This is all I have ever done. I have walked on eggshells, stayed silent when I should have spoken up, buried feelings until I forgot they existed, let all sorts of boundaries be crossed, all for the sake of keeping my mom ‘happy’, and even then after all the suppressing and working to keep her ok, she wasn’t.
Any normal person would have snapped long ago and had the courage to make a life of their own instead of waiting to fix their mom’s life in order to have some sort of permission to fix their own.
And now the thing that is hurting me the most is how she can turn on me and my dad after all the years we have stood by her and tried to help her find some normalcy. Some days she’s fine. Like right now - she’s watching the news and seems happy. But I know better than to think this is here to stay. Any mention of me making plans to see my boyfriend, or any mention of my dad going over to his brother’s house, or any stack of newspapers that gets tripped on and mixed up, or anything that might remind her of how screwed up everything is… she’ll be back to that vicious, glaring, bitter anger that cuts right through my heart and makes me believe she honestly must hate me and nothing will ever get better for her. Ever. It’s scary how fast she can fall back into that state of mind where she bashes my dad and me for everything we’ve ever done wrong and blames us for not cleaning this house ourselves and for making it this way in the first place. She has made me feel like absolutely nothing lately, and she gets so intensely mad at everything I do ‘wrong’ (whether that’s trying to help her get out from under this house, or trying to have a life of my own at long last), that I really believe the good times are the fake ones, and this is what she really thinks. And last night I was around nice people, with a pretty sunset, things to look forward to… and I still came home and cried for an hour because she has such a hold over me that I can’t get away from her even when I’m around normalcy outside this house.
So you should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole. But what happens when you’ve let that happen already? How do you expect to put yourself back together, when you’re idea of yourself and your life is completely shattered, and no one actually knows what’s going on with you because you’ve gotten so good at pretending everything’s fine? I guess the answer comes down to respect. Just continue to respect the pieces of yourself that you’ve ripped apart, until your boundaries and your dreams for your future life make you whole again.
I’m kidding. Not really. As long as everyone was out of the house at the time of the fire… I’ve spent enough time around insanity to start believing arson is a rational possibility.
And suddenly it’s been six months since those mattresses got here. I’ve really had nothing to say for half a year because 1. I’m ashamed there is no positive change happening in anyone’s life as the years go by and our lives go farther downhill, and 2. I’ve become totally despondent about the entire situation and have no interest in even thinking about this stupid house or anything for that matter.
Mom is a total wreck and it’s getting so much worse, it’s scary. She’s blaming me for not cleaning her house up. She’s blaming me and my dad for the state of the house. Gramma moving in in February has completely aggravated her depression, her anxiety, her spitefulness, her mistrust in everybody especially my dad and myself, and just her overall hatred of the world and herself. Gramma will antagonize mom until her last days. She’s literally a bully.
And then, as if things could possibly be any worse for my mom (I’m being sarcastic…she has a daughter and a husband who have *stupidly* stood by her all these years in the hopes of helping her out of this literal mess), her daughter goes and does something so completely horrible, that silent treatments, glares, yelling matches, and downright hatred is unleashed. What did I do, you ask? What was so terrible, so unthinkable, so completely outrageous that would cause a mother to turn on her daughter and do everything short of total disowning? I got myself a boyfriend. That’s what. And this is just way too much for my mother to handle. Way too much. In all my years of dealing with her insanity, after all the times I’ve seen her anger towards my dad and towards me, this summer has topped it all. I didn’t realize her toxic relationship with me was not only about this house and the over-protectiveness in general. Nope, it’s about everything. She is killing me. I have never felt this horrible before in my life. She’s made me feel like I’ve chosen him over her somehow, made me feel like I’m doing something unconscionable each and every time I go out with him.
Also I got a job. A good-paying, full-benefits, weekends off kind of job. She’s angry about that too. I’m not surprised. If I have a job, that means I’m close to having money, which means I’m closer to moving out and leaving her - the ultimate betrayal apparently. I can’t be happy about these wonderful things in my life - a sweet boyfriend and a good job - because she is making me feel like a horrible person about them, and I’m thinking this is going to be my struggle for the rest of my days if I don’t move out of the country or something.
To all the children of hoarders reading this who are still living in the chaos, and to those who have gotten out… I’m in total support of you, and I appreciate your support of me and this blog, and I can’t even begin to explain the repercussions of living with a hoarder. They’re never-ending, constantly evolving into more and more and more crazy, and the hoarding is just part of the illness… it reaches out into all aspects of life and it’s unstoppable without some sort of team of psychologists and professional organizers. I think we can all admit that getting through the day without crying is sometimes impossible, but please, stay strong.
