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Photos Reveal What It's Like Growing Up with a Hoarder Parent 

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Old 04-16-2015, 01:04 PM
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Photos Reveal What It's Like Growing Up with a Hoarder Parent

In a stunning photo series showing the massive amount of junk and garbage cluttering throughout the house, one photographer recreated what his childhood home looked like as he grew up with a hoarder mother in Omaha, Nebraska.

Geoff Johnson recreated what his childhood home looked like as he and his sister grew up with a hoarder mother. Johnson's son and niece -- both 4 -- stand in for their parents. Geoff Johnson


Photographer Geoff Johnson, 38, created beautiful art out of the ugly reality, casting his son and niece -- both age four -- to reenact the roles that he and his sister Jennifer McShea, 36, had played in real life.

"I always wanted to do a photo shoot inside the home I lived in," Johnson told ABC. "I didn't want any negativity surrounding my mom. This is our story. We shed a light on how we grew up."

After Johnson and McShea's mother passed away in 2013, Johnson snapped dozens of photos of the still unkempt Omaha house, looking just the way the children had left it 20 years ago. Because they deemed the home too unsafe for their children, with a caved in ceiling and unhygienic mess, Johnson took photos of his son and niece away from the home and Photoshopped them in later.

The siblings hope to expose the trauma of growing up in unlivable conditions and how they struggled to avoid judgment and shame.

"A lot of photos out there with hoarding don't show the impact on children," said Johnson. "The rewarding part about this is the message it sends to other hoarders that you are not alone."

Johnson told ABC that he had no memories of the house being cleaned and he and his sister didn't know any different.

"But we knew we couldn't let people in and we were very aware of the fact that we had to keep it hidden," shared McShea. "As I got older it became more of an embarrassment."

McShea said that she and her brother spent a lot of time out of the house as kids, and that their mother actively tried to keep them away from the declining home. The family was not at all reclusive, as most families are from hoarding homes, and most assumed they were a "great, well rounded family."

Though few were aware of the disaster inside.

"The kitchen was one of the rooms that made our home seem most abnormal," McShea wrote on her blog, Behind the Door. "I have no memory of the kitchen sink ever working. I'm not sure if it was a broken pipe or a clogged drain. I just don't ever remember being able to use the kitchen sink."

"The house festered and one problem led to another problem," said Johnson. "You get buried so deep into it, you can't fix it. Trying to help a hoarder is very difficult."

But both Johnson and McShea said they have no resentment for their mother.

"Blogs of children of hoarders have a lot of anger, but we are not about that," said McShea. "This is about the healing and giving children of hoarders a voice."


http://www.behindthedoorstory.blogsp...tchen.html?m=1

http://abc7chicago.com/family/photos...g-home/656356/

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Old 04-16-2015, 02:35 PM
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Re: Photos Reveal What It's Like Growing Up with a Hoarder Parent

That is so, so gross. I generally think of hoarders as living by themselves; growing up in it would be hell. I'm amazed they don't resent their mother for it.

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Old 04-16-2015, 02:51 PM
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Re: Photos Reveal What It's Like Growing Up with a Hoarder Parent

I did live-in home care for hoarder couple a few years ago. I spent the first few months just shoveling crap around to make it livable. It wasn't about laziness, like so many people are prone to believe.
The pack rat compulsion is so strong that even things that are clearly unnecessary and often even rubbish are so innately valuable there is just no convincing the afflicted to get rid of anything. The wife was an agoraphobic that hadn't walked in 12 years, yet she insisted on keeping over 50 pairs of MOLDY shoes because "they're still good shoes, they just need to go through the wash". Therein lies the root of the hoarding complex: everything has value, nothing is expendable.

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Old 04-16-2015, 03:30 PM
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Re: Photos Reveal What It's Like Growing Up with a Hoarder Parent

If she hadn't walked in 12 years, there's nothing she could have done if things were thrown away.

The house can be cleaned by family, can't it?

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Old 04-16-2015, 04:00 PM
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Re: Photos Reveal What It's Like Growing Up with a Hoarder Parent

How anyone can live like that is beyond me.

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Old 04-16-2015, 04:28 PM
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Re: Photos Reveal What It's Like Growing Up with a Hoarder Parent

Super interesting post, kelseecat.. thank you!

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Old 04-16-2015, 05:08 PM
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Re: Photos Reveal What It's Like Growing Up with a Hoarder Parent

I must be claustrophobic, because just imagining being in that house has me somewhat hyperventilating. It looks chaotic and jumbled and it would just be impossible to relax in a filthy hovel like that.

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Old 04-16-2015, 07:34 PM
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Re: Photos Reveal What It's Like Growing Up with a Hoarder Parent

For some reason a lot of mechanics are hoarders, and it can go on for generations at a shop, it's like archaeology when I clean.

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Old 04-16-2015, 09:28 PM
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Re: Photos Reveal What It's Like Growing Up with a Hoarder Parent

I hate when I have an entire reply typed out and I hit the wrong button and lose it all.

It would drive me crazy living like that. When I see photos/articles like this, I tend to start purging the goofy small things I tend to hand on to! LOL

After my mom died, my step dad gave me tons of her stuff...she was not a hoarder, but she kept a lot of odd things. I took photos of anything that was worth remembering and gave away some of her stuff to various family members, and the rest, is gone. After going thru all of her stuff, I had this compulsion to purge and not leave a huge bunch of stuff for my child to sort thru! LOL

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Old 04-16-2015, 09:29 PM
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Re: Photos Reveal What It's Like Growing Up with a Hoarder Parent

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Originally Posted by CrunchyCripple View Post
If she hadn't walked in 12 years, there's nothing she could have done if things were thrown away.

The house can be cleaned by family, can't it?
I think I would have slowly made them disappear, and kept a few in case she asked to see them!

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