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Got to do Something - - HELP PLEASE

(45 Posts)
ginger3151 Fri 07-Jul-23 18:51:06

I have four beautiful granddaughters that are now 22,20,18 and 16. I found out that they have been living a horrific situation. I have tried so many times to get together with them at their home or mine. We were never allowed in their home, didn't know why, there way always an excuse - Now I know why - - it's Filthy - their parents; my son and daughter-in-law are slobs. There is stuff everywhere, they throw nothing away, just stack it up in a corner, clothes get washed and pile on the floors. Can't put them in drawers in because there's other stuff there. This is is where Dust goes to Die! It's 5 inches thick on thing above kitchen cabinets - where they prepare food on dirty counter tops. The back porch is rotted, the front porch is rotten, the grass is so high you can't walk. They have 3 children that are highly allergic to poison ivy, but don't do anything to get rid of it. My daughter in-law and son expects the girls to do the house cleaning, prepare food, tend to all the animals as well as excel at school. If they don't do that they are yelled at. The girls try to clean their room, but have to figure out how to buy cleaning products, because they are non-existent in this home. My son and daughter-in-law make lots of money - over $200K per year, their home when purchased was over $265k. Beautiful on 100 acres in rural Missouri - now it's probably worth $50K. There are probably 25 cars - all years and condition around the front and back of the house, they keep getting different ones and not getting rid of anything. There are bags of trash on the front porch - bugs crawling around inside and out. Dogs and their "pee pads" on the floor. They do nothing to repair the condition of the home, they say they don't have money to do so, but can go out and buy a $5000 dog, horses, new car, vacation, etc. But to not do anything to repair the condition of the home.
My issue is there is still a 16 year old girl living there - the other 3 have tried to get out by getting married, moving across country and staying with boyfriend. The 16 year old has no one to back her up - she will become their slave, they are imposing their wants on her and she has to comply. I am furious that I did not know about this and what was happening. I feel terrible, I have to do something, but I don't know what - over the years I offered to help with what ever they needed. Was told, no; we will take care of it, but then totally ignore it. I found out through one of the girls, my son and daughter-in-law are fighting all the time, not sharing a bed. They are rude to each other - verbal abuse abounds in this home.
I can't believe it has gone on this long without me knowing it was this bad. These 4 girls are amazing for living like that. They each have some type of problem and all their mother does is get them depression medication. The 4 girls need a better environment - they need to get out and stay out and be on their own - and away from the prison their parents have made for them.
Is there anything I can do legally to help the 16 year old that is still there and becoming "Cinderella"? I have told her we are coming down, getting her and her sister and going and doing things, giving them someone to talk to to lean on. NO MATTER WHAT - - - I am not being pushed out anymore. Is this a good first step? Concentrating on the girls - and figuring out how to help them?? How do you help someone live is hell? Any ideas or suggestions - do I just have an intervention with my son and daughter in law. I dont' care about the result of my actions as far as the relationship with my son and his wife. I don't care if they never speak to me again. It's about the girls. I have to also try and help the two that have left - one is married living close, so she still has to deal with it. The other just left for a new life today - moving to Las Vegas! I am so proud of her for going after her goal, and not letting her parents stop her! But what about the other 3??? Please respond - I would love some suggestions, my heart is broken, and very very ashamed.

Smileless2012 Fri 07-Jul-23 19:07:59

I have no idea what the law in America allows ginger, you need to find out if your youngest GD wants to be able to live else where and then see what can be done to facilitate this.

Please don't be ashamed. People who live like this often have underlying mental health issues and unless they recognise this and seek help there's nothing you can do. They keep those they don't want to know what's going on out or years.

Even going in and helping to clear out the rubbish and clean up the filth doesn't help because the cycle just starts all over again.

I know this because of my brother so I know how distressing this can be. Find out what you can do to get your GD out so at least she can live in a safe and healthy environment.

