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Topic : 06/21 "Throw It Out!"

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Created on : Friday, January 27, 2006, 02:40:01 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

(Original Air Date: 02/01/06) Do you know someone who can't seem to get rid of their clutter? They keep newspapers, magazines, old clothes, and just plain junk thinking it will come in handy one day. Dr. Phil talks to extreme hoarders, who are embarrassing their families and destroying their homes. Nancy says her husband, John, is a packrat who turned their beautiful four-bedroom home into what she calls "the black hole." The house became so overcrowded with junk that they were forced to live in a trailer, and now the trailer is nearly filled to the brim! Will John and Nancy ever be able to live in their house again? And how is John's hoarding affecting their three children? Then, Misty saves every piece of paper her kids write on, and every article of clothing they've ever worn. Her husband, Greg, can't understand why she can't just toss them out. What's behind her inability to throw things away? Share your stories, join the discussion.

 

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February 1, 2006, 12:13 pm CST

02/01 "Throw It Out!"

   I am the fourth child of five kids that my parents had. Unlike that guy who wrote the book A Million Little Pieces ( or whatever it is called ) everything I type today IS the truth. I will not change anything for anybody. I cannot even begin to tell you the hurt I still feel to this day. These are my family members: Tom (dad) Thalia (mom) Sean (oldest brother) Brittany (oldest sister) Robyn (older sister) Heather (me) and Colin (younger brother). I was in the first grade when my Uncle Dave turned my mother into Children's services about the way we lived. He lived out of state and he came to visit us one day. I was in the livingroom sitting down by the front door and my mom and Uncle were standing close to the hallway when I heard him say "You shouldn't be living like this" "If you don't clean the house then I'm gonna call children's services and have your kids taken away". I WAS RRIIGHT THERE IN THE ROOOOMM WHEN HE SAID THAT!! Talk about scaring a kid. As soon as I heard that, I when out the front door to join the rest of my family who was waiting in the car to go out to dinner ( we went out to eat almost daily). I don't know what was said between them after that. I was just waiting in the car with my heart POUNDING out of fear, saying nothing to my siblings about what I had just heard. I was speechless and scared. My Uncle Dave and my mom came out of the house. My mom got in our car and Uncle Dave in his. We started off for York Steak House where we went often and when we parked in their lot my mom began to tell us what I already knew. She said that Uncle Dave said He was calling Children's Services on us and that all of us kids would be taken away from them if we didn't get the house cleaned up. My sister Robyn began to cry and that made me cry. My oldest brother Sean said "If they come I'm not budgin' I'm not budgin' ". Well, with the crying and all the things being said I could only think to say one thing while my sobbing....."Shut up guys", because that's all my 6 or 7 year old mind could think to say to shut them up because it was scaring me soooo badly to think I might get taken away from the only family and life I ever knew. To shorten the story a little, in two weeks we cleaned everything but my mom and dad's  room and the utility room. The Children's Services woman thought that was satisfactory and we got to stay with our mom & dad. Yea!!!!   Now, ya wanna know how long the house stayed clean? (BLINK) Not very long. There we all were again in the same situation. I don't know how old I was when Children's services was called again but we had to clean it again and so we did and then it was dirty AGAIN.  We pretty much lived the rest of our lives in a filthy house. Things around the house didn't get repaired well or at all. When I was a teenager our roof leaked very, very badly. I was the only girl left at home now and I had a two foot by two foot whole in my ceiling ( I have pictures to prove it ). We always heard something crawling around up in the attic. Right by the house was a shed with bushes around it that critters could climb to get in our attic. So they did. One night I was standing in my bedroom when I heard the "critter" up there walking closer and closer to the opening in my ceiling. I thought for sure that this would be the time it fell through the whole. My thoughts about it being a raccoon were correct. The raccoon stuck its head out the hole (not seeing me yet but I saw it), turned its head and looked at me and got scared and brought its head back up out of my room and climbed out of the roof. I was scared also because I didn't want it to fall on my floor and get scared and bite me. When it rained it literally poured in my room. I had to put a big canning pot under the whole to catch the water and then put another pot under the whole when I had to dump the water from the canning pot into the toilet. I accepted Jesus into my heart and was the only one still very active in going to church. I got so tired of the life I was living and I just cried out for help. I called a Christian radio station to see if they could help us with our roof. I am now mentioning the fact that my dad bought all the supplies to fix the roof but they stayed in our backyard...just sitting there waiting to be put on the roof. I told the station that and they said they would see if anyone could help us get our new roof on. A man called the station and said that they could do it but not until months later. It wasn't fast enough for me. Winter was coming again and I knew I would be freezing again if something didn't happen. All I could do was cry because nothing ever got fixed. The Lord heard my cries for help and one day my friend's neighbor Sue Swenor, called me up and invited me to live with her. I said yes right away. I then went into my parents room and told them that for their christmas present I was moving out. My mom asked why (in a weird way)? and instead of saying stuff like....... because this is the pits, we were neglected, and abused...things don't get fixed, I hate living here, I hate not having friends because they can't come in our house, I feel like Cinderella always cleaning up after everybody and not having it stay clean, I can't walk in this house without tripping over something, I'M TIRED OF THE RACCOON AND THE BIG HOLE IN MY CEILING ALONG WITH THE POURING RAIN, YOU TWO WON'T GET THE PHSYCOLOGICAL  HELP YOU NEED TO FIX THIS, oooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh  boy! I just said " It's time " and then I left the room. I moved out shortly after. I lived with Sue Swenor for seven months and then moved again to live with my Aunt Vikki's sister Tammy Crockette ( Ostram then ). I met the man of my dreams and we have been married for five years now. His name is Markus but we just call him Mark. We have a beautiful daughter.  

