Do ADHD and hoarding tendencies go hand in hand?

So, is this just another of the aspects of ADHD?  Hoarding?   

I was first learning about ADHD around 1995 when my son was in first grade.  As time progressed towards high school, his backpack was definitely the 'black-hole' that is so common with ADHD children.  I could clearly understand its correlation with executive function.  He was unable to discern what to keep and what to throw away.  It seemed to never fail, if he did throw something out, he needed it at a later date.  So, his way of coping was to keep it all. 

At age 23,  I am so glad for him that he has developed the skills to throw stuff away. Or, ask someone to help help him sort stuff out.  He trusts that I would not just pitch it all as worthless trash, as I respect/understand him. He keeps a lot of stuff I see as worthless - and I understand with his creative mind, he can come up with 101 uses for a piece of wire- practical or artistic. 

Then we have the ADHD spouse.  Formally diagnosed 2 years ago at age 53.  I know I am singing to the choir when I say I realized my husband's ADHD in 1995, the same time as we found our son's.  

Oh, how to untangle the hoard of stuff that burst out of my husband's work van, and the barn - upstairs and down -  and out from behind the bushes and behind the barn, and over and around his desk.  I am embarrassed to have friends come over and see what has become of our yard.  So far, we have been able to keep it in the barn and behind the barn.  But as that space has filled up, my spouse has started to complain that I am squeezing him out of our space.     

One of the saddest things I realized in our relationship was the disappointment that our gifts and skills could not compliment each other.  I am very organized.  I THOUGHT when we married it would be a perfect blend, as I could be the helpmate who was behind the scenes keeping our lives organized.  Nope.  It was HIS stuff.  And he would not let me help him.  He sees my organizational skills as obsessive and  controlling.  Plus, he didn't want to be told what to do.  Sad.

I am losing my grip on stuff-control.  I went back to college last January.  With not being home 24/7, the ability I had to keep the clutter at bay has diminished greatly.  Overwhelmed am I.  To the max.

 

Hoarding and ADHD

Hi.  My husband is a hoarder.  There are a few aspects of ADHD that I think contribute to this tendency.

1) He just doesn't SEE items in the same way that a non-ADHD person does.  What looks like a mess to me does not, for some reason, look like a mess to my husband.

2) The prospect of going through things is overwhelming.  He can barely get through routine daily activities like getting to work on time.  Going through a bunch of stuff and making decisions about it?  Never!

3) My husband has a hard time thinking about the future, because, I think, he's disappointed with what he has done with his life so far.  His stuff represents a connection the past and past aspirations, and throwing it away represents giving up certain hopes for the future.

4) He is mildly obsessed with shopping at second-hand and dollar stores, partly because he likes to shop (easy decisions to make) and partly because he can't find things at home and so buys replacements frequently.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Value

My spouse keeps material - wood, drywall, carpet, pipe, old water heaters, an old - huge - satellite dish, bolts, nuts, wire, car parts, old appliances.  Occasionally he will take some stuff in for scrap.  He just sees value in all this junk.  And goes to auctions to buy more. Because he thinks he can resell it for 4 times what he paid for it.  Once in a blue moon it actually happens, but it does not nearly cover the cost of his time and fuel to get the stuff.  Grandiose ideas that lose their sparkle, and then in a few weeks he's on to the next one.  

Some of it sits out in the rain.  It rusts.  The wood warps and rots.  It becomes worthless.  There is piles and piles and piles.  It takes him 30-40 minutes to TRY to locate a bolt or screw.  By then he is cross. . . and goes to the hardware store to buy a new one.  

His Dad was a hoarder.  Acres of piles of junk.  Barns and out buildings and old semi trailers full of stuff.  A basement full of stuff.  A house in the city full of stuff.

Craziness.

 

Resigned2B's picture

I'm So Exausted and many others...

Just when I think I may know how to handle things I realize there is no way out. For thirty years I have cleaned up my husband's horde in the garage, basement, yard, study, and where ever...

Two and a half years ago I said no. For two years I could not even fit my own car in the garage. My car sat out in the heat and zero degree temps that entire time. This summer I stared realizing that my car was being completely destroyed by the elements. 

Here I was trying to make a point by showing him just how his things in the garage were getting piled to the ceiling and that I was not going to bail him out, AGAIN. Yet I was the only one who was suffering. My car, probably the last one I'll ever own, was dying right before my eyes.  I had had enough. Two years or five, this was not going to get cleaned up by my husband or by my unbelievable, ignorant, patience.

It took me three days to clean out my side. I took before and after pictures. All of his things were neatly arranged in the other bay waiting for his attention. Needless to say, he could find endless time to read his action novels but not to clean up his things in the garage. 

Slowly but surly, over the next six months, his things along with adult children who also have ADHD, crept onto my side. For two months now I have been unable to park in the garage. Finally I gave him two weeks you get it done or all of it was going to Good Will. At the end of two weeks he asked for a week extension since he was going out of town. That extension ends tomorrow.

I assessed the condition of the garage this morning which is now worse than ever. If I had to clean this garage it would, realistically, take me three solid days. In the mess of things exists $15K of tools; so I can't just shovel this. We truly can't afford to give that much away to Good Will only to re-buy it again. 

There is no way for me to win here. I have given him a deadline and an extension. My promise was it would go to Good Will if he didn't do it. It's starting to get cold and I can clearly see it's not going to get done. Does he not care? He has handled our finances so poorly we have NO retirement and a house that's been refinanced a number of times to pay back taxes that he procrastinated for 27 years. Yes, BTW, he's a CPA... :<

I can't, we can't, afford to lose the investment of these tools, which he WILL re-buy regardless of the consequences. I am paralyzed. Damned if I do and damned if I don't. Maybe it just doesn't matter. I'm sixty now, how many more years could I possible have to live like this? Soon enough I won't even be able to drive a car. What's another 10 years???

"Loneliness doesn't come from having no one around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that are important to you." ~Carl Jung

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

Your post stirrs up memories of things done in frustration

Resigned2B,

I remember the first time I 'lost it' with dealing with my spouse's stuff/disorganization.  I "took" possession of 1/2 of our barn.  I shoved all his stuff to the south side, took thick masking tap, and make a line down the west wall and across the floor to the east door to  'divide in half' the barn space.  I then said, "This is my half, that is your, KEEP YOUR STUFF OUT OF MY SIDE.  

That was not the best way to handle it - but 15 odd years later - it is the only way that works.  And, yep, I'm So Exhausted became my reality.  And it has now evolved into his mantra  "You are squeezing me out of my property."

