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Stories/Info-sent in by COH

Stories-sent in to COH Site

Would you like to read the experiences shared over the years with the Children of Hoarders Site? Please feel free to post your experience, if you choose, in the comment area below.

“If You Want To Give Something Power, Keep It A Secret.”

Permanent link to this article: http://childrenofhoarders.com/wordpress/?page_id=94

About Growing Up COH

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Comments From COH

Please use this space to share with the general public/professionals/social services, what you would like them  to know about your COH experiences, by posting your comments. Below you will find comments from COH attached to the New York Times article: Children of Hoarders-On Leaving the Cluttered Nest. First, here is a good idea/comment from a …

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Cleaning: Routines/How-to

Recommended site: FlyLady.net Recommended books by other COH: Sink Reflections, By Marla Cilley FlyLady helps you create doable housekeeping routines and break down overwhelming chores into manageable missions that will restore peace to your home–and your psyche. Soon you’ll be able to greet guests without fear, find your keys, locate your kids, and most of …

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Excuses We Hear

Typical behaviors seen in compulsive hoarding include: • Saving far more items than are needed or can be used • Acquisition of more items than can be used • Avoidance of throwing things away • Avoidance of making decisions • Avoidance of putting possessions in appropriate storage areas, such as closets, drawers, or files • …

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Guilt-Healthy vs Unhealthy

From a member of the COH support group: Initially I was concerned about some of the guilt that various people in the group were experiencing. It seemed like it wasn’t really guilt that they had done anything to deserve, so this post was the result: Guilt is not necessarily a bad thing. Guilt can be …

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Memory Lane

Trips Down Memory Lane Quotes shared by children of hoarders: Curdled Milk! Numerous half filled bottles…of ketchup/mustard/pickles <insert food item of choice, half filled crammed into refrigerator haphazardly, with brand new ones crammed in there too Fleas Flea infestations that can’t be remedied because there are too many flea eggs/larvae hidden in the stuff! Fly …

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Occupations of Our Parents

Apr 13, 2006 My brother and I received a call on Sunday March, 26th that they found our Mother dead in her home. AND MY MOM WAS A NURSE! No one knew, the people at work would say she would show up to work clean, she didn’t stink and her hair and makeup were always …

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Overcoming Doorbell Dread

Advice from other COH on Guest Anxiety & Entertaining Lots of COH seem to have anxiety about having guests in their homes. Some COH may have not seen much (or any) entertaining in their homes as children and are responsible for hosting events and entertaining now that they are out on their own. Below you …

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Overcoming Isolation

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Overcoming Not Feeling Worthy

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always …

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Raising Our Own Children

What input do you have for other COH raising children of their own? What has helped you, what routines do you teach your children? What do you tell them about their grandparents? Please post your comments below if you choose, to share with other site visitors. ========================== A recovering person who hoards sent in this list for the …

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Ridiculous Things I Have Done For My HP

We know you’re out there. We’re right there with you. We offer this space to share those ridiculous things you’ve done for your parent, courtesy of the disorder of Hoarding. Thanks to a member of the COH Yahoo Group for the idea for this topic! (you can use the comment section below to post or …

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Tracy’s Story

TRACY’S STORY My Mother Died In Squalor Hoarding hurts more than just the Hoarder She worked as a caring and thoughtful Registered Nurse. Everyone who met her liked her. Tracy’s mother was creative: a painter, a seamstress, a lover of poetry. Her house was peppered with framed sayings reminding her to “look on the bright …

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What We Love About Them

Sent in to the COH Site… 1. The appreciation instilled in me for things that are made by hand. -daughter of a hoarder 2. Learning from my mother to have compassion for animals. -daughter of a hoarder 3. My mother’s love of art and creativity. -daughter of a hoarder 4. This form was submitted: Apr 16 …

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  • Cowgirl0850

    My mother has been a hoarder since I was a child. Nothing I ever have done for her has been good enough. I used to try to help and take care of her. I finally understand that it is her problem and I cannot fix it since she is not willing to to help herself. She also abuses the animals that she has brought into her messy life. But she does not understand that they are sick and the conditions that she is making them live in are killing her and them. 1 year ago after years and years of me crying out for help from the local Humane Agent they finally got a warrent and went in and got the animals out that her still living but in bad condtion. The house was all over the news I had not see it for years. I still makes me sick to think about it today. The health department told her to get it cleaned up I have no idea if she has done it. I am 40 years old and nothing I have ever done in th eyes of my mother has been good enough so I have cutoff contact with her. I feel like for 40 years I have been the mother and she the daughter and I cannot take it anylonger for my own mental health I am so afraid that I will turn into her. I know that she is not getting help for her mental conditions and at times she has told me she does not have a problem that everyone else does. This has cause me sever mental distress my whole life that I am being to think I will never get repaired. Thanks for reading my story it was nice to find a place where I could get if off my chest and to know that I am not the only child of a hoarder out there. Marsha

