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Holy crap I think I need to see a councillor

I thank you in advance, brave, patient, reader.


My father has OCHD (Obsessive Compulsive Hoarding Disorder), which has made my family a bit screwed up, considering my mum just wanted a nice tidy house her whole life. He never let her/us have that. They would often fight because of this, and my mum would get very upset. My older brother would try to stand up to him, and that sometimes involved a physical fight which my brother never won.


My Dad has always been quite authoritarian and controlling towards my mother and our family. She never said a word, for many years, and just did as he told her. He also swears a lot, with little or no reasoning. I grew up very quickly because of this (as did my siblings). We weren't allowed to joke around, because there was no "silly business" in our household. Somewhere along the line, my mum started fighting back, and she always ended up very very upset.


My Dad was always the kind of person that would watch over you; he's a teacher. Not just a teacher, a widely respected lecturer, who, because he has a Masters degree and his wife is just a lowly "bean-stacker", is never wrong. Never. He is the man of the house, and what he says goes. You could feel his eyes watching you, judging you, even if it was something simple, like making a sandwhich... he'd tell you what you should be having on it, and you want to say "If I felt like having that on my sandwhich, I'd be having that"... but you've become wise enough to hold your peace.


Seeing the fights, especially the ones that turned physical, shied me away from him (to put it mildly). One time, five years ago or so, I calmly looked him in the eyes as I was handing him the telephone; he was polite and wonderful to whoever was on the phone, as he always is to those he works with. After he got off the phone though, I got yelled at and screamed at. I was apparently trying to be a "big man" for looking at him that way. I quickly learnt my place, as has always been the way. I haven't seen my dad's face directly in... five years or so.


I remember I used to be a very keen/skilled sports player, but he'd always swear and curse at me when I quietly let him know I what time my game was. Because of this, I quit playing sports. That made it even worse; for about two years he really had it in for me - I was simply trying to avoid the abuse.


As the family conflicts worsened, and I had to be at home, I quickly found sustenance in my room, behind a closed door. This wasn't enough though, for the sounds of my mum crying or him physically abusing her were hard to escape. Fortunately for me, my older brother had a keen interest in computers, and my addiction to video games, and later the internet, was foretold. Through game immersion, the pain disolved, but did not disappear.


Even though things weren't so bad all the time - him and my mother now get along okay most of the time, I can't help but feel like I've been a prisoner my whole life. It really didn't take long before I reached the point where I'd stay in my room whenever I was at home, and if he was home, I'd not leave my room at all. It became a bit of a sanctuary for me. I've kind of become dependant on computers. They've been my window to the outside world (or others while all this has gone on.


My relationship with him has greatly affected my life, and I feel he's either completely caused, or played catalyst to many of the issues I've had to deal with in the last few years. I feel it's affected me a lot more than any of my siblings, who, mostly just accept him as he is, and say to eachother "oh well, Dad'll never change". I feel more like my personality and self have been squashed, or sculpted to conform to his ways.

Thankfully, somehow I've managed to retain a little of my confidence and sanity throughout the years, I think through my part time job, friends, and things outside of home.


Currently (and for a long time), I've never spoken to him unless spoken to first. Usually in a given day, we only exchange a bare few words; the simplest of greetings. Sometimes he tries to open the conversation more, but I will usually give the simplest reply possible, even if it is a lie. Or I will just tense up go silent completely. He thinks I don't talk much. I often get very nervous when in his presense, or if he speaks to me.


Here's the thing:

My mum has recently purchased another house; a nice house that my Dad isn't allowed to touch, which my older brother is currently renting from her. I could move in there. Away from him. We've been trying to convince my mum to move also, because he's destroying her. She's stubborn though, and has put up with it for 30-something years. It will kill her if she doesn't leave. She's a very fit lady, but she's currently having lung problems because of all the stress. Being the second to youngest child of five, I'm not sure if I want to leave without her.


It's weird though. I kind of feel like... like a bug that's been in a jar it's whole life. The bug, when first caged, leapt for the opening of the jar. If it wasn't for the lid, the bug would have been free. Now, after a time, the lid is removed... but the bug no longer has the ability to jump out anymore. If you take the jar away completely, the bug might even long for captivity once again.

I find myself scared to leave because I don't have a lot of life experience, or confidence. I'd feel somewhat lost and helpless without my "jar". Does that make any sense? It seems wrong, because it's an opportunity for freedom, and living like this is ruining my life too...

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I think you should move in with your brother. GEt outa that house and out from under your fathers thumb.


You are right your mother may not leave, but this is her life... and you have your own.


Get into college if your not already, apply for grants or financial aide, get a job too..Doing these things for yourself will make you feel better.


Yes counseling may benifit you too. First things first, climb out of the jar.


It's weird though. I kind of feel like... like a bug that's been in a jar it's whole life. The bug, when first caged, leapt for the opening of the jar. If it wasn't for the lid, the bug would have been free. Now, after a time, the lid is removed... but the bug no longer has the ability to jump out anymore. If you take the jar away completely, the bug might even long for captivity once again.[/Quote]
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I'm in college, have been struggling for the last 2 years or so because of a number of issues related to this (over use of computers mostly!). Moving out will shake things up a lot, and I'll leave my PC here, and take my laptop... keep it internet free, and simply use that for work if I need to.

I still have my part-time job, and great friends... it's just home that's the problem.

Moving out is my new goal.

I guess the sooner the better... I'll chat to my brother this weekend.


Thanks very much for taking the time to read and reply, southerngirl! The support is much appreciated

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I too think developing an action plan to move out is your best bet.


My guess: Your dad has very LOW self-esteem and does not like the person he is. As a result, he is critical of everyone else and also hoards things to achieve a sense of satisfaction and to alleviate any guilt he may be feeling. (i.e. he would worry about feeling guilty if he threw something away.) In his own strange way he may think that by compulsively hoarding items is somehow "providing" for your family.


My husband's aunt is a complusive hoarder. At one point her home got so bad that I felt I had to intervene because it was a threat to her health. If interested see:


The problem with compulsive hoarders is that unless they want to change, you cannot make them change. My husband's aunt is slowly going back to her old hoarding ways, even though we thought we made progress with her. But recently she has been taking trips to the "dollar store" and to the Salvation Army buying more crap that she doesn't need.


It sounds like your father does not want to change. You and your mother will not be able to undo years of this behavior. I'm sure your father knows it's a problem and feels out of control and stressed, which is why he is aggressive toward the rest of you.


The best you can do for yourself is move out, and urge your father to seek professional help. It would take some major cognitive behavioral therapy to get him out of his current state of living.



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