That is a sad revelation.  I followed his lead since the day of our marriage, that everything we have is 'ours.'  Now, he is bellowing loudly about HIS stuff.  Money from HIS inheritance.  HIS property.  

It is sad.  There is nothing more I can do from my end.

I do not want this never-ending whirling-around to clean up our living space.

I am focusing on how to break the bondage of being stuck together in our financial duress.  It is s real bear.

 

Liz

 

Resigned2B's picture

I'm So Exausted...

Yikes! We should get together! :)))

I posted this before. If anyone would like to contact me please do. At baby4uandme @ icloud . com All run together, of course...

I'm not a professional but I do have thirty years of firsthand experience.

Hoarding is an anxiety disorder

Isn't it fun being burdened with the load of responsibilities and with the environmental stresses of enormous amounts of stuff?  DH also has a thrift store habit.  And buys tons of construction materials, for finishing our house, despite already having a solution for what his new stuff would solve.  Not only is it a waste of money, but we waste more money on storage, and the hundreds of hours spent shopping could have finished the house. 

I read that hoarding is an anxiety issue, a common co-morbid disorder with ADHD.  I suspect it develops from the excessive criticism as they grow up.  But whatever the reason, it needs addressing along with the adhd. 

I also see/saw myself as a complement to my spouse.  I am organized.  I can usually find a place for almost everything.  I can fix a lot.  But there comes a time when there are no more crooks and crannies to hide things.  When something happens that you can't fix.  Or when you realize that you (me) have been enabling all this time and should have been setting boundaries.  Still don't know what that means in practicality.  Thank goodness we live in the city and don't have barns to fill.  I feel your pain.  Good luck.  Hopefully there is a Picasso hiding in there somewhere.

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

No Picasso

His stuff is scrap and old building material.

I really wonder, what are the exact steps to set a boundary?  He does not care.  He just brings home more stuff.  And takes over my space in the barn.  Or the space we gave our son to run his repair business.  

The refrain is always the same, "It's mine."

How did I get this far into being run all over?  It didn't  happen overnight. It snuck up on me. 

When I try to explain how overwhelmed I am by all the junk, he said I sound like I was giving him an ultimatum.

Maybe that is exactly what I should do.  There has to be some exact steps to successfully accomplish renegotiating this relationship.

 

Haoarding too

There does seem to be a connection of hoarding and ADD inattentive.  I didn't notice it when we were young.   One day I looked at the massive accumulation of junk and realized it is odd and out of control.  He has junk and tools piled in chaotic piles....more than is necessary.  It is a burden to me to have this mess filling our garage and sheds and his warehouse/shop. He sits in the dishelveled hovel like it is his kingdom and I lose respect for him (and me). His reality is off.  He comforts himself with dirty junk and thinks it is valuable, yet leaves me to pay the actual bills.  

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

I have lost respect for myself

I have been working through all the stuff I have contributed to our mixed-up mess of a relationship.  So I want to know:

1.  How to just stop making the finances work by transferring debt around from card to card, and robbing Peter to pay Paul.  I just picked up our tax returns for 2012, and we have a liability of close to 5 thousand dollars.  I do the books.  I was afraid that was coming.  I stuck my head in the sand.  We are in the middle of planning my daughter's wedding.  I STILL do not want accept the reality of that tax bill.

2.  How to renegotiate our relationship.  I did what ever was necessary to remain a stay at home Mom until our 2 children were out of high school.  Now I am angry because I do not want to have to FIX our financial mess.

3.  I want to sell it all - house, RV, coin collection, tractor - and start again.  Spouse curls up in a ball - because I am demanding HE sell all HIS favorite things.  LOL.  They are the most valuable things WE own.  Hey. I'll sell my koala collection, too - but that won't bring in much $$$.  

4.  The reality of all the junk/stuff is a bit of a conundrum - last year my spouse said to me, "Don't you realize how embarrassed I am when someone comes over when the barn door is left open and they see what is inside?"  Actually, no I did not.  Now I do.  

5. I WANT to just ignore all this stuff until after our daughter's wedding - but it seems to be at such a rolling boil - I waste more time trying to hide from it.  The time is NOW.  I don't understand why.

6.  I need to know what is the first step to take.  and how to deal with the repercussions. I love this advice from the latest of our counselors "the goal is to be the best people we can be...and see if this keeps us married"  I really don't want to remain married at all costs.  I thought I did.  Now I see how that caused me to enable our relationship to get to this disastrous point.  

rush

I also noticed my ex with ADHD got a huge rush from acquiring and buying things. I don't know if it was the stimulation, or newness, or what. He would find or buy things, with the full intent of using them or fixing something, etc. and nine times out of ten, that item would be sitting there months later, along with all of the other stuff. When I would ask him if he really needed it, I would get a 1/2 hour, defensive discourse on why he indeed did need it, or how I was trying to control him and how back in 1999 I myself bought a sewing machine that I rarely used. So not fun to be embarrassed to have people over to your house because it is so messy and junk is everywhere. He had an ability to live with it or block it out, but it made me feel like I was carrying around weights. I had a fantasy of getting a dumpster....

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

Dumpitty, dumpitty, dump, dump, dump

We have a dumpster.  Spouse digs through it all the time.  I have found many a broken item that was in the dumpster, now living upstairs in the barn, tucked behind other things, hidden.

How sick are we all to have "secret plans" for me to toss stuff into the dumpster, Wednesday morning after spouse leaves for the day,  so the trash truck will haul it away before spouse has a chance to reclaim it?  

lynninny, I had gotten a same response as you did - but mine was about my scrapbooking stuff.  It does no good to point out that all my supplies remains in one closet, and when I get some new items, I pass on some old items.  Plus, I schedule one night a month, and  two full weekends a year to work on my scrapbooks.  Other than that, it is all put away in the closet. 

barneyarff's picture

"The environmental

"The environmental stresses of enormous amounts of stuff"

What an elegant way of putting it.  I've been thinking about that as I've doing some chores.

I've been out of town for a week.  The hotel where i am staying while out of town is so bad that I am afraid to walk barefoot on the carpet.  I'm not the only one who has said that.  we are here though because it's as close as we can get to the place we are working.  I don't want to shower there.  i sure don't want to make any meals there.  Get my drift?  (Usually our accommodations are much better than this!)

anyway, I came home for the weekend in spite of the long drive because the "skankiness" of the accommodations were making me anxious and depressed.    Of course with a DH and a son with ADHD, it's not exactly clean here either.  the upside to staying in a hotel that is so nasty is that  I'm much more clear that the "skankiness" of my house-especially the downstairs is contributing to my anxiety and depression.  

