ASK AMY: Wife hoarding can bury the family

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ASK AMY: Wife hoarding can bury the family



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Dear Amy: My wife doesn’t throw anything away!

Due to his habits, our house is totally filled with things of all kinds.

All the closets are packed, with clothes covering everything else.

The pantry is so full that groceries are now resting on the floor.

Our dining table only has about a quarter of the space we have left to eat there.

The basement is so full that there is no room for anything else.

What to do?

– I’m afraid of being buried

Dear worried: Your wife might have hoarding disorder. It probably didn’t happen overnight, and you probably adapted to the conditions in your home as its hoarding behavior increased.

Hoarding disorder is a serious illness with underlying contributing factors, and your wife needs professional treatment and a lot of patience from you.

You might think massive cleaning would force it to change, but evidence has shown that after cleaning, accumulators continue to build up. Hoarders don’t feel good about the condition of their house, but they feel extreme distress about getting rid of anything.

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You should look at any of your own behaviors that might be contributing to or enabling her compulsion. Does she do all the grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning the kitchen? You could take these jobs.

Approach this with honesty and compassion. Have your wife seek help from a professional counselor (look for one with that expertise).

Would she be willing to go somewhere outside the house for the day while you tackle the kitchen and put a fresh coat of paint on the walls? This might be the best place to start, as your wife might not have such a personal attachment to those groceries that she’s collected.

If she can’t or won’t leave, start with a “harm reduction” strategy: “We have to make sure we don’t have stale food because we don’t want to get sick. Let’s go through our pantry together and get rid of the stale stuff. The food bank needs unexpired food contributions, so if we have too much of something, donate to help other people.

Anything you collect should be taken away immediately (otherwise, it will end up inside the house). Let your wife enjoy the generous feeling of donating the items she needs.

Celebrate all the small victories and use the success to inspire more change. If you are able to keep a pantry, refrigerator, and kitchen tidy (it doesn’t have to be perfect), you can move on to other parts of the house.

A book that might help is Digging: helping your loved one manage clutter, hoarding and compulsive acquisition, written by psychologists Michael A. Tompkins and Tamara Hartyl (2009, New Harbinger).

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Dear Amy: I am a widow in my early sixties and have been dating a widower (also in my early sixties) for two years.

In the past, when I noticed him making sexist remarks, I would bristle a bit but let it go.

These are comments such as “Honey, you should smile” at someone in another car, call other 70 year old women “girls,” commenting on the waitress’ tight pants, or pointing out women with big breasts and hair. how hot they are in the movies.

This is starting to annoy me and I want to say something.

I’m not sure this man brought it to his attention. If I change my gender, it would seem scary to me to comment on men who are the age of our children.

Is there a polite and kind way to deal with this?

– A fan

Cher fan: You may interpret your own silence of the past two years as a form of politeness, but you actually passively tolerated this man who offended you, and (maybe) other women. Is it fair to him?

Tell him, “I care about you, so I’m going to tell you about one of your habits that really bothers me. Please listen to me.

Dear Amy: You were far removed from the health worker prayer offering.

Those people who offer prayer benefit the patients.

When I was post-operatively after bypass surgery, a preacher walked into my room uninvited and asked if I wanted to pray with him.

I told her to bring Hell out of my room, because the last thing I wanted to do was ask her imaginary deity for help she couldn’t give.

– Pure life

Dear Pura: You were perfectly within your rights to send that preacher packing.

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