage again some day (my buddy helped the first time) but it is so overwhelming I won't try it myself.
    i thought i could offer to go with her the first time, to introduce her and make her feel safe.

    i am a reformed clutterer as well. reformed collector. i think a buddy is a terrific idea! I did it on my own with the help of 12 step programs and messies anonymous.

    i used to think that things had feelings. i also had faulty thinking in that my mother taught me that i had to keep every gift i ever got or i would hurt feelings.

    i had to learn that i wasn't hurting feelings when i got rid of stuff. weird, huh? or that "stuff" would feel "abandoned" (inner <10 year old)

    Also I had to unlearn the mental "up yours" to my mother that i was keepng a messy house just to get back at her (inner 17 year old)

    The inner adult has to take over and calm the inner child, and keep asking "how old do you feel right now?" "what do you need right now?"

    I know that my inner child responds to rewards and treats.

    i used affirmations like
    "i let this item go to someone who will love and use it"
    "It is selfish of me to keep this when it could be needed by someone else"
    "I create space and beauty in my life"
    "Order and organization make my life easier"
    "I freecycle these lovely things"
    baby step 2- see blog for actual amounts

    "stop being a victim, you are a perpetrator, taking things without paying for them is stealing, you are not a victim, you are a perpetrator. PAY THE PEOPLE YOU OWE, pray for the people you owe, and make it right. " hard nosed AA person, thumping his big book, addressed to me in AA meeting 7/30/2013

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    Lady I really like your positive affirmative selftalk! I use a similar technique at work everyday. . .

    "Looky there, you didn't even wince when your boss loaded your desk with unfinished projects he didn't bother giving to you a week ago and now you have a deadline of 2 days. Good Job!"

    No seriously though - if she decides not to go to the therapist, but wants to test the waters with a little cleaning buddy time, what if you said a few positive affirmations to her so she can start conditioning herself to hear them? I know you don't want to get too codependant here, but positive words really work wonders and often go unsaid.

    Just a thought.

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    Registered User Dancing Lotus's Avatar
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    Getting a hoarder to watch hoarders doesn't work.
    I tried it with my MIL. She still didn't see that she has a problem. She just kept talking about how crazy those people were and that's she isn't like that.

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    The older I get the less attached I am to "stuff". I can understand to a small degree--me years ago-- the feelings that you apply to "things" and I feel awful for her but I found out a messy house makes me unhappy.

    When your stuff makes you unhappy it needs to go. Perhaps she is beginning to see that is true for her. Baby steps.

    I toss things like a mad woman now. It is so freeing. I think a little at a time will help her to get moving in the right direction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnK View Post
    Getting a hoarder to watch hoarders doesn't work.
    I tried it with my MIL. She still didn't see that she has a problem. She just kept talking about how crazy those people were and that's she isn't like that.
    so by your logic, a recovering alcoholic doesn't make a good sponsor?
    baby step 2- see blog for actual amounts

    "stop being a victim, you are a perpetrator, taking things without paying for them is stealing, you are not a victim, you are a perpetrator. PAY THE PEOPLE YOU OWE, pray for the people you owe, and make it right. " hard nosed AA person, thumping his big book, addressed to me in AA meeting 7/30/2013

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    Moderator mauimagic's Avatar
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    For me it's a continuing process and I make progress every day - have to make it part of my daily life so I don't slide back. Good luck

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    Have to admit I was never really good with housekeeping. But when I started watching shows like clean sweep it really got me motivated to throw stuff out and keep my place neat and tidy. Now I get grossed out when I am somewhere and cleaning is lax.

    Hope your friends comes around. Mostly so she can enjoy her home and life.

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    My only thought was that this is going to be a 'tough call'...and I am not sure what I would do.

    You can't help her until SHE truly wants the help and it doesn't sound like she does....right now....but may be moving in that direction.

    Keep us posted.....I am very curious because....

    I just learned that a gal in my 'lunch circle' is the same way. One of the other gals had been to her house (I haven't) and said that there is only a path to walk through from all the crap. She is CONSTANTLY shopping at thrift shops and buying stuff 'just because it is a good buy' ....not with any idea of what she will use it for.........

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