Chris & Barb - a shared pathology?

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IgnorantBystander

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So, I am about 1/3 of the way through Matt Paxton's book "The Secret Lives of Hoarders", in which he attempts to explain how someone goes from a normal-ish existence to sleeping on 12 layers of newspaper and dog poo. There's a lot of really fascinating info in there, but here's the part that made me think of Barb & Chris. (Note, I'm paraphrasing to summarize several chapters).

In a nutshell, hoarders usually have other problems as well, such as depression or OCD, but it's not clear if the other issues cause the hoarding, or the hoarding causes the other issues. The most common thread though, is that hoarders DO NOT live in the present. Some are 100% focused on the past - they absolutely can't stand to let go of anything that a loved one may have touched, or the cup from the fast-food place where they took their kid once, or even bodies of dead pets. Others are completely immersed in the future. They don't see the mess around them, because they are already basking in the glow of recognition for the great things they are going to accomplish. For example, one woman had something like 500 skeins of yarn, because she was going to make beautiful blankets for everyone she knew, and they would love the blankets, and shower her with compliments, and pile on the love and gratitude. Never mind that a lot of the yarn had cat pee, mouse droppings, etc. in it. All she saw was the lovely blankets, and how happy she was going to make everyone around her. She wasn't looking at the time and effort she would have to put in to accomplish that. In her mind, it was "I need yarn so I can do this!", not "I had better start using the yarn I have."

Now, bringing it back to Chris & Barb.... it's been said before that Barb is the hoarder, and Chris just can't be bothered to try to clean up. But I think it's actually both of them. Barb has a history of shopping compulsively at cheap stores, and never throwing anything away. There's never been any indication that she has any great plans for the stuff, so she's probably either addicted to finding "great deals" or once she gets these things, she develops some emotional attachment to them, or maybe she's just that depressed, and can't deal with how bad it's gotten.

Chris is very similar. His toys & video games & fixation on high school are very like the hoarding mentality of holding onto things for comfort, whether or not they are healthy. He also has the future fixation, where he's going to do great things and get a grand amount of acclaim (Sonichu), but instead of actually working on it, he just gets more stuff.

Neither of them is really conscious of how the rest of the world sees 14 BC. Bob probably had an inkling, but he was old, sick, and most likely just didn't want to deal with it anymore. I wonder if a show like Hoarders would be able to help them?
 

Marvin

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Eh, the emotions you're describing are pretty generic and could be applied to anyone. The present is actually a big thing for Chris, he frequently complains about how awful his current life is. In fact, while he has a big emotional attachment to high school, as far as frequency, he probably complains a lot more about his present problems and only occasionally (though in an excessively whiny way) talks about how he wished he didn't move back to Ruckersville.

I don't know much about psychology, so maybe there are more specialized definitions of hoarder that I'm not familiar with. Personally, I'm a lot more concerned about the physical evidence of a hoarder. The big thing to me that defines a hoarder is the site of their hoarding being floor-to-ceiling filled with bullshit. The psychological motivations for a hoarder are interesting, I suppose, but if someone has the psychological patterns that match a hoarder, but they don't hoard... I wouldn't call them a hoarder.

And that's why I don't regard Chris as being a hoarder.
 

IgnorantBystander

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I don't think I explained it well (or I am just way off-base), but what I was trying to say is, the things that are wrong with Barb that make her a hoarder, are also wrong with Chris, and make him... Chris.
 

Fibonacci

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I don't think Chris shares her pathology more than he's stuck with it. He got the shit end of the stick by being born to parents that were already elderly. He wouldn't have had to put up with this if they had had him at an appropriate age. Chris is lazy, that's for sure, but you can't blame him for not cleaning the place up. That's a lot of work with absolutely no help.

As for his fixations on the past: Marv got that cleared up. But to add to that, Chris is a really, really late bloomer, so he's just now starting to realise that he's a grown man and not a teenager. He's suddenly feeling the very real weight of his responsibilities and the quicksand he's let himself sink into. In his early thirties, he's looking back at an entire decade of nothing and what-ifs and looking forward to about the same. His programming is what it is now, and he's feeling legitimate hopelessness for the first time.

When Barb dies, Chris will need help adjusting to freedom. She's mentally abused him for a long time.
 

BALLZ-BROKEN

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I think Chris is just a malleable and timid person. You can say it's because of autism, his upbringing, or any number of things. He's just an empty vessel to fill up with any runoff he gets exposed to.
 

Marvin

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IgnorantBystander said:
I don't think I explained it well (or I am just way off-base), but what I was trying to say is, the things that are wrong with Barb that make her a hoarder, are also wrong with Chris, and make him... Chris.
Y'know, I don't know if I'd necessarily agree with that. It might be that I have a more complex impression of the two of them. And actually, while I know some things about Barb, nothing I've encountered helped me understand her hoarding. Hell, we know more about her refusals to allow Chris to have privacy or leave her than her hoarding. The only thing I can think of about Barb's hoarding is when she freaked out when someone tried to clean the hoard or something.

