“Lisa” said she was appalled when she showed up, uninvited, to her friend “Marie’s” home and could barely get through the door. She hadn’t been there for a while.

hoarding #21

My last post was Part One of this series. You can read it by clicking here on <HOARDER OR COLLECTOR>.

“Stuff was everywhere, and Marie was embarrassed. I would be embarrassed too, if I were Marie. She is a “HOARDER.” I want to show up with a bulldozer.

 It’s true that hoarding can result in serious threats to the health and safety of the hoarder and that Marie could benefit from your support… but forget about the bulldozer.

You need to modify your expectations, Lisa. There are some things you can do to help but you are not going to heal her. Compulsive hoarding is a treatable mental condition… a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

hoarding #2 1

 It’s going to  take a lot of patience on your part:

  • Help Marie to find a professional psychologist, psychiatrist or a support group to get her the professional help she needs.
  • Cut her some slack. For sure she’s totally embarrassed by being busted by you. Being caught is a blow to her self-esteem. She needs to know that you are not standing in judgment of her… that you just want to help.
  • Talk about all the reasons you admire her and why she is your friend.
  • Offer to help her with the clean-up, when and if she becomes ready.
  • Help her to think about others who might be willing to help.
  • Challenge her to go out, just for tomorrow, without buying or picking up any new thing.
  • Be the loving friend you are and do the things that friends do anyway. Invite her over for a meal or just for some tea, get tickets to a show or catch a movie together
  • Take a walk someplace pretty, discuss your concern about her HOARDING… but  make sure she knows that you know that the HOARDIMG is only one part of her personality and not her whole identity.Lisa, you say you love your friend and I believe you. Your encouragement, empathy and respect for her can go a long way to bring her to treatment.hoarding #2 3 Start with safety issues first. She’s most likely to respond to your concern about the dangers of jamming up hallways and doors. She worries about that too.

    PS: Thanks for all your good wishes about my new office. Lisa inspired me to think about HOARDING, for sure, but the move, to a smaller space was even further inspiration.

    IMG_2439 IMG_2432 (1)

    260 Newport Center Drive, Suite 103


Thanks For Visiting,

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