If I could just understand the WHY of it...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by envisablepuppet, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. envisablepuppet

    envisablepuppet New Member

    Ok she is 22 now but this has been going on all of her life and I just don't get it. She will not or cannot throw empty containers of any kind away!!! It makes me crazy. Be it empty shampoo bottles or cereal boxes or anything in between she puts them back empty.

    Between the ages of about 4 and 13 she used to make well wrapped neat looking little packages with very weird stuff inside them. Bits of paper, tacks, string etc. and then hide them. I brought this up to her psychiatrist years ago (the hidden little bundles) and he said she was hording. She doesnt do that anymore that I know of but the empty containers???

    Has anyone else had this kind of problem but can't justify saying it's just laziness? I don't think that's why she does it. If you have had the problem did any doctor ever know a cause or what to do to help them not do it?

    When she has her own home I won't be there to toss this stuff out :smile:

    It's beginning to scare me. I know it may just be a little thing but if she ever has children... :surprise:

    Has anyone ever faced this and is there anything I can do for her??? I've asked her why she does it and she says she doesnt know. Is it maybe another form of hording? When she found out that was why she was making the little bundles she stopped doing it.

    I'd appreciate any input.

  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    My difficult child does it. I'm forever pulling empty cereal or pop tart boxes out of the pantry to throw them away.

    I really think that the thought process doesn't happen with my difficult child. For us, when we empty a container the next logical step is to throw it away. I don't think that happens with difficult child. She just does with it what she always does, which is put it back. easy child doesn't do it and I don't do it so it's not a learned behavior. I constantly remind her to throw something away when I find something empty. I'll ask her why she put it back and I get the same answer you do, "I don't know".

    I even have to count dishes when loading or unloading the dishwasher. Just the other day I said to difficult child that there is one saucer in the dishwasher and none in the cupboard...any idea where the others are? Yep...in her room. She just doesn't think about it. You know, I started having to do that when I was married to her dad...counting dishes and then go looking for them. I guess she inherited it. :hammer:
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I can really say why.

    I know Travis has a really really big issue with this very thing. It drives me nuts. Doesn't matter how many times you tell the boy. But for him I don't think it's a hording thing. I thing it's the step process that Heather mentions. It just doesn't seem to occur to him to take the next logical step on his own.

  4. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    so where is the toggle switch or button that makes them think of the next logical thing on their own? Tink drives me batty with the empty boxes and bottles...and WRAPPERS...she just drops the wrapper on the floor. On the FLOOR! I look at her like, you're kidding me, right? The garbage is 5 steps due east.

    And she is a TOTAL hoarder. She saves tags from clothes, bows from gifts, envelopes as well as the card, receipts...she saves these things, and claims that they are all special.

    She was put with the wrong mom. Me with my borderline "a place for everything and everything in its place" Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) take a look in her room and am ready to rent a bobcat and a dumpster.

    So...where is the switch?
  5. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Will she throw them away if you tell her to? Or can she not even make herself do it if you stand there and insist? in my humble opinion, that is the difference between just not taking the next step and a hoarding problem.

    easy child is a hoarder. She can't throw away anything if it has an animal on it. It doesn't matter if it is a used napkin or a milk carton.

    :rofl: That's how I feel, too.

    I also worry about easy child when she is older being one of those people who has stuff all over the house and only paths to walk through. In her case, I am taking her to therapy and they are practicing throwing things away. She has other Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) issues, too. Hoarding, from what I read, is a tough Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) habit to break. They typically use CBT and SSRI's for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) treatment but for some reason, hoarding is not as responsive. Maybe because the hoarder thinks there is a reason to keep that stuff?
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    This is another form of hoarding. difficult child 3 does it ALL THE TIME. BF2 does it, and he's not even my kid - I found a lot of hair in the shower (husband & I use a different bathroom; difficult child 3 uses the bathtub). Turns out BF2 has been hoarding the hair that falls out when he showers. I laid down the law, told him and easy child 2/difficult child 2 to clean up the bathroom and get rid of the hair.

    Empty shampoo bottles - I don't throw them out until I have used the last rinsings from inside the bottle, but then I DO toss them in the recycling. It does help difficult child 3's hoarding habits to be reminded that good things are made from items that get recycled. If we hang onto them, then the recyclers can't use them and they don't get to be turned into something new. And if you're shaking your head in disbelief at this - recycling is HUGE in Australia, each household is provided with free bins to sort rubbish - general rubbish goes into one (small) bin; garden waste and vegetable waste (assuming you don't have a compost bin or worm farm - also increasingly common here) goes into another bin and recycling (paper, glass, plastics) go into a third bin. Each bin is a different colour, each gets collected on a different week. By keeping the household rubbish bin small we are encouraged to recycle.
    And we found - the recycling methods have reduced the hoarding. Not eliminated it, unfortunately, but it has helped. Where difficult child 3 might have in the past refused to throw out a perfectly serviceable plastic bottle, now he is happy to recycle it.

