The Power of Mental Health and Money: A Story of Transformation with Deborah Greenhut

Today, Ed is joined by Deborah Greenhut, a PhD in English, professor, and corporate trainer specializing in communication skills and English composition. She introduces her recently published novel, The Hoarder’s Wife. After years of difficulty and a divorce, her husband took his own life, which she initially wanted to put behind her. But then she chose to re-access and investigate her own life. To protect her family’s feelings, she chose to fictionalize the story she pieced together through journals. 

Deborah shares that in looking at her journals, she discovered how giving became a detriment to her. Her desire to help took over her time, space, and energy. She explains the signs of her husbands hoarding that she retrospectively noticed, before outlining the ways in which it impacted their relationship and their family. 

Ed and Deborah talk about hoarding as a mental disorder, and how it can progress without treatment. Deborah speculates on the relationship between her husband’s success in work and the disorganization in their home, and then how she now realizes they had been approaching their problems as a marital conflict when they were actually a product of a mental disorder.

They acknowledge that though well intentioned, science is still mystifying and sometimes mental health professionals following protocols fail to take into consideration the complexities of being human. Deborah shares how much she appreciated the moments in which her therapist helped humanize her husband beneath the iceberg of his problems.

Deborah reflects on her own childhood, her mother, and her mother’s childhood. She muses on how the way her mother was treated as a child may have impacted the way she treated her, and the ways in which money factored into it. They discuss the detriments of the broader cultural dynamic of rejecting equality for women within money. In closing, Deborah emphasizes the importance of not waiting for a problem to worsen to address it, and the value in a circle of empathy.


Key Topics:

  •  Ideating The Hoarder’s Wife and giving too much (2:28)
  •  Becoming a hoarder’s wife (8:51)
  •  Hoarding as a mental disorder (11:04)
  •  Confusing marital conflicts with mental disorders (13:52)
  •  Linking early experiences with future behaviors (16:17)
  •  The downfalls of therapy protocols (20:52)
  •  Financial impact and childhood psychology (29:03)
  •  Gender inequality in finance (38:22)


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