Compulsive Hoarders

Discussion in 'SCIENTIFIC and ANECDOTAL research' started by igotplans2, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. igotplans2

    igotplans2 New Member

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    I've watched many of the shows on compulsive hoarding, at first fascinated because I have a family member with this issue (thankfully not nearly as bad as ones featured on the shows). But the more I watch, the less I understand it. In every case, the trigger seems to be one or a combination of just a handful of life events, including the death of someone very close, abandonment by someone close, or some event that caused them to lose something valuable. But in none of the situations have I heard of a tragedy that millions of us have to go through at some point in life. The hoarders' reaction seems so overblown and disproportionate that it makes me wonder if there's a past life component for most of these individuals. Maybe this sort of thing's happened to them repeatedly, and they maintain a trace memory of it(?) That leads me to also wonder if many OCD sufferers could greatly benefit from past-life regression therapy, and if that might be a whole lot more effective than "talk" therapy and easier than exposure therapy. Does anyone know if studies have been done in this area?
     
  2. usetawuz

    usetawuz Senior Registered

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    The "hoarding" phenomenon baffles me. I used to collect things...if they were one of the subject items I collected the purchasing threshold had already been crossed, so the purchase of another was a matter of finding it. Now I purposely liquidated my collections and now try to live as "possession free" as possible.
     
  3. Mama2HRB

    Mama2HRB Senior member

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    I, too, used to have many, many, many things until I lost everything due to the drug addiction of the x. What happened to me is much the opposite. Now I want nothing ... I finally realized that stuff is just stuff ... it is the people in your life that matter.


    I still have lots of stuff, tho, and am listing it on the net to sell ... cannot wait to get rid of it and turn it into cash. Most of the stuff came from a store I closed.
     
  4. igotplans2

    igotplans2 New Member

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    Hoarding


    I've also been on the road to releasing myself of all unnecessary possessions. I think for sensitive types especially, it begins to feel more imperative to do that the older we get. I look around my house now and feel disgusted by all the "stuff," even things like trophies and medals from my teens. Rather than feeling sentimental about them, I think, "I know I was a good athlete back then, and I still know it, as do people in my life. That won't change just because I toss out a bunch of dusty trophies." Or I think about how many pots and pans of similar type really need. If I didn't have kids, the process would be easy and quick. I'd be in a tiny, spartan house somewhere quiet. But, alas, I do have kids, and they're not up for grabs. ;)
     
  5. Totoro

    Totoro Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Here's another point of view..


    I think that "things" are largely about putting emotional trust and closeness into something that can't possibly disagree or leave us.


    There's certain things we just need in life such as a stove or a car (if you're in America), but for most of us, until we have stable and trust worthy relationships we people, we tend to define ourselves by the things we have and the experiences we attach to them. I myself have been on quite a few purges over the years. I keep a small digital collection of favorite books and movies and photos. But really, i don't have much stuff.


    Psychologically speaking, hoarding is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. A tragedy may exhasterbate and underlying condition or cause a new one. i wouldn't be surprised to find that hoarding affects women more than men. Women in my experience tend to have more of a "worry" complex as care givers than men do and putting their "worry' onto things other than a spouse that's died may create a feedback loop that forms a disorder.
     
  6. igotplans2

    igotplans2 New Member

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    Hoarding


    I find the "pack rats" and collectors a lot easier to understand than those who have just outright filth that impedes their daily living and negatively impacts their children's physical and emotional health. It's very perplexing how they can seem so "normal" otherwise, yet, can be in such denial and blind to the fact that things like mounds of feces and long-dead animals are in their midst. The one thing I notice that separates extreme hoarders from other I've observed with OCD is that they can be very sneaky and also lie compulsively. For instance, they will tell you with a straight face that something is just fine to eat and has only been on their counter for a couple of days, when it has maggots and has clearly been sitting there for weeks. Or if you point out something useless that's been under a pile for years, they'll say they're keeping it for a friend. If confronted with their lies, they typically have a hissy fit and start screaming about irrelevant things to escape the heat. They're an awareness on their part that their actions aren't healthy or appropriate, and that's obvious, but getting them to admit it and take responsibility (and follow through) for change is nearly impossible.
     
  7. Jody

    Jody Senior Registered

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    I agree with you, Totoro. One thing John Paul Jones wrote that I can definitely relate to is: "sad experience generally shows that where we expect to find a friend we have only been treacherously deluded by false appearances."


    I live in a motel at the moment, so it isn't physically possible for me to hoard things, but when I lived in San Francisco I conveniently used my hoarding as an excuse as to why I couldn't offer my room to a visiting activist (of which there were many). It was definitely a way to keep from getting too close to anyone else.


    So in that respect, igotplans, my hoarding never hurt anyone but myself. I would never have anyone over to my place, period. I suppose overeating has replaced my hoarding. Again, food isn't going to break your heart (except physically, I guess) and being overweight makes it easier for me to keep people at arm's length. I love humanity, but individual people have burned me one time too many, I guess.
     
