Hoarders…this show drives me crazy

posted 4 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
1622 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

My parents actually are hoarders.  Like, the kind of hoarders that could be on this show.  So, I definitely feel your frustration!  I can’t even watch the show because it brings back so many feelings of shame and frustration I felt as a child living with my hoarder parents. 

My parents house, the house I grew up in, is so disgusting that I can’t even describe the extent of it.  I never in my entire childhood had any friends over or had any boyfriend meet my parents.  In fact, the only person in my life that I have ever brought to my parents house is my husband.  When I was younger, I would periodically convince my parents to leave the house for an evening to go on a date or something.  While they were gone, I would throw all the garbage I could into trash bags and put them outside for collection.  I could only fill 15-20 bags in the time they were gone, which hardly made a dent, but when my parents came back they would force me to bring the bags back inside and dump them on the livingroom floor.  My parents were convinced that this garbage was actually extremely important paperwork or valuable in some way and that I was wrong to throw it away.  When I say garbage, I mean moldy food, fast food wrappers, cat and dog feces and vomit, hundreds of old magazines that were never read, and so much more.  It was definitely not valuable in any way. 

A couple of years ago, the city condemned the house and my parents were forced to have the entire thing cleared out, bulldozed, and rebuilt.  My parents are disabled so my husband and I were asked to help with the clearing out part.  Over a two week period, we emptied out that entire house and it was incredibly difficult to get my parents to cooperate with us on it.  They had a really, really hard time with it.  Anyway, we got the whole thing cleared and eventually the house was rebuilt and I was so excited!  I thought maybe the reason the house was never cleaned was because over time it  got too overwhelming for them and maybe now that they had a fresh start they would be able to keep up with it.  However, less than 3 months later, the new house looked exactly as the old house did.  I have never been more angry at my parents in my life. 

I guess it is a mental illness, but I can’t understand why anyone would want to live that way especially after I lived that way my whole childhood.  As an adult, I overcompensate for my fear of being a hoarder like my parents by being super anti-clutter in my own home.

ETA – sorry for the essay!  Obviously this subject strikes a nerve in me. 

Post # 4
8474 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

Yeah, it’s just insane how these people live.  I could never.

Post # 5
6207 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House

@peasantsong:  wow, that is awful. I’m so sorry you had to live with that for so long.

I don’t watch the show because it makes me too sad and frustrated. And a lot of it is really gross.

Post # 7
1622 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@LadyBlackheart:  I am super grateful that I do not have to live with my parents anymore.  Even if something were to happen where I could not afford to live on my own anymore, I would rather be in a tent by the river than ever stay with my parents.  I never visit my parents on holidays during eating times because I refuse to eat anything that comes out of that kitchen, and we never stay longer than an half hour because the smell is so strong that it burns my throat.  Not to mention the bathroom is so hideously disgusting that I could never use it.  So, to be honest, living in a tent by the river would probably be a better option anyway.  After the house was rebuilt and they let it get so disgusting again, I doubt they will ever change.  When they die, I will have the house burned to the ground. 

ETA – that isn’t to say I don’t love my parents, because I really do.  I love them very much and they were awesome parents in every other way.  But I definitely get very mad at them for not taking care of their mental issues and forcing their unsanitary living conditions upon me as a child.

Post # 8
9956 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

It is a mental illness for sure.

They say unless you get “professional” help to find the root of what triggered it, it will never ever end.

It usually involves some great emotional loss… or a loss of being able to control their lives, environment etc.

This is exactly WHY a solution wasn’t found for the Parent’s of @peasantsong:  (((sorry Hon)))

And “taking over” and doing it… never works… they see it as a loss of control (ironic)

It takes a special kind of person to work with folks with this mental illness… THEY have the patience of Job as they work thru the illness (and the mess) with those who suffer… they are Saints for sure, and have a special place in Heaven waiting for them


Post # 9
6361 posts
Bee Keeper

They have a brain dysfunction that causes that set of behaviors.

I don’t like the show because it exploits and humiliates the mentally ill for shock value entertainment for the masses, and further, often traumatizes them. The correct treatment is not, in fact, “throw everything out, whether they’re mentally capable of letting go of it or not. Just pretend they’re like us and will get over it, even though they’re not and this may cause them to commit suicide. If not, after their incredible pain, they will slowly rebuild their hoard, and probably larger than before, now that thet feel an especially exquisite lack of security about it.”

The correct treatment needs a social worker gradually working with them to slowly willingly let go of objects a little bit at a time. Guess that makes for boring TV. Ok, traumatize them then, huh? who cares, the viewers won’t see the emotional aftermath.


On the plus side, even mentioning the word “hoarding” helps me get in the mood to do a bit of decluttering. So thanks for this thread!

Post # 10
958 posts
Busy bee

I can’t watch that show because of the bugs. Roaches everywhere in those houses. I feel like they’re going to crawl out of the screen and crawl all over me. Ick.

