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Decision making and hoarding

Posted by karmakazi , 20 August 2012 · 520 views

In prior posts I mentioned both my family of hoarders and my own attempts to eliminate much of what I own... Today I was thinking about the psychology of it a bit more...


It is thought that there may be a genetic component to hoarding, and as scientists have studied the brains of hoarders, they are finding that a decision making center in the brain does not light up "normally" when a hoarder tries to make a decision.  In thinking about my family, they lack decisiveness in other ways besides "what to keep", and I myself struggle with decisions about many things in my life.

If I have the same genetics and mental traits as they do, what makes me so different?

I think that something which occurred in my life caused me to adapt to my difficulty in decision making...when I struggle to make a decision, particularly about acting upon something, my brain looks for the absolute simplest possible answer and that is almost always the route I take.

It just so happens that removing something from my home is far simpler than trying to find a place for it or put upkeep into it.  Regardless of whether something is donated or trashed, it doesn't matter.  What makes me most comfortable is for it to be gone, and for fewer things to come through my door in the first place.

In other decisions I make, the simplest route could be "I don't have much money in the bank and I have the things to throw together a quick salad at home" which leads me to eat healthy, or "I don't have any food in the fridge and fast food is right on the way home" which leads me to eat unhealthy...

Literally every decision I make in my life is based on the simplest answer.  When I have a to-do list, I do the easiest /fastest /least involved things first, just to get them off the list and reduce the number of things that need to be done.  Then I start to tackle the more complex tasks, with a clearer mind because I know that the list is mostly checked off.  I need the list to be shorter before I can truely focus on somethign more complex... hmm.  I suppose that has something to do with OCD and ADD, neither of which have I been diagnosed with but the evidence is in my life.

Understanding this about myself enables me to formulate far better strategies for reaching my goals.  I take advantage of my "simplest path" tendancy, and I make the goal into the easiest path.  If I'm more likely to take that path in every day life, accomplishing the goal becomes automatic and nearly effortless.

I cannot be alone in my thinking, as on a TV show I've watched, there was a character who kept her mayo in the garage because "If I want it, I have to walk for it".  This is a perfect example of making the right path (eating healthy) the easiest path.

I think the worst part about my decision making struggles is if I cannot find the simplest path I tend to default to the emotional one... and that is disaster waiting to happen!  Perhaps I'll figure this one out at some point as well... one step at a time.




Kudos for being able to sit down and put this stuff to words. That's gotta be cathartic for you. I wish I had the patience to do so myself.
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bLu3 de 3n3rgy
Aug 20 2012 05:39 PM
This was interesting it helped me to think about some things. I'm a list person, and a bit of ADD too, meaning until i write down what i need to do, I don't start to form a strategy. What is annoying for me or very testing is I have great focus for doing meditation etc, above average concentration for that kind of intensive mental work which is something which most people find difficult. Yet when i need to focus on say school work i have to battle through all sorts of mental and concentration resistances before I find my focus.

Very frustrating when your daily goals and long term goals compromise of a balance of both.

I'm interested to hear more about when you say you make the goal itself into the easiest path. Can you give an example of this ?
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The Mule, on 20 August 2012 - 04:21 PM, said:

Kudos for being able to sit down and put this stuff to words. That's gotta be cathartic for you. I wish I had the patience to do so myself.

It is tremendously cathartic... I've learned to heal my "wounds" by talking / writing about what is in my head, listening to music that has the right feel for my mood (at this second I'm listening to Everyday by Carly Commando) and in the case of hoarding/clutter/ocd, I watch Hoarders and Obsessed, and such shows.

Talking to my boyfriend helps a lot too... he reminds me that I'm often too hard on myself and I need to chill out.



bLu3 de 3n3rgy, on 20 August 2012 - 05:39 PM, said:

I'm interested to hear more about when you say you make the goal itself into the easiest path. Can you give an example of this ?

