My Hoarding Wife

I live in a very difficult and sometimes hopeless situation. My wife is a hoarder and doesn't admit it. She keeps everything and has practically turned every room of our house into a closet. It stresses me out.

What can I say? Books, clothes, wrapping paper, old lists. You name it, we got it, and I can't tell you where it is because the house is so full of things I can barely find the things I really do need.

The saddest thing is how the kids suffer. They don't have a real bedroom. Their toys are all mixed up together and even if they weren't there's no open space to play with them.

We've been going to marriage counseling for over a year. We have a social worker and social services trying to help us organize the home so that there's living space, but my wife just frustrates everyone that tries to help and then explains how they were so rude and insensitive for trying to suggest to her to throw something away.

I love my wife and children and want this marriage to work, but it's hard for me to see the way out.

Omros Omros
11 Responses Jul 3, 2009

Divorce this *****

Divorce this *****

Divorce this *****

Divorce this *****

My wife has 3 closets full of clothes. Over 200 pairs of shoes. 2 refrigerators so packed with food that things fall out when you open it. There is only 2 of us in the house. It is maddening. I love her but it has to stop. Every time I approach her she gets defensive, saying that I am trying to control her. I tell her to make a list and only get things on the list. She always finds something new to try, if I say I like it she has to make sure that it always on hand. So it just multiplies. I've gotten to where I will not say that I like something, because I know that she will make sure that has several on hand. Has anyone been able to successfully approach someone with this problem?

Try to figure out WHY she hoards? Does she feel safe and secure with you? Was her childhood fraught with anxiety or did she lose someone who used to do the same? If someone she loved dearly was a hoarder, it may be her way of not letting the loved one go. <br />
My husband feels I'm a hoarder. IF I am, how can he explain the fact that I will go through things he's put away, only to find unopened mail in it? WHEN I have the time to go through things, I'll throw at least half of it away. HE did try to get all the things he thinks are junk out of our house and ended up throwing out my mother's black and white photos' I'd gotten from her! And I had specifically asked him to be careful with things because of those very photos!!! I had to dumpster dive to find them and just about had a stroke. He won't listen to me; I've never felt secure while married to him.<br />
Every time we have something come up, he shuts down, leaving me to handle things. Our son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome/Autism at age 3 1/2. He shut down and I was left to do whatever I could to help our son get through school. The boy is now 19 and is an Eagle Scout and High School graduate but little thanks to Dad. I took him to his meetings and went on the camping trips, did all the IEP meetings! Oh, Dad did go to one IEP meeting at the school, walked in, embarrassed himself by yelling at all the teachers and then went to stew in the car! What a big help he was that day! <br />
NOW I have cancer and his back is out. Actually, he's a psychological mess; you'd think HE's the one with cancer! He even told one of his friends that I'm terminal and that I'm just trying to keep my spirits up! What is he doing? HE is becoming an even bigger pain in the butt than he's always been. <br />
I've asked the kids to just hang in there. We'll be OK if we all work together and where is DAD? He's off somewhere, chain smoking, looking like the walking dead! You'd think he's the cancer patient, not me!<br />
<br />
Oh well, he's called me every name in the book and 'hoarder' is the least of it. IF I am a hoarder, it's because I try to hoard all the good things in Life and keep them close to me!

When OCD person won't admit their issues - and worse, project onto others ("you have an anger problem" "you don't like me" etc.) - there doesn't seem to be much recourse short of leaving the situation.

Joy, you bring up a very good point. How do you persuade someone with OCD to get help when they don't think they need it or are too afraid to face it?

Is there any chance she would agree to individual counseling, just to humor you? Have your children (if they are old enough) made any comments about how the hoarding is affecting their lives?

To Mimi28,<br />
<br />
thank you for your comment. The counselor today commented how she would like to suggest individual counseling for my wife. The main problem with this disorder is that they almost never believe they have a problem. I know that I'm not a perfect person and that I contribute to our marriage's difficulties, but I'm so frustrated that my wife refuses to take a similar stance. She simply agrees that I'm the problem.

I'm sorry you are going through this. I'm guessing the counselor has suggested independent counseling for her? For the sake of your family, I hope she accepts that she has a disorder and seeks help soon. <br />
You are in my thoughts.