Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Friday, July 9, 2010


The first time I met my father-in-law, he said something I've never been able to shake completely. I just found out today that it has affected my husband the same way. It still stings just a little every time we think of it.

We were going to a trade school that was just down the street from a convenience store. We didn't have much time for lunch, so when his dad said he wanted to meet me, we just met him at the convenience store, because we could grab lunch, have more time with him, and we didn't have to worry about being late getting back to class. We talked and laughed and joked for a few minutes, and out of the blue his dad started shaking his head and said, "I don't get it. How did you two get to know one another? You both talk so much I don't see how either of you got a word in edge-wise!"

We laughed, but I wanted to cry. I remember distinctly that I got that horrible lump in my throat that I get when I'm threatening to cry and trying to keep things under control. I believe I made some excuse about heading back to class, so I wouldn't be late, and we left together. I just remember choking back tears and feeling so very thankful that my future husband was by my side squeezing my hand in little spurts to let me know he knew I was hurting and that he was there for me.

My entire life, I've been told I talk too much. My first grade teacher remarked at her retirement party that her two favorite students in all of her years of teaching couldn't be more different. "One," she remarked, "I couldn't get to talk until halfway through the school year, and one I couldn't get to stop talking!" I was one of those students. My very, very shy younger brother was the other one. She retired many years after we had gone through her class, and she never once let on like either of our social styles bothered her in the least. She was an absolutely incredible teacher. She died several years ago, and I really miss her.

Later on I often got research papers and compositions returned to me in school with a minus after the letter grade, because it was too long. Yet I never knew exactly what I could cut out. It always seemed so important to me to include what I had included in the paper. And several years ago, a friend told me I was her 'most wordy friend'. Once again, it stung.

Today I was looking up information on a show called "I'm Pregnant And..." Each show is something different. I'm Pregnant And...Have Cancer, ...A Nudist, ...A Hoarder. Discovery Health is putting it out, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the hoarder episode. I really hope that things have gone well for the woman, and I hope that she feels she can reach out, if she ever comes across my blog, but I digress...

While trying to find information on it, I stumbled across this article about hoarding on For the most part it was stuff I'd already read before, but something struck me like a bolt of lightening in the list of symptoms in the article:

Symptoms common to hoarders include:
  • Indecision (e.g., whether to keep or save things)
  • Fear about not having or losing something
  • Distress about throwing things away or having them removed
  • Perfectionism, which makes them avoid tasks and perform slowly
  • Poor organizing skills
  • Using too many details when talking
  • Not letting people in their homes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
I was aware of all the other symptoms on the list and had experienced each and every one of them. However, my breath actually caught when I read, "Using too many details when talking". When I read it to my husband, he responded with shock as well. It all just sort of made sense.

My husband then told me (as he has many times over the years) that he has so often wished he could stop himself from talking. That sometimes he feels powerless to do so. That he feels he has to finish his thought, or he'll look stupid, because what he said up to that point doesn't make any sense. I have so been there!

I was talking with Bugster about it, and she said she has had the same thing happen to her as well. And her entire life people have made comments about how much she talks or given her nicknames like, 'blabbermouth'.

I hate that. I really do. And I think of my throat catching that day when I met my future father-in-law, and I so wanted him to like me, and all he could do is comment about how much I talked. And how I felt belittled. And how I didn't want that for our girls, and yet he's done it to Bugster before, and he does it to Hopper every single time he sees her. And yet I don't know what to say about it.

For that matter, I don't know, if I could say anything over the lump that suddenly appears in my throat every time I hear it.


  1. I am wordy too. I add too many redundant details to my stories and by the end of it, I feel stupid and long winded. I think it has a lot to do with being a writer. I have to make sure every detail is included so the other people understand what I am trying to convey. It's something that causes me embarrassment too. Whenever my mother would tell me I was talking too much, I felt that lump.

    Perhaps your father-in-law doesn't realize what he says is hurtful to you. Maybe if you gently approached the subject, he'd be more mindful of making comments. Just a thought.

  2. I was always told that I talk too much as well. Also, after talking to someone on the phone, or in person, I come away feeling as though I told them too much. Not embarrassing stuff, just too much. Interesting.

  3. Isn't that awesome, to have found an answer/explanation? Hopefully it will help you feel better, to know that it's not your fault.

    (I know, that seems to be my answer for any discovery that people make about themselves, but I love learning stuff like that about myself. It helps me to understand who I am and why I am the way I am. I do realize, though, that lots of people aren't into retrospection and self-discovery.)

    If you pointed this out to your father-in-law, do you think this could change his comments?

  4. I was called a CHatty Cathy as a child , always so excited about waht I had learned. My mom would shut me down or laugh at me as did some others , but my grandad and my uncle set them all straight saying , "if you listen to her she has something to say " because of that type of support and the fact that many of my family members also talk a lot , I found I could say what I needed to and let it go .Sad that the first thing you father in law did was to hurt you and belittle you . But really you and your hubby sound like you were exactly what each otther needed. And your FIL, missed the point altogether.

  5. I got through! Yay!

    This post really opened my eyes. My daughter talks, a lot. And sometimes, I say "Josie.Please just stop talking" but now, I realize that is hurtful and stifling. I will have to think of something else to say when I can't concentrate on something because she's talking so much! She is what she is and I love her. And, I'd hate for her to write something like this about me someday!
    Thanks for a great post!

  6. Judy, I just thinking I'd love for my girl to be talking too much it's great that you have so much to say and your daughters as well. I hope one day I'll be concerned about all of my Ashley's talking. Great post I love how honest you are and that you have so much to write about I'm sure you notice from my posts that I lack in that department hence all the photos I love to include to fill the space.

  7. I am so sorry that your first meeting set the tone for your entire relationship. Whether or not he realizes it is beside the point, too.

    I am so glad that you DO talk... you are an inspiration and I admire your willingness to be frank and straightforward.

  8. Oh my, that's interesting. I've found myself wanting to tell my oldest to shut it, but I know how I've felt having my family tell me to just be quiet. So I try not to tell him...


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