Mad at Hoarding Mom

Dear Brooke,

(I put in for live coaching, but will put here, too.)

This month’s topic? My brain is off leash and wreaking havoc when I approach it. I appear to be fairly organized, but I was raised by hoarders and I still let stories about that past affect me. My mother is now diagnosed with the mental illness of hoarding, true hoarding, and I’ve done some research to learn more about it and how it affects children of hoarders. Her environment does reflect her thinking, but it is so much more than clutter. She truly believes she needs every single item and does not see what her house looks like. We took pictures and showed them to her during a recent hospital visit and she flatly denied that was her house. Creepy what the mind does sometimes.

That being said, I thought this month would be easy as I’ve moved several times in the last few years and cleaned out most of my useless junk. I felt ready for the last little bit still in boxes in the garage, then talked to my mom who was complaining about the housekeeper she must have to keep Adult Protective Services from removing her from her home; my brain exploded. I’m am indulging in confusion and self-pity and not finding a way out. What I want to feel is compassion for my mom and stop feeling like I want to stick a fork in her head (or maybe I do just want to be angry?). Somehow that also connects to me feeling capable (or not) about organizing both my brain and my house. “It’s not good enough” and “You can’t do this” are so loud lately, like not being able to “fix” my mom leaves me helpless. That’s BS and I know it, yet it is still trolling around in my mind. I’m doing models and feel great at the end of the model, but something is lacking because here I am back in confusion and self-pity.

C-Mom mad at housekeeper
T-She should be grateful to her and to me
A-Stew, obsess about how to fix her or reason with her–all pointless
R-resentment of mom ( NOT grateful to her or myself for all I do for her.)

C – Mom mad at housekeeper
T – That’s her untreated illness speaking. It has nothing to do with me.
F – compassion. neutrality.
A – listen to her and agree it is difficult having someone touch your stuff
R – I can continue to work on loving her

Now, that sounds good and I see it in my head, but I’m still raging.

Thank you, thank you, thank you,
Sandra Phenning