I've known for a long time that I could not stay at my in-laws house because of all the mold and dust just made me ill.  My DH would yell at me for being so impolite to his family.  I never was nasty to them about it, I just would say that my allergies were acting up in their house so I needed to stay at a hotel.  But, because my DH is also a hoarder and since I've been sick, his hoarding is spilling out everywhere, the dust and mold has invaded my house, mostly the downstairs.  so of course I'm anxious and upset.  I' feel like hell because of the mold and dust.  His solution was to buy several air cleaners.  that helps of course but why can't we just get rid of all the crap that is holding the dust and mold?

When I told DH about my AH-HA moment he started talking about how he spent ALL his bonus money to buy air cleaners and

 the only one who cleans them is him.  I have no idea how this relates to my AH-HA moment unless he means everything would be fine if someone (not him) cleaned the filters regularly.   The problem is all the paper and computer parts, etc etc etc laying around.  I want to get rid of it.  I talked about getting an organizer when I get back next month and that just made him anxious.  Of course a hoarder would see an organizer as the Anti-Christ.

 

So, I am clearer as to why my anxiety and depression is elevated.  the mess (that increases my allergy problems) is contributing to it plus thinking about having to get in there to clean it.  (Even with a mask, it will be a mess) PLUS an angry dh for not doing it right.

 

I guess I've given him lots of chances to do something about it.  I think I'll email him on Monday and tell him that when I get back, I will be calling an organizer to get rid of anything that is not in the shed or in his storage shed.  He's had plenty of time.  (years) and I think I'm going to save my health now.   And then, anything left out will get tossed on garbage day.    PERIOD.  I have to have it clean.  PERIOD.  If he wants a mess it must be outside of the house (shed and rental shed).   

Thanks for helping me process this.

 

Some hoarding characteristics here

My ADHD husband loves to hang on to things (even broken things) that he might use.  For example, we bought new hoses last year. The metal part on one of our old ones was bent and rested, so it couldn't be used to screw into even the water source. Yet, when I asked him about getting rid of it, he said he wasn't sure yet. WTH?? The worst was last year when his office building was remodeling. He pulled stuff out of the dumpster to bring home. He had piles of metal in our garage and on the side of the house that he was saving to bring in for money. (We do not live out in the country!) He also wants to save all of our tin/aluminum cans instead of put them into the recycling bin for money. I just can't understand why you would want to create more work for yourself for a small return (and spend all that time crushing cans, etc. when there is so much else to do!). He brought a huge van load of metal in last year and made $50. That was with all of the large pieces of metal from the construction, so is it really worth saving cans to bring in for a few dollars??

I actually hit up Goodwill more than he does, but I buy purposeful things like clothes for me and the kids, household items that I am specifically looking for, etc. Last year, he went and bought a whole bunch of crap for the kids for Christmas that ended up having missing parts or being unusable. 

My saving grace is that his memory is bad. So, I often hide things in the trash or throw things away when he is not home. 99% of the time, he doesn't miss it, so it is obvious it wasn't important in the first place.The broken hose went in the trash months ago, so I am hoping he doesn't remember when we start working in the yard. The bad part is that in the garage, I have no idea what is actually important or not. If something ever happened to him, one of the first things I would so is order a dumpster and just start pitching. 

Both of his parents are like this. When we were at his parents' house, I once made a joke that one day when they pass on, I would just pull a truck up to load and haul to the dump. He looked at me like I was crazy and started talking about the value of the old tins, baskets, etc. all over the kitchen.

I am not neat freak, but get overwhelmed with clutter. I just have to do a lot on my own or it won't get done.

I'm also not a neat freak, as

I'm also not a neat freak, as would be immediately apparent to anyone who walked into my house right now.  Now, however, because I express a preference for keeping the house in a minimally neat and clean condition, my family thinks I have OCD.  Not funny at all.  

My husband could probably start a computer parts store with all the stuff he has in the basement.  I don't know which things are safe to discard, but I'm getting closer to the point of being willing to pitch things without caring, because we might have to sell the house someday.

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

Leaning a little to the OCD side

Rosered,

I like organized.  DVDs in alphabetical order.  Baking spices on one side of the cupboard, cooking spices on the other.  One shelf in the fridge for left overs.

I did laugh at myself the other day when I was taking the laundry upstairs from the basement.  I only had pink plastic hangers in the basement.  When I took my spouses uniform shirts upstairs, I hung them in the closet, closed the door, and then opened it back up and put those shirts on the non-girly colored hangers.  Too funny!!!!

I really want to find out how to fall in love with our home.  I did not have the opportunity to pick a house.  My spouse fell in love with this old farmhouse when he first had a job here.  When the lady wanted to sell, she offered it to us before she put it on the market.  It was more than we could afford, but I yielded to spouse's angryvtantrum.  

I can't get past not being allowed to search for a home that I wanted.  It is a wound that has grown as many other situations have been added to the "I yielded to spouse's angry tantrum."  

How oh how do I get past that?  I don't want to hold a grudge - but obviously I am.  

Not to mention that I modeled for my two children how to let someone control you with their anger. 

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

Helping and trusting

boilergirl,

I like neat.  I like tidy.  I like liveable.  I like "just pick up the big chunks."

 There have been probably 5 times in the past 10-15 years where we - myself and our 2 children - thought Dad was giving us 'permission' to sort and organize the barn and yard.  We hauled everything out of the barn.  We sorted, and organized.  And then spouse got angry and frustrated and shoved it all back into the barn.  There are boxes of stuff that have been sitting as they were 10 years ago.  I think if a person hasn't used - nor seen - a tube or a metal box or a bolt or a piece of wire or an old light socket in ten years, it can't be of much value, and can be thrown away.  My son tried to encourage how cost efficient it is to toss all the drywall scraps, and just run to the store to get a whole new piece for $10 when it is needed.  Seeing the value of time is a real roadblock for my spouse.  

My son is trying again to organize the barn.  Every time he gets a few feet of open space, my spouse puts something in the space. Maddening.  I won't get involved again.  I listen to my son's lament, and try to encourage that it won;t change until Dad wants it to change.  Maddening.

The tendency to hoard must have some genetic component.  While my spouse literally hated living with all the stuff his Dad kept,  he doesn't see how he is doing the same thing.

When his Dad passed, they thought his Mom would finally get to live in a hoard free place.  Sadly, she passed away in less than 2 years after he did.  It took  years of weekends to clear out all the stuff so they could settle his parents estate.  Every vehicle his Dad has owned was somewhere on the property.  Every tire off every car was somewhere on the property.  It took a long time to clean it up.     While there were a few surprises of things worth a few hundred dollars - 99% of it was junk. Some of the labor was part of the grieving process.  Most of it was a waste of time.  

