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Dear Dr. Robert--

I am a 19 year old student living in a dorm with three other girls, one of whom is extremely messy. She doesn't flush the toilet, leaves used sanitary products on the floor of the bathroom, lets food grow mold in the fridge, never does dishes, leaves half eaten food and empty wrappers all over the floor, and most recently she says she is hearing a "squeaking" coming from her room, but does not want to put rat traps out because she's convinced she'll step on one. Her habits go beyond anything I have ever seen and I have asked her to clean up after herself, written her notes, and most recently, flat out yelled at her and threatened to kick her out of the room if things don't improve. Things have not improved. It's almost as though she doesn't realize how disgusting her habits are and I am beginning to wonder if there is some sort of mental condition which causes a person to be so incredibly messy, or if this is just a result of poor upbringing. She just got a puppy which leaves droppings and urine all over the place, and when she cleans it up she simply puts the droppings in our garbage can instead of disposing of it properly. I can't understand how anyone over the age of 5 can behave like that and I am hoping you can shed some light onto this situation.

Thank you.

*Amanda Pollak*

ask dr-robert ask psychologist todos santos ask psychologist dr robert saltzman

Dear Amanda--

Such extreme messiness certainly could be the behavior of a disordered, mentally ill person, or it could be that your roommate learned this piggish behavior at home and sees no wrong in it. It even is possible, although less likely, that this girl comes from a home ruled by a compulsive, neurotic, hypercritical parent where she was forced to be inordinately neat, and now, away at school, this is her chance to rebel. Without meeting her personally, I cannot make that kind of determination.

But I can say that I would hate to share living quarters with such a person, and I would not blame you a bit for kicking her out of your room. Before doing so, you might show her your letter and my reply, and ask her if she would like you to assist her in getting some counseling help for her problem. This should be available at either little or no cost at your school

Be well.

ask dr-robert ask psychologist todos santos ask psychologist dr robert saltzman

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page last modified April 14, 2007

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