    • Gm19901991

      Dear Marsha,

      I cannot applaud you enough for getting those trapped animals out of there! You made a difference in those poor animals’ lives. Other problems may persist, but don’t forget that you won the battle for those animals who could not fight for themselves. Also, I understand what you mean about saving your own sanity. I have gone through something similar. Keep looking out for yourself!


  • Thank you for sharing your story Marsha.

  • Emmaisboss84

    My mother’s inability to deal with putting things away and getting rid of things during the majority has shaped me into someone that doesn’t know how to deal with everything. Her disastrous house and the childhood I had in it have negatively affected my progress into adulthood. I am twenty three years old and can’t deal with pressure and I know it was because of how I was brought up, what I saw my parents doing when I was a kid. I hope to hell someday I can escape this pain and become a productive member of society…

    • Anonymous

      I can relate to what you’re feeling 🙁 I hope both of us can escape this pain. I don’t think anyone, unless you’re going through it will be able to understand every complicated, confusing, frustrating, painful feeling behind what it’s like to grow up like that.

      People don’t understand and I’m too embarrassed to explain to them why I am the way I am. So i fake it, creating even more problems, haha yeah.

  • Jesi8513

    My mother is a hoarder and has been one since I was a child. I had two friend from grade school who were “allowed” to enter our house because they were the only ones who had seen the mess. It was embarrassing having to live in a house like that. My boyfriend would have to stand outside and wait for me because I was too embarrassed to let him in for the longest time. Thank God I found him because he understood and didn’t judge me for my mothers problems. We are now married with two kids and he won’t let me be like my mother. She once told me that my brother and I were the reason for the clutter and once we were both out it only got worse. Pretty sad that you blame your problems on your kids. I would have to clean something before I was able to go out with friends. She knew I would do it in order to have a social life. I love my Mom but geezz why can’t they see that they are hurting everyone around them. All they think about are themselves.

  • Anonymous

    I’m only 16. And it has taken me this long to gather up the courage to tell her how much she and this mess are hurting me. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings and how messed up is it that I feel bad for making her get rid of it. But after all the years of pain, i just couldnt take it anymore. I just wish i hadnt waited this long. I worry too much and am too mature for my age. I should be out like a normal teen, but instead I am literally stuck inside this mess. Normal kids shouldn’t have to worry about the hoard or the money issues.

    The worst part is not anyone knowing. Not knowing anyone else experiencing the same feelings. None of my friends know. I just wish I could have had your typical slumber party. I wish we could have relatives over for holidays and host bbq’s. I wish my mom could care more about me than she does the stuff.

  • Lucie

    I’m sorry for my english; I speak french. On french websites and articles, hoarding is always related to old people and it’s never question of children. But if I’m searching informations about hoarding, it’s because I’m worried about a child, my niece. 

    My sister’s husband, who is much older than my sister (and I’m much younger than my sister), has been hoarding for years. My sister accepts to live with his “stuff” and has also became a kind of hoarder, taking care of his things. When I saw they for the last time, their apartment was full of old computers, boxes, papers and also rubbish. Some of the computers were plugged and there were cables everywhere. Two rooms were useless and they used to sleep on a mattress which was on the floor. There was also a dog living with them. They only wore old clothes, from second hand shops and from my sister husband’s family. They were afraid of the outside world, never go to the hairdresser and to the doctor. 

    What is specially worrying me and my family is the fact that my sister became pregnant. When my niece was born, she had no place and no room. Here clothes were in plastic bags. When I was allowed to see their apartment, I was shocked. I told my sister that it was not a place for her and not a place for a baby. And since then, I’ve never seen them any more. My parents had never been allowed to see their apartment. My parents and I called the children protection services and I hope the situation is going better, now. 

    I’m very happy to read that there are children of hoarders who grew up, studied, have friends, sometimes families and jobs. I was worried that when a child grows up with no place to play, he can have some kind of mental disabilities. 

