Living with a hoarder who suffers from the disorder to collect scary amounts of junk and store it inside your house ? Then you certainly wonder how to deal with a hoarding spouse.
24/7 Waste Removal understands what hoarders and their spouses go through. That’s why we have provided you with this complete guide which is suitable for anyone – hoarders, their siblings, their friends, people interested in psychology or just the ordinary guy who’s browsing the Internet.
Make Sure You Understand The Compulsive Hoarding Disorder
Before doing anything about trying to make things better with your hoarding spouse, learn more about the hoarding psychology to better understand why do people hoard and how exactly your partner feels. There is a misconception among others that hoarders enjoy what they do. Despite the fact this is sometimes true, in most cases hoarders feel constantly anxious and embarrassed by their hoarding habits.
Instead of making things worse by telling them to stop or to have control over their emotions, try to dig deeper into what the hoarding syndrome is and what can be done towards improvement that will cause no harm to anyone at home.
What is Compulsive Hoarding Disorder ?
The definition for compulsive hoarding that scientists and psychologists give is: “a pattern of hoarding behaviour that shows an excessive need to collect and acquire items along with unwillingness and inability to dispose of the collection”. The collected things are usually useless items that are stored inside the living premises and disrupt the normal living process of the hoarder which makes this process of collection pathological.
What distinguishes hoarding from collecting is that the desire to obtain the items cannot be controlled despite the feelings of embarrassment and anxiety. Very low per cent of the hoarders are actually proud of their collection. It’s considered as a disorder once it starts to make the hoarder’s life harder and puts the individual in danger.
Some examples are inability to cook in the kitchen or to take a bath in the bathroom because the premises are filled with junk.
Excessive Feeling For Acquisition
“No, I won’t let go of it!” is piercing deep into your mind not just during the day but even in your dreams. This feeling makes things harder for the hoarder’s spouse. If your loving half is sometimes strangely attracted to items at home and refuses to get rid of them, don’t panic.
This might be a temporary feeling and once something new is brought in it will probably fade off. It’s hard to learn how to deal with a hoarding spouse so you’ve gotta be patient.
This uncontrollable feeling for acquisition is the reason why the hoarder’s home is covered in waste from floor to roof.
Strong emotional attachment to objects
In case there is an object your spouse worships, don’t even think about disposing it, this may cause an emotional trauma similar to getting your brand new shoes thrown off the terrace. The smartest move would be to ensure the safety of the stuff that the hoarder is attached to if you really care about his emotional state and feelings.
Inability or unwillingness to discard items
The house is flooded with refuse but your hoarding spouse refuses to declutter it. The reasons for hoarding are not because your spouse doesn’t respect or love you, it’s just extremely hard to win the fight with the hoarding disorder, especially if no one helps the person who suffers from it.
There are plenty of effective solutions to this. Try to ensure a separate room for your other half’s hoarding collection. Eventually, it may turn out that the hoarder will stack things only there. If it doesn’t work it will at least make things better because there will be less of the rubbish in the rooms you spend more time.
Limited activities at home
You wake up and the first things to do is to enter in the bathroom. Guess what, you can’t open the door because a hoarder has stuffed the whole bathroom with waste while you were gone for a week. It’s frustrating to find yourself in situation like this but do your best not to freak out. After all, it’s a disorder that causes the hoarder to do this and you’ve gotta be compassionate.
Limited access to things and premises is the least concern though. Some hoarders have completely given up on using the kitchen or the shower because they prefer to use the free space there as a storage for their collection.
To prevent this from happening don’t leave a hoarder alone at home this may lead to fatal consequences. Instead, try to maintain the home when the hoarder’s out and explain carefully to your hoarding spouse that you need the things he’s given up on.
Hoarders Also Steal Things
There is no such things as “a finished collection” to the hoarder. There is always more to pick and take home and when it’s not something that can be found on street the situation gets worse. Compulsive stealing a.k.a kleptomania occurs at hoarders who would prefer to steal instead of to pay for the new addition to the rubbish pile at home.
Make sure the local police department is notified of this as it may guarantee at least some tolerance towards the hoarder when he gets caught in action. Inform all his friends and the neighbours about the hoarder’s tendency to steal to protect him from any confrontation.
In case someone informs of something being stolen by your hoarding spouse, always double check if this is true as someone might be taking advantage of the fact that your partner has a disorder.
Most Hoarders Feel Ashamed and Depressed From Their Disorder
Surprisingly, hoarders don’t like the fact they have a disorder and most of them perfectly realize they are often a burden to their family. This makes them feel depressed and ashamed to a degree of not inviting anyone in their home because of fear from being laughed at or rejected.
What would help a hoarder to avoid this is being positive and supportive towards his attempts to fight the disorder. Try to challenge him to leave a whole room free of waste because it’s what’s required for a normal living process. Do a declutter together and let him take part in any step of the process.
Don’t force him to take any drugs, especially if they are not prescribed from a specialist. This may lead to even stronger depression and complications in the hoarding disorder. If your home is not a proper place to invite friends and relatives, go outside and socialize there – it is a much better option than walking over a floor covered in paper waste. Avoid social isolation at any cost – it’s one of the crucial steps in the fight with the disorder.
How To Deal With a Hoarding Spouse The Dangers of Being a Hoarder
“I’m married to a hoarder what should I do ?” is what the victims of domestic hoarding often ask. Their physical and mental state is constantly under tons of pressure.
Try to minimize the potential dangers for everyone at home and if you’re a hoarder who’s living alone, focus on making your home as safe as possible.