 

Twice in my life as a teenager and older adult, my family, friends and I cleaned the house when my parents went on a vacation and both times it got dirty again. I vowed that I would NEVER do that again unless one of my parents die and they need my help. I mean what's the point? They need professional help for their heads and heart.  

I think my mom is this way beacuse her dad was a drunk and abussive toward her whole family. When I was eight months old my Grandpa Glen Thomas shot my grandmother, Elenor Thomas in the head and killed her......after that he left and went to the water plant that he worked at and shot himself in the head by the creek that was by the water plant and killed himself.  My mom thinks that he found out he had cancer ( for the doctor gave him news he didn't want to share with anyone) and was attempting to kill himself when my grandmother came in the house, saw him and tried to stop him. The police say there was a struggle between them when all this was going on. The police also say that the last thing my g-pa touched before he left the house to kill himself was a picture of my brother Sean and a picture of my cousin Chad Thomas.  

I think that even though her life wasn't great (just like mine wasn't) that it is still hard to loose a parent let alone both at once. I think she just sort of lost it and now she lives her life in filth. I do have to say it's not as bad now but not the best either. I just wish that they were normal people who do normal things and don't hoard things. That's mostly my mom's problem. I can only remember her cleaning...like three times in my life. When I would talk to my mom about her problem she would only say " Well I never said I was perfect".    No one is, but most people clean their house and care about their family's well being. 

 

 

 

This isn't even half of the story but I need to stop typing. To the hoarding father of today's show: It is okay to cry. Jesus wept. You have a beautiful family! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get the help you need so you can help your family. They absolutely did the right thing by getting Dr. Phil's help. My Uncle Dave did the right thing also. YOUR FAMILY DESERVES YOUR BEST but their not getting that right now. Man!  I just feel for you guys. I've been on your children's side for 28 years now. That has been my whole life even though I don't live with my parents anymore.....it's still a part of me and they still do not live in a fit home. I gotta go now, but I have prayed for you all. Heather77 

 

 
February 1, 2006, 12:17 pm CST

I really need help with a capital H!

I haven't seen the show yet...it comes on this afternoon for me.  But I have watched several shows and read some articles about Compulsive Hoarding (CH).  I understand that it is related to Anxiety Disorder (AD).   Well...I am the first to admit that I have a problem.  Let me start with a little background information.... 

  

 

  

I have known for a long time that I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)...not to the extreme that I scrub my hands until they bleed, but nevertheless, I have issues with obsessing on issues (ask my two grown kids and ex-husband).  

  

 

  

A person walking into my house would not believe that I am actually a perfectionist!  I have always pushed myself to the extreme to do the best I could in certain areas, and I wouldn't take "second best" lightly.  I remember a time when I was in junior high and I was practicing for a first chair contest by playing my flute...I had to play the same song three times perfectly before I could do something else (even if the something else was eat a meal, go the bathroom, etc.).  If I played the last note wrong of the third time around, I would have to start all over again from the beginning.  A little obsessive?  Yeah, I think so.  A little obsessiveness in areas where I want to excel is understandable, but this is just one of the many areas where I took "obsessing" a little too far. 

