I want to Break Free (A home without a voice)

This reading was presented by two of our peers, at the Bluecoat Arts centre in Liverpool, to professionals who work to improve adult safeguarding policies and practice. A big thank-you to Ian Porter from Merseyside Safeguarding Adults Board for producing this with the help of our peers.

Day T[r]ipper (Got a good reason…..) (Hoarders Helping Hoarders)


We don’t normally give stuff away, but today, we’re going to give you the benefit of our experience – please keep hold of it, don’t throw it away – it might come in handy one day.

Hoarding is an art – we do it very well.

It’s part of our way of understanding the world. It is our ‘normal’ – please don’t judge how we choose to live by YOUR standards.

BUT, hoarding stuff is only a part of what we DO – it is not who we ARE.


In other words, we are more than the sum of our stuff, we can BE things (like ‘reasonable’), we can UNDERSTAND things (like YOUR concerns), we can SEE things (like YOUR point) and we can FEEL things (like YOUR pain and frustration). Can you honestly say that you can BE/UNDERSTAND/SEE & FEEL the same in relation to US?

We know that we might not do any of this IMMEDIATELY, when you want us to – but it’s all part of the ‘dance’ – so please follow OUR lead.


Of course we’ll resist change initially – sometimes no matter how reasonably you voice your concerns – you built our houses so why not take time BUILDING trust? 

When you try to enforce your will on us you’re trampling on our memories; you’re invading our privacy; you’re undermining our rights; you’re criminalising our behaviour; you’re becoming part of the problem at a time when that’s the last thing we need. It’s not that we don’t want help – we just don’t want THAT ‘help’.


It’s threatening, it’s intrusive, it’s judgemental – in short…. it isn’t helpful. Feel free to consign THIS approach to the SKIP you ordered on our behalf – a skip we could fill with experiences of poor support.

If you continue to induce fear – we’ll continue to build our defences. After all, how many mutually beneficial, positive relationships start with conflict?

We don’t see what you see – Stop trying to ‘fix’ us – this is OUR ‘fix’ and if you want to help you need to realise that there is no ‘quick fix’.


Be consistent, non-judgemental, LISTEN to us – we have many layers so peel them back one at a time – don’t throw ‘us’ away with the ‘clutter’ – the PERSON comes with the ‘hoard’!    

Hoarding is an art – we do it very well – if you want to help us you please spend some time listening before you act. We would be more likely to work with you if you enable us to do so.

We will find it difficult to admit or accept your initial views, but please take the time to recognise and understand who we are and then help us to change gradually. 


Somebody once said that if you try to change the way people BEHAVE by force, in the absence of that force they will revert to type – but if you change the way they THINK, things will never be the same again.                                            

We want to break free but please don’t expect us to do so on demand.

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