 

It gives a feeling of control

I do this with aluminum cans. I live with my soda-drinking family, so I put the cans in a bag in my trunk instead of the recycling bin, and add cans I find. It isn't much, but it is some money that I can bring in outside of my job. I find that the poorer I feel, the more I do this. There isn't much else I can do to earn money, outside of my job, and every little bit helps. I don't think I have ADD. I just think I see a penny every time I see a can, and, since I'm trying to start my life over again, I need all the pennies I can get.

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

Everything in Balance

SueAnn,

I save pop cans too!  $15.00 for three huge trash bags of crushed cans is great!!

I would not be bothered if the stuff my husband brings home by the trailerful eventually went to the scrap-yard.  A majority of the junk my spouse wants to re-sell as 'used' material.  Scrap value would be 60 cents a pound, used material value is usually around 50% retail price.  Big difference.  Trouble being, we live 24/7 in his construction business as it is run from our home.  No escape from it - ever.  The phone calls, the answering machine, the paperwork, the trucks, the dumpster, the piles of stuff.

I am on overload. 

I think they do....

I haven't really noticed the hoarding tendencies in my husband, but he and his mom swear they are there......they've told me that without being asked. He's told me about how he used to "scrap" in his hometown and make several hundred dollars a week doing it. But last time we were at his parent's house, his dad insisted he clean up all the used brake pads he'd accumulated.

My husband insisted on an outside shed, so the garage would be clean. I helped him put up the shed, but the garage is currently destroyed, as is "his" bedroom....the master bedroom. I'm allowing "his" room to stay junked, just so he can control over something, but the garage is going to get cleaned tomorrow. I am not an enabler. If he refuses to throw things out, I will do it myself. Darn his feelings about it, but he tends to agree with me on most everything, so I doubt he'd put up much of a fight. Currently, I don't see a lot of accrued junk, but he hasn't had access to his truck in years AND we've been overseas for a few years. I imagine when we get back to my hometown next year, his hoarding tendencies might surface again.

Strange how all these ADHD people have so much in common..........and us as well.

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

My allowing lead to enabling

lauren07,

I realized I don't have good boundaries.  And I allowed myself to be controlled by anger.

Thus the mess from which I am trying to remove myself.

I am thinking, if my spouse had said,"I want to be a junkman/recycler/scrapman ," who knows where our relationship would have went.  

He was troubled by his Father's hoarding and I was troubled by his Father's hoarding, so I thought we were on the same page.  

My husband's recycling/scrapping gets in the way of his self-employement.  He has taken days at a time where he ignores his phone calls and scheduled jobs to hyperfocus on somewhere he can get scrap.  He has spent at least 5 days of the past month, traveling 40 miles one way, to clean out a warehouse.  The owner is getting FREE labor and FREE trash removal.  If we add up 400 miles at 41 cents per mile, that's $164, plus 5 days of lost income at $20 per hour (low-balled figure) at $800, plus paying casual labor at $10 and hour and $15 an hour and minium wage for 12+ hours each of those days. . . . . .ack!  Crazy.  Absolutely crazy.  Not to mention the customers who are ticked he forgot them.  And the wife who cries as each additional load of junk comes up the driveway.   

Funny

Last night, we were watching a movie in which a guy owns a scrap yard and makes sculptures out of the scrap. DH's eyes lit up when he saw that and said that is his dream. Ugh. I told him he would be living alone if that were to happen. Then he said that he would love to be a  "picker" with my son (who is only 7, btw). I again expressed my distaste (in a humorous way) and then he said, "well, if we were making money and had our own show like American Pickers, I bet you'd sing a different tune." Sigh. I immediately thought of this thread.

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

Yielded too much

When I was dating my spouse, I knew he had a propensity towards "junk/stuff." I joked all the time that if we ever got married, he had to promise to keep the stuff/junk at least 5 miles from the location of our home.

I bent.  I yielded.  I was controlled by anger.  I kept the peace.

All the stuff/junk is here on our property.

Sigh.

I just gotta figure out how to undo the mess I got myself into . . . . . . . . . 

 

 

barneyarff's picture

It's like it's a boundary

It's like it's a boundary problem, isn't it?   I  "let" the ADDer get one toe over the boundary then a flood happens.  With my DH, I've tried to be nice.  I've tried to give a little, or a bunch but he just keeps invading everything without even noticing.  Then he gets mad when I finally explode from frustration.

 

Once again, I tried saying "no this is my space" in a polite manner, then in a tougher manner then I have to yell and have a hissy fit.  I don't like having hissy fits, they take too much energy but that's where I end up often.  I finally get his attention and he acts all surprised and offended.

Hoarding is a problem for my DH too.  In fact it's the major reason we have not put our house up to sell yet.  He still has a bunch of stuff everywhere.  He just cringes when I mention an organizer.   I feel so so trapped.

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

Wow!!! Attention magazine from CHADD.org

I opened up the April 2013 Attention issue and what do I find?!  "ADHD and Hoarding.  What Is It, Why It Happens, and How to Help without Harming" by Debbie Stanley, LPC, NCC, CPO-CD.  

Dealing with the 'stuff'

Reading through all these posts was a little like travelling through a time capsule of my life! There were laughs, sighs, exasperation and finally acceptance. My ADHD husband is also a hoarder and thrift shop lover, and our property has piles of stuff everywhere, all of which is extremely important and 'could be useful someday' or 'might be worth good dollars if we hold on to it long enough' or will be 'just right to fix that thing we've had broke for so long'. The list of unfinished projects around here is longer than the Great Wall of China and increases every day. The shed is full, so he says "We need a new shed". I'm thinking to myself, "Is this like the old joke of needing to buy a new car because the ashtray got full??"

I have now been living with piles of stuff (in the yard, in the lounge, in the bedroom, in the bathroom, etc. etc) for many many years. I don't like it, I prefer to have everything in its place so I know where to find it when I want it. I have had hissy fits about it, especially when he vents his frustration at me after not being able to find what he needs at the time. These moments escalate when he insists I must've moved whatever thing it is he is looking for. (Which I haven't touched, he just forgot which pile he left it in).