  

 

  

In my adult life, one of my major obsessions has been on compulsive spending.  I first noticed that when I didn't feel good about myself (most of the time), I would go out and buy something to make me feel better.  It would usually be craft related, because I would want to make something for someone else in order to lift my spirits (great therapy, actually).  The only down side to this would be that I knew I couldn't really afford what I was buying, so what would start out as a good intention, would end in the bag of items being put in a bedroom, closet or the garage (not to mention my checkbook register showing in the RED).  The craft never got made, and my guilty feelings would be put away with the bag of purchases I had stashed.  It got so bad that eventually when I would write a check for a purchase, my vision would sort of blur, and I would not even remember buying anything.  Before long, I had filled a spare bedroom with sack after sack of things that I could not remember purchasing.  After a couple of years of this, I needed the bedroom for one of my toddlers could have their own room, and I had to go through everything...I was shocked at how much I had spent on things that were just sitting in bags! 

  

 

  

I went to counseling for a couple of years for OCD, and I saw positive results.  When I would feel blue, I tried to stay away from any place I could spend money.  But sometimes I would find myself going to the store for groceries and filling a shopping basket with unnecessary items, so I would one by one go through the basket and walk back through the store to put the items back...talking myself out of each one of them along the way.  This process would double my time in the store...but many times I would walk out without a single thing purchased!  Grant it, I still had some challenges on occasion, but for the most part, I thought I had beaten the compulsive spending monster that haunted me. 

  

 

  

About six years ago, when my marriage started to fall apart, the monster surged to life again. The year of my divorce, my son was graduating from high school, and my daughter was getting married soon after, so I threw myself into buying whatever I could to make these events a success (all the while trying to medicate my hurts of going through the issues of an empty nest and a divorce with purchases).  A local bookstore was going out of business, so I took advantage of the great sale prices to stock up for graduation gifts, wedding party gifts, decorations...just STUFF.  And boy did I stock up...of course, I overdid it (imagine that?). 

  

 

  

After that, I went on crazy shopping frenzies...buying for other people and sometimes buying things for myself, but in order to alleviate some of the guilt, I would buy an EXTRA item (many times identical to the first item) so that I could give one away as a gift.  More times than not, the items went into the now empty spare bedrooms, still in the original shopping bags.  Eventually I had filled one bedroom and other rooms were beginning to see the over flow.  

  

 

  

Then early in 2004, the decision was made to move the business I had been with for 15 years into a home office...MY HOME OFFICE.  Now I had not only my own "stuff" to deal with, I now had an entire advertising business to bring into my home. I had some help to clear out about half of my tiny garage where I put the big items...light table, copy machine, desks, computers, filing cabinets, shelves, photography equipment, supplies, etc.   I sold or threw out a lot of my own excess as well as excess from the business. 

   

 

  

But there is still so much that I am having trouble getting rid of (or letting go of).  My problem now is knowing the thousands of dollars I have racked up over the years on items, and I have a hard time just throwing them away.  I would like to recoup even just a small portion of my investments...I have had a yard sale or two, but the job is so overwhelming for just one person to do.  I have also sold a few things on ebay, but that's also a lot of work, and I still have to find a place to keep the items I'm selling until it finally does sell.  So I still have the clutter!   For some items that I didn't have room for or didn't want to store, I actually put them behind my back fence and wrote "FREE" on them.  They disappeared within a day or so and I was relieved that someone was getting some good out of what I couldn't bring myself to just pitch into the garbage.  

  

 

  

I live in a small community where there is no Good Will or Salvation Army.  There is a rummage shop, but several times I have taken things there, they pick through it and won't accept it...this is after I've already picked through it to make sure I only take them the "sellable" items.  I don't feel comfortable taking anything to them anymore, so I guess I'm at the point that I don't know where to turn.     

  

 

  

The extreme clutter has gotten to a point that it's everywhere I turn in my house and I am beginning to have major problems with anxiety and panic attacks.  I don't sleep at night, and it's all taking its toll.  I am relieved that I don't go to the extreme that I pet urine or feces in my clutter, and my house doesn't smell bad (I obsess on that too!), so in a sense, my clutter is "clean" (should this make me feel better?)  I do have trouble having anyone come into my house because of the clutter and many times I don't answer my door.  

