Need help/ prayers- wife is slob & hoarder


#1

Hi All
I almost posted this in the “prayer intentions” section of the forum but after reading there about people with REAL problems I felt guilty. So I’ll post it here.

I am so depressed and feel I can’t take it any longer. My wife is such a slob and hoarder that I can’t function in my home life anymore. She’s not as bad as some of the people you see on TV with this problem (Dr. Phil, Oprah, etc) but really darn close. It’s really unbelievably hard to live with. I can’t even think straight anymore. The clutter and confusion has me so aggravated, mad, depressed. We’ve fought about this for years but it’s just getting worse and worse. I clean constantly but it’s like a water pistol against a tidal wave. She actually gets mad at me for trying to implement better storage arrangements like using laundry baskets. Can you imagine? Every little thing I need gets buried under a pile of clutter within hours of placing it. I waste so much precious time just looking for stuff you wouldn’t believe it.

I especially feel bad for our young kids. They’re growing up in this filthy disgusting home.

She lets the house go to complete filth with clothes and clutter everywhere until company is planned to come over. Then she changes mood and cleans like crazy – and expects me to drop whatever I’m doing and help her. So it ends up I do all the normal cleaning that usually a couple shares while all she does is clean up messes that should never have been made in the first place. She even has called in sick from work for 3 days in a row to clean when she knows people are coming over. However if I ask for a few minutes to help me organize one of the thousand messes here I get nothing but snippy remarks about how she’s so busy. She is busy but she’s been like this long before our lives were complicated with kids and their activities. I mean does it take any longer to throw garbage in the garbage pail than throw it on the floor?

I’ve tried talking, arguing, threatening divorce and even got on my knees in tears one day begging for her to stop this destructive behavior. Nothing helps.

Maybe I’m just venting but I need to. Let me explain.

After a fit of self-contained rage this morning I stared watching Joyce Meyers. I know, I know, not Catholic but I don’t mind that as much as some people here do. I believe the verse “no eye has seen, no ear has heard what God has in store for those who love him.” That’s not only us Catholics. I may have botched the verse a little but I don’t have time to look up the exact wording. Anyway, Joyce started talking about family members driving you crazy in situations such as mine. It seemed such a coincidence that I feel it was the Lord who inspired me to watch this morning rather than cleaning something.

The gist of her message was that we can’t change our loved ones or family members. God has to do it. I have to have faith that things will get better and just lift the problem to Jesus in prayer. So I did. In faith I’m awaiting his help.

So, like I said I just badly needed to vent a little. But any words of faith, hope and love you can send me would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all for reading my thread.

Lord, pleae help me to remain in the prayerful mentality I was this morning regarding this and help me overcome the desire to rage.


#2

I’m sorry Joe. Does she get other things done? Like cooking and washing clothes and shopping? How are the kids, do they seem taken care of well, do they get meals on time, get bathed, help with homework?

Truthfully, she might not know how to get it organzied in small batches, sees one big mess and gets overwhelmed,if that makes sense. Maybe help her to schedule what days she works on what… like monday is living room day, clear the mail and magazines, get rid of toys. Tuesday is Dining room day, etc.

Also, are your kids old enough for chores? They can put things away, tthrow things out etc.

Finally, does she seem ok with it? does she like it messy…or is she embarrassed by it. If she goes crazy cleaning before people come over…then she is probably embarrassed and does not know how to fix it. If she were truly a slob, it would not bother her.


#3

What about just throwing everything away? Are you could pay someone to move everything into storage and have them “accidentally” just take everything to the garbage dump. I wouldn’t be able to live with a hoarder. If I haven’t used it in six months and will not use it in the next six months, it goes in the garbage or to a garage sale.


#4

Joe, there’s been a horrible mistake! The angels mixed up the paperwork and you got my intended wife and I got yours!

Try a few of these things: you should have some utterly personal space. Say a nice big desk and file cabinets. She isn’t allowed to touch it, use it or pile things there. This will be your refuge and sanity place. You need enough drawers and space to keep things you need to find. This is for you.