    I’d like people and specially professionals and searchers that hoarding can also reach younger people and specially their children. 

  • sj

    I am not the child of a hoarder, but the boyfriend of a child of a hoarder and am going thru a difficult and frustrating time.

    Background: We do not live together, but have been seeing each other for several years. My girlfriend’s mother, a hoarder, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. Earlier this year she got very sick – mostly due to chemotherapy – and my girlfriend began to feel guilty about visiting her sick mother in the extremely cluttered home. Her living space was half of the sofa in the living room and the coffee table. The rest of the house is barely navigable using the few existing pathways. Her only heat source was a medium-sized space heater, and she used fans to cool up until last summer when my girlfriend managed to talk her into purchasing a window a/c unit. The reason: the central heat and a/c blower went out – years ago – and her mom has not had it repaired because it would probably take days for a repair person to reach the utility room. Money is not an issue. As she got weaker, my girlfriend felt that she shouldn’t be alone – at least not in that place – and convinced her to stay with her just until she felt some better. She has since quit chemo and actually does feel much better, though we all know that  it is a temporary situation. But she continues to stay with her daughter, obviously knowing on some level that her last days will be much more comfortable in an uncluttered home, though she won’t openly admit this.

    At this point, she is probably capable of living alone, with frequent visits from my girlfriend (an only child) and friends(she refuses Hospice personnel) She cooks for us occasionally and is not really a negative presence in the home, but is very opinionated and judgmental, the house is just, well, different, with mom now in the next room offering her opinions and advice rather than over the phone from her own home, as she did before. My girlfriend and I are still able to go out for dinner, a movie, etc., but our time together at the home, like simply watching TV, now includes mom. And her cluttering is beginning to be seen in the kitchen and bath, and especially in her room. My girlfriend, who recognizes her own tendency to hoard – though not nearly as severe as her mother’s – had asked me to help her start to better organize and purge, and she was doing very well – until mom came to live there, and now she seems to have put her commitment to organize on hold.

    I feel really, really, bad because I am finding myself angry at a terminally ill woman, the mother of the woman I love. Why? Because were it not for her cluttered, unlivable home, she could be living on her own. And, because when she dies, her daughter and I will be left with the daunting task of sorting through her house, which now sits unoccupied, just a mile or so from my girlfriend’s place, probably with God only knows growing and breeding in there. A few months ago, mom sent my girlfriend to her home to get a favorite pair of her slippers – and she called me from the house, screaming, because the slippers were in the bathroom, along with dead mice floating in the toilet.

    I know the easy, short-term answer – don’t sweat it, after all she is going to die soon. But I am angry at her over the big-picture. After all, my girlfriend recently told me that her first marriage to a man she says she did not love and subsequently divorced – was partly just to escape the cluttered house. And the fact that mom knows what awaits her daughter upon her death and doesn’t even mention it, apologize for it, something – just makes me more and more angry.

    Need help with this!!  Any thoughts??

    Thanks for your time.


    • scribal

      This is a very hard situation because it’s not just the hoarding that you are facing, its the difficulty in finding the right level of eldercare. Having someone professional in the mix (like Hospice–but if she’s able to care for herself does she qualify for hospice?) can really help. But it is hard to find and/or expensive. The best you can do is support your girlfriend and offer to help her set up a better situation.  Encourage her to see a family lawyer about what her options are for setting up a living trust for her mom–it may not be doable at all but if she can then some issues with dealing with the house will be easier.

    • rb

      I went through nearly the same situation 18 months ago.  My husband’s mother came to live with us while going through chemo.  She lived with us to have access to better healthcare (we live in the city, her home was rural) but also because her home was so filled with “stuff” and animals that she had hoarded that it was literally not healthy for her to live there with a supressed imune system from chemo.  Her husband was unable to deal with her illness, the house, and everything in it, and was too overwhelmed to care for her.  It was an extremely challenging time for our family, especially our then 8 year old son.  My mother in law tried to control her hoarding while she was with us, but the room she lived in was piled high.  She passed away last fall, and since then, the father in law has been able to reclaim his home and his life.  My advice to you is — hang in there.  Now that we are a year+ from the situation, I can look back and say that we did the right thing in caring for her.  It wasn’t easy, I was angry, frustrated, and sad in turns throughout the year that she lived with us.  Get and give as much help as you can.  We had hospice and friends who were great support.  But I believe that we did the right thing, and if the same situation were to present itself, we would make the same choices. Its good to look back and have no regrets. 