Up and down the rollercoaster we went, me craving my house and space to be organised and lovely, and him insisting that I'm OCD and a bully. This has gone on for years and years, until finally I just gave up. Our friends and family all know and understand why the place looks like a bomb hit, so now I just ignore it all, and really this has been the best way to handle it. I figured I should try the one thing that I hadn't tried yet... if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! I stopped being the tidier of the house of everyone's stuff. I stopped enabling. Now I leave stuff where it has been left and work around it, step over it, ignore it. I will tell the children to put their stuff away, but I ignore any stuff of his or move it a little sometimes out of necessity. Rather than pester him to clean up or get strung out because of the mess, I simply wait...... eventually he gets so frustrated with it himself that he goes on a cleaning frenzy. I think at times he wonders why I'm not asking him to clean up when I'm obviously 'on one of my OCD rants' by asking the kids to put their stuff in their rooms. Of course these frenzies usually include him having a good go at me for being so messy and oh my god, how can I let the house get into such a state??? I calmly reply that it's not my stuff so I'm not moving it. While I keep most of my stuff neat and tidy, I have huge piles of things in the bedroom because I don't have any storage left - his stuff is everywhere. So now rather than be annoyed at living in mess, I have learned to largely ignore it until he is ready to go into clean mode, and that's when I clean up and sort through the piles in the bedroom.

Unfortunately living with mess is just another part of living with someone with ADHD - you either learn to live with it or explode or leave. The art of acceptance is a good one to learn if your choice is to stay. Yes it disrespects the way I want to live, yes it is unfair that I am surrounded by mess that affects my daily movements and wellbeing. Yes it makes our lives financially much harder having to see 'new' stuff arriving weekly and being added to the piles (or a new pile started) but eh.... if I leave it all alone, he will eventually have a lucid moment and deal with at least part of it. I am not going to waste any more energy or happiness on stuff that is his to deal with. 

No Hoard

Certainly not universal on this one. I can ignore mess if it suits me, but I don't generate it. I hardly ever buy anything.
In the rare times when I have a DIY project going on, I'll take a million trips to Lowes, and will build up a small pile of job related items. When I re-tiled the master bathroom in our old house the bathroom counters were to the brim with tools. Wife was pretty exasperated that it took three weekends to get the work done. All that stuff was used up or retired to a shelf in the garage. Our garage and carport were never paragons of order, though cleaning up my shelf in the garage was my perpetually meant-to-do-but-never-got-done task. Cleaned it out really well when we moved though.
If anything I'd say my wife is the bigger mess-maker. I'll get whipped up into a frenzy and deep clean when I can no longer ignore it. Detritus on the hardwood floors is especially good at triggering an impulse to purge. Clutter bothers her psyche more though, but then what doesn't compared to an avoidance champion space cadet?

Do ADHD and hoarding tendencies go hand in hand?

I have recently been diagnosed with ADHD and am a hoarder - much to my wife's chagrin. She is a perfectionist and  incredibly organized. I am the polar opposite, and cause her no end of stress. I hoard for two reasons - the first is because I can't work out what to throw out and what to keep - the synapses connecting these thought processes isn't clear. The second is because many of the items represent some element of past success in a befuddled brain. It includes items from schooling and high  school where I was academically excellent. They include the first and second year's notes of various University courses where I couldn't complete the degrees. It includes old books where I could claim success in finishing their contents; my kid's results and 20 years worth of their various art pictures and books, where I could track their success through childhood to adulthood. I shop at secondhand stores and markets, because I can claim some success in finding a bargain. The frustration of having ADHD is that I can see my goals, but have to take an incredibly laborious route to reach them. If the goal is across the road, I have to travel out of state through mountains and creeks to get anywhere near it. Subsequently the journey is so exhausting, I tend to give up - and reinforce the failure habit. Hoarding is a method of allowing me to capture some element of elusive success. ADHD is soul destroying, because I see very easy goals smashed to pieces. Hoarding helps me stay sane, because it helps me taste a "false" success. The worst part is that I see it happening but can't stop it. I have subsequently been a very angry man - and had no idea of what I was angry about. It wasn't an overt anger - rather passive aggressive. My wife took it personally, but it has nothing to do with her. The ADHD diagnosis has finally given me some understanding of my condition, and I realize that my actions are guided by a physical aspect of my brain. The lack of dopamine drives out attention and drives out pleasure. However knowing the physical cause is helping me self medicate. I have begun exercising and eating Phenylalanine rich foods to help increase the dopamine. My anger has also significantly reduced, and my wife's woe's have reduced, because understanding my condition is helping me manage its effects. If you are living with an undiagnosed ADHD, you must understand that their anger and frustration, and their frequent ambivalence is driven through an unending frustration. We build strategies to get through life; and often these strategies are ultimately very unhelpful. We like to spend time on our own, because it helps  us focus our attention. I have an overwhelming urge to please everyone and be the nice guy.  I understand now that it is because external validation helps increase my dopamine. I adore my wife, and detest my condition. As an organizer, you can help us by sorting through the crap. We will argue and take it personally, and may often unintentionally verbally attack you, but we often don't understand our connection to the hoarded items. To us they signify a small success because we have been mentally stopped from attaining the larger ones. To help us, you must help us increase our dopamine e.g. exercise, diet and meditation are very helpful. If you want us to be reasonable, then get us to address cleaning out a hoarded area after a dopamine fix, when our attention is more focused and we can see sense. To the spouses out there, we often really do love you; but often our own brains work against us. I hope this helps. Cheers, Lee

yep, hoarding

Interesting subject. We are in the same boat here. My ADHD husband also gets lots of "new and shiny" things and gets excited every time he buys something new. But, then, like others here, the item gets put in a box or gets added to the rest of the "stuff". Our 2 garage is so loaded up with his things, that we can't get one car in it. He complains about this ALL the time, but the stuff in the garage is HIS, not anyone else's. When he DOES find something that belongs to me or the girls, he wants to throw it out, but he doesn't throw out HIS stuff. He also has the large upstairs bonus room that is full of his computer stuff, drums, music, etc. but it's mostly spread around on the floor. I recently looked around the house, and noticed how few things were really "mine", and the rest is all his. He also has an issue about "HIS STUFF", which he doesn't like to share. He told me that he's had a problem with "sharing" since he was a kid, and doesn't see that as a problem. hmmmmmmm. "I just don't like people using MY THINGS". he says.

I'm getting totally fed up with the yard, because we now look like the junk yard of the block. It looks horrible.  There are many large projects he's half done that are now just rotting in the rain. I want to pull up a dumpster and THROW this junk out NOW.

    

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Who is in charge - and who can throw things away

Lee and DeDe,

This issue is huge for us at this very moment - all the stuff.  I have to go out right now - and will give a more in-depth response later this afternoon.

I fully get this:  "I'm getting totally fed up with the yard, because we now look like the junk yard of the block. It looks horrible.  There are many large projects he's half done that are now just rotting in the rain. I want to pull up a dumpster and THROW this junk out NOW."