Musicgirl Fri 07-Jul-23 19:21:50

This is hoarding and is a psychological disorder. It is horrible for everyone else. On Facebook there is a private group called Family and Friends of Hoarders. It is a worldwide group but started in the USA and many members are American so will understand American laws. Please join as you will find friends who understand your situation and can give advice and help. It might be cathartic for your older granddaughters to join, too. It is NOT your fault or responsibility.

Mamasperspective Fri 07-Jul-23 20:51:41

Can you get social services involved then potentially go to court to become her guardian?

Wyllow3 Fri 07-Jul-23 20:56:45

Legally at 16 can she choose to come and live with you?

Or just come, because any welfare visit to her home will show it for what it is.

But Musicgirl's post spot on.

M0nica Sat 08-Jul-23 15:30:25

ginger3151 what a terrible situation. But I am sure there is a lot you can do, but you need to focus on the things you can do and ignore those that you can't.

Your daughter and her husband are adults leading their own lives, and there really is nothing you can do where they are concerned. So do not waste your time trying to help them, there really is nothing you can do

The girls you can help, so this is where you can do a lot, especially as from the tone of your post you are in a position to offer them another home to move to. The two older girls are clearly independent, but you can offer them the back up home, that most girls (and boys) of that age need, to fall back on in times of trouble - and you can be willing to help and council them.

With the two younger girls, I assume that both have now reached an age where they can both legally leave home and choose to live somewhere else. So what you can do, is offer them a home with you. Encourage them to move away from home and move in with you, and you provide them with the hepl and uspport children of that age should expect their parents to provide but that their parents cannot.

I do not know how things work in the US, but in the UK there will also be teachers/councillors/social service/ staff at school who could help your youngest grand daughter or refer her on to those agencies that can help. Can you encourage her to open up to the relevant person at school.

I agree that your daughter and husband probably have a hoarding disorder and you may well find it helpful to talk to other people with this problem in the family. I wonder also, how well their animals are being cared for and whether there is legislation for the protection of animals that re being breached and that you might want t0 contact an appropriate animal charity.

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 08-Jul-23 16:49:56

Is it possible for dust to become five inches thick? I’m not sure this is genuine.

BlueBelle Sat 08-Jul-23 17:17:52

I haven’t commented as it seems too extraordinary for someone not to see their grandchildren or daughter in law and son in their home during 22 years and get absolutely no clues from the children or their appearance or their chat over all this time !!
If the house is as bad as said surely when little the children would have been turning up to school in dirty clothes, unkempt hair , not fed properly and getting ill from all the dirt
It’s said three out of four girls have moved out, married or escaped, then it’s said further down ‘these girls need to get out’ and that you are proud of one that got away but what of the other three !!
There are so many inconsistencies maybe it’s because you’re upset and it sounds so unusual that you ve seen or had NO clues in 22 years !! Not only you, but the school, the neighbours
and anyone else in the two families

MerylStreep Sat 08-Jul-23 17:26:56

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Skydancer Sat 08-Jul-23 17:36:56

I'm with BlueBelle. How did you not know any of this in years gone by?

M0nica Sat 08-Jul-23 19:23:37

Well, if it is false, any help and advice we have given, may be of use to other people with similar types of problems.

The problem is quite often the most unlikely stories are the ones that prove to be true.

Shinamae Sat 08-Jul-23 19:30:35


Is it possible for dust to become five inches thick? I’m not sure this is genuine.

Exactly what I was thinking when I read about the dust

Hetty58 Sat 08-Jul-23 19:54:41

Why the sudden concern - and wish to help - after a couple of decades, I wonder. It just seems highly unlikely that there was zero awareness of the situation and now it's a bit too late, isn't it? Yes, inconsistencies ring alarm bells for me.

lyleLyle Sun 09-Jul-23 14:51:34

Well first of all, no matter how you feel, unless they are willing to get the mental health help they need you can't do anything. There is only one minor in the house. You can call CPS, but unless there are rodents and the accompanying communicable diseases found in the house, I highly doubt they'd remove the 16 year old. The other grandchildren are not your girls, they are grown women. They can and should already be making plans to get on with their lives outside of the family home. Why are you trying to parent all of these adults after all these years? Your feelings are valid but you are dead wrong to think it's your responsibility to get knee deep in this family's personal issues.