  • scribal

    My mother always had hoarding tendencies but she was extremely clean and particular–until she just quit trying all at once it seemed. I think it was because we moved to a very old farmhouse that needed remodelling and once things got out of control, they never got back. Anyway, as she aged and my dad lost his eyesight and his mobility it got worse–never as bad as many here experienced however. My dad  and I were able to convince her to move into a small retirement cottage. It was the first “rescued” cat that motivated me to insist–despite the screaming and crying and blaming.  She’s in memory care now, my dad is gone, she doesn’t seem to remember her things much now. Only photographs of herself seem to interest her.  

    Which brings me to my current question–what to do with old photographs? I don’t mean how to store them or what kind of books to put them in.  I mean how do I deal with thousands of photos that are tossed in boxes–not current color snapshots but old photographs of family going back into the 1800’s. 

    Ten of them, even a hundred of them would be a treasure, but hundreds or thousands. I don’t actually know how many there are.  Since people here are familiar with hoarding I hope they understand how this could be. I have to go through boxes to see what’s there–I do want to figure out how to do this without just recreating the problem again if you know what I mean!

  • Tessarina42

    I would go throught them to see what I wanted to keep, but I would also try to scan them and save them digitally and then either toss them or call your local museum or historical society to see if they would be interested in the collection. You could also call an antique dealer to try to sell them.  There are people who collect old photos.

  • Aniky Australia

    This is a very helpful site, as a COH this site has helped me understand some things a little better. My mother always blamed my brother and I for the house being so messy. It wasnt until i got older and moved out that I relised that its not my fult or my brothers that her house was and is like that. I now know that she has a problem. I haved tryed to help over the years, but it is very hard because if you throw something out that you thought was rubbish you never hear the end of it. Or if she cant find something you get blamed for throwing it out and never hear the end of it.
    It was sad when I had my daughter because my mum went out and bought a lot of stuff for her home for when she would have her granddaughter over, but my partner and I agreed that it wasnt a safe or healthy enviorment for our baby to go into. My daughter had her first sleep over at my mums acouple of weeks ago, she is nearly 5. It caused a bit of arguing between my partner and I cause he didnt wont her to go. When my daughter got home she was filthey I had to bath her and clean everything that she was sent with. And I had to answer some questions she had, like why is grannys house so messy? Why dosnt granny dust her house out? Why does granny sleep in the loung room

  • chase

    My mother is a hoarder and has been for as long as i can remember. I have tried talking to her about it for years but she always has an excuse not to talk. Even when i am able to talk to her about it never seems to help and escalates into an argument. On top of that, she just finished a journey through breast cancer, during which i was very worrisome about her living situation for her health but thankfully she is okay now. 

    Recently, i have tried approaching her about things she should throw away and stop buying but as i said she always turns it into in argument and usually says very hateful things to me. For instance, I tried to get her to throw away a broken dollar store plastic football helmet piggy bank and she went as far as blaming me for her cancer because of the stress i cause her?! This really hurt especially because i was the only one there for her when she had the breast cancer.

    Also, i will be moving out soon and would like to get her help before i do so but it is very difficult when she won’t admit she has a problem in the first place. Although she makes me not want to help because she is very cruel to me when i try to help, heck she makes me consider leaving sooner.

    Any ideas?

    • anonymous

      That’s rough. Breast cancer aside, I’m in a similar boat with my mom. As hard as it is to have all this difficulty thrust upon you, don’t take it personally. It’s not your fault, and it’s not hers, really, either. It’s a problem that is hard to treat, because of all this denial associated with it. That said, I struggle a lot with trying not to blame my mom. I have spent so much of my life not understanding why she couldn’t throw things away or keep the house clean and felt like she didn’t care how miserable she was making me. Now that I recognize it as a problem, I am trying to be more understanding, but also I am trying as best I can to create distance. She refuses to change, and it is not within my ability or inclination to change her. So I have to let it go, and I have to get away. My room is the one clean room in the house, and I am moving out soon.

    • TC

       If she isn’t willing to admit there is a problem, and if she is trying to blame you for everything, there may not be much you can do. You could see what sorts of resources/help there is where you live for people who hoard, and present her with the information. But it is up to her whether she decides to get help – it is not up to you and it isn’t your fault if she doesn’t. It kills me to see so many COH say that they feel responsible for their parents’ problems. The fact that you are mentally ready and able to move out means that you have a lot of ability to take control of your own life. Some COH have a hard time figuring out how to stop feeling responsible for their parents and can’t move on with their own lives. I think that is a double waste. Good for you for making plans – give your mom some info and then get on with your own (neat and tidy) life.

