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Hoarding effecting health of others in home

Published on June 12, 2012 by ferrisjeanelle

I live in a 2 family home, my brother and sister in law live upstairs and we live downstairs. Living here for the last 2 years we've come to realize they are hoarding. We rarely see garbage coming downstairs. They have had appliances stop working and refuse to let anyone in to fix them. They also have 3 dogs that rarely go outside and in the last year or so we've noticed an awful smell coming from the upstairs into the downstairs. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to go about helping to change this situation. I am currently 3 months pregnant and what is going on upstairs is not healthy for me or my unborn child as well as everyone else in the home.

ANSWERS

Hello, Ferrisjeanelle.

Yikes! This looks like a very difficult and a very messy (don't forget unhealthy) situation. Try confronting your brother and sister-in-law with the matter again more adamantly and if they do not want to change their habits, then gather your family and friends (and probably a cleaning crew of some sort) and conduct an intervention. In the intervention, make sure that you explain that you love them but that they need to take into consideration others now because it is required that you have a healthy environment for your growing baby. Your brother and sister-in-law obviously need "tough love" and therapy for their habits because oftentimes stems from a psychological issue of both parties (one person condoning the hoarding and one person conducting the hoarding or both participating in this hoarding). If all else fails, then move somewhere else that ensures healthy growth of your future child.

I think that the first logical question I would have for you is whether or not you approached them about the situation. Knowing how or if they responded to that would be helpful to know if I was giving you specific direction.

In general, a good place to start is to state your concern...avoid attacking or using "you" statements. A great formula for productive confrontation is, 'When you __, I/we feel _____." Keep it about what you are observing and what is bothering you. This might be much more likely to get through to them than a 'you' statement attack.

Dr. J.

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