Your son and daughter in law's marriage is absolutely none of your business. They have kept you out of their personal issues. Stay out. You will be wrong and indefensible if you mention their marital problems to anyone. No matter how you feel, please understand that it is not your place to interfere in anyone's marriage. Full stop.

If you need help processing your feelings, a therapist is the way to go. I would be upset to find my family situation was in this way. But reel yourself in here. Deal with your feelings separately. Understand that you are not the savior of all of these adults, and their lives are not yours to fix. That savior complex will create even more problems.

ginger3151 Mon 10-Jul-23 06:51:33

I am not exaggerating the situation,girls sent me pictures of dust sitting on top of items that they measured.
Thegirls did go to school with dirty clothes. They got money for food for lunch. But it their Mom didn't want to cook dinner, she didn't. So they ate cereal or bread and butter for supper, if they had to. I am getting the information in bits and pieces and am speaking with principal atvtheir school. They live in a small farm town, so being in dirty clothes is not a big deal.
If you think I am making this up or rambling--- tough, I am telling the truth. If you don't care to remove dangers in uour home like poisin ivy or a collasping deck or porch, don't clean, etc. What kind of people are you?
I am concentrating on the 4 girls, goving them the support they need, trying to take it a day at a time to see what we can and can't do.
I hope you never have to deal with anything like this. I do not appreciate being told it can't be true. So you and take a hikr

ginger3151 Mon 10-Jul-23 06:54:12

2 girls arecat home, 1 married live close and the other moved out recently. The 2 left are NOT adults, they are not self sufficient.

ginger3151 Mon 10-Jul-23 07:04:07

I was never invited to the home, no one said anything. Things have gotten worse according to one of the girls. She said they were told not to say anything and whenever we were going to be together for holidays, etc. It was never at tgeir house, they would all get new clothes and look fairly decent. With tge exception of not wearing coats in the winter or wearing inappropriate shoes. If you aren't allowed to see or invited in or told, how would you know. I am not a psychic.
I am not getting involved in my son's marriage, his relationship is his. I don't want to know.
It's the hirls and the EMOTIONAL SCARS AND IMPACT THIS HAS HAD ON THEM, THEY NEED HELP DEALING AND OVERCOMING THEIR LIFE. what the heck is wrong with you. I am worried about the women they are becoming. They each have to deal with it in their oen way. But it can't be ignored and can't pretend it didn't happen. They will be trying to overcome this for years.
I thought this page would be a source of inspiration and information instead is criticism and cruelty.

ginger3151 Mon 10-Jul-23 07:06:40

Bull -- might be a slight exaggeration--- but fust can continue to pile and pilecand for years, it just adds up.
It's motca lie.

ginger3151 Mon 10-Jul-23 07:16:33

I don't want to be a savior, I want to be a life line for the girls. Get them the help they need to deal with the impact this has had on their lives. They need tools to "right the ship" and sail away.
I am hoping to be supportive and helpbthem anyway emotionally possible. This will have long term impact on their lives. Overcoming is NOT easy any is probably something they can't do alone.
I am sure when I wrote the furst post, I was all over the place with my thoughts and words. I had just found out a lot. . .alot more horrible situations and occurrences that I didn't think was your business or appropriate for this forum, so I left it out. I shared general information and have basically been called a liar.
You all need to examine your own conscience and keep your smart remarks yourself, I don't need it, nor want yo deal with it.

NotSpaghetti Mon 10-Jul-23 07:18:02

I would keep contact now with your grandchildren and be consistent with your support for them.

Can you have the youngest for a visit initially - they need to see where (and how) you are living before either you or they make a commitment. And of course you need to see if you might be better as a bolt-hole rather than having them full time.
After all, they may be miserable about their living conditions - but they probably love their parents, and their network of friends will be near their home.

I do totally understand your wish to get them out though.

