I keep erasing this post before I finish it...start over...erase etc etc. I've never used a forum before, so I apologize if I'm not using the proper etiquette. I don't really know where to start, or if this is even the right place to. I don't even know if this will be read. I want to vent everything out, I want to scream to the whole world and I can't. I'm tired. I'm mad. I'm mostly mad. I'm very bitter. It's a recipe I hope will unleash some kind of fury where I go completely crazy and snap so I can collect myself and learn and move on but I don't ever snap...I think that scares me more. My 63 year old father has been living with us (my hubby, my 7 yr old son and I) for 6 months. He has a serious hoarding problem, he's had it his whole life, my mother as well, but they're divorced and hoarding separately. My mother likes to "hold on to things" in case they have a use later on. My father likes to find treasures at thrift stores and yard sales, he calls himself a "picker". But pickers usually sell their things and he just holds on to it, so that makes him a picker/collector/hoarder. Every day my father comes in with a bag or 2 of these "goodies". I've tried several things to get him to sell them, but he never bites. He gets agitated. I worry he'll get so angry with me he'll live on the streets. If you can imagine trying to find a place for 180 bags of assorted items, paintings, ornaments, wooden figurines, house hold appliances, electronics, trinkets, tea pots, Japanese pots, glassware, wooden boxes, carvings, etc etc etc etc, you can start to imagine my situation. He doesn't plan for his future. I was hoping he could stay with us while he gets back on his feet, but instead he's put his feet up and lived off us without saving a dime. Out of all the treasures he found...he hangs a 2 dollar dollarama 3d horse picture in my kitchen... He doesn't really help out financially, he's offered to buy the weekly groceries 3 times in 6 months. He does do the dishes most nights...but he never does them properly and we usually have to rewash them. I'd like to say he's trying...but that's stretching it.

Aside from his hoarding he also does not shower or bathe, he does not change his clothes and he's an alcoholic, a smoker (we quit over a year ago) and he refuses to take any kind of medication even if prescribed by his doctor. Though his drinking has dropped dramatically since he's stayed with us, I've yet to see him actually get drunk...but I have smelled alcohol on him. I grew up pretty rough with a lot of physical and mental abuse, and I have a lot of unresolved issues with both of my parents. We were actually put into foster care because of my parents hoarding and now that I have a son of my own, cleaning and planning have been a big deal for me. My son is my whole life, and I feel really stuck right now.

I'm angry that out of 6 older siblings who all have houses, high paying jobs, cars and extra rooms left me to deal with this on my own with only one income, no car in a small apartment that we just got by in the first place. I'm hurt because I'm a work from home mom so I could provide a constant stability for my son, so he could grow up in a different kind of home than I did, and my father is slowly but surely turning that home into the nightmare I escaped when I was 16.

I'm torn between wanting to take care of my dad and him being comfortable, and the realization that I can't do this and I need help. It's not fair to him or me or my family. I want him to be happy and healthy and he isn't that way here and I'm not either. I don't know what to do..I can't seem to have a heart to heart with him, he's very closed off. All I do know is that I feel like a prisoner in my little apartment watching my little home that I worked hard to create slowly become submerged in a sea of things that don't belong to me. This place feels less and less like home everyday.

Any advice out there? goes nothing, pressing submit...

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My heart goes out to you!
I am familiar with what you describe.
I am going to speak very pointedly.
Some folks reading this might feel it is harsh.
I make no explanation, except that there are signals in your post that may indicate your situation is more dire than you might think at this moment.
This is YOUR LIFE you are now fighting for
You cannot afford to waste a moment stuck in falling apart emotionally--you already spent some time yelling and crying--now take some actions to help yourself and your family.

From your description, he is in NO position to take care of himself, and has not been for a long time.
What you describe of him includes complicated mental illness, and that you have been co-dependent or assisting it to continue, of sorts, for most of your life.
--that is, you fell for his stories hook, line, and sinker all this time.
NOW your blinders are off, and you get to see SOME of what's been going on.
He has shown he cannot make rational nor good nor decent decisions,
nor order his life in any way that is healthy.
You have NO idea what else he may have been hiding from you for decades.
You have not a clue about his actual debts, relationships, or other habits, nor his past--for he will not have honestly disclosed anything to you.
That is all part of his illnesses.
Your blinders are off now, it is up to you to take corrective actions.

You must get as much help as you can, to remedy things as soon as you can, to HELP YOU. He's in the hospital...there are staff there to help him. HELP YOURSELF--like putting on an oxygen mask first, so you can better help others.
In this case, you help yourself, so you can help your kids.

Schedule a lawyer appointment with Area Agency on Aging.
OR, seek out a low cost or sliding scale legal aide nearest you. In WA State, that is NW Justice Project in Seattle--I am guessing there are similar groups in other States.
IF you cannot find one call Welfare office, and ask them to help you find legal aide.
Can someone help you sort out what needs done first--you have just learned part of what your spouse has been doing for decades, and you fear for your safety, and for your children--even if they are adults, this will adversely affect them, to learn what Dad has been up to for so long.
---Can he be declared incompetent, so you can take care of what needs taken care of? [show them pictures of the worst messes, and write up a document describing your life's story with him].
---Take witnesses willing to testify or write statements, to the locations, to show them.

Make reports to police so there are formal documents.
His behaviors have been abusive towards you and likely to family
---you have no clear picture of how that has been, because it seems as though you have had a veil over your eyes about his behaviors, until you saw that "trap line" property.
While he may NOT have INTENDED to, it ended up being so.
People who are mentally ill, may have "impulse control" issues, that goad them into doing things they would never do if they were in their right mind.
Unfortunately, their family members suffer deeply from the consequences of those behaviors.

His fearing you to the extent of having his finger on the call button ready to force you away from him, is a strong sign that he has much on his mind causing abject fear
--and he most fears that what he has habitually been doing for decades will come to light, that he is virtually helpless to stop others from learning of, at this point.
Document what you find, and what you can remember for decades of his behaviors, by writing "one-liners", keeping it as short and to the point as possible. Keep emotions out of it as much as possible--just state facts..