 

A year later...

It is interesting this thread popped back up. I read my comments from a year ago and sadly, not much has changed. For a week I have been looking at a driveway full of pieces of wood, empty paint cans, etc. from the garage. He has been cleaning and organizing his mess in the garage (about the 4th time in a year) and has to take everything out to do it. I asked him on Thursday last week if he thought he could get the stuff put back while I was at work on Friday (and kids were at their grandparents). He said no, he had other things to do. We live in a suburban neighborhood with a relatively lax H.O.A., but I would not be surprised if we get some kind of letter about the mess. And of course, he would be mad about it. Plus, it has been raining off and on. So, stuff gets wet. He leaves it out longer to dry. Then, it rains again. The cycle continues. My son can't play basketball, kids can't ride their bikes in our driveway (however, my son takes his dad's side). Yet, he refuses to take anyone else's thoughts into consideration and only works on his own agenda. We are also the junk house and I hate it. He is about to take probably the 5th or 6th trip this week (2nd one today) to the home imrprovement store to get pieces for a pull-up bar contraption he is building. To me, it shows an absolute lack of respect for my feelings. But, I have no control over it :(

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One year and 2 months later

Rosered, ShelleyNW, jennalemon, lynninny, barneyarff, boilergirl, Sue ann, lauren07, mandi k, jackrungh, dedelight4, and LeefromAustralia,

Since my original post in April 2013, things have not progressed in a positive way.  My spouse was allowing our daughter (age 22 and now married living in her own home)  to help him sort out the barn, but as quickly as she made some lee way in open floor space, my spouse quickly filled it up.  He has also tried numerous times to take over my little section of the barn, and our son's half.  Our son pays us rent to use that half of the barn.  It is a continual battle to keep my spouse's  stuff out of our space.  

In November 2013, the service van for my spouse's business needed some major repairs.  We live in the NE, and winter is cold and snowy.  Our son was planning on doing the mechanical work, so my spouse put up a makeshift protection from the weather - in front of our son's side of the barn since the van does not fit in the barn.  They set up our 10 x 20 picnic canopy, and then draped a huge in-ground swimming pool cover over it.  My son could then access his tools and they could keep warm with a torpedo heater.  Long after the repair was finished, 8 months later, that ugly tent is still up, filled up with shelves of my spouses stuff, and also blocking my son the access to his side of the barn.   

I really could pull it down, and get a dumpster and throw all the stuff out.  However, I have more respect than that.  Also, understanding the hoarding mentality, it would do no good.  My son has subsequently bought his own place, and we are begging my spouse to get rid of that stuff so my son can move his own stuff out.  

It is like some big psychological road block.  

My spouse is working with a coach and i keep hearing plans on getting that stuff out of our yard.  The usual ADHD problems keep the progress at a stand still.  Something else always comes up that is more important for my spouse to do than work on that stuff.

We have plans for a yard sale over the 4th of July weekend.  I hear my spouse telling us that he will have all the stuff priced and out at the yard sale, and what ever does not sell will be left out from with a FREE sign.  Oh, it reads good, but will it happen?  That sale starts in 4 days.  I keep my own sanity about me by focusing on the household items my daughter, son and I will  be selling at the sale.  

The BIGGEST thing I am focusing on - NOTHING will remain at our son;'s property when the sale is over.  I will haul it away if necessary.  Can't change the past, but I can have extremely FIRM boundaries on current and future behaviors. 

My husband hoards to the

My husband hoards to the point that it has become a major problem. He has two LARGE storages filled to the brim, the entire two car garage, the storage space under the house, his side of the bedroom, and most of the backyard. 

It's one of the many things that I can't talk to him about (I have "rules" in my head of things I can't talk to him about; the multiple storages and hoarding are one, his addiction to shopping and financial planning, politics, and religion are the others). I stupidly broke my rule this morning because I was stressed out about paying all this money for storages and asked him when they are going to be cleaned out since he's been telling me for years that they will be, and now he's stomping around the house saying that he's just going to throw everything out and/or bring everything to me for my inspection before throwing anything out. The only way for me to preserve peace in the house is to simply ignore and keep paying the bills. 

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One sided

redhead1017,

"The only way for me to preserve peace in the house is to simply ignore and keep paying the bills."

I can relate to this.  My life revolves around my husbands whims and moods and decisions.  I am slowly working my way out.  I am also praying for a miracle that can get us out of the ditch our marriage is in.

Can you explain this further:  I have "rules" in my head of things I can't talk to him about. ?

Sure, what I mean is simply

Sure, what I mean is simply that there are subjects that are taboo. If I try to bring them up he sulks and tells me that he'll leave that particular issue completely up to me OR flips out and thorws a rage tantrum. For example, yesterday I found out that several people at one of my jobs got fired. This made me anxious about money, as I'm paying several hundred dollars in storage fees and ongoing shopping expenses for him adding to his collection. I let that anxiety get the best of me and asked him when the storages were going to be cleaned out since I've been told for ten years that this was something that was going to happen; he responded with he had been "making progress" and that he was just going to make sure that I saw everything before he touched it. In ten years, he's gotten rid of maybe one carload of stuff, however, it doesn't make a bit of difference when he keeps bringing stuff in every day. After throwing a tantrum for a while I got him calmed down by telling him I was sorry for bringing it up and that I had violated my own rule; that in order to keep peace in the house there were subjects I wasn't supposed to talk about and this was one of them. He was totally fine with that. He also went on to praise himself for all the work he does around the house; he cooks most meals and does dishes and runs kids to their stuff, so that's helpful. I just wish I didn't have to keep paying money for all this stuff, I also wish I could use the bottom half of my house, but I can't say anything. Honestly it would take me tops one week to clean all this out; we're going on ten years.

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Oh, I see

redhead1017,

I understand.  I did this, too, for a long time.  Then I decided that playing the peace-at-all-costs was not worth the price it is costing me in emotional turmoil.

 Saddly, what I have now is worse.  I never in my wildest imaginings thought it would last this long - meaning his anger/balking at my refusal to just be quite and let him rule everything with his angry posturing and tones.

It did work for him for a very long time.

I am really disappointed that,  judging simply by his behavioral responses over the past 40 months,  it seems apparent that is the only way our relationship can work.   

My husband has told me

My husband has told me several times that he is unlikely to respond to my messages, including ones that contain questions to which I request a response, if they contain anything negative.  That's a great way to promote communication and problem-solving, isn't it?

