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Married to a Hoarder

CD Knowles 9 months ago

Dear Knowles,

I am thirty years old and married to a well-known sculptor who is twenty-five years older than I am. He’s very talented and eccentric, not always easy to be with. For him it is a second marriage and I suspect the former wife left him for the same reasons I’m having trouble with him. He is a hoarder. I’m not allowed in his studio (no one is, except the cleaning lady unless he has a visit from a gallery director). I keep the house extremely neat and clutter free — at least that’s my goal. I run a small home graphic design business and I need things to be organized and tidy in order to function. We own a house in the Hudson River Valley. My husband travels a lot and keeps bringing stuff home with him — books, clothing, souvenirs, artwork and prints, exotic jewelry, feathers and fans, old handbags and briefcases, dishes, silverware, glassware — basically anything that pleases his eye. All this stuff gets put into boxes which he piles in towers all over the house. This has been going on for years. I didn’t notice at first because it was so gradual, every week a few new items from trips to the city or second hand stores in outlying towns. We now have two rooms in the house, the guest bedroom and dining room that one can’t really enter because they are filled floor-to-ceiling with boxes. If I try and talk to my husband about the situation he acts like he doesn’t know what I’m talking about (or like I’m just being stupid and childish). It’s become a very sensitive topic and I don’t know how to handle it. Can you please help? I love my husband but feel like I’m at my wit’s end. I forgot to tell you that he’s Romanian by birth and grew up in a household that had experienced a lot of shortages.

All the best,

Married to a Hoarder



Dear Married to a Hoarder,

Well, I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Unless you have a lot of patience and are willing to devote a large portion of the rest of your life to your husband’s problem, you are unlikely to have success. Please do some research on hoarding. It is a mental condition related to obsession-compulsion disorders and needs professional treatment. Most often the sufferer has no idea there’s anything weird about his/her habits, even though the evidence is right there in front of him. Put simply, he needs these objects he’s hoarding for his mental and emotional well being, and nothing is going to stop him. You can hire a professional organizer to clear out all his towers of boxes, but, unless he has serious therapy, the whole problem will start all over again. If he were to even let an organizer in the house. You could also consider a family intervention. As you said, this is probably the reason his first wife left him. So my suggestion to you is to think very carefully and decide if you can live with your husband and his encroaching mess or not, because this is a problem that’s not going away for a long time, if ever. Sorry I can’t be more positive.

All the best to you,

CD Knowles





Mom is as sick as the boy.
– Glen S.
  •  No sir, it’s you that is uneducated in Transgender life. Mom is on target. With her love and support this youth might just turn out okay. If you are interested at all you can rent the documentary Gender Revolution with Katie Couric. It is the best explanation give to date and is supported by scientific facts. It is not an easy thing for a parent to understand, but I assure you, her child will benefit from her love and support. – Helen B.
Transgender, not transsexual.
– Eli G.
“Ella’s dad insists she needs to be an adult before she presents as female, or takes steps to become female, and that an eleven-year-old just doesn’t know enough about life to make permanent decisions.” Exactly. Stop drinking the koolaid. Eleven years old. These kids need adults to parent them and allow them to mature unmolested by peer pressure, internet fads and creepy pharma preditors.
– Cherie B.
  •  If she is 11 and you want her to wait until she is legal age, then at least let her get a shot that stops her puberty and puts it in a waiting state. This shot hurts nothing, it just stops the facial hair and testosterone. At 11 she already knows her body is not hers. These kids need parents to love and support them. If it were your kid I would be watching for signs of suicide with your attitude. And I am not saying that as a judgement and I’m not calling you a bad mother. I just know these kids, being Transgender is not easy, its hard, sometimes too hard if they have to give up the love of their parents, so they choose death. These kids already have a hard time knowing who they are and then having to fight for their lives. I have seen it first hand over and over again. – Helen B.
First, let me say that this is not a choice. A transgender youth knows at a very young age that her body is not the same gender as her brain. Secondly, I don’t think, I know that if a transgender youth is not given full love and support by both parents, she is at serious risk of suicide. Mom, go rent Gender Revolution with Katie Couric and ask dad to sit quiet and just watch. After he sees it I pray that he changes his tune. Your daughter needs you and this is real. Get your own ego out of the way and put your child first. Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric is a 2017 documentary film about gender identity, produced by Katie Couric, National Geographic, and World of Wonder. It originally aired on the American network National Geographic on February 6, 2017. (Wikipedia) I worry for this youth as I have seen a very clear difference in the development of Transgender Youth with love and support of their parents and without. Also mom, take your youth to planned parenthood and discuss hormone therapy, which should be covered by your insurance. I believe with your approval they will give them to her. It can’t hurt to try.
– Helen B.
If an 12 year of wanted to use cocaine, cut off his feet and have a tail implanted/attached to his rear because that’s what he wanted would you let him? I sincerely hope not. Gender identity issues are not a physical disease they are a mental disease. Take the child to a psychiatrist.
– Gayle P.


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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.