Submit your documents to the Police by way of a formal report of spousal abuse, and to your Social Worker and lawyer.
--you can rightfully fear for your safety, even in the state he is in right now--because you have no idea who he has been using that cell phone to contact, nor what else he has been cooking up, reacting to his inner fears.

You got sucked into his "rabbit hole" for far too long.
You can choose to make healthy changes--help yourself learn to have a better life.

Since he has been doing these things for decades,
you have no idea how much ELSE he has been hiding.
He had you bring him a pre-paid cell phone so he can continue to run whatever he's been doing behind your back, some more?!
Do NOT Refill that!
IF it is in your name, cancel it.
He can use the hospital phone so calls can be on records, and therefore subpoenaed !

Get legal help, fast.
You need it, badly.
Call a Social Worker, talk to police, talk with a lawyer.
Report what he has subjected you to for so long, and you fear for what he is currently trying to maneuver that could cause you and your kids further harm.
If you have any resources, you need to take steps to get them into your name ASAP--if he has not yet lost them for you.
IF there are retirement funds, you will need to take steps to make sure they are there fore you when your retirement comes--
IF he was in military and got retirement, or can get it later, you as his wife, are entitled to that ONLY IF he has signed paperwork to list you as his wife of record, for instance. IT has to be signed by him, as they will not help you once he dies.
Search your family financial records AND Credit Reports on him and you, to find what is there, and take steps to protect those, immediately.
He sounds like he is very close to doing foolish things with whatever he has his name on right now, and can access via cell phone.
You need to learn if he has been using your data to get loans, or whatever else.

You DO have at least one other choice, IF he has not compromised your data and credit rating [one of my friends actually did this]:
---You could opt to walk away--take your name off everything it is on with him, walk away and start over from scratch.
Disconnect with him, his debts, his messes, and whatever else he has kept secret from you.

But you do have 2 children--both adults?
A severely autistic child, regardless of age, needs care-giving, not let our spouse deprive him of that support!
One or both of the children need to know what has been going on.
See everything with their own eyes.
Keep informed as best able.
They may have ideas about what they want done, too.
[I am not familiar with your son's level of ASD, but it has been a blessing for me, to hear my ASD son dishing wise, helpful words that have been supportive when least expected!]
But at least your daughter needs kept in the loop, and needs to see what Dad's been doing.
She might also have rational suggestions.

Folks on this list are supportive, have big hearts, lots of compassion, and collectively, lots of useful information.
But each of us has to do our own work at getting the helps we need.
Some of us have let life slip by us while ignorant of what was about to hit us, and then have to figure things out very fast.

We can cheer you on, and "hand hold" via computer.
We want those who come here for help, to find it, and keep safe!

I dearly hope you find good help!


I have been thinking about Sleepy lately and was excited to see a post. Sorry to read about your situation Anon1, like the other posters have suggested, you might want to start another thread and you will be sure to find others responding directly to your situation with wonderful advice and comments. This is an old thread discussion and you may not have as many people reading it than if you started one of your own. You will also help others who are in your same situation that will benefit too if you start a dedicated discussion. Good luck and I hope your life grows happier.

Hey, Sleepy, how is it going? Are you making headway and getting your life back? Please give us an update, I know there are many others worried and interested in your progress.

Hope all is well and you are getting your home and life in order so you can find peace and happiness once again!! Hugs!

Anon: If you go up to the top of this page and click on Caregiver Forum, you can choose, "Start A Discussion" . You will get more responses with your own thread.

Let me just say that things will get better. Rome wasn't built in a day and if you've been at it for 3 months with your home, I'm sure you already know that time you'll have to take it a step at a time. I'm glad to hear you have friends coming next Tuesday to help you.

At this point, I would agree with Judy that it does not make sense to talk to your husband about the frustrations you have with his life long hoarding problem. He's not mentally able to see it the way you do. This hoarding compulsion is a mental illness. So I think it is kinder and wiser to let him die in peace rather than upsetting him with things he can't change or really understand.

It sounds like your marriage has been an unhappy one. Maybe you stayed in it because of your mom's need for care and your son's need for care. Does your son still live with you?

You haven't wasted your life. You are young at 51 years old and a new reality and way of living is coming your way. Take it a day at a time. It will be ok. Are you worried about your financial situation? Does your husband have some life insurance? Are his medical costs covered? How old is your husband and when was he diagnosed?

I'm asking you these questions because I think they can also add some understanding of your being so overwhelmed with the state of his hoarding?

Maybe we can talk about a few things before you post your question or discussion. Sending you love and support, Cattails

Anon1... have you thought about making your own thread with your story so others can see your post and try to help?

Wow,'ve got a lot on your plate. I think if I were you, I'd be extremely angry as well, but I guess I wouldn't rock the husband's boat too much. It doesn't do much good to rattle him about what he can't control anymore. I guess I'd be doing the clean up and not letting him know what I was doing. There has got to be somewhere to call, whether its city or town government, who can direct you to a clean-up service, or provide one? I'm not much help here. I guess the thing that struck me was.... why are you even involving your husband at this point? I'd just make myself happy and get it all cleaned up somehow without ever letting on that I was doing it. I'm hoping that your name is on the deeds to the house in town and to the cabins. I'd hate for you to be cleaning it all up if he's got some plan to leave it to a friend (who appreciates his vehicles). I could be all wrong in my impressions and thoughts. Please post again and tell us how things progress. Good luck!