If your spouse is unable to take care of his own safety and hygiene, you are the one who will have to provide it.
The Hoarder’s Collection Leads to Unsanitary Conditions At Home
Unfortunately, hoarders tend to bring home various items that have been dumped by other people. Most of these objects are contaminated and are certainly not appropriate to keep inside a room where others live.
People with hoarding disorder ignore this and live in unsanitary conditions which are sometimes so extreme that the reason for the contamination may be faeces from hoarder animals.
Explain to your spouse the consequences of unsanitary living conditions caused by hoarding and do regular clean up of whatever might spread bacteria and disease.
The Rubbish Pile is Vulnerable to Fire
Faeces do not burn that easy but those who suffer from hoarding disorder collect mostly flammable stuff such as paper and cardboard.
Some rubbish piles at home made by energetic hoarders are up to 5 feet high. If that thing catches fire, you don’t want to be nearby.
There is hardly anything that can be done for that but a fire security installation will help at some extend. You can’t tell a hoarder what to pick and disposing his rubbish will make things worse. The only option is to figure out what could help if the bulky waste sets on fire?
Some of The Collected Waste Might be Hazardous
Hazardous waste is everywhere and not all hoarders are familiar with what rubbish is considered to be toxic.
Stay away from anything that smells too bad such as decomposing food, old batteries and electronics, cleaning agents and more. You don’t want to have this at the living premises no matter how bad your spouse’s disorder is.
My Partner is a Hoarder What Should I Do ?
Some things you need to keep in mind to ensure proper hoarding treatment of the disorder and to keep your home as safe as possible it can be while there is a hoarder roaming inside:
Safety Comes First
The fire security installation in the room filled with the hoarded junk would work but it’s just not enough to guarantee total safety. It protects your from fire but not from robbery.
Lock the hoarder’s room and don’t give access to anyone else there. If something gets stolen or moved this may cause an emotional trauma similar to losing a very precious gift from someone you’ve been keeping for too long.
Do Not Touch Your Spouse’s Collection
You can observe and talk with your spouse about his hoarded collection but don’t interfere too much. This is something personal and is best to not lay your hands on it without the hoarder’s permission.
Periodically Check the Premises Filled With Junk
Check all premises that contain scavenged junk to make sure there is nothing too dangerous inside. Some per cent of the people with hoarding disorder also suffer from animal hoarding which causes them to pick animals and bring them home.
This is a terrible experience for any animal so whenever you notice any, call animal rescue or take it somewhere safe immediately. Look for its owner if it has been stolen.
Hire an Experienced Professional
There are therapists who are very familiar with the hoarding disorder due to their vast experience on the matter. Take advantage of him if there is one nearby and arrange a meeting for your spouse.
If the therapy doesn’t give the hoarding help you had hoped you’ll at least get a further advice on how to proceed next with other options such as medical treatment.
Arrange Meetings With Motivational Speakers
They are able to move anyone. Not just because of their good communicational skills but also due to the fact that motivational speakers have experienced personally what they talk about. Introduce your hoarding spouse to such individuals and hope they will achieve progress similar to this of the speaker.
Organize Group Therapies To Help Socialize
Socializing helps for almost anything, especially emotional conditions and disorders. The compulsive hoarding disorder is not an exception.
It’s an option to invite close friends or complete strangers even people with the same disorder. As long as their friendship is focused on fighting with the disorder instead of hoarding even harder, this will work towards an improvement.
Always Cheer Your Partner And Don’t Lose Your Patience
Don’t forget to cheer your spouse whenever you see him trying to make a progress or doing attempts to deal with the compulsive hoarding.
Actually, don’t wait for anything like this, cheer him whenever you feel he needs your support. This means doing it almost everyday, sometimes more than once a day. Talk more, come up with ideas which will make you even more close by spending time together.
Places and People Which Help Hoarders
Professional help is essential in order to make an improvement towards suppressing the drive for hoarding. To make things easier, we will suggest some helpful resources you can use. Most of them are suggested from other people who work or live with compulsive hoarders.
Help For Hoarders
Help For Hoarders is a great way to provide help with hoarding. Jasmine Harman’s mother is a hoarder and she’s doing anything possible to support her and other people suffering from the disorder. If you still wonder how to help a hoarder, just visit Help For Hoarders. There, you can find video instructions on how to have control over the emotions and other tips for self help.
You can even use the forum on Help For Hoarders to share you experience and talk about it with professionals and other hoarders.
Hammersmith And Fulham Mind
A Hoarding support group for Hammersmith & Fulham residents. Their members meet on each 3rd Wednesday of each month. The time of the meetings is between 11am and 1pm at 62 Blythe Road W14 OHP.
If you want to improve your mental health and increase the resistance to your hoarding disorder as long as these UK boroughs are nearby your home, don’t hesitate to get there at time and try the hoarding therapy.
Hoarding Disorders UK
Hoarding Disorders UK is a non-profit community which aims is to provide support and give support to people who have compulsive hoarding disorder. On their site a lot can be found such as: tips and tricks that help to control the disorder, advice on how to improve personal organizational skills and more.
The organisation works with local authorities, housing associations, village agents and plenty of services.
You should definitely check out Hoarding UK. This non-profit organisation provides wide range of helpful services through the phone, via email and remote advocacy support as well which may turn out to be very useful when trying to learn how to deal with a hoarding spouse.
On their site you can learn more about the compulsive hoarding disorder and even try any of their volunteer options.
Don’t miss to check out the “Research” section which informs about the specific of the disease and is surely helpful to anyone who wants to understand it better.