Could the 18 and 16 year old manage a home together? I'm not sure if they would get any support from the government in America- I think not... but I do know through my work here in the UK where that was arranged.

What does the school say?

What a mess. flowers

BlueBelle Mon 10-Jul-23 08:03:46

I can’t speak for others but I m definitely not calling you a liar ginger but I m sure if you read through what you are writing you will see that it’s sounds way beyond the realms of normal, that your grandchildren had been so badly brought up in filthy conditions and no one, not the schools, not the grandparents, not the friends, not other family members had seen or heard about it for 22 years ! Doesn’t that sound strange for you reading it back
Didn’t the children ever looked unkempt? didn’t they ever mention when seeing you over the years that their house, food clothes, were a mess? Kids are notorious for letting the cat out the bag Didn’t they look a mess when they were young and unable to wash/ dress clean their teeth themselves haven’t they got dental medical problems ? Didn’t you ever wonder why for 22 years you weren’t allowed in the house ? I think I d have been round whether invited or not
This isn’t meant as a criticism at all because now you do know you ve become very proactive but I m trying hard to understand why it’s taken 22 years for you to be inquisitive, enquiring or concerned !
The question is what can be done now well I would think at 16/18/20/22 the worst is over you say the three eldest have escaped so that’s good hopefully they will not repeat their parents ways. the 16 year old has been through the worst by now ( give me a child at 7……) and survived so now it’s entirely up to her what she wants to do stay/leave/ come to you all you can do is give options and honour them.
I wish you good luck in this VERY unique situation ……but please remember you can’t come in after all this absence and make it all normal what’s happened has gone and you can’t undo it just because you have some new information

Hetty58 Mon 10-Jul-23 08:38:03

ginger3151, it seems to be a very disturbing situation for you - so I think you urgently need to seek help for yourself, first.

When you have a more realistic and balanced approach, a good understanding of what you can (and cannot) change, your attempts at helping your granddaughters will be appropriate and maybe welcomed.

Your thoughts and assumptions are of the 'worst case scenario' kind, they exaggerate the long term damage (if any) caused by such an upbringing in those conditions. Your responsibilities are overestimated too.

My neighbour, a retired social worker, has many tales of filthy houses, where your feet just stick to the floors - yet children are fed and cared for - the only necessary criteria for staying with parents.

A friend had alcoholic parents, was left alone over Christmas, with no food and no gas supply to even boil a kettle, only water, while her parents 'celebrated' at the pub. She was just seven years old. Still, when so young, she cleaned her room, the kitchen and bathroom, with a damp rag, dustpan and brush.

She watched the world through a window, she slept a lot - just waiting for school (her safe place) to reopen. She grew up very caring and capable - her only issues (understandably) are with trust. She's fine though, she enjoys life with her own family so much now. Her appreciation of 'normal' life is just amazing.

Musicgirl Mon 10-Jul-23 08:52:48

I never thought you were lying. I have heard about so many other similar situations. Never being allowed across the threshold of the house is common for hoarding families - a real red flag. It is as if they are ashamed of their behaviour yet cannot see anything wrong in it at the same time. Please join the Facebook group l mentioned before - you will receive help, advice and, yes, recognition from other members. Would it be possible for you and your granddaughters to get counselling? PTSD is a common reaction to extreme hoarding. It is good that the girls are reaching out to you now. Could you get them to take lots of photos? If official authorities need to be involved then you have evidence, especially if vermin is involved, which l suspect is all too likely.

Hithere Mon 10-Jul-23 12:25:15

There is nothing much you can do.

The oldest are smarter than you think and hope they landed in good relationship - if not, thats another can pf worms

Call cps for the 16 year old and contact a lawyer to see what can be done

Why doesnt their father/your son cooks dinner for their girls?

They know they can rely on you but they need to reach out

nanna8 Mon 10-Jul-23 12:34:44

Try to look after the 16 year old. The others are now young adults and can be independent. Can she come and stay with you for a while? Can you form a relationship with her with a view to helping ? That’s what I would work at, first ,second and third.