BALLZ-BROKEN said:
I think Chris is just a malleable and timid person. You can say it's because of autism, his upbringing, or any number of things. He's just an empty vessel to fill up with any runoff he gets exposed to.
Well, he was a malleable and timid person. Nowadays there's a collection of opinions he has, and he's fixed on them. He'll get cranky if you try and influence those. But yeah, people definitely imprinted on Chris. The question is, did Barb imprint her hoarding on Chris? And I don't think she did. Well, mostly because he isn't a hoarder. She imprinted a whole bunch of other shitty personality traits on him though.
 

Henry Bemis

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Marvin said:
The question is, did Barb imprint her hoarding on Chris? And I don't think she did. Well, mostly because he isn't a hoarder.

But he is a hoarder. It's just that he's "corrected" his mother's "error" and made his hoard almost entirely digital.
 

Bugaboo

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Mental illnesses often run in the family, if Barb is a compuslive hoarder Chris could start hoarding if he's triggered to do so
 

Marvin

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Henry Bemis said:
Marvin said:
The question is, did Barb imprint her hoarding on Chris? And I don't think she did. Well, mostly because he isn't a hoarder.

But he is a hoarder. It's just that he's "corrected" his mother's "error" and made his hoard almost entirely digital.
Eh, people have tried to talk about "digital hoarders," but I don't know about that. I mean, that's just like, obsessive compulsion or something. Unless you're impacting your family or hard drives are stacking up or something, I wouldn't call you a hoarder.

Plus, Chris plays his video games and whatnot, but he's not spergily buying literally every game he can or anything like that. He's still paying for the other stuff he has to buy.
 

cypocraphy

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Will he still be wishing he could go back to 1999 in his 40's and 50's and so on? (yeah I know...assuming he lives that long :tomgirl: )
 

Marvin

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bungholio said:
Will he still be wishing he could go back to 1999 in his 40's and 50's and so on? (yeah I know...assuming he lives that long :tomgirl: )
Uhh, well, right now, Chris has a lot of time to sit at home and think about how miserable he is. Also, his life sucks. So in his free time, he thinks about how miserable he is and how his life would be so much better if he didn't move back to Ruckersville.

So, if he was less miserable or he found some hobbies (like a replacement game place) to distract him from his shitty life, then he wouldn't have time to think about all the ways his life could be better.

Hell, I'm sure his duct tape apple device holder distracted him from his shitty life for a bit of time. Not a lot of time, but a bit.
 

BigAltheGreat921

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Marvin said:
Eh, the emotions you're describing are pretty generic and could be applied to anyone. The present is actually a big thing for Chris, he frequently complains about how awful his current life is. In fact, while he has a big emotional attachment to high school, as far as frequency, he probably complains a lot more about his present problems and only occasionally (though in an excessively whiny way) talks about how he wished he didn't move back to Ruckersville.

I don't know much about psychology, so maybe there are more specialized definitions of hoarder that I'm not familiar with. Personally, I'm a lot more concerned about the physical evidence of a hoarder. The big thing to me that defines a hoarder is the site of their hoarding being floor-to-ceiling filled with bullshit. The psychological motivations for a hoarder are interesting, I suppose, but if someone has the psychological patterns that match a hoarder, but they don't hoard... I wouldn't call them a hoarder.

And that's why I don't regard Chris as being a hoarder.
Is hoarding classified as a psychological disorder on its own, or more an offshoot of OCD?
 

KatsuKitty

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BigAltheGreat921 said:
Marvin said:
Eh, the emotions you're describing are pretty generic and could be applied to anyone. The present is actually a big thing for Chris, he frequently complains about how awful his current life is. In fact, while he has a big emotional attachment to high school, as far as frequency, he probably complains a lot more about his present problems and only occasionally (though in an excessively whiny way) talks about how he wished he didn't move back to Ruckersville.

I don't know much about psychology, so maybe there are more specialized definitions of hoarder that I'm not familiar with. Personally, I'm a lot more concerned about the physical evidence of a hoarder. The big thing to me that defines a hoarder is the site of their hoarding being floor-to-ceiling filled with bullshit. The psychological motivations for a hoarder are interesting, I suppose, but if someone has the psychological patterns that match a hoarder, but they don't hoard... I wouldn't call them a hoarder.

And that's why I don't regard Chris as being a hoarder.
Is hoarding classified as a psychological disorder on its own, or more an offshoot of OCD?

Hoarding disorder, I believe, is getting its own DSM-V classification. Presently, however, professionals would probably consider it a variety of "obsessive" conditions, maybe not bona fide OCD.
 

NobleGreyHorse

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I really respect Paxton for trying so insanely hard to understand the mindset of the hoarders, even to the extent of sleeping for a night in the hoarded houses. Some have said that's gimmicky, but to me it really shows what the human brain can become used to and see as "normal" after a while. Rat noises all around you all night? No big, to the hoarder. Maybe even a weird kind of company. Paxton, as I understand it, came to this through crime scene cleanup, but even that still left him surprised by what humans are sometimes capable of.
 

