children of hoarders

Last week it was all the rage to talk about hoarding, and today it’s being a child of a hoarder. People have been speaking out at Hoarder’s Son, Children of Hoarders (which I just joined this week) and now in a (not terribly well-written but interesting) article in the New York Times, “Children of Hoarders on Leaving the Cluttered Nest” (Steven Kurutz, 11 May 2011).

The most resonating point of that piece explains how I feel today:

“WHATEVER balance children of hoarders manage to find in their own homes, there is still the ancestral homestead to contend with — and the knowledge that it is filling up with more junk by the day — so long as the parent with the hoarding problem is alive. After years of pleading and arguing, children of hoarders often abandon all hope that the parent will reform.”

My parents are just at the beginning of talking about their need to declutter, but until there is a real reason to change, I hold no hope that they ever will stop “collecting” stuff. I never have tried to plead or argue with them. I just don’t go there because, for this but for many other reasons, it makes me so sad to see what they’re doing to themselves and their home.

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2 responses to “children of hoarders

  1. Giving up hope is sometimes the most practical and healthy thing for a COH. Not permanently, but we have to allow ourselves to be distracted from our parents’ issues, enough to live our own lives. If my parents every ask for help, I mean REALLY ask for help, I’ll be there in a second. And I’ll stay until it’s done, as long as they accept my help. Until then, I have to sit on my hands and prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the day that they both walk away from the house or die. It’s a morbid reality, and as COH we can’t escape it. Thanks for posting.

  2. I took it upon myself to the point of exhaustion to clear my mom hoard when she was in the hospital. Now she is home and wants to keep most of the stuff that is outside. I am pissed! I am gonna tell her helper to just bring all the crap back inside. I give up! I won’t be visiting!

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