Welcome to My Life

Posted: October 19, 2010 in childhood, hoarding

Ironic? Yes. Too bad it was so buried under a pile of crap they never got around to reading it....

Here it is: the first official pictures of my venture back to my childhood home. Proof of the devastation. Clear evidence of what hoarding and neglect does to a house. Sometimes, it’s frustrating that the evidence of what it does to the children who have to live in that house is so hard to see.

My parents are not capable of understanding how devastating it is that I have to see pictures of my childhood to remember that there were good times. Most of my memories center around trying desperately and unsuccessfully to manage my anxiety and feeling completely overwhelmed by the inescapable clutter of the house. Stepping back inside that front door brought back a flood of memories – bad ones. I remember feeling dirty, and ashamed, and helpless. It feels like my parents think that just because they say I was raised and taken care of in that house, it must be true. A more appropriate assessment would factor in the reality that their hoarding robbed me of my childhood, and the responsibilities they put on me and my brother to maintain our functionality despite their inability to parent us.

Mom sent me an email yesterday informing me that she was sorry the house in California was “such a shock,” but she doesn’t need any help taking care of the house she lives in now….but she does need my services as her personal trash collector this week. She also hasn’t cleaned anything in over a year….that’s why I exist. My therapist insists that it takes competence to recognize incompetence. It’s good to be the competent one. It’s also maddening.

Anyone who has grown up with parents or relatives who are hoarders will understand how absolutely infuriating the situation is: you’re told over and over again that nothing is wrong. Nothing at all. And if you’d just clean a little bit (but not throw anything away)….

I’m sick and tired of being told that nothing was wrong with the way I grew up: that all the issues I’ve had are of my own making, and not my parents’ responsibility. That’s all I want, really – some acknowledgment from my parents that it was their responsibility to take care of me, and they failed. Here’s some proof:


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