Pixel Tracker

Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 4:33 pm | Fair 61º


Louise Palanker: Living with a Hoarder Mom, Rejection Staredown, Getting Back with an Ex

Question from Bryan

Hi, Weezy. I have a little situation going on with my mom. I would kindly like to ask for your advice. My mom is a lady who likes to keep her papers from new to 5-15 years ago, and it’s being so congested that it takes up our basement, two of our guest rooms and even part of our family room.

I always wanted a basement to bring friends to, but obviously I can’t due to all the stuff. My dad and I have been asking year after year to clean up and throw stuff away, but it only gets postponed.

I realize my mom works a lot, but when she’s off and not doing anything, she doesn’t bother doing work around the house. So being me, I got fed up and started throwing stuff out, except for old pictures and brand-new package items. I pulled out all the new packages and put them out in the open for a future garage sale and stuff, so she can look at it and approve it or not.

Not too long ago she came into my room and she confessed to me that it stressed her out that I was doing all that, especially when she’s at work and already stressed enough as it is. But honestly, I have tried reasoning with her for many years, and I’m getting sick and tired of looking at my house as a pig sty. I’ve asked her nicely and all I get is broken promises. I felt like I’ve been too harsh on her but she’s not even trying.

What do you think should my next steps be? What do you think is best?


Your mom may have a psychological condition called hoarding disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, the disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.

Knowing this may help you be less angry at your mom and more understanding about her problem. Hoarding is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder and so your mother’s compulsion to keep these items is not something she is currently able to control.

These objects are her emotional blanket. They are protecting her from some deep fear or they symbolize some type of safety. It will be up to a therapist to help her understand what is at the core of her compulsion to hoard and then to help her let go of her clutter. Of course, simply knowing all of this does not clean up your house.

I admire your proactive, organizational efforts, but without your mom’s cooperation, this will be a losing battle.

Watch this video with your dad and talk about where you can go to get the help that your mother needs. She is not alone.

(TEDx Talks video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Jennifer

About five months ago I told this guy I liked him, but he rejected me by not saying anything, and I was relieved when school ended. But it recently started, and I have some classes with him and he constantly stares at me.

He’s a shy guy and he barely talks in class. He doesn’t sit too far from me and he is facing my direction, so it’s not my “imagination” and no one sits behind me. I can see him staring at me from the corner of my eye and when I look up he quickly looks away. This happens every day in class.

There was this one time when I had to get up to turn something in and it happened to be near where he sat, and I was standing waiting and he turned his whole body around toward where I was standing and was just staring. My friend even noticed, but I acted like I didn’t notice.

And another time, when I actually had to be in a group with him, he was sitting near me and he did the same thing. Another time, when I got to my seat after a presentation he was just staring at me so intensely and didn’t even look away, I was the one who looked away quickly because he was making me nervous.

It’s been months after the whole rejection and it’s a new school year, and I just don’t understand why he constantly stares at me.


It’s very possible that when you first told him that you like him he was not ready for that information. Now he’s had an entire summer to think about it and possibly get excited about the concept, but he still has not had enough experience with girls to have any idea what to do with his feelings.

Therefore, you need to just talk to the boy. I know that you still feel rejected but push that aside. Be bold, be brave, and recognize that nothing great happens without a certain amount of risk and effort. Muster some courage and ask the boy how his day is going. Give him a friendly smile. Don’t just be approachable, approach!

You two are both growing and changing every day. Give this kid a chance to know you. You both deserve that.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Morgan

Hi, Weezy! I found out that my ex was reaching out to me because I was ignoring him so I went with the NC rule (no contact). After a while he got quiet, which further proved that.

Last week, he sent me a request to chat with him. He ended stuff on bad terms and said he didn’t want to talk, so yesterday instead of talking to him, I liked his previous post about me. I want to know what are the chances of getting back with your ex if he misses you?


They are pretty good. Most relationships do not just end cleanly on the first breakup.

But before you go ahead and do that, many questions should be asked and answered: If you were to get back with him, what would change? What would be different? What would be better?

Why did it end the first time? If you both behave and react as you have in the past, isn’t history doomed to repeat itself?

The only reason to get back with an ex is if you both learned and grew through the experiences of being together and then being apart. If nothing has changed, then don’t get back with him.

Work on changing yourself so that your next relationship will be better and healthier.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals Network, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of John Sener
John Sener
"I am known for tenacity, diligence, honesty, and sound decision making with the ultimate goal of closing every transaction to the satisfaction of all involved parties."

Full Profile >