Monday, August 8, 2011

Post-Hoard Stages of Development

Life after the Hoard
(There is one, and it's pretty great)
copyright Barbara Allen 2011

Another COH suggested I post this on the blog. I call it the "Post-Hoard" Stages of Development, and it describes the evolution of life after the hoard. Most of these are from my own perspective, but I think other COH will find they apply to their lives, too:

Twenties: Completely, overwhelmingly busy... Trying to figure out the ways of the world outside the hoard, learn everything you can about all the basic life skills you never learned to do, and most of all, blend in. Wondering, as you move into your first place of your own, if people will be able to detect, somehow, that you don't know what the hell you are doing.

Thirties: Setting up an actual home of your own, having kids... and now, the real rage sets in. Raising children and striving to be the warm, loving parent they deserve slams you right in the heart with your own loss of a real parent. It drives home how bad your life was, and how undeservedly you had to suffer.
Also, your protective instincts surface: your Hoarder parent won't be allowed to treat your children that way. You work hard to set boundaries and limit the exposure of your kids to your Hoarder Parent. Sometimes there is a real rift between Hoarder Parent and yourself while you figure this out, and they, confused, don't get it at all. A frustrating, exasperating time.

Forties: Boundaries established. Minimal contact with Hoarder Parent, whose hoarding continues, but you've come to the realization that there's nothing to be done and no sense in putting any more energy into that negative situation. Your own parenting is well underway, kids are old enough to understand when you talk to them about your hoarding past and even appreciate what you've been through. You've got your own routine around your home, you keep it the way you like it (either minimalist or messy or somewhere in between), and that's that. You finally like yourself.

Fifties: Kids are almost grown, your parenting seems to be a job you've done well, despite lack of role models. Hoarding past is so *not* a part of your life that it seems more like a bad dream or a scary movie in which you once starred. Life is good... only now your hoarder parent is old and on the decline. What is your responsibility? What will happen if you take none? But you are mature enough now to know whatever decision is made, it is the right one for you.

Sixties: Not quite there, keep you posted.


  1. Cool thanks for posting these Barbara! I'm still in the 20s phase, good to see there's progress and hope.

  2. Fantastic, valuable, vulnerable post, Barbara.

    Thank you.

  3. My parents weren't hoarders (well, my dad kinda started to slide in that direction as he got older), but they both drank heavily and were pretty dysfunctional. I can relate to a lot of the isolation, that feeling of being "weird" compared to other people, and not knowing how to do certain domestic things the way everybody else seemed to. Rock on, it's a great blog, and I hope you get your book published.

  4. Can I just "love" on you right now for fleshing this out! LOVE LOVE LOVE the post . . You really got me at "Trying to figure out the ways of the world outside the hoard" I'm STILL trying to figure "normal" out.

  5. lol I may be in trouble if the "real rage" only sets in when I'm in my 30s. I'm 28 now and have already spent quite a bit of time with a therapist working on dealing with the anger I feel towards my parents.

    It's so nice to know that I can give my (currently non-existent) kids a better, more stable home than I had.

    Just discovered your blog and I'm loving it. Looking forward to your next post!

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. A very helpful guide. I'm wondering what I've got to look forward to; my mother was very old when she had me. I'm 25 and she's 69, and already in decline. It would be wonderful to think I would get another 25 years to set my life up, but at this point it looks like I'll be lucky if I get one or two.


Site Meter XHTML Strict