  • lulu

    My Mother is from Europe and my father from North Carolina. They were both born in theths. Their childhoods were rough from the stories they told my siblings I. The both lived on farms and didn’t.
    have much. The familes had a lot of land but didnt spend money on the kids. Growing up in the 80’s I was the youngest of five kids. There we large gaps between me and my siblings. When I was growing up my parenta were in their forth house together. Only moving into nicer homes and better areas. This house was beautiful on six acres, a pool, five bedrroms. beautiful home. My Dad had started to have a lot of paper and books in the basement. My mother kept clothes and bedding upstairs. As time went on and kids moved out she kept their belongs left behind labeled in boxes incase they wanted their belongings. Yard Sales were a great place to find deals and get more treasures!!! The main floor used to be pretty clean. I always had friends come over. As I got older I cleaned more and more. I never touched the basement at my fathers ever growing piles of papers. My mothers stuff was eaiser to put in her bedroom to keep the main floor clean. I moved out when I was 17. I moved back a few times before moving away for good at 22. Everytime I went to visit the paths were closing in. My brother was in Iraq and I moved out all about the same time which seemed to make it even worse.

    • vivian

      My dad was born in Czech Republic migrated to Australia in the late 1960’s and got married in Australia. While my dad build his two story house. After my dad got married to my mum I was born in 1983. Things started to occur in the late 80s he started to buy building materials, bricks, wood, beds, fridges, tables, chairs.. He was buying items left right and centre. All the rooms downstairs were hoarded up the celling. Then he started to hoard the backyard cause he didn’t have room anymore to store his goods. The whole house was surrounded with junk. As a child I didn’t know what too think I guess I though it was normal but when I got older I realised it was a mental condition he had. I would argue with him and he used to abuse me back saying I was a fucking idiot. Years past as a teen and I couldn’t invite friends I suffered threw anxiety and depression as a child threw the environment. I feel very isolated and frighten cause my dad had the power and I could say anything to reason with him. I lived in the house until I was 23 and decided to back my bags along and start a new life. My mum wasn’t going to leave him so I left. For the few years I felt angry, upset, I felt he didn’t care about his own child that his belongings were more important then cleaning the stuff. As a 34 year old now today I have felt I have lost my childhood in some ways cause of the hoarding, My heath is so much better and I developed a mental illness is nasty no matter what you cant win. My dad started taking mediation for his hoarding for 15 years and has completely stopped. As a result I think it will never go away the hurt and damage a child goes threw hoarding you have to be strong to survive or you die with it.

  • Child

    I remember my mom scrubbing the hearthstones when I was 5.
    4th of July BBQ when I was 6, with mom and dad and friends coming in and out of the house, commenting on how much better the house was than the one we had before.
    I remember not being able to open the furnace room door to look for a missing cat when I was 7 because of the mountain of trash that sat in our kitchen.
    I remember being 12 and embarrassed because my brother and law kept looking around at all the piles and crinkling his nose at the smell the last time he ever visited.
    So many times I went to school smelling of cigarettes and dog s*it.
    I remember being 13, never having a sleepover because of all the trash and clutter.
    By 15 my dad took over my bedroom because he couldn’t open the door to their bedroom. Mom and I slept downstairs.

    I’m 25 now. Dad died of cancer in 2011. One of the last memories I have of him is the sound of him crunching on dog feces as he climbed the stairs and made his way down the dimly lit hallway to my old room.

    Gross filth has left an impression on me that will never go away. To this day, I am very poor at housework, and although I am not a packrat, I am always too angry at myself when I leave the dishes or the aquarium too long.

    My mom is now disabled, and I’m going to have to move in with her soon to care for her. Only this time– I have a fiancee.

    So soon, we’re going to have to face the filth. And hopefully, we survive it.

    • TC

      Is there any way to get her to move in with you instead or for all three of you to move to a different place? Her house doesn’t sound safe for you.