For her, lighten up Francis! Who cares if the clean clothes are in neat piles in the drawer or in a heap on the couch? Are we talking actual health hazards here or just violations of your precious preferences. Focus on the worst issues and learn to cope with mere preferences.


#5

Your wife needs psychological help.

I say this from the perspective of someone who was raised in a hoarders house (not home…can’t call it a home) and the toll it takes on a family is devastating.

The children don’t deserve to live like that, it’s depressing and embarrassing and leads to many problems.

Your wife needs to get help. Just cleaning is not going to cut it, it will just end up back that way. moving wont’ even sole the problem, becasue the habits follow them. She needs help to get over whatever it is that is making her do this. Hoarding is often a result of some kind of trauma, or post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, etc.

Whatever the cause it has to be addressed for the sake of the kids. It’s a completely unhealthy environment for them to live in not just physically with the mess, but mentally/emotionally.


#6

*There is a show on I want to say Discovery or TLC, on the weekends–called Hoarders. (believe it or not) You should watch it, joe…with your wife. It is hard to see our bad habits for what they are, sometimes watching an objective story, can help us to (literally) clean up our act. The running theme that each show I have seen seems to have, is that hoarders are struggling with the past. It is not about laziness, or something like that–it seems to be deeper seated than that, from what I can tell from these shows. One of the episodes, a couple divorced over the wife’s hoarding. I was shocked by that…I said to my husband…divorce over THAT? He said, look at the house…he couldn’t take it anymore. I can see from your post, it is a very serious issue. :frowning:

On one show, the woman was hoarding FOOD. Yes, food. Her entire frig had maggots, and bugs crawling everywhere…rotten meat, milk, etc. It was astonishing. But, I felt really sad for her…she wasn’t insane, or lazy. She really thought she was doing the right thing, by saving all of the food. So, might be the same for your wife…she might really think she knows where everything is, and to ‘‘get organized’’ is somewhat overwhelming. When we have let the house go for about a week, I’d say…it can be overwhelming to clean it. My husband had threatened to invite people over, so in a small way, I can relate to your wife. :smiley:

But, maybe sit down with her, and talk it through. I’d enourage her to watch one of those shows. Or Clean House. That’s another show about clutter and people living for years in complete disarray. Often, when our houses are in disorder, something within US is in disarray. Has your wife had anything happen to her recently, where this started shortly thereafter? Might be worth exploring.

I hope things get better! :hug1:*


#7

Well. Unfortunately I know only too well what you are talking about. I’ve been there. As far as I know there is nothing you personally can do to help. Your only hope is to get some outside help. That is where the answer to your prayers is going to come from. Because I can almost guarantee you that God is not going to come down from heaven and help you personally or your wife is not going to miraculously improve overnight.

My now ex wife had mental health problems as well, I don’t know if your wife is in that situation but this kind of behaviour(speaking from experience here) usually indicates that there is an underlying issue.

Yes outside help - some kind of therapist.

The other thing is of course, she has got to admit that she has a problem otherwise don’t like your chances of improving the situation.

You have my empathy and my prayers. To a degree I put up with the mess but when we had to drop everything and help clean up when visitors were coming over that used to really tick me off. I felt that in her mind we weren’t worth caring about but it all mattered when other people were coming over.

I used to blow up in anger from time to time too and would regularly run around trying to make some effort to tidy the place up only to see the place returned to mess every time I left the house. Coming home from work was unbearable sometimes and her mental health problems only made me feel worse.:banghead:

Sorry if I haven’t been of any help my sympathy doesn’t really help I know.:console:


#8

Yep.

The fact that she can sometimes clean up suggests she knows there is a problem but she may not realize why she is behaving this way. She needs help from someone who understands this kind of problem.


#9

joe,
Your wife needs to speak to a psycologist. Hoarding is part of Obsessive Compulsive disorder. Her unwillingness to clean or remove clutter and then when someone is comming over suddenly she is motivated to clean. A lot of people do not understand psycological disorders. Especially OCD. There is a website : ocfoundation.org/hoarding


#10

That’s interesting! Uhm sorry you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and frustrated! I will keep you in my prayers…

But I wanted to ask you a few things… How busy is your wife?