Anchuent Christory

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One thing I've always thought about chris' buying habits is that what we see him spending his cash on is more a reflection of his extremely narrow interests than any major hoarding tendencies. Almost everyone I know spends their disposable income on stuff they enjoy, be it drink, smoking, sports paraphernalia, cars, games etc. Hell I spent more on my TV than some would spend on a car, we all do it.

Chris likes Sonic, Transformers, My little pony and vidya and that's pretty much it. You can't really get Sonic stuff anymore so his money goes on the other stuff. The toys give us a very physical, visible symbol of what Chris spends his money on. The compulsive buying of digital stuff is a little weirder but then the amount that you'd spend on alcohol for a decent night out is arguably just as big a waste of money as all you do is piss it out after a couple of hours.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that Chris' spending habits trend toward things that leave a physical presence long after he's spent his cash. By comparison, my friends wife was, up until recently £27000 ($40700) in debt, and do you know what she had to show for it? fuck all!
 

Alec Benson Leary

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Marvin said:
while he has a big emotional attachment to high school, as far as frequency, he probably complains a lot more about his present problems and only occasionally (though in an excessively whiny way) talks about how he wished he didn't move back to Ruckersville.
Although a lot of his whining about his present problems involves some version of "my problems wouldn't exist if I hadn't been forced to leave high school". I agree with you that he's more invested in the present now than fantasies of the past, but I don't think he's yet arrived at the point of disconnecting the two worlds.

Fibonacci said:
Chris is a really, really late bloomer, so he's just now starting to realise that he's a grown man and not a teenager. He's suddenly feeling the very real weight of his responsibilities and the quicksand he's let himself sink into. In his early thirties, he's looking back at an entire decade of nothing and what-ifs and looking forward to about the same. His programming is what it is now, and he's feeling legitimate hopelessness for the first time.
Yeah, there's a lot of accuracy in that. I don't know if I'd say he's feeling the weight of "responsibilities", though. I think what is really weighing on him now is the slow, grinding realization that his perfect future - a sweetheart with a high-paying yet low-hour job who has plenty of time to keep their mcmansion clean and the kids raised - is simply not going to happen. He still really wants it to happen, but although he's always just assumed it would happen "someday", since Bob's death he's become unable to ignore the signs that no progress toward this world has occurred in the past ten years, and that this is not likely to change.
 

Anchuent Christory

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Alec Benson Leary said:
I think what is really weighing on him now is the slow, grinding realization that his perfect future - a sweetheart with a high-paying yet low-hour job who has plenty of time to keep their mcmansion clean and the kids raised - is simply not going to happen. He still really wants it to happen, but although he's always just assumed it would happen "someday", since Bob's death he's become unable to ignore the signs that no progress toward this world has occurred in the past ten years, and that this is not likely to change.

He's making progress I guess, but the real watershed moment will be him realizing why these things haven't and won't come to pass.
 

CatParty

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the other thing is that he doesn't want to put the effort into getting what he wants so badly or want put the effort into not feeling miserable.
 

Alec Benson Leary

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Anchuent Christory said:
He's making progress I guess, but the real watershed moment will be him realizing why these things haven't and won't come to pass.
That's still a ways off. Currently, he thinks it mostly must have something to do with the existence of the trolls. Don't ask him to explain his thinking unless you want him to get mad at you for not agreeing.
 

Marvin

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Anchuent Christory said:
Chris likes Sonic, Transformers, My little pony and vidya and that's pretty much it. You can't really get Sonic stuff anymore so his money goes on the other stuff. The toys give us a very physical, visible symbol of what Chris spends his money on. The compulsive buying of digital stuff is a little weirder but then the amount that you'd spend on alcohol for a decent night out is arguably just as big a waste of money as all you do is piss it out after a couple of hours.
Hell, I really have no problem with the spending patterns Chris has. Once you pay your required bills and maybe contribute to some savings (if that's your thing), anything you have left over is your money. Do with it what you want. Hell, my interests, spending-wise, are probably narrower than Chris'. I mostly drink myself stupid, go to a few cons every year, uhh... that's mostly it.

Alec Benson Leary said:
Marvin said:
while he has a big emotional attachment to high school, as far as frequency, he probably complains a lot more about his present problems and only occasionally (though in an excessively whiny way) talks about how he wished he didn't move back to Ruckersville.
Although a lot of his whining about his present problems involves some version of "my problems wouldn't exist if I hadn't been forced to leave high school". I agree with you that he's more invested in the present now than fantasies of the past, but I don't think he's yet arrived at the point of disconnecting the two worlds.
Oh yeah, no, he hasn't. When he does complain about the past, he's complaining about how he wishes he could've done it better. If he could go back, he'd be fucking his circle of galpals and be the coolest kid in the high school. Hell, he wishes he could go back to high school now, almost.

I'm just saying that the frequency with which he brings up his past isn't as high as some people would think. Mostly if he has something to distract him from his miserable life, like how he's so cool with his ipod and iphone and how those dumb kids are so stupid for their cracked screen shit.
 
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