Oh I am so glad I found this. My husband has terminal cancer, colon cancer that has spread to his liver, lungs, and abdomen. He is in palliative care in the local hospital. Now he has been verbally, emotionally, and financially abusive to me for 26 years. We have a trapline/woodlot with cabins as well as a home in town. I never go out to the trapline/woodlot because my husband invites people to come and stay out there all the time. Well recently I went to check on things and I ended up crying for 8 hours and screaming for another two! He has hoarded over acres and acres! (Picture 30 years of the absolute worst hoarding you can ever imagine) There are old clunkers, junk galore, you name it is there. I don't know how I will ever even begin to clean it up or afford to get someone to do so. I am so angry that I can't even go and visit him. The house in town I have been working on cleaning for three months already, some stuff I can't get rid of until he passes as he is still able to have day passes out of the hospital. He has saved old fence boards and stacked them, I went to remove them the day before yesterday and there are ants, maggots, beetles all over them. I went to the hospital and asked him if there was ANY vehicle that ran so that I could get rid of them. The house is falling down around me, and I am trying to repair it the best I can. There is a new bath tub that has been sitting in the hallway for over a year because the carpenters in this town were booked, so he said. I have friends coming to start work on the house on Tuesday. His answer was no to the vehicle to remove stuff and not to upset him because he is dying, and he kept his thumb on the call button to contact the nurse to get me out of the room. Mourn for him, how can I when he doesn't give a hoot? He has a cell phone that I took him and calling cards. He could be getting someone to come in and help me clean this mess up, but all he can do is call his family and friends and worry about his vehicles. He is so proud that he found someone to repair an old vehicle he has. I am DONE, I have given him all I can give and then some! I went from being a caregiver to my mother, to my severely autistic son, to my husband with no break in between. Ok, yes, I KNOW this is only temporary and that his death is permanent, but I am 51 years old now and I have wasted my life. The only thing I have to show for it are my two children. My daughter is going for a double masters degree and has done very well. Sorry for venting and rambling. I just had to let it out. Thanks. I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone dealing with a hoarder and being put in a situation and wanting out of it.

Sleepy I am so proud of you taking action to make things better for you family-I know it was hard for you to do but you went ahead and did it-the rest should be easier-keep us posted on how things progress and I hope you stay with us after this gets settled -your insight will be valueable to others going through troubles.

Hi again, Sleepy!

First, I want to say CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You are taking wonderful steps in making this happen and getting your home back!! I am sooo proud of you!!!! GOOD GOING!!! Your plan this time has substance and, more importantly, motion. FANTASTIC!!!

Secondly, I need to apologize for not realizing you do not live in the United States and are dealing with an entirely different set of regulations. Red tape and paperwork is always a quagmire, even under the best of circumstances. I hope you are making further headway getting it all in order. Hard enough dealing with your father and then compound the governmental hoo-ha and ones mind and spirit can take a beating.

I am so happy you spoke with your father and especially encouraged to hear he, for the time being, is not fighting you and, so far, in agreement with the plan. Have you started previewing available housing for him? That way, you can eliminate later “together” legwork, by having pre-screened, suitable, apartments lined up to show him. It might reduce excuses and a possible balk.

Your husband is a keeper!!! But, you already know that. His support and assistance are a Godsend and it has to be bringing you closer working on this as a team.

No doubt, it is extremely difficult to take a stand such as this and you are correct, not as easy as telling a roommate they need to leave because the situation just isn’t working, but it is every bit as crucial, even more so, reclaiming your space, home and life from a parent.

You have made a positive turn on this journey of twisting and winding roads. There will be many more forks bringing this to fruition and reclaiming your home. But, it must be so nice getting off the gravel road and onto smoother pavement. Pretty soon you will be driving along a beautiful highway! Just keep yourself headed in the right direction and don’t allow your father to drag you off on his side streets any more, they are not pretty places to visit and only delay your journey.

STAND STRONG!!!! You are an amazing woman, wife and mother!!! It makes my heart sing knowing you are tearing down that brick wall and using the bricks to rebuild your fabulous new home and life. Use your strongest mortar so he can’t blow it down again!

Thank you for the heartwarming update, keep them coming!! We are here for you, understand each bump in your road, and relish in its smoothness and your progress.

A million hugs, tour de force congratulations and prayers for a happy, healthy and magnificent life to come!!

Wow, Sleepy. Great job. I'm impressed. After your previous post, I was kind of sweating this for you, like you might not be able to talk to your dad. I mean, really, what a hard thing to discuss with anyone, let alone a parent. I have to admit, while I read this last post of yours, I was smiling. If we lived closer, I'd want to give you a hug and a pat on the back. Well done. You've let him gently know. Strong woman.

Sleepy, thank you so much for the update! You did WONDERFULLY! I'm so glad for you that this first hardest part is over. More to come and it won't be easy, but now you know you can do it!

Do keep us posted.

Thanks again for the feedback. I certainly appreciate the time you've taken to voice your opinions. I have been sorting out his RRSP's and paper work as that was the fastest income I could get for him in order to get him to leave. There is a process for getting social assistance that would have required him to get other things done that he had put off before and in turn would have taken longer. I did make some calls and I got a bit of a run around in the beginning so I went with the fastest option. I am Canadian, so we have different services, but I did look into similar options as suggested. The bank has been taking some time with the paperwork but most likely this week all should be sorted out with that and he will be into enough money to be on his way just as his Employment insurance is running out. My goal was to get him some money first before telling him he had to go, and tell him as gently as possible. He may not have been there for me as a father, but I also believe he is not all there mentally. I have spoken to my husband about speaking for me, I explained to him about freezing up, and I don't believe for a single moment it was because I value my father's abusive behavior more than my son and husband's well being. They are my life, I was not looking for sympathy or making excuses not to get him out, in fact I have been working with my husband to keep this ball rolling, it just needed to roll the right way for me to do this as gently as possible. Of course there is great guilt in having to kick out a parent, it's not as simple as a roomate. I wanted to try and make it work, and I believe I did try, and I know it has not. My husband ended up putting off the talk as well, I think we were both just over thinking the whole thing by trying to make sure not only that we didn't hurt him too much, he couldn't talk his way out of leaving once we mentioned it, or pretend he didn't hear us and ignore like he usually does.

With all that said, I am pleased to say that I stepped outside of my worrying and today started the conversation about him living elsewhere. My husband was on the phone in another room, he had also put off speaking with my father the night before and I suddenly had a burst of courage in thinking of getting our home back so I took advantage of it. I kissed him on the cheek, said “wish me luck here I go” and as I was cleaning up I told him that he has a lot of stuff and that my dining room was not a storage room. I explained that he would be more comfortable having his own space for his things since we didn't have the room here, and would be unable to get a bigger space any time soon. I told him I'm sure his arm which had been bothering him on a daily basis because of my uncomfortable sofa must not be very nice and that he would benefit from having his own bed in his own space. He was quiet for a moment and I asked him what he thought. He asked where he would go and I said he could afford a bachelor or small 1 bedroom and I would help him sort that out if he needed it. He starred back at the television and I didn't press the issue. I just continued to tidy around the house and came back a short moment later to make sure I got a response. I said “Is this a doable thing for you?” I knew that if he said no, I could talk him out of it because of the money he has coming, and if he made it an issue I would accept that it's manipulation and legally remove him if need be. I figured he would just go with yes, and he DID! My husband was not in the room at the time, and I told him not to mention he knew, as I could mention it again in a couple days when my fathers money came in. That way it would solidify that decision all the more if he knows my husband is aware of the decision and we can start the plans to get him somewhere else.