I know that when my mother would work, that’s all that woman would do…was work!!! Poor thing! It wasn’t her fault she had 4 kids to support! And man I had to work with her! LOL

When she would come home she would be devastated…when we were little she would clean up house, feed us, take care of us, bathe us, etc and then next day go to work and do it all over again…My father would spend a few hours with us playing with us and that was it…That’s all he did and work of course but meaning extra work at home wise…

When we got older we chose not to do our chores, there were hardly any parents around ever, with me working with mom, and then coming home at around 8 pm to do homework and feed my siblings etc I didn’t want to do anything. I think she had one weekend day off and I think that was Sunday that was the cleaning day…What wasn’t cleaned in an entire week was done that day! AND this that my mother was a clean freak no kidding you! But this woman was overly stressed. No help raising kids except for the couple of hours my father would “babysit” us and that was it. He never changed a diaper, and every time back then-cloth diapers- one of us would pee on him he would literally throw us on the floor because we damaged his precious clothes! I kid you not mother’s own stories out of her own mouth! And my father would agree, saying something like “well look at it this way at least I have clothes from the 70s that I still fit in, see I saved us some money!” lol

The point I am getting at, maybe she’s extremely stressed or depressed…Sometimes that doesn’t let anyone function correctly unless they are under pressure!

I was like that with my exhusband, I was depressed during each pg, and after suffered from ppd even though no one cared about my situation or my feelings or my emotions or how I was doing! I would stay at home for a while then forced to go back to work, get into a worst depression then have to stay at home again, this was the entire time I was married. It was horrible!!! I didn’t want to clean nor cook nor do anything…And I would clean when my exhusband would invite people over because of the frustration he would do that on purpose and I wasn’t a slob I was seriously tired, not feeling well and exhausted, not to mention stressed and depressed…A lot of stuff can accumulate when you don’t seek help or have anyone to talk to believe me!!!

My sister is a slob!! That woman worked for 6 years of her life, living with mommy and daddy, still does, she and her hubby make 100 k a year, no kidding, then she quit working after 6 years because of a panic attack…she never raised her kids my mother and I did…after I moved back home after exhubby separation…I lived there for 2 years and I took care of those kids more than my mother did!!! Meanwhile I would keep up with my end of things, my sister would use the excuse that she worked to not do anything…

NOW she is a sahm she takes naps every day, and still doesn’t clean up after herself until the day mom got sick last week, then she kept the house spic and span, but until then our mother was doing all the work!! She would tell me things like “WOW sahm is a really hard thing to do so much to do with the kids so little time! I am exhausted by the time the afternoon comes!” And this that her kids are in school most of the day!!! I was like “oh yeah but I remember you used to call me a lazy fat *** when I was a sahm with my infants!!! Imagine actually raising kids on your own since then?!” She just shrugged! LOL
And still uses the excuse to not clean up… She doesn’t do anything but stay at home and watch tv all day!!! LOL seriously!! Now I don’t know about you or anything but that’s just lazy!! hehehe

So maybe if you can talk to your wife you might be able to find deeper things in there…Also you should suggest her meeting with your priest and go into some counseling to see what the deep reasons are for her lack of interest in cleaning up or at least organizing some what…

Now that I am pg, I am extremely exhausted but even before, working coming home to be with the kids and helping them with homework picking up a few things I was done for the whole day!!! I didn’t want to cook dinner or anything else, but still did it…still was exhausting and a lot of things to do, and when I would wash clothes I would leave them in a clean pile on top of the couch until a day I felt better or the weekend when I could take my time on doing things…So if you can keep your things organized and your children’s that’s a few less clutter to deal with…And if you could have the children help with chores then that too will save you some time…You can even turn it into a family thing, you know, “hey family let’s clean up the house together!” We have lots of those on the weekends after I have tried to sleep in for a few hours… It gets the kids going and motivates me to do something! :smiley:

Good luck and GOD bless.


#11

OP, if things are as bad as you express (garbage all over floor), you’re walking a thin line that could result in a CPS visit. If one of your children was to get sick from eating something on the floor, and had to be brought to the dr. They could, well within reason, suspect neglect. This is serious stuff. It isn’t just about your wife. If you have any pets (especially if they leave feces around the house) get rid of the pet IMMEDIATELY.