    There is also re-use - if she has a project in mind, AND she gets on and does it, there could be grounds for keeping it. For example, for a while I was re-using aluminium drink cans to make small propellor windmills as garden ornaments/bird scarers (my desperate attempts to stop those blasted cockatoos attacking my plants out of sheer cussedness).

    All I can suggest you do is draw her attention to it, call her back to toss the things out and maybe consider introducing recycling - having to sort your rubbish can be enough satisfaction for an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) hoarder.

  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No one in my family can throw anything away. I dont care if the trash can is two steps away! All bottles and trash get stacked on counters and tossed on tables and the floor awaiting the Maid (thats me) to come clean it up.

    Whats bad...even the maid does it to some extent!!

    I dont toss on floors too awful bad but my room is a pigsty and I cant manage to get dishes back to the kitchen if I eat anywhere else in the house.

    In my house its a constant treasure hunt for silverware and dishes about once a week or so.

    Got no clue on why this happens. I think its because I wasnt trained correctly on how to clean a home but why husband does it, who knows.
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    My difficult child does this too, and it drives me absolutely BONKERS. I am the proverbial neat freak...all of the cups lined up in the cupboard with the handles pointing in the same direction...I have my own Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) issues to deal with.

    As Heather and others mentioned, there seems to be difficulty with the next logical step, so there are lots of times when empty containers go back in the pantry or fridge. But there also seems to be a high degree of hoarding and other Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) behaviour.

    My difficult child likes to pull things apart. Matchbox cars, old clocks, etc. But then he won't want to part with the pieces, and he will be very upset if you throw them away. We have taken to emptying out his room when he's not there, because if a thing disappears when he's not there to see it, he will never miss it, but if he sees you throwing it away, he will pick through and scatter the garbage everywhere in search of the "treasured" object.

    We haven't had much success with treatment for hoarding, but then we've been focusing on other things that have been taking more of our attention.

    Our city has a recycling system similar to the one Marg describes, and we have to empty the garbage and recycling bins daily, and lock them in the garage, to prevent difficult child from picking through them. He doesn't go through the organic waste bin, but I think that's because of the texture and smell (yuck).

    Sigh...if anyone finds the magic bullet to cure this one, please let me know.
  9. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    I have heard of -- known -- more than one person who has anxiety at the thought of throwing anything away, including garbage and trash. Something's not wired right in the brain.
  10. envisablepuppet

    envisablepuppet New Member

    Thanks everyone you have given me a whole new outlook on the problem. I never thought of a lot of the points you guys brought up or the connections to some of the other behaviors.

    I think you just gave me the perfect answer to my question. It seems so obvious now that that is most likely the case here. I have attributed that to some of the weird decisions she makes sometimes but not for these kinds of problems. I wonder if it's possible for them to out grow it in time.

    Mine does the exact same thing. She used to have tons of this kind of thing in her room when she was younger. She's even hidden them. She is a little better about that now but she does still do it.

    If I tell her to she says she will but nine times out of ten she doesn't. If I stand over her (at 22/forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/eek.gif) she will throw it away but whether it stays in the trash I haven't kept track of for years. It occurred to me to check and make sure it did when she was younger but not now that she is considered an adult. I guess I'll have to start paying more attention.


    We do recycle here to an extent and she does ok with that. The city charges so much for us to recycle most ppl here refuse to pay the cost. Because we live in the country we burn the burnable stuff and haul the rest to the dump.

    Ditto me Janet. I have tried leaving it to see what would happen lol bad idea. The only thing that happens is that it grows :(.

    I have been in houses that just have pathways through all the stuff. I had a friend in HS whose parents had news papers stacked ceiling to floor and paths that led to the kitchen etc. I had wondered why she never invited anyone over to her house. I felt so sorry for the girl.

    Thanks again everybody your responses were quite enlightening :laugh:

  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Actually, the recycling thing is a very good point. Where we live now (a crummy apartment) we have one dumpster. At one time I tried to keep up with recycling as best as I could. I brought cans to the church, (not only were they recycled but the church got money) and I brought all my paper to my mom's to be recycled. I have just not been up to it since I got sick.

    Where we are moving, there is a bin for paper, a bin for comingled glass, aluminum, and plastic, and a chute for nasty garbage. I think that Tink will enjoy sorting.

    As far as her putting things in the trash once I ask her...if it is really garbage (like a wrapper that she dropped on the ground) she will do one of 3 things. She will sometimes pick it up and toss it (and I rejoyce), she will often tell me that I am closer so why don't I do it (deep breaths, count backwards from 10) and at least 50% of the time I get "why do I have to do EVERYTHING" and a nice 10 minute meltdown. Yes. Over a granola bar wrapper.

    If it is a tag, or a bow, or a label, or sometimes even a GoGurt tube that had a picture of Shrek on it, "but Mommmmmmmmy I have to SAAAAAAAAVE it".

  12. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    My difficult child does this to an extent. I don't think it's hoarding for her though. She likes to make crafts out of junk. She comes up with the most elaborate creations out of trash. It drives me crazy to have it all over the place but it does keep her busy. She would rather make things out of junk than to get real craft supplies and use them.