It can be most annoying to be told “What’s all this rubbish you’re squirreling away. Why can’t you snap out your hoarding habit and trash it.” Many people with a compulsive tendency face the same kind of rudeness. Today we decided to challenge these assumptions outright. We wanted to know if hoarding is genetically inherited, or a habit parents pass on to their kids.
Certainly there are signs that hoarding runs in families. The Journal of the US National Library of Medicine reports numerous genetic markers with more than coincidental findings. However in the majority of cases the overall conclusions are unconvincing.
This brings us back to the age-old question is the cause nature, nurture or some other influence. In other words do your genetics incline you to hoard, or was there a social influence behind the development.
Psych Central Suggests It May Be a Bit of Both
Obsessive-compulsive disorder generally displays as excessive orderliness, perfectionism, attention to details, and a need for control in relating to others. Psych Central confirms 40% of people with the condition are also compulsive hoarders.
Now the UK National Health Service believes the likelihood of getting obsessive-compulsive disorder depends on a blend of:
# A family history of the syndrome suggesting it may lie in your genes
# A shortage of the chemical serotonin in your brain that affects your feelings
# A traumatic life event including birthing, bullying, abuse, or neglect
# A naturally neat, meticulous, methodical personality with exacting standards
# An example set by an authority figure in your life (parent, teacher, etc.)
Therefore is seems evident obsessive compulsive disorder (and the hoarding syndrome) arise from multiple causes.
My Dad Was a Hoarder Did I Catch It From Him?
The simple answer could be yes, if the garage was so full of his memories the car had to stand outside in the rain. That’s because children learn to copy other people’s behaviour by watching and listening to them.
This is behind the phenomenon of childhood buddies behaving like twins, and little girls copying their mothers. This may be another hangover from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, when even small children were expected to work all day long foraging for edible plants.
Whatever the case the phenomenon exists, and it is alive and well. The German psychologist Sigmund Freud had some weird ideas. He thought families were in conflict and little boys behaved like their fathers so they were attractive to their mothers. Let’s park that thought and get back to real life.
How a Child Learns by Listening and Observing
Even a new born baby is a curious individual with eyes darting to the left and right. Kids grow up faster than we could teach them, if they listened to us. They are also more likely to learn if they get a reward from the experience.
If you spent happy times with your Dad in the garage sifting through his hoard and laughing while he shared his past, you might have picked up the habit that way and could shake it. However, if you also have hoarding in your genes then you may have to learn to cope with the urge.