parenting

Modern Hoarders

She was frantically pacing around the room. “I don’t know why you have to throw anything out! Don’t touch those books, someone gave them to me as a gift!” She looked livid. “Then why are they in the drawer?”

We’ve been looking for a battery charger all over the house for more than an hour, and still no sight of it. “This house has so much shit it in,” she grunted. “Finally!” I thought to myself. She was finally displeased with the piles of useless material items around the house. Maybe this is the opportunity to throw out some of it and clear out the dressers, the closets and the hallway.

Ten minutes into it, she got really mad. At me. For messing with her things, for trying to get rid of things. “You are ruining the order! You are making a mess! I can’t find anything anymore.” Her face was red from screaming at me and I haven’t seen her this upset in a while. I threw all the stuff back to where I found it and left.

I got home and Googled hoarders definition. I’ve seen the shows- Hoarders, buried alive! But my Mom’s place doesn’t look like that! She doesn’t have cockroaches laying around! She can still walk around the house without stepping on things. It did not match. She’s not a hoarder by definition. But what is she then? Why would a sane person get so upset over a pile of things she did not even know they were there?

I called David to discuss what I witnessed with him. His Mom is similar to my Mom- she has expired food in the fridge but she won’t throw it out. She still has the box from David’s first PC purchase. The blender box. Clothing from 1970’s. What is going on here? If they are not hoarders by definition but have separation anxiety, what are they?

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