   

 

I would really like to sell my house so that I can move nearer to my family (my nearest family member lives 4 hours away).  But I can't sell a house that is so full of stuff that people have to walk through paths...they wouldn't even be able to see the house!  And what person in their right mind would want a house that looks like mine right now? 

  

I would be happy to provide you with pictures if you're interested....  The clutter and excess is controlling my life...Please, please, Dr. Phil...HELP ME get control of my life back!

  

 

  

  

  

 
February 1, 2006, 12:19 pm CST

For the childs sake yes!

Quote From: soonrmom

I recently married a wonderful man with a 6 year old son.  The son lives with his mother and we get him evey other weekend and holiday.  After several months into our relationship I discovered that the mother was a hoarder.  Not a collector - but a hoarder!  The front seat of her car is piled with newspapers she plans "someday" to recycle.  Pictures of her home show piles and piles of boxes, and sacks she may someday use.  She has a room that is just filled with "Stuff".  Other pictures show that a person cannot get to the kitchen sink or cabinets due to the sacks, old mail, etc.  There is a path from the doorway to the couch.  My stepson's room is so cluttered with toy boxes,sacks, etc that he cannnot play in the floor.   

  

The child has allergies but I am sure that the allergist is not aware of the conditions in which he regularly lives.  He is on 5 different kinds of medicine and continually comes down with bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses.   

  

There are other circumstances that concern me about his well-being and her skills and judgement as a mother but I will not elaborate as they do not pertain to this topic.   

  

I would appreciate guidance on how to help the situation for the sake of the child.  Do I turn her in to Protective Services?  She clearly needs help and would not take advice or counseling from either my husband or myself.  

  

  

For that child to live a better life than I had..... yes I would call protective services. But I would warn her privately first to get her to do something about it and if she doesn't then make the call because that child is the same age I was when children's services was called on my parents. I didn't have a great life living the way I did. I would only hope she would change and that the son could stay with you and your husband for the time she is getting herself together. PLEASE TALK TO YOUR HUSBAND FIRST! HE IS THE HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD. Heather77
 
February 1, 2006, 12:20 pm CST

02/01 "Throw It Out!"

Quote From: soonrmom

I recently married a wonderful man with a 6 year old son.  The son lives with his mother and we get him evey other weekend and holiday.  After several months into our relationship I discovered that the mother was a hoarder.  Not a collector - but a hoarder!  The front seat of her car is piled with newspapers she plans "someday" to recycle.  Pictures of her home show piles and piles of boxes, and sacks she may someday use.  She has a room that is just filled with "Stuff".  Other pictures show that a person cannot get to the kitchen sink or cabinets due to the sacks, old mail, etc.  There is a path from the doorway to the couch.  My stepson's room is so cluttered with toy boxes,sacks, etc that he cannnot play in the floor.   

  

The child has allergies but I am sure that the allergist is not aware of the conditions in which he regularly lives.  He is on 5 different kinds of medicine and continually comes down with bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses.   

  

There are other circumstances that concern me about his well-being and her skills and judgement as a mother but I will not elaborate as they do not pertain to this topic.   

  

I would appreciate guidance on how to help the situation for the sake of the child.  Do I turn her in to Protective Services?  She clearly needs help and would not take advice or counseling from either my husband or myself.  

  

  

 HI ' .... I hope you can get her to watch the show today
If not , maybe you can watch the show and find a way to understand the woman. I think she's afraid to waste money for one thing. She wants to do too much with so little time. Her son is allergic to dust or mites and this is not good. Some of us have parents who threw out everything we ever had and we resent it. I think that she doesn't want her son to resent her for throwing out  his things. He needs to decide on what he wants to keep or to give things away when he's finished with them at Christmas time to some needy people. He might let go easier that way. I also think that the woman finds pleasure in reminiscing in the past and being reminded of good ol times ,the things help her to remember the old times.. . She's probably a day dreamer so when she starts to go through her things to get rid of what she doesn't need , she finds things that give her an idea to do something different. For instance...a  loose picture of an old friend in a box of stuff  that she would come across would  make her want to spend hours or days looking for that person..by phone, e-mail..etc..  A person who won't part with things has a reason for every thing and a person like this has an over active analytical mind. Someone like this just has to do what Dr. Phil says.. put the task of going through things in the agenda and do it..little by little , it will get done...one box at a time...Hope this helps..
 