  • Anonymous

    My parents never seemed like they cared about cleaning. As I got older, I realized it was my mom that it didn’t effect. My parents have been fighting about everything since I was little and I now realize a lot of it involved our house. I never had a sleepover and I have only had 2 friends enter my house when it was “clean” for a special event like when a relative surprised us. I always had and still have to this day the doorbell dread. I also can’t walk into a friends house without knocking and waiting for them to open the door. When I went to college it was a whole new world. I kept my room extremely clean and I didn’t know how to be a host. When I got a boyfriend, I spent more time with him at his house and my mom got angry at me for it and wouldn’t let me bring him to the house even though i was embarrassed anyway for it. She didn’t understand that again the house was to blame. She thought that I didn’t want to “hang out” with her because of her age. I have a new boyfriend and I haven’t told him about my house because it’s really embarrassing. I think the most difficult thing is that I’m 25 and don’t have enough money to move out and I feel like I have nobody to talk to about this with. I’m worried that my boyfriend will start asking questions as to why he’s never been into my house and i’m dreading the moment I have to tell him.

    • swe

      i dont really know what too write.. for a start im not amercian.. an i
      just want too say that if you want too you can write here and share
      your toughts with me. at some level i can relate to things you wrote..
      you not all alone!.. i belive that its good too talk with someone who
      are or has lived a life in home with an hoarder . my self are currently
      living in a home like that.. untill this moment ive never has shared
      this with anybody. but today i got an strong feeling that it is more
      easy too handel if u have somebody to talk with. take care / swe

  • bgirl82

    My parents are hoarders, there I said it. I have only ever told 2 people about my parent’s hoarding: my best friend in high school and my boyfriend of 10 years. Their hoarding didn’t begin until I was a teenager. I suppose in that way I am lucky, that I had a normal and happy childhood, until I was about 11, when something bad happened in the family. I think this is when the disorder took root – as a sort of response to the trauma. Until I was about 15, my grandma took care of the house – she did the cleaning and all of that. After an accident that year, she was confined to wheelchair and couldn’t do anything and that’s when the hoard began to pile up around us. By the time I was 17, we were living in squalor. This was before Hoarders was on TV, and at the time, I had no idea that this was a thing. I thought I was the only person in the world who lived in these conditions, and they were bad. We had some pets, and they started to relieve themselves in the house, and it was deplorable. I tried my best to get a handle on it, but I was still a kid, what could I do? Around that time, the house became infested with fleas, so bad that I had fleas climbing up the legs of my jeans, bites on my legs and I itched constantly. I couldn’t have friends over, aside from my best friend who accepted things as they were and never told a soul about the house. I became used to it because I had to, otherwise it would have driven me crazy. By the time I was 19, I couldn’t stand living in it anymore. My grandmother was very ill, and I think part of it was caused by the condition of the home. When I was 19, I moved out as soon as I could, and short of another 6 month period in the house, I have been out of it since. It was exhausting how many times I tried to clean, all on my own, buying industrial cleaners and rubber gloves, scooping piles of animal crap into giant garbage bags. My father yelled at me for cleaning, told me I’d throw something away of value. I didn’t understand, I still don’t. By the time I was 21, I was messed up over it. In my apartment, I lay awake every night and worried. I wasn’t the best housekeeper then, and honestly I’m probably still not, but I manage to live in a nice clean home free of anything resembling squalor. But, I felt guilt even at that. I wrote them letters, begging them to get help. There was a time I even contemplated burning the house down myself. After my grandmother passed away, I decided it was time to move on. I moved away, got myself into college, and yet the guilt followed me. I wondered what people would think – friends, family – that I had just abandoned them into filth. Eventually, the hot water heater went out, and the house had severe roof damage and mildew. Finally, they got a new home and when they moved in they swore they would not let it get like that. Ten years later, the new house is in the same deplorable condition. My brother, for many years, lived the same way, though I think he is finally now starting to emerge. I felt alone in the world – unable to identify with “normal” people who don’t have this to deal with and unable to identify with my family. Whatever issue they have with the hoarding, I don’t have it. Everytime I come home to visit, I cry, I come home tramautized all over again. My boyfriend tries but he can’t fully understand – he doesn’t understand why I come home at all. I do because I love my parents – they have always given me love and support in so many ways. They are wonderful people, but they have an illness. It just hurts me that they can’t see how much their actions have hurt me. How they have affected me. I think the largest reason my bf and I never married is because I can’t introduce family to them, and I know that deep down he doesn’t want to be tied to my family in any way. I can’t say as I blame him. My parents can’t see how this hurts me, at least not enough to get the treatment they need. they won’t get help and I can’t make them. I just needed to share my story today to get it off my chest. Thank you COH for this site. Just knowing there are people out there like me makes me feel less alone.