My mother has been constantly rearranging household furniture for at least a decade. I’m twenty-two years old, so it is quite possible that she has been rearranging furniture constantly for her whole life, but I just haven’t known about it. I moved back in with my mother a couple of months ago, and will be moving back out again in three months or so. It’s not making things that difficult, but her constant concern for the arrangement of household furniture is amazing.
Here are a few facets of her activities:
- The improvements are almost always hallucinated, although she insists they’re real.
- No commitment actually exists to getting rid of unnecessary stuff. There is never enough room in her apartment and she has tons of stuff she never uses, but it seems that literally everything has sentimental value to her. An unremarkable cookbook she has used once and will almost never use again–that’s the sort of thing she cannot separate herself from.
- You can’t confront her about it. She will get defensive.
- You can’t make your own suggestions about how the apartment should be rearranged. She will not take them seriously. She has a plan, although it will be different in a week.
- The house never actually reaches a state of immaculate arrangement, or anything even close to it. Do not think we live in a constantly shifting but pristine apartment. We live in a constantly shifting but invariably scattered and unimpressive apartment.
Like I said, it’s not really that bad for me, although she often asks me to help her move furniture that in no way needs to be moved. But she wastes hour after hour week after week of her life with the endless pursuit of a not-even-remotely-achieved feng shui. It’s amazing to observe her living a significant portion of her entire life just moving shit around.
Why would anyone have this sort of lifestyle? Is this some sort of recognized psychological condition, or part of one? She is a capable, warm mother who has worked full-time at times and can speak intelligently about a wide range of subjects. But I have a feeling that this modus operandi is never going to stop. She may go until her death devoting hours per week to meaningless rearrangements and occasional purchases. What could be behind all this?