February 1, 2006, 12:24 pm CST

Freecycle

Hi! my name is Julie.  My parents did not let me and my sister throw away anything when we were growing up.  I remember my mother perfume bottles and never wearing it because she thought it was expensive.  25 years later it is still sitting with the other old , make-up, lotions. etc.  all pass there expiration date.  When I had my own home throwing things out was a problem till I got on a website www.freecycle.org.   I really wanted a glider to rock my new baby but could not even afford a secondhand one.  Some one told me about the group.  People in your community post things they wish to give away with no strings attached.To use the board you first have to give to give something away.   I had a hard time at first but after a few days a had a bunch of stuff I was willing to part with.    People where so thankful to have the stuff I was hiding and/or not using.  Know with my daughter when she grows out of certain toy and clothes i pack them up and post them online , donate to a local charity or sale (new items never used)  to the local consignment store.  It feels so rewarding. the clutter is gone and the items have a second life.   PS- got my Glider
 
February 1, 2006, 12:25 pm CST

my mom died in a mess like this

My mom was a hoarder like this -- all my life I couldn't bring anybody home cuz I was afraid she would be "cleaning" (really this was her code words for moving the mess around) It got really bad after most of the kids moved out  and my father died in 96.  She died last year surrounded by her stuff-- we ( my brothers and sisters) cleaned out over 8 bags of material from her room and about 7 bags of clothes .  It was awful.  I haven't been back to my mothers house since -- my sister and my brother now live in the house and are starting to be the same way.   Thanks so much for listening LCMSA
 
February 1, 2006, 12:43 pm CST

Packrat

My husband and I are both horders.  We love stuff.  I am so attached to everything and think everything has another use that I hate to throw things out.  I look around my house and just get depressed.  I want to clean up and get rid of all the "stuff" but I just can't.  I guess it doesn't help that my husband is the same way.   

  

We also enjoy going to auctions and buying other peoples "stuff."  Help!  We don't want our daughter to be a horder like us. 

  

  

 
February 1, 2006, 12:45 pm CST

Packrat

My husband and I are both hoarders.  We love stuff.  I am so attached to everything and think everything has another use that I hate to throw things out.  I look around my house and just get depressed.  I want to clean up and get rid of all the "stuff" but I just can't.  I guess it doesn't help that my husband is the same way.   

  

We also enjoy going to auctions and buying other peoples "stuff."  Help!  We don't want our daughter to be a hoarder like us. 

  

  

 
February 1, 2006, 1:04 pm CST

Amen! Tell it!

Quote From: karjoy

My mother in laws house is just as bad as the first guy on the show...it is awful!!!!  You can barely walk around in the house.  There is just enough room for her to sit down and watch tv.  The house is Full!!  She had a storage shed put up to put more stuff in it. She saves newspapers and I even found canned food that expired in 1999.  She doesn't see that she has a problem. I just dread the thought of having to deal with it when something happens to her.   You can only get in one door at the house. The other door has crap piled up in front of it! UGH!  

We haven't been able to get through to her and it is so disgusting and frustrating. 

  

Is your mother-in-laws name Thalia? (my mom's name) That is exactly the situation my mom is in. It's a total fire hazard. Heather77
 
February 1, 2006, 1:15 pm CST

Your profile says it all!

Quote From: keripresto

My husband and I are both hoarders.  We love stuff.  I am so attached to everything and think everything has another use that I hate to throw things out.  I look around my house and just get depressed.  I want to clean up and get rid of all the "stuff" but I just can't.  I guess it doesn't help that my husband is the same way.   

  

We also enjoy going to auctions and buying other peoples "stuff."  Help!  We don't want our daughter to be a hoarder like us. 

  

  

    I'm not being mean but I want to mention that on your profile you don't say you love your family. Usually that's a given but loving your family is much more than just saying it. Do you care what your hoarding makes them feel like? Does your husband care? I'm a child of a hoarder and I have lived in it. It's not a good thing. My mom always said she loved us and hugged us but I wanted more. I wanted a clean house. Is that too much to ask from your own mother? I wanted them to live in peace also.....is that too much to ask? I know you want peace in your life....you've got to want that. PLEASE take the next steps in getting your lives together because it's not a good thing to have in your life (all the clutter and messyness). Have a serious talk with your husband and come up with a solution to getting the clutter our of the house. Do your children live with you? That's a dangerous situation to be in if children are there also. I've been there. I lived it. I am a survivor of a hoarder. Heather77
 
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