I understand that I can't fix my parents. It has to be a choice they make, they have lived this way their whole lives. I learned that a very hard way a long time ago. I was hoping I would have the respect in my home as I had to live by their rules growing up, but I guess it doesn't work that way. I don't have to stress out over telling him anymore and that feels so amazingly wonderful. That was my brick wall. I'll let him know about services he can benefit from after he is on his own, whether he uses them will be his choice, and I can walk away knowing I did what I could with no regrets.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of the move out! Thanks again for the hugs, comments, advice and well wishes, my thoughts are with all of you as well.

Well said Jeannegibbs!

Sleepy, I'm sorry that you haven't been able to live up to your intentions -- so far. That doesn't mean that you can never make progress. It just means you are temporarily stuck.

Maybe counselling will help you get unstuck and moving in the right direction.

Personally, I don't think you are focussing on the right problem. This really and truly is not about you figuring out how to tell your dad he is a slob, or that he is not taking responsibility for his own financial well-being. Even if you could bring yourself to say those things, so what? Nothing will change. You may feel better for getting it off your chest. Or you may feel worse for hurting your dad's feelings. But fundamentally, nothing is going to change. Why waste your energy and beat yourself up over not being able to do something that won't make any difference anyway?
Here are two basic truths:
1. You do not want your family home to be a warehouse for used goods.
2. You are not responsible for getting your father on his feet financially.

Do you agree? Are these the rock-bottom truths we are dealing with here?

Deal with these biggies. Don't waste energy on the trivial details, like whether he takes good care of the items he says are valuable or whether he has any use for another potato masher. For one thing, wasting time discussing the details gives the impression that this is negotiable. That if he just changes some minor behavior things can keep on as they are. No! Go back and look at the two basic truths.

You and hubby and Dad need a serious discussion, and not about whether the valuable action figure got covered with jelly. This is not a tirade you let loose on him in anger. Do not wait for a triggering incident. This is not about individual details and one detail more or less won't make a difference. Here is the message that you and hubby need to convey, calmly and firmly:

"Dad I really hoped that having you here would give you a chance to get back on your feet, and for us to build better bonds as a family. I am sorry to conclude that this is just not working out. I know that your treasures are important to you, but we are not willing to turn our home into a second-hand warehouse. So it is necessary for you to find another place to live. We'll help you with that task if you want our help."

Stick with that message. Do not get sidetracked about minor issues. Even if he took excellent care of his best pieces, you still do not want to live in a warehouse of his things. Even if he sells something now and then, you still do not want to live in a warehouse of this things. Your home is not a junk yard or a used goods store. He is welcome to have a junk yard or used goods store or a hoarder's paradise. It just cannot be your home.

Whether he takes good care of his treasures, whether he sells them, whether he has a plan for supporting himself someday ... it does not matter and it doesn't change the rock-bottom truth: Your house is your HOME. It is not a warehouse.

You can do this. You need to do this. If the support on this board is not quite enough to help you through this, get some counselling.

Best wishes to you.

Eldestdaughter, you said it. Sleepy I think the idea of writing your expectations and demands on paper said without anger but firmly standing your ground is great. Start by writing the way you did your original letter here, allow your husband to give input and then give it to him when you're at your clearest thinking.


Okay, Sleepy, what happened to the list of calls to the agencies you were to make EVERY DAY? Why haven't those been made? Why are you STILL trying to do this yourself when you already KNOW YOU CAN'T'? You said in an earlier post, you were making the list, calling three agencies every day and getting things in place to get the help you and your dad, need so you both can get your lives in order and back on track. You are not taking the steps you HAVE to in order to get you father out of your house.

This only shows how much YOU along with him need help. YOU are not strong enough to do this! You have proven that over and over and over again. Until YOU take the steps and get the help YOU need, your life is only going to continue spiraling down hill. If you don't want to lose your precious family that you worked so many years to have, then I suggest YOU get off dead center and do what you know HAS to be done. STOP procrastinating and coming up with lame excuses!

I am sorry to take such a strong voice with you. Please know I ONLY do it out of deep concern for you and your family. It breaks my heart to see you going deeper and deeper into the daddy abyss. I am going to say some things I feel you need to think about, not because I am heartless, but because I TRULY care. I so want you to have your happy life back, the one you worked so hard to build and deserve after your terrible childhood.

You need to find strength right now and it most definitely is time YOU STOP playing daddy’s games!!! You are doing EXACTLY the same thing to your family, your father did to you and STILL IS, only he is doing it with his hoarding and running from life and you are doing it with feeling sorry for him. It was evident to you years ago you needed to get away from him and out from under his roof to stand back, look at the situation objectively and do what had to be done to save yourself. Now that you have let him under your roof, you can't leave, he certainly isn’t going to leave because he is in control and doing exactly what HE wants and you are going to have to evict him, which you don't appear to have the strength to do, the desire maybe, but not the strength or determination to do what needs to be done.

Repeatedly, you keep coming up with these “plans” to get him back on his feet and out of your home. IT AIN’T NEVER GONNA HAPPEN THAT WAY!!! How many times are you going to do this before you admit YOU are NEVER going to make it work!! I think these plans are your way of not facing the situation in a head on, truthful manner. You think as long as you continue to make these plans, you are being constructive. Guess what! You aren’t accomplishing a darn thing except prolonging the problem and then you wring your hands in the air and can’t figure out why they don’t work. He’s NOT leaving because HE still has control over YOU! He’s happy as a lark and why shouldn’t he be? Roof over his head, food in his belly, using all his money to buy his crap to fill YOUR house, telling YOU how and what HE is going to do, telling YOUR son what he can and can’t do and all the while, YOU don’t have the fortitude to stand up against him, put your foot down and say, “You are destroying my life NOW GO!!! You are his little pawn in this sick game you two play together and have since you were little. You just keep doing it over and over and over as things get worse and worse and worse while you keep making plans, feeling sorry for yourself, making plans and feeling sorry for yourself. All the while, daddy is doing exactly what he wants to do, ignoring you, your husband and, in reality, abusing your son too because your father’s antics are most assuredly destroying the life this little boy deserves.