Your first duty is to God, than the welfare of your children, then to the mental health/saftey of your spouse…(and then to the ansilary needs of the children)…

Realize, if things are as truly as bad as you made them sound…and once child does fall ill…your children very well may live in a different home.


#12

Two things:

First, I have lived in a cluttered home my whole 42 years. Whatever space has been mine (whether car, or workspace, or dorm room, or house) has been cluttered. I hate it, but can’t seem to get organized and stay organized. Like your wife, I can and do clean up for “events” but things go back to their old ways quickly when the event is over.

I did have an “aha” moment, however. I noticed once when I looked upon my recently cleaned space, that the sight of the emptiness caused me to feel terrified inside. This moment of recognition has changed everything. I now realize that it’s not the stuff I need to deal with, but the fear. I know I can accept this discomfort of a clean home, with God’s grace, and for the good of my young son, if it’s only fear that’s causing me to be this way. I will be inviting friends over soon to help me face the mess and the fear. Honestly, that moment of feeling the fear, and knowing it’s just a feeling (i.e., a clean room/car/house isn’t actually a danger to me) has opened up a new world for me. Not that I won’t have to learn new habits, but for the first time in my life, this occurs completely doable for me.

Second, and most importantly, as a parent you absolutely MUST put the welfare of your children ahead of the frustration, anger, resentment, etc., you are feeling towards your wife and the condition of your home. Rather than trying to get her to change or see the error in her ways, you need to just love her with all your heart and then take whatever actions are necessary for your children. The actions could be counseling, separation, full-on intervention – but before, during, and after, you need to commit yourself to prayer (in words, actions, thoughts…) and keep Our Lord and the sacraments as the source of your days.

I am working on “reforming” the basement today – and I will offer up these actions for you and your family with all the love I can muster. Small things, with great love, offered to God through Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Now there’s a recipe for success!

God bless you. God bless you. God bless you.

Gertie****


#13

Hi, I am Tracy and my house is a mess.

All kidding aside this is the situation I face:

There are 3 of us living in this house and I am literally the only one that ever does any cleaning. I have nagged, complained and even yelled but still I am left with 100% of the household chores. I am also responsible for meals, making sure my daughter is looked after and running her to her extracurricular activities and doctors appointments, I also have the job of looking after my fiances mother since she no longer drives and needs some help.

My fiance works night shift 11-7, he comes home and goes to bed about 8:30 am and does not leave the bed until 9:00 pm. During his stay in the bedroom he hauls foodstuffs upstairs and leaves the garbage there. I spent 2 days last week cleaning that one room…by myself(while he slept across the street at his sisters house).

I started last week on the downstairs and I had it looking pretty good, then I moved on to the upstairs. When I had the upstairs cleaned up and swept I come back to a filthy downstairs so I have to start all over again. I am a SAHM and I also suffer from osteoarthritis so there are many days when my mobility is somewhat limited.

Just wanted to chime in that there are some of us who get the burden of the house placed solely on their shoulders and it is anything but easy.


#14

There’s documentaries on TV about this, your wife likely has OCD and can’t help herself.

You can’t argue her out of having a mental illness, she needs professional help to stop hoarding.


#15

I recommend you go to counseling and ask your wife to look at www.flylady.com .


#16

Be careful with Joyce Meyer. You’ll pick up a lot of heretical belief.

From a Catholic Source-

exceptionalmarriages.com/book3.htm


#17

This will never work
speaking from experience having had a wife that was a slob and a hoarder, no matter how much you do if the mother of the house is like this the house will allways be a mess.

If you’ve got any chance at all of changing the situation

  1. she has to be prepared to change(my wife wasn’t)

2)you have to deal with her directly, if she doesn’t change nothing will change.


#18

Can you just invite people over more often? It sounds silly, but I do this partially to keep up with housework. Otherwise I don’t see the point in having a sparkling clean floor.
Also, fly lady says, “You can’t clean clutter!” so it has to go and I have no idea how to make that happen in your case. Prayers to you!