  8. igotplans2

    igotplans2 New Member

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    Hoarding


    Jody, I can certainly understand the need to keep people at arm's length. Only in recent years have I learned to say 'no' to people, and not have some down-and-out living in my house for far too long. The worst part is that I was usually as down and out as they were, but still footed the bill for most of their expenses. Once I became disabled five years ago, I became a hermit. And my kids are just like me, so I never want for company. My addictions of choice these days are Sudoku, web surfing, shows on the paranormal, and book buying. And, yeah, food. I admit it. I've packed on 50 lbs. :freak:
     
  9. fiziwig

    fiziwig moderator emeritus

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    I've always had the opposite; the need to toss things out. Things I haven't used for a while get taken to the thrift store. I'm 66 and while most people have heaps and piles of "stuff" by my age, I could pack everything I own into the back of my sub-compact car and drive away.


    Ever since I was very young I've had the conviction that it's very important to be ready any willing to walk away from everything you own at a moment's notice, and not look back. I have always felt very bogged down when the number of my possessions started getting out of hand. (One move I made 10 years ago nearly filled my VW van with stuff!) It's like a heavy weight on my shoulders. It feels sooooo good to shrug my shoulders and carry off a carload of stuff to charity.
     
  10. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    I don't hoard, but I do stockpile canned goods and many other things, such as batteries, file cards, bandages, Scotch tape, corn cob pipes, etc, etc, etc. I figure I do it because I'm my father's son, and as a child of the Great Depression, he always stockpiled. So I think a lot of things in life are due to similar influences. I doubt that everything we do is past life related.
     
  11. kmatjhwy

    kmatjhwy Senior Member

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    Fiziwig, now I understand completely in what you are saying for this is how I am also. It is always how simple I can have my life be and live my life without so much freaking clutter! And also am always going thru and discarding and getting rid by some means some of my stuff which I do not need. Yes I understand also on how good it sooooo feels when you discard a bunch of stuff to charity or to a thrift store or somewheres. So you are not the only person like this. Thanks for Posting.
     
  12. hydrolad

    hydrolad Senior Moderator Super Moderator

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    A Common Thread?


    My late Mother, who I took care of, in her declining years, was a chronic hoarder as long as I can remember!


    For instance, she would keep and store small empty cardboard boxes just in case she needed to ship something, also she kept string in a drawer and rubber bands on all the inside door knobs.


    Oddly enough, she grew up during the Great Depression and was raised by a widowed Mother who struggled terribly during that time.


    It was so bad they would visit vacant lots and gather edible weeds to make salads for Supper, and neighbors would trade vegetables from their gardens and fruit from their trees (we still had an Avocado tree when I was a child).


    My Mother also raised Rabbits for the meat.


    Then World War II came along and they had to also endure wartime rationing.


    So I’m not surprised that there might be a “common thread” here?
     
  13. Kapitan

    Kapitan Probationary

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    You sound much like me. Quite possibly everything I own, could fit into my 'storage room' (used to be the bedroom but I made the living room in my apt. the bedroom). I think in my case though it comes from serving on the ships - you can only take so much with you and not only that, stuff can easily get lost out at sea - so as far as keeping things...I don't keep as much as most people.


    At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much.


    - Robin Lee Graham



    Like you I also donate to charity if there's something I haven't used or don't care to use anymore.


    I don't really 'hoard' stuff - but I do like to keep small stocks of important things. I also recycle soap scraps too - make them into new bars of soap I can use. I am of the 'make do and mend' type of mentality...which some would say comes from the Depression - WWII years, but you also have this when sailing out at sea. You're not likely to stop at a local Macy's in the middle of the Sea.
     
  14. Ignotus

    Ignotus Senior Registered

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    My sister loves hoarding. Currently our bedroom, unfortunate room mate, she keeps all sorts of things from empty containers to plastic wrappers. I have to clean the room many times per day and she doesn't even lift a finger! :)grr:) Even the papers I places in a box and asked her to recycle it is still there...


    I immediately dispose of objects, especially papers. The immediate thought was burn it. That habit came from 1945, when we are all asked to burn important documents. I don't burn them I recycle them, my hoarding sister and I are environment lovers.


    But if bags are broken or anything, I fix them with super glue and all. I rarely buy new things. But my pocket money depletes anyway, too much candy... I must cut those. : angel
     
  15. Delonada

    Delonada Senior Registered

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    Most of my hoarding happened when I was male. I'd collect a lot of things, computer games, computer systems, comic books, miniatures, and whatnot, everything to basically escape my own predicament.


    When I came out of the closet all this disappeared and now more or less rests in a dusty room.


    A lot of hoarding is related to our own issues and insecurities. When we get over them it becomes less of an issue.
     
  16. Susie

    Susie Dreamer-former moderator

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    Interesting discussion.


    This last week I donated three boxes of stuff to the Hospice Thrift Store. It was all stuff I used at some point in the past, but have not used in a few years. Other people can use everything I donated, plus the proceeds go to a good cause.


    I collect books and have a fairly large home library, but I don't label myself as a hoarder. I love my books and enjoy reaching onto to shelf for something to read. If I start reading a book i don't like, I will give it away to charity.


    I think certain things do can be tied to past life experiences, but they can just as easily be tied into our own choices in this life right now.
     

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