Hoarders are a special breed of people. Extreme hoarding is a sign of a mental illness due to the anxiety of several possible issues such as a fear of not having enough to eat or an extreme preparedness for emergencies. It could also indirectly indicate a low self-esteem issue.
Then there are individuals who border-line on hoarding. These people who border-line on hoarding items are not necessarily mentally ill, but can be considered either extremely selfish or controlling.
Selfish people hoard items they do not need nor want. Instead of offering these unnecessary items to the less fortunate, selfish people gleefully hold on to them. Usually, the items expire, rot or become ‘out of style’ before the selfish individuals will consider them useless. They were not concerned with the less fortunate population when the items were useful. These are the individuals who would rather see things go to waste before sharing or offering them to the people in need.
Controlling individuals will hoard items for a very subtle reason that is often not apparent to their family and friends. These types of hoarders will purchase items or collect valuables so they can ‘save the day’ and be the hero. Once they perceive they have this ‘hero’ status amongst family and friends, the opportunity to begin controlling ensues. The ‘give and take’ relationship is established and the hoarder now feels in control when the opportunity arises.
For example, the hoarder can ‘save the day’ by giving her extras to the person in need. She is the hero! Subsequently, the person in need now owes the hoarder a favor which gives the hoarder control. Very similar to the ‘loan shark’ understanding but instead of monetary gain, the hoarder can control or be an authoritarian to the less fortunate person.
The need to control is often mistaken for low self-esteem issues. People with low self-esteem will ‘buy’ friendship whereas people who desire control are more concerned with manipulation.
Extreme hoarding is a serious mental health condition and still not very well understood in the mental health field. The reason(s) evades most professionals, thereby allowing the misdiagnoses of selfish, controlling and low self-esteem issues.