What do you think you are teaching your son with all this drama in your home? Deep in your heart, do you honestly think this is healthy for him and it isn’t affecting him? Don’t you think this precious little child deserves better? Aren’t you willing to stand up for his future and life? Is daddy more important than your own son? Sorry, but right now, daddy is winning, BIG TIME, he even has enough control that he is telling YOUR son what he can and can’t touch in YOUR home. If he or ANYONE were treating my child like that, I would mad as L and tell them in NO uncertain terms, “Enough is enough, screw this carp old man, you are out of here, TODAY!! MY SON means EVERYTHING and the world to me and as a mother, DON’T YOU EVER, EVER, EVER mess with my baby!!! I will tear you from limb to limb if you do ONE thing to harm my child!” I guarantee you, your father IS harming your child! Only if by seeing what it is doing to his mother. Do you want to teach your son it is okay for someone to walk all over you and you will rollover and let them do that, or do you want to train your child to be strong and stand up for his family? Your father let your mother walk all over him and, in turn, allowed her to abuse you because he had no backbone to stand up to her and come to your defense. He ran away and buried his life in a bottle; you are burying yours in “plans for dad”. Are you going to be strong, or, like your father did to you, allow your child to be abused? Do you want your child to feel the pain you did as a child and what it continues to do to you today? Or, do you want him to have happy, healthy memories and a beautiful future?

You and your father established a sick, vicious pattern in childhood. It isn’t going to change and the sooner you realize that and come to grips with it, the sooner your husband and son will count in your life again. Right now, when you are honest with yourself, you will realize they truly don’t count; it is daddy running the show AGAIN. Daddy has control of you and your family. He continues pulling the stings and you continue being his puppet, AGAIN!!

You need to ask yourself, how much you REALLY, TRULY love and care about your husband and son, and, more importantly, yourself? Are they, and you, worth fighting for and doing what HAS to be done, or are you only mouthing the words and dear old dad is actually the one who has your heart and soul? If your loyalties are to your father, then be honest with yourself, admit it and go ahead continuing to “try” to “help” him. It’s okay if that is how you feel and inside you feel you owe him what you are doing for him and no matter what you have to do or give up, seeing him happy and on his feet is worth every ounce of effort. That’s fine! You may actually get there ~~~~ someday. He can’t live forever and maybe your husband and son won’t mind waiting to get their wife and mother back. However, at the very least, be honest with yourself and your husband and son, you all deserve the truth. It isn’t fair to continually drag them through daddy’s trash, literally and figuratively. They deserve a choice in what they want in their live too. The sad thing is, just like you, your son has no choice, he is at the mercy of his parents. Remember those days? Seems to me, you are putting your husband and son aside wile all your TRYING to come up with plans to fix your dad and get his crap out, yet, all this time, you aren’t doing squat to actually get him fixed or out, except making plans over and over. It’s time to fess up and admit what you want to do here and choose what is most important in your life.

It is evident YOU aren't doing what YOU SHOULD to protect your family. You are protecting daddy and not standing up for your husband and son. YOU are letting daddy destroy their lives too. YOU need to make a choice here, NO more excuses, NO more, "I don't know what is wrong with me, I can't do this", NO MORE DEFENDING DADDY AND wimping out on your son and husband. It is WAY past time you pulled up your big girl panties, talk to the proper professionals we have all told you are out there willing and able to give you the assistance you so desperately need to make this happen and STOP MAKING EXCUSES!!! You need an intervention for both YOU and your father.
He has an illness and needs professional help, and so do you!! You are two people feeding off one another and it isn’t healthy for either of you. If you do love your father, then love him enough to get him the help he needs. If you do love your family, then love them enough get the help YOU need. STOP feeling sorry for both of you!!!

Like I said, I don't mean to sound cruel or heartless, I DO understand how extremely difficult these decisions and actions are when you are caught in the middle. That is why it is imperative you MAKE THOSE CALLS!!! If you can't bring yourself to do it, then ask your husband for his help. Have him take the difficult steps you seem unable to take for them. I can’t imagine he wouldn’t be happy to give you his support! Once you have the first meetings and conversations with the proper support people, I think you will find they will help you find the strength and understanding you need. You must distance yourself from all of this, even moving to a friends or an apartment for a while and let your husband and the professionals be the strength you don't have.

Your husband sounds like a kind, gentle, wonderful and understanding man and, if he is the person who you say supports you and your decisions in this matter, I am sure he will be more than happy to help you if you just ask. Without a doubt, it seems he only wants what is best for you and his family. He may be thinking he doesn't want to intrude and as you said, is letting you handle it in whatever way you feel most comfortable. Well, you are NOT comfortable, you are NOT handling it, you are so messed up in the middle of this mess you can't see the forest through the trees and HAVE to get professionals in there or Daddy will continue to be in charge and continue to fill your house with his crap ~~~ both mental and physical.

It is up to YOU! Again I ask, how truly important are you son and husband to you? I can’t emphasize that enough. Are they worth fighting for and giving them the life they so richly deserve, or is your dad the one you actually chose over them? That is what it boils down to, either your family or your father. It is YOUR choice. Right now, you are incapable of having them both, maybe someday in the distant future, but not now. We can offer you all the support and suggestions in the world, but only YOU can make the decisions to take them, implement them, follow them and, ultimately, which path you want to walk in this life. I’m sorry, but you WILL have to chose, what's it going to be your son and husband or you father who destroyed your early life, is destroying it again and will you allow him to destroy the rest of it too?

The longer you wait the worse it is going to get. It has been a month now since your first post asking for help. People have given you a multitude of wonderful suggestions. Had you taken them, by now, you would have had this situation well on its way and there would have been sunshine beginning to stream back into your home and life, you wouldn’t still be finding toys under more and more garbage and continuing to make excuses and plans to “help” daddy get on his feet. HOGWASH, he is NEVER, EVER going to do that without tough love, and that is what you need as well. The sooner you actually realize that, the sooner you will turn your life around,~~ and his.