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This is one of those tough things

Rosered,

I am still baffled by the same thing - the apparent situation I have is that with my spouse, I can only discuss positive things about him/his behavior.  He will shut down anything else.

That is one heck-of-a way to try to live.

It is no longer the way I choose for it to be. . . . . .

"the apparent situation I

"the apparent situation I have is that with my spouse, I can only discuss positive things about him/his behavior.  He will shut down anything else."

The same situation here. I am expected to always give him the benefit of the doubt, despite logic, rational thought, and the historical fact all attesting that it, (whatever "it" may be), is Nonsense.

If boundaries are for the safeguarding of each of us, and not for the sake of controlling another person, then the only boundary I see that is within my ability at this moment is to completely detach emotionally. The problem with that, as I am experiencing it, is that he is so emotionally disconnected himself, that he does not even notice the change, with the exception of the area of physical affection. My counselor says that he has no motivation to seek an evaluation or to want to change, and I don't see how that will ever be any different, so I am still working on grieving the loss.

 

Violated my own rule about asking about the hoarding

Ugh. Yet another ugly discussion,  yet another day of him stomping around throwing temper tantrums, yet another day of me having to apologize for having the audacity to ask about the progress on the downstairs. It's been TEN FREAKING YEARS and I still can't use the downstairs, I'm still paying for multiple storages, and my back yard is literally a garbage dump. Hoarding tendencies and ADHD definitely go hand in hand, as per the many examples on this thread. He has such an emotional attachment to this stuff. He can't work anymore (well, he could, but he gets fired from every job and I've just had to accept that he will never be employed), and I think that all this stuff he has surrounding him is comforting to him. It's utterly overwhelming for me to walk downstairs and see literal walls of garbage; I can't imagine how overwhelmed he must be. 

This morning I had seen an article about a local organizational company that cleaned out a hoarder's house and suggested that might be something to look into. Stupid, stupid, stupid. That launched him into a tirade of how he's making progress and that he's going to start making up weekly reports for me. Another stupid thing I said - I told him I wasn't okay with him going to organize his buddy's store 8-10 hours a week FOR FREE and in trade for more toys and collectibles to bring home when I'd been waiting for the downstairs to be organized for ten years. That was another temper tantrum. 

He won't let me touch this stuff to help. Why? Because I throw away things he might need. He always brings up the example of me cleaning out our daughter's room a few years ago and throwing out some pony figures to Goodwill; he says he could have sold those each for $20. BIG WHOOP! Now she can't clean her room at all without him literally going through the garbage, and he gives her back most of what she's cleaned out. We have to sneak stuff out to Goodwill behind his back. It's ridiculous. 

Today I put a rule in my daily planner that I can't under any circumstance talk to him about the storage or the downstairs. He's been bugging me to put an addition on the house so he can have more room to store stuff, and I told him today that unless the downstairs is usable I can't have a contractor come in here and give us an estimate. Even that made him mad, when it's just common sense.

The only way I see out of this is just to accept that he's a hoarder. That he's mentally ill. It's not worth the aggravation. The only good thing that comes out of me asking him about progress on the downstairs is that he gets mad enough to work on it for a few hours. Then it's done for another couple months. 

 

I feel for all of you

I believe that hoarding is definitely mental illness, with elements of depression, addiction, anxiety, self-medication, and at least co-morbidity with ADHD.  I know that when I am depressed, making decisions is nearly impossible for me, and sends me into paralysis.  I am not a hoarder per se, but I have noticed a tendency to hang onto things "just in case."  I watch the hoarding shows, and I can identify depression in every single one of the hoarders, for various causes.  A few have substance addictions, which can increase depression.  Some are probably schizophrenic, frankly.  I've seen hoarders that have been abused as children.  It's a complicated problem, like an octopus, with many tentacles that can play a part in any one hoarder's manifestation of the disease.

Here is a great book about hoarders.

https://www.amazon.com/Stuff-Compulsive-Hoarding-Meaning-Things/dp/0547422555/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413840370&sr=1-1&keywords=stuff+book

So few of them ever get truly well.  I would probably plan on leaving the person and having some kind of normal life.

Resigned2B's picture

RedHead...

You have many more hoarding issues than I do.

Here's the deal: Dear, you have two months to get rid of things that won't get used in the next six months. After two months is over; these things in ALL these storage units are being donated for a tax deduction. You will wake up in two months and either these things will be gone or I will be.

Set a date, remind him periodically in writing three times, then do it!

My husband did get a lot of the garage done this weekend. He leaves for New York tomorrow morning. He has had TWO YEARS with things tightening in the last month. When he gets home, the garage will be 'husband crap-free' It's his mental health or mine. And I have lost mine long enough!! 

 

That kind of ultimatum rarely works with a hoarder

It is what "normal" people who just have a procrastination problem might respond to.  You have to understand that hoarding is a mental illness.  It is like telling someone who has severe depression, "Get better by next Wednesday, or I'm leaving you."  Only, in addition to that, you are going to take away every possession they have ever had and leave them in an empty room by themselves.  You would end up completely destroying the relationship.  Not that having a relationship with a hoarder is ever easy in the first place, but doing that to them would end anything you might have in the future.  They need treatment, but they might not want treatment.  Please think about reading the book I posted a link to above.  The Amazon page also has a FAQ that is quite informative, including photos of degrees of clutter problems/hoarding.  The authors devised a type of hoarding scale.

If one could treat the underlying mental illness, there would be greater success with treating a hoarder.  But it's not easy to get that far with them.

Resigned2B's picture

Tornado in a Jar...

Please don't think me harsh but I could care less what his issues are at this point. I care that I've endured hell for thirty years and, if it cures him or not, it's ABSOLUTELY going to help me!

Tomorrow, his things are going to Good Will. If he wants to buy them back, fine, but he will be using his weekly lunch money to do it. (Since his  monumentous lies, I control the money, in total.) He can rebuild the mess and, he either keeps it organized or, I plan on getting rid of it just as fast. ADHD professionals say, when they can't keep their things organized, it's because they have TOO many things. 

If he doesn't want that then let him leave me. To be honest, it will be a relief. Hoarders and ADHDers have to want to change. Sometimes that means hitting rick-bottom for them. If they don't think there's a need, they have no desire. If I'm not worth it to him, after all these years and six kids, then let him find someone else to put up with him.

I made him quit-claim the house to last me month and he's spent [and lied about] nearly every other dime we have. I guess it's down to survival of the fittest and I've lost on too many ends of this stick for decades. I will not lose my mind again.