One of the things I'm working on at the moment is how to arrange and organize my home so that tasks that normally frustrate me (and leads to procrastination) aren't so frustrating.  One of these things is writing out checks to pay the bills.  I constantly put it off even though I have both the money in the bank, and plenty of time.

I did a lot of thinking about this, and realized that the reason I procrastinate is because I have a mental idea about how much time and effort it will take... that feels overwhelming.  The reason it feels overwhelming is because the place I write out bills is used for many other tasks and tends to be a spot in my home that looks like a tornado touched down.  The way I have things stored on the desk make it a pain in the rear to dig out the checkbook and stamps, find a pen and shove things out of the way so I can actually write.  (namely, my keyboard)

Writing out a couple of checks is... like 5 minutes of effort, but when I remember it needs to be done, it feels like 2 hours of effort... just because I don't have a workable or organized place to complete the task.  Setting up a spot just for writing out checks, which is where I would also locate my shredder, filing system, and inbox for mail, would make it feel more like the 5 minutes of effort that it realistically entails.  

If taking care of the task feels like a lot of effort, then at the moment it feels less stressful to put it off, to leave it on the to do list or floating around in my head.  However, if I have it streamlined and very organized so that it feels almost effortless to accomplish the task, then I will perceive it as more stressful NOT to get it done... because knowing I've left something undone causes me stress.

I should probably devote another post just to this concept :)  Or, maybe a book... lol
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bLu3 de 3n3rgy
Aug 20 2012 08:09 PM
I think you should! haha thank you so much for the elaboration this is just what i needed to hear.

Question. Do you consider yourself empathic/energy aware ? Sometimes i wonder if we perceive the effort well beyond what the task entails because of being empathic. Something like writing a check might not be the best example of empathy involved, but something else for instance that takes our energy as a resource on levels that non empathetic's simply don't process.
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DevilsMother
Aug 20 2012 08:19 PM
I understand what it is like to have nowhere to keep things organized. I moved from a two bedroom apartment to a single room in my daughter's home. I use to be able to keep everything where I knew where it belonged, however now I no longer have a place for everything. half od my things are still packed, the other half are in storage.  
    My daughter thought it would be easier on me financialy, and it is . However I feel bad because I want to help them out with bills and so-forth. She will not let me, therefore I tried buying what the grandchildren needed fo go to school. I was told not to buy anything more until I approved the purchase. Sometimes I feel like no one else needs or wants me any longer. OK maby I am feeling sorry for myself.
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Simbi Laveau
Aug 21 2012 12:08 AM
I'm a saver . I always think,well I might need this somewhere down the line ....
It's funny,I will throw it away,say 2 years later,and just after I do that,a use for it will arise,but when I get to it,I just throw it giant hefty bags ,and GET RID OF IT .
I mean if I haven't used it in 3 years,why am I saving it .
But I change uses of things.
One friend gives me body wash .all the time. Ones I like.coconut,rose ,like this .
I don't use them a lot.
So I redesignated them for hand washes in ky dispensers,and I will throw them in the water when I'm washing the floors. Leaves a nice smell to boot.
See if something's can be reassigned as something else.
All that saved me on buying hand wash for literally six years .Yes,she bought me that many .
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bLu3 de 3n3rgy, on 20 August 2012 - 08:09 PM, said:

I think you should! haha thank you so much for the elaboration this is just what i needed to hear.

Question. Do you consider yourself empathic/energy aware ? Sometimes i wonder if we perceive the effort well beyond what the task entails because of being empathic. Something like writing a check might not be the best example of empathy involved, but something else for instance that takes our energy as a resource on levels that non empathetic's simply don't process.

I am quick to pick up on the emotions of people around me, and my mood tends to be very sensitive/dependant on the moods of thsoe around me.  I tend to isolate myself because of it, the more people that are around me the more anxious I get.  But I don't know if its a result of my "people phobias" or just the awareness of their moods.  I can't share a home with anyone who isn't on the same level as me emotionally, it throws me into utter chaos.  I guess that makes me empathetic :)

I will definitely write another post on the subject someday soon.