I know how strong a parents influence is in a child’s life, even the crappiest parents in the world, for some reason, manage to have an unbelievable hold on their children. It is hard to break that unhealthy bond sometimes, but for the future happiness and a healthy lifestyle, it must be broken. You have done it with your mother because her abuse was easily recognized, but your father’s abuse is, in all honesty, a lot worse because of the subtle, undermining control and unhappiness he is still inflicting.

Once YOU take a stand for your family and make him leave, then HE has a choice for HIS life and HE can no longer make excuses either. He has wallowed on the pity pot for all his life because everyone has enabled him to do just that and he needs to pull up his big boy panties too and quit ruining the lives of every one around him. STOP ENABLING HIM!!!!! YOU are doing him NO favors! If he ends up on the street or living in a shelter, so be it, then that is HIS choice. The professionals will give him the tools and help he needs to get his life together, it is then up to HIM to utilize them. The sooner he realizes HE, and only HE, is responsible for his OWN life, then that is when he will have to grow up too. I am 63 and I still learn, grow, and change every day in order to become a better wife, mother, grandmother and person. I am not too old to change and neither is your father. He may need more tools, possibly medications and education on how to use them, but he certainly isn’t too old. HE has the choice, just like every other person on this planet. If HE doesn’t want to change, implement what the professionals offer, then YOU can’t feel responsible for HIM. You can only be responsible for YOUR choices.

Yes, you are both lugging around crap from the past, but realize that was yesterday, this is today!! You can either let it bury you or grow from it! Are you going to continue carrying that heavy bag of bricks on your backs, allowing the weight to break you down and using it as an excuse for all your troubles? Or, are you going to stop crying about how heavy the load and, instead, take out the bricks and use them to build a beautiful new home for yourself and family?

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, Sleepy, listen to all the people on here who only have your wellbeing and best wishes for a beautiful life and future in their hearts. We only want the very best for you. And even though my words here may sound hard, my heart is filled with love and my greatest desire is for you and your family to have a beautiful, happy, loving life together!! You deserve NOTHING less!!!

Keep us posted and DON’T give up!! Keep on keeping on and make tomorrow morning a new dawn! Start taking the bricks out of that bag and make just one phone call or have a heart to heart with your husband and tell him how much you love him and need him to be strong for you right now and make the calls and decisions you can’t.

Hugs filled with love, hope and many blessings!!

I think I would start putting his junk in garbage bags and putting them outside your house-maybe this will show him you mean business -you may have to change your locks or report him to social services and tell them he needs to be out of your home asap.

Sleepy: My suggestion would be to write your dad a letter. It will allow you to pick your words and express your thoughts without having the pressure and apprehension of a face to face situation where words escape you. Take your time writing it. You can do it in a loving, but honest manner. At the end, tell your dad that you need to have a sit down meeting with him the next morning or afternoon. It will be easier to discuss things then as he will already be informed.

Sending Hugs, Cattails

I'm so embarrassed. There is clearly something wrong with me! I thought I was on the right path, I had made a list of steps I needed to take to get my father some income and he should be only a few days from taking out money from his retirement savings plan that he thought was garbage for years. I had a full plan in my head! Once he got some money I would tell him to put that aside and use it towards first and last months rent for his own space. Only after he leaves would I consider helping him further with his mental issues. This was the most logical way of doing it for me. But now I'm scared! A few days ago I was cleaning up the living room that he stays in, and I found a little action figure that he would not let my son play with because he said it was worth money and that my son would ruin it. He let him play with the other action figures, but that one was special so my son was not to touch it. I found this "special" action figure buried under his junk on the side table laying on a sticky fruit cup lid...A wave of pure rage swept through my veins just looking back at all of his "treasures" He buried under garbage and junk in his home over the years and I thought for sure I was going to let him have it good when he came back! And he did come back, with another bag of assorted junk. One of those picture viewers that you push the trigger to see the slides, and another potato hand masher and 3 more pairs of craft scissors! I left my room, I composed myself, I sat down and...I starred off into space. NO WORDS CAME OUT! I rushed through my head trying to figure out how to start the conversation and I just went blank! So I'm stuck on the couch, mind racing, completely stumped at my inability to deal with this, yelling at myself in my head to just SAAAAAAY IT! But nothing happened, I just. shut. down. The next day I was making breakfast for my son and I saw he replaced the garbage with more garbage on his side table. Another opportunity to say "HEY! STOP BEING A PIG!" but nothing...If I can't even tell him to keep his side table clean, to take a shower, can I really tell him he needs to leave?! Why did I shut down like that?! what good am I if I can't do what's best for my family?!

I'm sorry, I'm just a mess right now.

Stop allowing this person to control and destroy your life. Forget about the sentimentality. I know. I suffered. One can never get the time or the relationships back. Do not let his disease kill you. Please. Put yourself first, for once in your life. You are victim of abuse.

My guess is, [based on experience]
that when you tell your Dad the House Rules,
which limit his hoarding,
and require things he has been avoiding, that he will get ANGRY.

He will do one of 2 things with that anger:
either he will use that energy to find another place to live where he can do as he pleases, aided and abetted by otehr sick people,
OR, he will get really nasty towards you for further lmiting his choices [reducing his autonomy more].
Oh--a 3rd choice would be, that he might actually agree to the house rules.
But that would be very rare.

Make sure to have viable Assisted Living information ready to hand him?
Or be ready to call Social Services to request they take him in for observation, for assessment as to whether he can care for himself, and help find him appropriate elsewhere to live.
His Habits have caused health hazards in your home.
It's your home.
He has not been contributing to pay bills??
That is part of the discussion, too. He has clearly shown he is irresponsible with money. He needs a caretaker to take care of that for him.
That could be you, or someone else.
No matter who it is, that poerson does not have to live with him to do that.
Please get help from Social Services, or your local Area Agency on Aging.
Start asking at the Welfare dept. for information.

