About growing up and adult children of hoarders (COH):
For many, growing up in an environment of constant chaos and disorganization has effects that go far beyond living amongst the accumulation of possessions or not being able to have friends over.
Our parents who hoard often hid behind closed blinds isolating themselves from the world outside.
Adult children of Hoarders are just now finding our voices to speak up about growing up with our parents having a serious and very misunderstood disorder.
Lack of Insight – Denial
This is often the “elephant in the living room” that is not easily discussed, if at all. Compulsive Hoarders often lack insight to having a problem at all. Children sometimes get blamed for the state of the house-that it’s their fault. We knew we were “different from the other kids.”
To a child’s mind, it can appear that the parent suffering from this disorder values and appreciates “things/objects/animals” more than the child. It can seem that those “things”, and keeping the secret about the house, always comes before them. This hurts. Because this disorder is fuelled by anxiety, a Hoarder can express an extreme range of emotions when their things are touched or moved-this is difficult for a young mind to understand, especially when trying to “clean up to make things better.”
Self-esteem can be damaged.
Many of us as adults identify with numerous traits of Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families.
It’s not just about the “mess” to us.
Growing up where your authority figure has distorted thoughts about objects or animals (and often, co-existing personality disorders and/or extreme perfectionism standards, getting in trouble for throwing things away that most would consider waste, and being reprimanded by the parent-is confusing to a child.