Holding on - what not to do...

trilobiteOctober 22, 2012

My mother's family and my mother in particular have issues with letting things go.

Just had a conversation with her about how she still sort of resents the fact her grandmother's house was torn down *in 1960* so a near bye business could expand.

She was a child at the time, but I gather her father was not happy about the tearing down after it was a done deal and communicated that to her.

I tried pointing out that it clearly seemed like the right thing to do at the time, if the family had needed/could use their mother's house, they would have held onto it. Once it was out of their hands, it was the new owner's to do with as they would.

This led to a whole explanation of how her father had had a "plan" for the house. :O

Anyway, I don't mean to go on, but I just can't believe my mother has spent this amount of time resenting the sale of the house! This stuff is parasitic and that's the only way I can think of to put it.

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My ex DH is the same. The church where he grew up got down to only 30 or so members. It was a huge building the members couldn't keep going. They decided to merge with another church. The new merges congregation sold the building. A business bought it with plans to tear it down and build a coffee shop. He goes on and on about how upset he is. He can't let it go and just wallows in misery over it.

He left his hometown at 18. He is 50. He hasn't been to that church more than a dozen times in the last 32 years! It's almost like he enjoys being miserable about it.

He's also a hoarder. I wonder if its all tied together - cant give up stuff, can't give up anything. It makes me sad to see his apartment. He has lived alone for about 2 years and already he could be TV. The good thin is my house is coming together and pretty clutter free now.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 10:46PM
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"This led to a whole explanation of how her father had had a "plan" for the house. :O "
Apparently he didn't, or it would not have been sold to a developer!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 8:15AM
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My parents held onto a grudge against our neighbors dating back nearly 50 years. In the mid-60's our next door neighbor was a dentist with three daughters, all red-heads. We were friendly, went in their pool, played tetherball, I even baby-sat for the 2 younger kids once. One day the dentist decided he wanted to expand his home to include a dental office. He had an architect draw up some plans, he showed them to Mom and Dad and got written permission to add onto his house. Seems you needed a town variance to put a business in a residential property. So they started construction, a matter of months. Final part included a circular concrete driveway/parking lot for the patients. Mom and Dad went ballistic, saying the parking lot was ugly, damaged the market value of our home and started legal action against Mr. Dentist. Of course all relationships were severed, my parents stopped talking to the neighbors, we were forbidden to play with their children. The legal case was lost. It got even uglier. Dad started throwing grass clipping and tree limbs on the neighbor's side and Mr. Dentist did same. My parents put in a row of Blue Spruce pines to block the offending view. The dentists family moved away, next buyer was another dentist. Would you believe my Mom became a patient? My Dad passed away in 1998 yet Mom still talked angrily about the first dentist, saying he was evil and had ruined any chance to sell our home. Of course, Mom never wanted to move, she loved her home and all the memories. Yet she held onto that grudge like it was her dearest friend. What might have been...

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:18AM
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This rings such an interesting bell for me. You described my mother. Every old house that she had been associated with, that has been torn down, is an issue for her. You will never hear the end of it. She found out not too long back that an old family house (in a part of the country that nobody in the family lives in or visits anymore) was torn down. She went ballistic, demanded to know why nobody contacted a historical department, etc. Truth be told, the house was really no value to history and probably better off torn down. IMO it has no effect on her life as to whether the house is there or not- she was never going to go see it again anyway.

She is a bit of an over-sentimental hoarder too. She would never think herself this way, but she keeps odd things- things that pull her back to the past, for example receipts from the dime store when she was a kid.

I'm reading a decluttering book recently in which the author discusses fear of mortality as being one of the reasons people like my mother do the things they do. They need the constant, seemingly unchanging world to convince themselves that 'things' stay the same and are constant, and therefore they will too. It was an interesting theory, I'm still trying to digest it, but think he has a lot insight there. I think it applies to my mother to a great extent, she is definitely one of those people who can't face that death is inevitable for us all.

Sorry if that got heavy.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 11:34AM
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Quasifish - can you post the title of that book? I would love to read it.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:40PM
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Quasifish- I really like your explanation of this behavior. My Mom never wanted to change anything, and, yup, she was a hoarder. She died just about 2 years ago and clearing out her house was a horror. She had ancient expired food in the basement; all our old toys were stuffed in the attic. Her living room was jammed with furniture- her original set bought in the 1960's, plus a set she inheirited when a cousin died, plus a set my brother got when he divorced. All three sets, three couches, loads of tables and chairs, all stuffed in one room. One day I visited and suggested she "decorate" the front porch, perhaps with some old tools and a wheel barrow. She yelled at me "No, I won't change a thing! It's been that way for years! " Yeah, right, if you keep things the same you'll never die.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 9:31AM
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mommabird, the book is Clutter Busters by Brooks Palmer. Very good read. I read an article by him in a magazine and it was very nuts and bolts in regard to decluttering, so I was a little surprised at how psychological his book seemed to get. I really liked it though and felt like I got way more out of it than expected.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:22AM
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Correction: *Clutter Busting* Sorry.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 4:04PM
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Thanks Quasifish! I just reserved it from the library.

I lived with a hoarder for 23 years and can tell you it's ALL psychological. The stuff I'd just a reflection of what's going on in their brain.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:02PM
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Gulp! Guess what's in my attic? Kids' toys, bouncy horse, wooden high chair, deconstructed crib, doll cradle (my old one!)......!!!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 1:01AM
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