Teel him is he's going to live with you in your house there are rules of the house. If he wants to stay this is what you expect. Once you impose the rules like bathing, helping with chores, and no hoarding he may want to go on his own. Protect your life, family and home

Sweetie, I have tears in my eyes for you. You are just a baby yourself! If you haven't already done so, please ask God to help and direct you for the sake of your health.

Your parents continue to be abusive and they WILL NOT stop! It is NOT your duty to care for sick people when they don't acknowledge that they are sick. Honor them/him by letting go. Listen to God who is sending you wise counsel. Trust Him, Let Go and Let God.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6

Adult Protective Services is a good thing, usually.
But their automatic assumption is that the Elder is being abused.
The burden of proof is then on the caregiver to prove anything else.

Therefore, it is important that you have at least some calls or contacts with other agencies, documented with dates, subject, who you talked with, their phone number, and some conversation written or recorded for those contacts.
Calls to 911 system automatically require a police report,
while simply calling the police department because you think it is "non-emergency", gets NO report, unless you make a point of filing one.

Social Workers called to the house to evaluate, also create a document trail--ask them to help you!
With a history of calls that let other agencies know that your Elder has been endangering you and your family with his habits and behaviors, it helps protect you from unwarranted accusations.
Those reports help clarify the situation earlier on.

How about adult protection services for yourself. They may have some avenues for your father that will help him and your family seperately but yet together....

To clarify my wording, I did not mean I was waiting for it to be turned upside down when I said "yet". It's been getting crowded and even though I told him he had to stop bringing the things in he still continued to shop every day and bring in a bag of things. I have thrown stuff out when he leaves, and I have hidden things to see if he would ever ask about it before throwing other things away that might be more noticeable...funny, I used to do that with my son when I first started getting him to toss his old broken toys:) Anyway I just meant I don't need to haul anything out with a dump truck or tarp yet, I definitely wont let it get to that point.:)

ManyBlessings, you're absolutely right. I will make those calls EVERY DAY! I already started by researching his options and listing the places to call thanks to everyone's great advice here, and I'm ready to get my life back! For the first time in a long time things are looking up and all of you are a big part of that. So thank you, it means a lot more than you know.

Manyblessings had a great point about the wording you used when you said that your house was "not turned upside down yet"... I got the impression as well, that the "yet" means that you're still waiting. I don't think you can't wait for the "yet". I also think that doing something every day to be proactive in reclaiming your space and your family, really, is a great idea. Waiting is limbo. Limbo is gray area. Gray area sucks. You can't wait for the rest of your life, you've got to grab it because he's taken part of it away from you. You know the years go by so quickly. You can see the changes in your son month by month in pictures if you line them up. Time flies, and for every month that your dad stays with you, you're resentful and worried, and you're probably not living your life with your son and husband, as happy you could be, so this effects them too. Having your dad impose on your space and on your mind, just isn't fair to anyone. Dad is living his life the way he wants. You're not. I hope I haven't overstepped boundaries, but its like watching a runaway train named Dad, and you've just got to put the brakes on him and you're waiting for the last minute. I can't imagine having to move my dad out of my place if he was here, no matter what the circumstances are - its got to be gut wrenching and so painful. You shouldn't have to be in this position, but you are, and it hurts, but you can do it, Sleepy. You've already lived through some hell and you must be one tough lady to still be as caring as you are. Much respect from me to you, and I truly mean that.

Sleepy, I think you are absolutely right that your main concern now has to be getting him out.

If you can get him to accept appropriate evaluations and help, awesome!

If you can come to view him as a flawed human being with probles of his own that he didn't sign up for, great!

But evaluations/treatment for him and counseling for you can come AFTER HE IS OUT OF YOUR HOUSE! :) Unless some counselling will help you with the task of moving him out, then, by all means get that now.

