WHY DOES SOMEONE HOARD.........
While many people keep things around them for a variety of reasons, is Hoarding a normal behavior become excessively present and creating more discomfort than it could/should be creating comfort.
Hoarding is about the fear of throwing something away that you might need someday, of not being able to remember it perfectly or that if thrown away it will cause a problem or that something bad may happen.
Meaning that the accumulation of material goods doesn't create material comfort but will instead result in a discomfort that may disrupt their life on all levels.
How often don't you hear people say:"Typical, just after I finally threw that item away, I found a use for it or needed
it a few days later.........".
But rarely do they end up living in a house where small paths have to be created to be able to walk around.
The following reasons of why people Hoard are all closely linked, but although similar they still have distinct differences.
- Now you would expect for these things that are kept to have a purpose, to be meaningful or valuable.
But for the person that Hoards, the usefulness and/or value can lay in the most unexpected things.
Sentimental value is only 1 of the criteria to keep just about anything.
This value is also about feeling the item is part of "you", not just an independant object.
MISCONCEPTION: The moment I discard of this item I discard a part of myself.
- The "What If's" that are so typical of OCD are found here too. Those with Hoarding Behavior find it extremely difficult to make decisions, and end up avoiding having to make any by keeping everything.
"What if I may need this 1 day..... Where is the harm in keeping just this 1 extra thing........."
Not having to make the decision of discarding something practically means that they can't make any mistakes while doing so.
I know, sounds simple enough, but how better to avoid making mistakes than to yes, avoid doing things, making decisions...........
You can't do anything wrong if you don't do anything. Those who don't try can't fail.
MISCONCEPTION: The moment I decide to throw something away I may be making the wrong choice.
- There is also the incapability to organize objects, not being able to see how you would possibly store them in a logical fashion. Which is ironic considering the visual chaos that is created by the Hoarder. But while this choas may be painfully aparent for those that are outsiders, the Hoarder himself often finds some logic in the chaos he created. To him a pile of junk may very well be the only way he can sense some control and order.
If only because the pile will literally be created by stacking what is most important on top.
MISCONCEPTION: The moment I am unable to know where to categorize an item in, I will place it in sight so I can know where it is.
- As you may see in OCD you also have a tendency for people to feel Hyper- Responsible for what is happening around and the people they care for.
With Hoarding this can result in the accumulation of "Just- In- Case" Objects being carried around with them at all times.
For me this meant hauling a huge purse around that could knock someone out.
- But you also have the obligation of HAVING to use a certain item.
Discarding seems to be wasting to them and this why so many items will later on be categorized under "Recyling", "Giving Away" and so on.
MISCONCEPTION: The moment my object has a use, I have to keep it so it doesn't get wasted.
SCARED OF FORGETTING/PERFECTION.....
- Then you have the issue of Control/Perfectionism, again so present when looking at OCD. The fact that when you throw something away, it's gone and once the trash will be picked up you will never be able to find this item again.........
MISCONCEPTION: The moment you decide to throw something away, you no longer are the person in control and what happens to this item will be in the hands of others.
LETTING GO OF THINGS.....
- Because of the fear of forgetting and the inability to accept that we can't be in total control, items will be kept so that with written/printed material for instance, it can be re- read at all times.
Some will find themselves looking through the garbage, checking if they haven't thrown out something they shouldn't have or resort in writing information down they see in every- day life, such as license- plate #'s, to make sure it won't be forgotten.
The inability to remember all, becomes the behaviour of keeping all within "arm- reach".
Hoarders have been noted to have a greater sense of Perfection than non- Hoarders and will eve expect this Perfection whereas others may strive for Perfection.
MISCONCEPTION: The moment you throw something away, you may forget it's content or the way it looked and it will be gone.
- 1 other point that for me was a motivation to Hoard was the fear of letting go, of moving on.
I used to hoard when I was younger, I would keep candy wrappers and elastic bands and small pieces of about..... anything.
The idea of loosing things that had even a remotely sentimental value to me, scared me. Because there would be no turning back, no control.........
But to me it also had something to do with things being ephemeral, keeping things or parts of them, meant that I would literally prevent them from ceasing to exist, scared that parts of my life may be forever forgotten.........
So I picked up small stones, leaves and kept notes and bills.......... I didn't want to let go of my life and forgot there was still much more to come.
All part of being afraid of death........
Letting go of things in life is so needed if we want to experience some sense of freedom, but for someone with OCD this means letting go of the control we want so badly.
My items became part of who I was, thus letting go would be letting go of myself.
Today I am still unable to discard to give away certain items because they are "me", and giving them away would mean part of me would be somewhere else, belong to someone else.....
MISCONCEPTION: The moment you throw something away, you let go of that specific part of your life, however insignificant it may be.
If you have any suggestions of what could be added to why people Hoard, feel free to send this by using this Form.