DevilsMother, on 20 August 2012 - 08:19 PM, said:

I understand what it is like to have nowhere to keep things organized. I moved from a two bedroom apartment to a single room in my daughter's home. I use to be able to keep everything where I knew where it belonged, however now I no longer have a place for everything. half od my things are still packed, the other half are in storage.  
My daughter thought it would be easier on me financialy, and it is . However I feel bad because I want to help them out with bills and so-forth. She will not let me, therefore I tried buying what the grandchildren needed fo go to school. I was told not to buy anything more until I approved the purchase. Sometimes I feel like no one else needs or wants me any longer. OK maby I am feeling sorry for myself.

Since your daughter was trying to help you out financially, it makes sense that she prefers you to save your money or use it for your own needs rather than put it towards her family.  For her, she may have really wanted to help but feels like she's not helping if you are paying / buying things for her and her family.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to accept the charity of others, but since she is so insistent you should allow her to help as she wishes.

She may not need your help but she clearly wants you around.  She wouldn't have let you move in otherwise!

As cruel as it may sound, I wouldn't let my mom move in with me... I love her, but there are issues between us that I can't live with her.


Simbi Laveau, on 21 August 2012 - 12:08 AM, said:

I'm a saver . I always think,well I might need this somewhere down the line ....
It's funny,I will throw it away,say 2 years later,and just after I do that,a use for it will arise,but when I get to it,I just throw it giant hefty bags ,and GET RID OF IT .
I mean if I haven't used it in 3 years,why am I saving it .
But I change uses of things.
One friend gives me body wash .all the time. Ones I like.coconut,rose ,like this .
I don't use them a lot.

I tend to operate on a 6 month pattern, if I haven't used it, touched it, looked at it or thought about it in six months I definately do not need it.  I'm also going through this mental debate when I shop... I was just out yesterday and saw a few things that I wanted, and each time I said to myself " how long will it stick around before I end up throwing it out?"   Each time, I realized that it seemed like I could use the item but that I probably would find it wasn't a good fit for the need... so I only bought the two things I went to the store to buy.

I also tend to put any gifts immediately onto a donate pile... I really appreciate that people think of me and want to give me a gift... but unfortunately they usually give me things that I have no use for.  I figure someone else will so donating seems the best route to go.  If someone gave me all those scented washes, I'd probably donate all the ones I couldn't use because I'd go crazy with them sitting around.
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bLu3 de 3n3rgy
Aug 21 2012 07:27 PM

Quote

I am quick to pick up on the emotions of people around me, and my mood tends to be very sensitive/dependant on the moods of thsoe around me.  I tend to isolate myself because of it, the more people that are around me the more anxious I get.  But I don't know if its a result of my "people phobias" or just the awareness of their moods.  I can't share a home with anyone who isn't on the same level as me emotionally, it throws me into utter chaos.  I guess that makes me empathetic :)

I will definitely write another post on the subject someday soon.

Yes you are very empathetic then. This is the most annoying or even destructive aspect to being empathetic. When your own rhythms are upset by other peoples, the subtler stuff that people don't even notice. A lot of people with add/adhd are infact also highly empathetic and super aware.

Most empaths resort to shielding techniques which can work, but ignore themselves as being part of the problem,  and develop the prespertive that it is everyone else. it is everyone else LOL but in order to tolerate everyone else, emapths can learn to dial themselves >in< and down a notch so we are only existing in our own energy field/space. That brings far more peace all round. Btw the easiest way to try this is to visualise a dial on above your head or somewhere on your body. You choose. And on the dial is number 1 - 10. The lower the number your spin the dial to the more pulled in to your own space you are and the smaller the diameter of your crown space is. The higher the number you spin your dial to, the more expansive your field and crown channel is. Empathy is adjusted to whatever position your dial is at aka however expansive your energy field is.

Hope this helps and makes sense.
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