2 Ways Marriage Counseling Can Help If You Live With A Hoarding Spouse

Hoarding is a problem that affects approximately 1 in 50 people, but it does not only affect the hoarder; it also affects those that live with the hoarder or are close to him or her. Being married to a hoarder can make life and your relationship difficult, but it is a condition that can be treated. If you are married to someone that hoards and are struggling with your marriage and life, you may want to seek help from a counselor. Counseling can be beneficial for you and your hoarding spouse, and here are two ways it may help.

Discover The Reason It Is Happening

One of the prime benefits of seeking counseling for this problem is the ability to discover the reason it is happening. Hoarding typically happens for a reason, and is normally the sign of a mental illness, but it can also occur from a:

  • Loss – Some people begin hoarding to make up for a loss they experienced in life. This could be a loss of a parent or child, or it could be a loss of a home or any other type of asset.
  • Painful event – Other people hoard because owning things is the only thing that comforts them from the memories of painful events.
  • Bad childhood – If a person grew up in poverty and had nothing, he or she might cling to possessions because they make the person feel secure.

No matter what is causing the hoarding to occur, treating it is more beneficial when you can pinpoint the cause. A counselor will work hard to try to determine why your spouse is hoarding, and this will be the first step in treating the problem.

Help You Find Ways To Cope

Counseling can be extremely helpful for a hoarder, but it can also be helpful for anyone living with a hoarder. Living in a house with a hoarder can present a number of problems and challenges. For one, you might not be able to move within your house because there is too much stuff in it.

Hoarding can also pose fire and health risks. In addition, it is embarrassing. You will probably avoid having people over to your home, and this may cause you to become depressed, simply because you are forced to isolate yourself. Living with a hoarder can also cause an extreme amount of stress on your marriage, especially if you are constantly nagging your spouse to get rid of things.

Through counseling, you may be able to learn and understand:

  • Why it is happening – If you find out this is happening because of a mental illness, it may help you become more compassionate and kind to your spouse.
  • The best ways to talk to your spouse about this – You can also learn what approaches work and which do not work when talking to your spouse about the problem. For example, approaching him or her with information about how unhealthy your home is might be a good way to talk to your hoarding spouse. Of course, all conversations will work better if you are kind and patient when bringing your concerns to him or her.
  • How to take steps to begin cleaning the house – If you and your spouse are both attending counseling, you may come up with an agreement to clean out the house. While this cannot happen overnight, this is one of the main goals of counseling for hoarders.

Counseling for this type of situation can usually help a couple work through their problems. If you would like to learn more about how counseling can help with your marriage problems, contact a marriage counselor at a center like Comprehensive Behavioral Health Associates Inc.