I actually have something happy to report today. I’m not going to whine or do another “woe is me” post. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high, but I am pretty excited about this…
Unfortunately my news isn’t as great as “I’m moving out!” but believe me, that WILL happen.
By the weekend, we will all have a bed and a bedroom. Mom and dad bought two queen sized mattresses today and they’re being delivered on Saturday, and we’re just going to power through this horrible project and get both bedrooms in this God-forsaken house done. Amazing, right? At least we’ll have a good night’s sleep and some level of normalcy.
If you’re wondering “What about the beds you already have?” well, mom and dad’s bed got ruined by a forgotten bag of sweet potatoes a few years back and we finally threw it out last year. And my twin bed that hasn’t seen me since 2004? Well that’s going to be my grandmother’s bed because she has basically moved into our house and now requires 24/7 supervision because she came down with a rare auto-immune skin disease. Lovely, right?
This “A Bed For Everyone” thing is because of my sweet dad who listened to me as I had a complete nervous breakdown after a week of things getting progressively worse around here. I said how tired I was of seeing people settle for this kind of life and how stuck I feel watching them just disintegrate like this. And he literally shocked me by getting mom into a semi-good attitude about putting our needs first for once and getting us all into a good sleeping pattern with peace and quiet and clean bedrooms and space to ourselves.
It was a pretty emotionally charged week for us. Gramma had been badgering mom and telling her to “zip it” until mom finally had a meltdown, I almost got killed on Valentine’s Day by a semi truck who ran a red light (seriously if I had been two more seconds down the hill, it would have been over), and we have all been driven to wit’s end by this dysfunctional house and the fact that everything is heightened now that Gramma has had to stay over almost every night (or calling us at 1:30am, 4:30am, 5:30am until we just said, fine stay overnight). Now that she’s around all the time, mom is super mad, super sad, super volatile and with Gramma on MY COUCH, where do you think I get to sleep? On the floor in the living room. That’s right. Last night before I totally lost it and cried myself to sleep, I laid my bathrobe on the floor under my blankets for a little extra insurance that I wouldn’t wake up unable to move. Nearly 26 years old, sleeping on the floor in her parents’ house. Perfect, right?
So let’s just cross our fingers that this project doesn’t take the life right out of us once and for all, but instead gives us the peace of mind to continue making positive changes in our lives.
hi :) i’m not in the uk although i wish i was :) thank you for writing, and for empathizing with me and my situation… means a lot to me. i’m so so glad you are in a beautiful home of your own… you deserve every minute of enjoyment in it! xo rose
Wow so this is my mom’s story. This house full of absolutely useless, old, unimportant crap is her story which has now become part of my story too.
Her story is getting sadder by the minute, too, as she’s decided to devote her already-in-shambles life to fixing *her* mom’s life. That sounds a lot like what I’m doing, doesn’t it. So yeah, now my mom is trying her best to keep my gramma out of a nursing home which means being tethered to our house, cooking for her, having fights about taking showers and wearing decent clothes because she has decidedly given up on life. And having not one but two people who have decidedly given up on life in this house is, well, just unbelievable.
And then there’s my dad. He snapped at work because some of his coworkers are not doing their jobs and it finally got to him. Dad, who’s slogan has always been “You’re the only one who can ruin your day,” has finally lost it. And it’s no wonder because what do you expect when you go to work and deal with idiots, realize you’ll be working long into your supposed-to-be-retired years because you have no money, because your hoarder wife got laid off of her only job back in the seventies and decided to be a HOMEMAKER of all things, never contributing to the household finances. Then you come home to not only her, but her daughter (who at age 25 is not helping the finances of the house by staying stuck in this mess herself), and her mother who is now refusing to let people help her and take care of her, who causes an intense amount of stress and who ignored requests to help by writing a check of $100/month for food and care because that’s a good deal considering if she had normal people in her life she would have been spending $7000/month or something equally insane at a nursing home for the past three years since her husband died. Then top that all off with the fact that you can’t sleep because you’re all worked up about your family and oh yeah you sleep on a couch where you’ve been since twenty+ years ago. So he’s finally snapped, understandably.
Next month marks one decade since my bedroom became uninhabitable. February 2004 was when things officially went south and never in my wildest nightmares did I think ten years later I would be sitting here in the same bedroomless, misery I was in back then.
But now the fault shifts over to us because I’m not sixteen anymore. I’m more than capable of saving myself. And my dad is sixty years old and has been tolerating this insanity longer than me, so he is more than capable of saving himself. You see, it’s still my mom’s fault, but now it has become ours for remaining stuck, remaining in this perpetual state of “things will get better”, remaining in this person’s life who is without a doubt hopeless.
If I hadn’t bailed my parents out a few years back, I would have had enough savings to leave a long time ago. But looking forward? I guess when I get a better job. As of today I have $109.44 to my name.