“Mark” wrote: “I’m 22, I often watch your videos and I really love your style of videoblogging! Your style of speaking is so addicting to listen to! Your speaking skills often bring you very far I think.
I always have very much problems to clean stuff and to throw away things. I don’t know why this is actually, but the biggest things that keeps me from it is knowing that it will be completely ruined when you throw something away. When I was small I often watched the garbage truck passing by and once a sofa that I liked really much was thrown away and it was really cruel to see it getting crushed. The very strange thing is: this changed into an actual fetish at my age now. I think it’s a kind of thought of domination. That something crushes it without any mercy or choice.
Actually, nowadays this thing starts to bother me more and more and I hope that you can make a convincing speech why I should not be bothered by this thought, and throw away things that you don’t need anymore. Before your speech that hopefully will help me really much I have some questions for you to answer.
1) What do you know about garbage truck/trash compactors? Can you explain everything you know?
2) Have you ever used one by yourself?
3) Can you tell if you know how a garbage truck works? About the crush/press and so on…
4) So as I said when I was small it often stopped by our house when it was collecting couches and other big things. I always felt really sorry for such couches. First they are always used by people and at some point they are crushed mercilessly in a garbage truck. Do you care about this? Tell me everything you think!:)
5) Have you ever wanted to compact things in a garbage truck by yourself? Would you find that cool to do?
6) What kind of trash would be okay to crush in a garbage truck in your eyes and what are things in someones house that you would advise to throw away in general?
And after these questions I hope you can do a convincing speech that can relief my childhood ‘trauma’!!”
Liz says: When you feel bad for the furniture and imagine it is “cruel” to crush it in the trash compactor, what you’re doing is called anthropomorphism: attributing human characteristics and emotions to inanimate objects.
It’s normal for humans to sometimes anthropomorphize things. When we’re done using the computer temporarily we let it “sleep” (the light on my MacBook even mimics breathing), some of us name our cars, men often use the feminine pronoun when referring to their tools/toys (I once heard a man exclaim “She’s a beauty!” when he saw his friend’s new boat), and I remember once having a sentimental attachment to an old t-shirt that got torn and feeling bad about tossing it into the trash. You often see objects anthropomorphized in art as well, like in this photo art by Terry Border titled “Belated”:
Of course, there’s normal and then there’s the anthropomorphizing that is related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Hoarding Disorder, the latter being what it sounds like you have.
With a hoarding disorder, that sentimental attachment to the old, torn t-shirt would prevent you from tossing it into the trash like I did. Everything, even used Band-Aids and pizza boxes, is saved and clutter builds up to the point where your place might be barely livable. Click here to read more about hoarding disorder and its possible causes.
I’ve often speculated that some sexual fetishes develop from the mind turning something traumatic into something sexual as a coping mechanism (for example, maybe a spanking fetish as an adult evolved from the trauma of being spanked as a child). Maybe the trauma you experienced as a small child watching something you anthropomorphized getting “crushed” had evolved into an S&M type of fetish for you now.
I think you should seek help from a professional experienced in treating hoarding/anxiety disorders and sexual fetishes because the help you need is more specific and contextual, requiring more insight that can be gleaned from therapy sessions.
But to answer your questions:
- Nothing, other than that they’re loud and stinky!
- I know nothing about how they work.
- I do not care about the furniture getting compacted. They do not have brains, nervous systems, or anything else required for feeling pain.
- No, it sounds like a boring time! There’s nothing about compacting junk that appeals to me.
- I would advise throwing away or giving away anything you haven’t used in over a year, anything that can’t be re-used (like bloody bandages), anything that just sits there collecting dust without adding to the beauty of your home, anything broken that you have no intention of fixing, anything you have too many of (I recently gave away a bunch of stuffed animals my child wasn’t playing with anymore and sold/donated books and magazines), and anything moldy or dying/dead (get rid of that dead plant/bug/moldy food).
Please don’t let this consume your life, this is something you can overcome if you get help!