Hoarders and Isolation


Last night I was bored after being sick for two days, and remembered that a friend had told me about a show called Hoarders, so I decided to watch it.  Talk about SAD!!  It was overwhelming, completely mind-boggling!

I was actually a little reluctant to watch the show because I firmly believe that what you focus on, you tend to become, whether it is positive or negative, and this is so VERY negative.  But it may be a good thing to watch one or two episodes, just because it is so hard to believe that anyone could get to that point, but obviously people have!  These people have a mental condition that causes them to collect things.  They have houses so full of stuff that they can’t live normal lives, yet they refuse to part with anything, even things that are obviously worthless junk.  I watched two episodes, and the thing that really impressed me was how hoarding isolates people
One person featured had to clean her house out because her 14 yr old son had deliberately lied to a school counselor, who had called Child Protective Services.  When CPS arrived at the door, they demanded that the house be cleaned up or the son would be taken out of her custody, which is exactly what the kid wanted.  He thought he’d rather live in foster care than in the midst of her mess. 
Another person on the show seemed to be totally alone except for her home shopping channel, living with stacks of unopened boxes–things she had purchased “because she liked pretty things.”  But believe me, there is nothing pretty about a house where there isn’t even a clear path and most of the rooms couldn’t be entered.  Even the kitchen was stacked full–no way to use it!  The bathroom had only a clear space around the toilet–the tub was stacked full.  The woman was sick frequently, with strange little ailments and infections that the doctors couldn’t really put a finger on, but it very likely was due to the condition of her house.  All the mice and mold and other unmentionables were making it quite uninhabitable, but she seemed oblivious to it.  She couldn’t understand why anyone had a problem with it, and thought her relatives were making a fuss over nothing.
The third house belonged to a woman whose husband of 37 years had suddenly disappeared a year earlier after a fight over the house.  He just gave up.  They had twelve children, the last of which had moved out at 15 because she was so tired of dealing with her mom’s stuff.  None of her children brought the grandchildren to visit because the house was so jammed full and filthy.  The woman had actually been living in a homeless shelter for almost a year when the show was filmed.  The relationships in this family were a total mess.
All of those people were so alone, substituting STUFF for relationships, giving up time with the people they love because they couldn’t give up their THINGS.  I can’t quit thinking about it.  And all of them were in such deep denial.  They knew that things had to get back in shape, but they didn’t seem to understand that in order to do that, they had to LET GO of things.  What was even more depressing was that, among just these three, the follow-up didn’t look promising at all. 
I have to admit that it was completely fascinating to me, in a horrible sort of way.  I can’t decide whether I will allow myself to watch another episode or not.
It made me think of a few hoarders I have known over the years.  Only one was even close to the plight of those on the show.  That family simply left things behind and moved to another house every ten years or so, leaving the old house to fall down around all the junk inside and around it.  I have no idea how their family relationships were, but they do have some nice children, so perhaps they weren’t so scarred by their surroundings as some of these seemed to be. 
Do you know any hoarders?  What do you think causes people to do it?


About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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9 Responses to Hoarders and Isolation

  1. walkintrust says:

    I think I might know one:):)

  2. bafocus_2 says:

    I do not know what causes it…..but I can tell you from personal experience that it is a pain to go to one of these kinds of places for an electrical service call…..especially if you pair “hoarding with having animals”……I usually put a name beside the phone after that and tell Jane ” If these people call, we are busy”

  3. homefire says:

    @bafocus_2 – Yeah, my husband got to work in one of those houses once, in the basement.  He said there were a couple paths, but in between, all available spaces were stacked clear to the ceiling.  One of the joys of being in this type of work, I guess.  But I don’t think even the one he went to was nearly as bad as the ones on the show.  You could walk through, at least…but perhaps they had cleaned up before he came??@walkintrust – How WELL do you know this person???  Hmmm???

  4. quilt_cats says:

    I know my house is kind of cluttered, but it’s nothing like those examples.   I think that would be horrible to live that way.

  5. homefire says:

    @quilt_cats – I honestly don’t see how they DO live!  It would be so incredibly frustrating.  HOW could you just calmly move out of your bedroom and fill it up with stuff?  It’s beyond my comprehension.

  6. hi.. I’ve never watched the show.. but I was up close & personal with a hoarder growing up.  I’m not sure what  psychological compulsion hoarding is rooted in.. my guess would be, it’s a form of control, coming from ppl who have felt no control over their lives.. They may have not been able to control their professional lives, their personal relationships, etc.. so this power to amass things could be a sustitute for more healthy forms of control (?)  I think that the kids suffer a lot, bcuz their parent is putting material possessions above the emotional needs of the kids.. basically the kids see that a stack of newspapers is more important to their parent, than giving their kids attention & a healthy living space..just my opinions. peace

  7. ShineOn1983 says:

    Wow. I just watched that show too. It was so hard to believe that it is actually a mental condition. Hard, also, to believe that it is possible to survive in a house like that. The sad thing about the episodes that I watched was that these people actually chose to live with their mental condition over getting help. They chose hoarding over their families and people who were important in their lives. Most of the epidodes I watched the people did not make a real effort to change; a few did, but very few. How many times am I like that? I chose living in my sin over getting help to deal with it. I often choose my sins over people who are important to me, and excuse myself because I reason that it is too hard to change. My physical house may not look like those peoples, but sometimes my spiritual house sure does! I often need to chose to admit I need help, and turn it over to The Professional šŸ™‚ because the task is just too big for me. Do I do this when I am faced with changing or else hurting my loved ones? It’s amazing how often I don’t, but praise God He is there for me when I do.

  8. homefire says:

    @ShineOn1983 – That is such a great analogy!  I think it would make a good blog post–are you going to write it?  I just watched the show again last night and one of the characters was a fairly young professional woman, a phamaceutical rep, who couldn’t ever get into close relationships because she simply couldn’t invite people over to her home.  To outsiders, she was efficient, always looked great, was confident, etc, but inside her own home she was wrapped in fear.  It was a fascinating one, because most of the people featured have obvious quirks and eccentricities, shutting themselves off from the outside world.  She had normal friendships, but just kept them on the surface level, allowing only a couple people to know her well enough to see her house.Reading your comment made me think of the way we all tend to try to paste on a perfect spiritual exterior, not letting people see the spiritual clutter that we have shut inside ourselves.  I’m liking this line of thought more and more…if you don’t write more on it, I may!

  9. ShineOn1983 says:

    šŸ™‚ I might write on it later, but go ahead if you want to. I’m not on here much anymore, as you can see. I’ve gotten away from the deep thinking and into the shallow one line paragraphs. LOL (Facebook) I have been thinking of some deeper topics, tho, lately, and need to post them soon.

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