I just found out that a good friend is a "hoarder".

@rocketj1 (6960)
United States
September 16, 2008 2:12pm CST
I have a friend who is several years older than I am. She grew up in foster care after her mom abandoned her as a baby. She has cerebral palsy but is quite able to get around without assistance. She was in an institution in her early years and spent the rest of her growing up years in foster homes. She moved from home to home. I have known "A" for about 3 years as we attend a weekly prayer meeting together. It is a small group of people (only 5 women). Recently she has been very upset because they will be doing renovations to the inside of her subsidized housing apartment. She has been really upset about having to move her things. Actually the apt. building will be packing for her but she is still in a tizzy. Now I understand why she is so upset. I went to her apt. to help her move some things into storage. I Was SHOCKED! I could barely get in the door because of all the stuff in there. It actually took my eyes awhile to adjust to what I was looking at. Stacks, and Stacks and Stacks of Junk! The only thing not covered was her couch. "At least she can sit down" I thought. She made no apologies for the mess. It was completely a non-issue as we hunted around for the 2 or 3 boxes full of stuff she needed me to help move. I had no idea she lived this way! I confided this to a close friend who is very discreet. The first thing she said was "was she ever institutionalized?" Yes, she was. "I had an uncle who did the same thing. They need things to hold on to. They are afraid to lose control. Because they had NO CONTROL over any of their childhood experiences." I know that this is a psychological disorder and I can't fix her myself. She has no income and no family other than her "family" at church. Are any of you out there dealing with anything like this?
2 responses
@savypat (20245)
• United States
16 Sep 08
We don't have this on a grand scale, but my husband who was raised in the depression hates to get rid of anything. I think its that insecurity of not have anything and needing something to hang on to. Have a lot of compassion for your friend, it sounds like she's self conscious about it.
@rocketj1 (6960)
• United States
16 Sep 08
Actually, she's more afraid of the movers touching her stuff. Trust me when I say it is mostly junk (bags, containers of undated snacks, papers, pens etc etc etc). Yet she's putting boxes of this stuff in locked storage so she "knows that no one will touch them and they will be all right" Unbelievable. Thanks for sharing:)
@savypat (20245)
• United States
16 Sep 08
This makes me so sad, can you get her some help? If so please at least try, I know that people have to want to help themselves but as a friend you can offer. Don't you think?
1 person likes this
@rocketj1 (6960)
• United States
17 Sep 08
I believe she has a social worker who has been working with her on some Medical things. I'm not sure if she's been to the apartment or not. I'm also wondering if she could be kicked out of her government-subsidized housing if she gets caught living like this. She always talks about how wonderful it is to have her own home after always feeling like a stranger living in someone else's house. She probably has fears of losing her place even without the messy situation. Just because the foster care system packed and moved her repeatedly throughout her early life. She's a sweet person who laughs with me all the time. I think maybe I will confide in the Pastor's wife about this. She is in our Prayer group. She , of course, knows a lot about helping people out. Thanks for you posts. You've helped me talk this through a bit.
@Pose123 (21661)
• Canada
16 Sep 08
Hi rocketj1, There are many people who have this problem, and it is sometimes very difficult to deal with. The fact that your friend lived in an institution is probably the reason here but there can be other causes as well. Some people will change as they get older or their situation becomes more stable. Blessings.
1 person likes this
@rocketj1 (6960)
• United States
16 Sep 08
She's 60 and I have a feeling this is actually getting worse as she gets older. She had to quit the only job she has ever had after 40 years and I think her depression about that may be adding to the problem.