Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Life with a hoarder has become a nightmare

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

-- Worried Wife

Dear Worried: Your husband seems to have a hoarding disorder. My reading on this is that it both relieves and produces extreme anxiety, and that it is a tough and persistent illness.

Your husband's need to keep -- rather than discard or recycle -- what is basically trash (detritus in the "junk drawer") is a sign of how deeply involved he is. His unwillingness (or inability) to make any changes or seek help tells you that his illness is calling the shots.

I do not offer this lightly, but in my opinion, you do need to leave this household. At this point, your own mental health is at risk. The nightmares you have about being buried beneath a mountain of stuff are revealing your very real fears.

Perhaps you can continue to love your husband from a (tidier) distance and support him in getting the help he needs. Counseling -- for you -- will help you through this tough transition.

Dear Amy: My son "Kevin" has been married for 15 years. They have three beautiful children.

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My daughter-in-law "Brenda" and I have always been very close.

Kevin and Brenda recently got a divorce.

Kevin now has a new girlfriend, "Kristen." She has never tried to get to know me. She seems to be threatened by my relationship with Brenda.

Kristen sends me nasty texts telling me that she knows that Brenda and I are talking about her (we're not).


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