The Hoarder Rules

I recently moved in with a hoarder. I love him. Before I moved in we fully discussed that one of my roles would be to clean up the place. Now that I'm here, I'm meeting resistance and anger. I'm not to clean up too much. I'm not to clean up too fast. I agree to not getting rid of things without his having a chance to review what I've set aside to donate or discard. That is not a problem for me. I respect his rights.

The problem is that I bought a new shower curtain with him there and in agreement at the dollar store. In the car, I mentioned that i was happy and that it would brighten up the bathroom. In return I was told I didn't like anything about the place and wanted change everything. I told him that was not true, and that it was one dollar to brighten up the bathroom, not that I didn't like anything.

In fact, the accusations of "you want to get rid of everything" or challenges of "just throw everything out " seem to be one of the major defense mechanisms being used on me. It is not true. I only want to get rid of soiled and broken things. I want to get rid of things that haven't been used for 20 years. I want to make room for both of us to live and enjoy life. And things are negotiable. Not everything, no matter how useless, needs to be discarded. I just want to get rid of the excess that is overrunning the house and making it unsafe and unable to be used as a home. There is one of the bedrooms that can't be used. The other bedroom has stacks of stuff surrounding the bed. The basement is literally piled to the ceiling. There are at best paths through the basement. The back porch and attic are the same -- loaded with clutter and down to paths.

There is only one room that is truly clean and that is the bathroom that I cleaned and refurbished. I can't live in a filthy bathroom and I can't sleep in a filthy bed. I bought new sheets and he seemed happy about it until I actually put them on the bed. Then he had to make nasty comments. He wanted to keep a threadbare, soiled blanket because it held "memories", but when I asked him what those memories were, he couldn't tell me. No thanks for a new clean blanket. "Maybe" he could get used to it..

Frankly, this all seems to be about a power struggle. It is an illness like alcoholism that holds everyone hostage to the alcoholic and the disease. The hoarder in my life seems to feel that his is entitled to hoard and that if it bothers anyone else it it their problem, not his. He gives lip service to wanting things cleaned up, when attempts to clean up are made, even with communication and his having a very clear say in the matter, the accusations fly. What a nasty disease. The inability of those with the disease to see that it is not just all about them, but that there are safety issues and larger picture, is very nasty and difficult on those around them. The hoarder is unable to see that. It is all about them.

Wanting to live in ways any non-hoarder would call normal makes a hoarder accuse their non-hoarder partner of really negative thoughts and motives. I know because it is happening to me. Trying to help a hoarder, even when fully discussed and agreed to, is futile. The disease is so much larger than reason or being reasonable.
An Ep User An EP User
Jan 8, 2013