#19

My dh is a neatnik…and I’m not :o

I have great difficulty keeping things organized and de-cluttered…it’s a skill set that doesn’t come naturally to me and I am constantly fighting against myself in order to try and develop them (after 18 years of living with my dh, I am getting better, albeit slower than he’d like :thumbsup:), but it’s overwhelming at times.

Gosh, learning Calculus is easier than learning to become organized :p. I’m really good in some areas (bills,mail, clothing, pictures, food storage, etc.), but I’m really bad in others (toys, homeschooling materials, and hand-me-down items my parents give us). In the areas I’m still working on, I do have spurts where I rearrange things, throw things out, or come up with a new way to do things, but then something happens to sabotage it (dh brings home info. from work, my mom cleans out her basement and gives me her junk…er…stuff :D) and I’m back to where I started.

Dh would suggest ideas to help me, but most of his ideas I rejected. At first, it was pure stubbornness on my part…I didn’t want anyone to tell me how to clean, organize, etc. After a while, I realized that in order for an idea to “stick,” I had to come up with a solution that worked for ME (and yes, I did try some of dh’s ideas and some of them DID work :blush: )

As for housework, I wish I had enough $$$ to hire a housecleaner and a cook.

Here are some things that have helped me:

  1. Read “Organizing From the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern. It helps you figure out why you do the things the way you do (i.e.-can’t throw things away due to death of parent, divorce, etc.) and then helps you figure out the best ways to organize. Basically, you work with your personality and your quirks instead of trying to change yourself to fit into an organizational model. I love this book!

  2. Another great book that helped me was “Happy Are You Poor” by Fr. Thomas Dubay. I learned how to detach from my stuff (I was especially attached to my books).

  3. De-cluttering (renting a dumpster might be a good investment :D). Use the insights from “Organizing…” and “Happy…” and get rid of the stuff you don’t use/need (Goodwill, Purple Heart and St. Vincent de Paul are your friends).

  4. “A Mother’s Rule of Life” by Heidi Pierlot and “Time Management For Catholics” by Dave Durand are great resources for managing one’s time from a Catholic perspective.

  5. Sometimes the above ideas aren’t enough. In my case, I needed therapy and spiritual counseling; I had some childhood “issues” that I needed to work through. For example, I had this “thing” about housecleaning; I hated it when someone told me when I needed to dust, or clean the bathrooms … to the extreme. It took awhile to figure out that housecleaning was tied into my negative worth (basically, my worth was based on how well I cleaned the toilets…and they were never cleaned to her satisfaction). I had to cultivate the desire to clean because I wanted a clean house, rather than be passive/agressive against my mom.

If none of these ideas seem to help, you may want to get counseling for yourself as well as spiritual direction from a holy priest. Unfortunately, you can’t change your wife; she has to do that herself. All you can do is change how you react to her and a counselor or priest can help you with that.

Praying for you.

MadameButterfly


#20

WOW–that last bullet was like a breakthrough to me! When I was growing up, I never did anything good enough for my mom–still don’t. Love her dearly, my parents are great people. But yea–I’ve always resented that she’d be smug about how I wasn’t as neat or perfect as she thought she was (her own mom was a slob and hoarder).

My husband has a perfect office–but at home–he leaves stuff wherever than complains about the clutter—so do the kids. I save stuff until I have a chance to look at it, and I never do (I toss mail daily).

I work, I have to do the dinner cooking every night (my husband panics unless it’s something pre-planned he knows how to do—and he still makes me do sides, even when I’m sick).

To the OP–don’t threaten, ASK her what’s going on. Be calm. Please. I know what’s going on in her head. She’s obviously got an agenda with all of the things she’s saving, but maybe she needs to see that letting go is a good thing. Help her see it–nicely. Talk about why she saves stuff–come up with a system you can agree on. My husband complains about me not putting stuff back, and that I won’t let him. But he refuses to come up with a system we can agree on–his terms or no go. I get frustrated cleaning and organizing, only to have him rearrange because it’s outside his “comfort” zone—like our toiletries—if his stuff isn’t up front and first, then forget it. Maybe you’re being selfish in some ways, too.

Communication—be willing to give and you may get a lot. My husband could learn from this, too.


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