Keep in touch,

Getting an adult assessed for various behavioral and psych issues is tough, the older they get, the harder it is to get them to agree to get evaluated.
My Mom has had "bipolar" and "split personalities [D.I.D.]" since she was a kid, plus she took up drinking as an adult. But she always avoided Docs like the plague...she only got any kind of mental help when she did a suicide attempt shortly before my sister got married [[she was terribly distressed at "losing" another child to marriage, and was having a difficult relationship mess with a boyfriend]] But we were not privvy to the results, and she was not kept there long enough to properly evaluate. She was terrified of side effects of the usually prescribed lithium.
As she aged, everything has gotten worse.
A good part of making mental health issues worse, is alcohol, because an aging body cannot process it as a younger body does, and it can be very difficult.
IF you can convince your Dad to get that kind of evaluations, DO it!
ADHD is part of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders [ASD].
There is a real easy online, instant results "survey" test for ASD:
That you can see if he would take, as a starting point--you can print the results and take them to the Doc with him [with you along!]
ALSO, since he seems to have Impulse Control issues happening, he MIGHT be seen as having some level of Bipolar..
Those need evaluated by psychiatry, at this point in time [because they categorize those as part of the psych realm]
ALL of those things can be made better or worse by food/nutritional choices, some can be pretty simple--but a Doc needs to be trained in that approach to use it.
It sounds like your Mom may have had elements of those things going on, too.
Those conditions can make for very coniving, abusive behaviors!
USUALLY, there has been abuse in their childhood, too, so they learned to be how they are as a coping mechanism--and yes, I am also referring to the mentioned ills--those can mainifest better or worse, depending on a child's environ and nurturing [or lack of].
USUALLY, it is a mixture of things, not just one.
And thankfully, there are various meds to help with most.
ASD, though, needs behavioral change help, and that is best started in childhood, not as an Elder!
I have an old friend who only got diagnosed with it in his mid to late 50's, and it has helped him, knowing he is not being a jerk, he's just "wired differently"
He has always been different, and struggled to make his way through life, but met, married, had kids, and generally had a good life. But many others have not done so well. Everything is always complicated by alcohol.
Not trying to make excuses for dysfunction, but knowing what it really is, and getting proper help for it, can often work wonders.
Only wish my Mom would have been open to gettin ghelp--it could have made a profound better difference, depending on when she got help.
But she's 83 now, not likely to change anything, and keeps drinking.
Her fear of lithium is valid, but she refuses to listen to information about mild anti-seizure meds that are also commonly used for Bipolar, that do NOT have the bad side effects, yet drastically decrease the impulsivity and/or nood swings that make life so difficult.
BTW---You and your siblings learned to cope in very skewed conditions.
You all had to learn ways to cope with very bad situations, and those "coping mechanisms" had to be flawed, in order to fit into your situation at home with your folks.
Bluntly, you were PROGRAMMED to "not see" what is wrong, nor how to actualy fix it. Even as an experienced adult, who has mostly turned your life around to be more "normal", you still got hooked back into that behavior.
That kind of early programming made you very vulnerable to others doing same to you later in life, and/or, doing it worse, and/or them returning to your life and doing it to you again--even after you may have had many instances of it in the past, walked from those thinking "nope, I will never allow that to happen again!", then bam! it happens again.
That kind of early programming, means you too often do not see the freight train barreling down the tracks at you, until it hits.
You are easily hooked back into their requests, maneuvers and manipulations.
You say your Dad never was abusive, but yes he was, from your description--you were just programmed to "not see it".
There are various methods to help get really "quit" of those vulnerabilities, and to get you back on track with more normal.
EFT: this involves tapping certain places on your body, while making certain statements, to help break old patterns and learn new ones. This can be learned and done at home, either from a Counselor or from online sources like:
EMDR: this involves watching blinky lights or hearing sounds, while processing memories and learning how to leave them in the past, while learning better ways to cope. Find this one being done by trained, qualified Counselors who take special courses for this. It is also really good to help PTSD.
Both methods are easy, and have been VERY successful at helping people with these kinds of histories. Insurance sometimes covers use of it---there is a V.A. Clinic near us that has a counselor trained to use it; and the Group Health Plan in our region, covers using EMDR--though here, they farm it to outside provider, as their in-house providers do not do it.
Hope this helps!
{{{hugs}}} IT takes loads of intestinal fortitude to do what you need to do. PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE do it before it makes you too sick to function!
I waited far too long to get my Mom out of here, and it is gonna be awhile to recover from all that, esp. while dealing with a sick spouse, and the bits of work to do that I still can.
Your gentle and forgiving nature cannot fix your parents.
You can only fix you, and as you do that, others around you MUST also change, because when you change, they can no longer be their old self unless they leave!
ManyBlessings--you sure nailed the descriptions! And good suggestions to make a schedule for making calls--just like doing any other job, MAKE time to do the tasks, and keep plugging away at it!
Once you let that man start piling stuff out of his room down the hallway, into other rooms, it is too late! If no one can get into his room to really clean, it's gone too far! IF windows or curtains get messed/broken, because none can get to them to repair or clean, it has gone too far. If you have bugs or rodents taking up residence, due to that hoarding, it has gone too far.
YES! Keep up the good work, and keep us posted!
We are cheering for you, Sleey!

CONGRATULATIONS, SLEEPY!!! It sounds like you are beginning to wake up from your nightmare. I am so happy for you and know you will, once again, find the strength you need to get your feet back under you and become the woman you became in spite of your upbringing. You truly are the exception to the rule and have much to be proud of in all you have accomplished. Stay strong!!

You have been given lots of tools and wonderful words of wisdom by many of the posters. Chimonger, and others, have given numerous good ideas and excellent advice as services available to you. I hope you take advantage of their support; you will need it in the weeks and months ahead. Remember, you can’t do this alone, there is still too much childhood baggage, hurt, sentiment, anger and yes, even love, for you to do this without the muscles and shoulders of the professionals. There is a tremendous difference between knowing, reading and understanding the problem vs having the ability to step away because you are a participant in the quagmire. Do the research and I hope it will help you stand back and realize YOU are not the reason for your father’s illness. It is a psychological, chemical and emotional problem that, sadly, plagued him all his life. I am sure he migrated to you because of your gentle nature………..and he knew enough in his illness to use that to his advantage. He continues to do it. Like you said, “the lesser of two evils”, but still and evil force all the same. Yes, I think way down deep he hurts, but he needs others that will stand tough to give the necessary help if there is any chance for him to recover. But, don’t hold your breath at his age. Miracles do happen and we need to hold onto those, even if only for our sanity.

As to mom~~RUN, RUN, RUN, RUN, RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like you have any other plans with her, I am sure lunch this week isn’t on your calendar or anyone else’s for that matter. OMG!!!!, that is one mean, nasty woman and sounds like she also has MAJOR, MAJOR issues. In reality, she may never mellow or become anything other than she is. Talk about one unhappy person. Not sure there are enough drugs to happy her up. She’s just plan mad at the world, everyone that resides on the planet, probably the universe to boot and God on top of it. Phew! I would give her, a minimum, of half a continent of separation space. At least, with her, you know, the pain is upfront and easy to RUN from, but your dad’s is more subtle and long term damaging, just the same. He keeps playing the suck you back in card, and he has it down to an art form. It is easy to understand how your nature wants to help and not hurt him. Especially since he is so proficient at “sounding” pathetic and “genuine” in wanting help. That is part of the unhealthiness of his power over you. I am certain your mother did a job on him as well. She would send me to the bars too and anyone in that unhealthy environment with a kind bone in there body would certainly be the person I would migrate to when I had the courage to show up.

Okay, before I carry on and on again. All I truly wanted to tell you was how proud of you we all are for deciding to save your beautiful family and take the steps to move back toward sanity. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t drag your heels and take too long in making this come to fruition. You impress me as the type of person who the more you read and try to understand the softer your heart will become and you will still feel you can do something to help your father. Believe me, you can’t!!! Honestly, you need to distance yourself and get out from under his antics NOW! The longer you wait, the more he will continue to ding away at you and shrewdly play on your kindness and emotions.

Starting TODAY, set a schedule and make three phone calls a day for the next two weeks until you have him on his way out the door. You HAVE to get this process in motion. You made a couple of statements that give me concern alluding to the fact your home is “not turned upside down just yet.” DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT IS!! Then it will be too late. The longer you wait and try to figure out why he is who he is, you are continuing to slide into the abyss, relinquishing control to him bit by bit, so subtly not realizing it is still happening.

Keep us posted, we are all rooting for you and when he is finally out, I am sure you will hear a resounding CHEER!! As well as, collective sigh of relief from us too.

Hugs and love

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