Post # 11
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2017 - Bristol zoo

I find this show incredibly frustrating because (if it’s anything like the UK one) no attempt is made to give therapy to these people. The production company just bustle in and start forcing the participant to get rid of stuff, causing extreme grief and frustration. Of course it’s not going to work – the actual problem hasn’t been dealt with at all.

Post # 12
1127 posts
Bumble bee

@joya_aspera an @peasantsong:    yes, exactly! (to both!)

My ex is a hoarder and it took me the longest time to realize this and legally take away our joint custody for the kids. It was one of the most heartbreaking and angry making experiences of my life because I knew what I was doing (taking away the kids) was going to make things worse for him (though my obligation to the childen was obviously much bigger) We had been separated for years and I just didnt want to see that huge issue until I couldn ignore it. (the children came home stinking, dirty and negelected. They were living in filthy unsafe conditions when they visited him and when I finally figured it out it had become so bad I was shocked by what had been going on and how bad it really was. An enormous battle with lawyers, child protection and threats of suicide ensued. It was hell for all of us, my ex included) 

My oldest daughter is very traumatized by having lived with him so much (we had equal visitation), my son was in 2x a week therapy for two years. And me? I am riddled with quilt and overwelmed with sadness for my ex. And angry. I am so angry he can’t get his life and home together for the children. To this day he refuses to believe he has a problem and his family (even though they KNOW how bad it gets in his home) treats me like a criminal for trying to protect our children. 

I also cannot and will not watch that program. It feels wrong to watch these people suffer and torture themselves and their loved ones. In real life it takes years (if at all) of help to improve, and most can’t take that step. It is so terrible for them. This show does not help these people or their families. I guess if anything it spreads awareness. However I think that price is very high for those individuals on the show and also very damaging for our culture by teaching us to be judgmental and voyeuristic to people with crippling illnesses. These stories are so personal and each is deeply tragic.





Post # 13
533 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Obviously the show is meant to be fascinating by how disgusting it is, but like Shesaidyes said:

This show does not help these people or their families. I guess if anything it spreads awareness. However I think that price is very high for those individuals on the show and also very damaging for our culture by teaching us to be judgmental and voyeuristic to people with crippling illnesses. These stories are so personal and each is deeply tragic.

To me, it just feels wrong (and a bit schadenfreudeish, really) to watch a show that makes a profit out of broadcasting highly dysfunctional, mentally ill people in such a manner.
I have relatives who would be considered hoarders. I remember visiting, being 5 years old, and being horrified by their house (the smell, the fact that they explained they couldn’t open the garage door because it was so stuffed, the trash all over the kitchen), and it saddens me to think of people who live like that on a daily basis, and their relatives who are affected.

Post # 14
7192 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

It motivates me to clean my house. 

Post # 15
996 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@LadyBlackheart:  “I’m sorry, I just find difficult to have any sympathy for these people. They choose their stuff over their family. Ugh.”


The problem is they don’t know they are choosing their belongings over their own family. They don’t intentionally choose to live their life in complete chaos. For some Hoarders, they don’t even realize that anything is wrong in the first place (even when there is clearly something wrong in the eyes of everyone else). It would be like blaming a depressed/suicidal person for choosing death/dying over living/family. If everything was normal in that individual then there wouldn’t even have to be a choice for that person to being with. 


I don’t find it hard to sympathize for these people any differently then someone who is struggling with severe depression or is suicidal. They are people and they are struggling with a disorder that unfortunately many people don’t understand. It’s not any easier for someone who is a hoarder to just “clean their house” then it is for a depressed person to just “get over it and be happy”. 


All that being said, I hate the show. It most definitely exploits these poor people and doesn’t do anything about helping them psychologically. 


Post # 16
7771 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I have not ever watched it, but I have some hoarders in my family.  DH’s family member’s house is so bad- to the point where it is falling apart around things from the 1950s- literally, just random papers and things and water coming through the walls.  It is really scary.  Just stuff and dust everywhere.

Two of my family members live together and it is pretty bad.  They are both male and both divorced and you can hardly walk between the stacks of stuff.  They are both divorced.  One seems very depressed and he trashes the house.  The other one built a “garage” without a whole entire side after his divorce and filled it with everything left and literally let it rot away.  It has been over 20 years!  Kids would come and steal and trash, mice everywhere, and just general weather and wear.  I know it is some sort of psychological expression of sort of blaming his loss on someone else and showing the world he has no future and has sort of given up because of the “unjust” things done to him.  Sort of like “see, the world is wasting my things into crap and there is nothing I can do about it.  It was all taken away from me, I am the victim.”  He just insists on holding onto these things that are ruined now, these physical things, while simultaneously not caring for them and letting them rot.  He blames the world.  I wish I could help, but he is not interested in changing.  I have actually had to separate myself from him, otherwise I am constantly trying to help him and I need to work on my own life.

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