Oh, I don't blame you one bit

I'm sure you are fed up and ready for a change.  And you know your husband better than anyone and can probably predict what will happen, much better than some other lady on the internet!  I only wanted to state it for others who may read this and think that confronting a hoarder and cleaning out their hoard will fix the problem - it won't.  At least not from anything I've ever read, heard or seen. 

It sounds as if you have set some very firm boundaries and that will protect you.  I always benefit from some righteous anger/indignation, and can take the kinds of action I should have, in the first place.

Good for you!  Keep us updated on what happens.

All the best,

TIAJ

I understand

As a person who lives with adhd myself I can tell you hording and unorganized mess goes hand in hand. One of the big symptoms of ADHD is unmotivation and being impulsive so we will buy something on a whim or do something without thinking things through first. For instance my car is a Pig's ty. I have wendy's and mcdonalds cups and trash all over the place but it's like for some odd reason I just don't have the time or motivation to get a trash bag and clean it out or keep things organized. I have been diagnosed buy a psychiatrist I have tried every medication in the book trying different doses more or less but nothing ever sings to help me. Most meds turn me into something I'm not for the bad not good. I'm not married But I'm consistently looking at adhd sites and forums for advice on everything. to be honest with you I'm afraid of getting into a relationship or getting married for fear rejection and criticism. I had an uncle with this disorder and he committed suicide from all the criticism and thinking he will never do anything right to please others. I promised myself I would never get to that point as I saw what it did to my family and loved ones but some days it is so difficult to live with. I think it's hard on everybody adhd and non adhd people.
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Understanding

Philiscool77,

Hi, and welcome to this forum.  

I have been struggling to understand what is ADHD and what is not.  I have also been struggling to understand what poor behaviors my spouse just adapted to deal with his life pre-diagnosis.  A clear understand of what-is-what seems to be the crux of the issue for me.

Yes, ADHD seems to be part and parcel to disorganization and poor time management and procrastination and distraction.  Those things can also be the catalyst of how to do things better. 

Identify your strengths, and accept your weaknesses, and find solutions.  I so understand the fear of criticism and rejection.  I see how that would be debilitating.  I also having a son who has ADHD.  I can see how his own acceptance of what he may need assistance with,  has made him part of who he is.  Balance, balance, balance.  In everything.  Disorganization - ask someone to help.  Poor time management - get alarms and timers and warning systems to help keep track of the time.  What would you think about hiring a neighbor child or niece or nephew to clean your car once a week for $5.00?  

I have been married 30 years.  We did not have an actual diagnosis of my spouse's ADHD until several years ago - well over his 50th birthday.  We all have developed many coping skills that need to be unlearned and new skills put in place.  

As in living WITH people with ADHD when I am non-ADHD - it all reads easy and works hard.  That is why I am here on this website.  Spilling my guts, and hoping someone will see what I don't see.  Not to take the blame, but to keep moving in a forward positive direction..

I hope you will find insight here.  I sure do.

Liz

Resigned2B's picture

I understand...

Interesting. As a nonADHDer, married to an ADHDer with six kids, two which are hard-core ADHD, I've considered suicide from all the criticism and thinking I will never do anything right to please THEM. Over thirty years it has proven impossible to keep up with all their messes, procrastination, and constant lying. They have made me feel that it is me who is the one who can't handle, what they consider to be, a perfectly NORMAL lifestyle.

I'm a design consultant and it's important to me to have our house reflect that. Today I went through my computer file where I keep all my pictures of the dreams we will some day have, like furniture for our living room or a bath remodel (we've taken a shower in a 3x3 square for the past 18 years w/no tub) and deleted ALL of them. There's no reason to think, that at this age, they will EVER come to be. How could they? My husband has borrowed against our 401k until there's no retirement left. Of course, he lied about it to me all this time and told me there would be substantial money for us to retire on. He's a CEO, why wouldn't I believe him? 

Alas, I looked into it in March, 2014, and found out the truth. Yet, he still continued to lie even when he was caught red handed. What made it worse? He acted as though HE was the injured party! HE was angry with ME!

We're going to be spending Christmas this year, for the third Christmas in a row, looking into kitchen cupboards with no doors. You see, this is year three, of a two month kitchen remodel my husband is doing himself. Again, he is angry with me... He originally was sure he was saving us thousands of dollars by doing it himself. When you add all the mistakes up, in addition to just how long it is taking, we won't have saved a dime. And the ill-will that exists between us over the remodel issues make it not worth a penny! I already HATE the kitchen. Not because I can't see that when it's finally done in 2018, it will be nice but because of what fights I see in every cupboard face. :(

I don't know what the answer is, that's for certain. They tell me Heaven will be worth it. All I can say is they BETTER be right!

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There has been some shift in my thinking

Resigned2B,

Amen to feeling this:  I will never do anything right to please THEM. 

Amen to feeling this, too:  it has proven impossible to keep up with all their messes, procrastination.

Amen to starting to feel that it is me who is the one who can't handle, what they consider to be, a perfectly NORMAL lifestyle.

Amen to understanding:  He acted as though HE was the injured party! HE was angry with ME!

This is my reality:  Again, he is angry with me... 

I don't know what the answer is, that's for certain. Me either.  The answer to knowing how to evolve my relationship into something that works for both of us.  I spent so many years adjusting what Liz did and what Liz wanted, all so it would line up and keep my spouse happy.  That was wrong of me.  I somehow ending up giving him the impression that those are the things I wanted.  So I was in an essence, lying to him.  Not on purpose, but deceitful non-the-less.  

They tell me Heaven will be worth it.   I believe this to be true.  I don't want to spend all my time here on earth contemplating what heaven will be like.  I want figure out how to find calm, peace, and some semblance of harmony while walking God's green earth.  

I am sorting out lots of stuff all at once.  I have been placing a lot of my own dreams on my spouse - on him being able to fulfill those dreams.  COULD he do great carpentry?  Yes.  I would be perfect.  The reality is he has no time to do all the things he insists are his to do - because they are his FAVORITE.   Nope.  He cannot do everything all the time.  He has to learn his own limits.  Or at least understand I no longer will just accept him insisting to do it all .  He can be cross if he chooses.  He can be angry if he chooses.  However, the consequence of those behaviors will be I shall walk away. To another room until he chills.  Or permanently out the door if he is unwilling to hear my heart.   I have allowed him to control stuff with his anger.  If he wants to be angry, he will need to learn how to walk through it, and change his behavior to something more conducive to marital harmony.

I have modeled unhealthy behavior to my 2 children.  I want to model to them the correct way to say, Oops, I blew it.  Here is how I will make it better.  Will it fix my marriage?  I do not know.  I will lead me to happiness.

 

Liz