Monday, June 05, 2006

An Open Door

My family was never poor financially, but we are poor in a way that is very little understood. My mother is a compulsive hoarder. She suffers from a mental illness which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to discard items which most of us would consider to be trash. She is almost completely incapable of distinguishing between the useful objects of daily life and those objects which are broken, trivial, or even unsanitary. To her, nearly everything is "important", "might come in handy", or "will be worth a lot of money someday."

Any attempt by a family member to throw away even a ten year old piece of junk mail is likely to be greeted by my mother with a fit of rage or a flow of tears.

At the same time, my mother is extremely intelligent and very charming. She can speak knowledgeably about nearly any subject, and, with an infectious laugh and a quick wit, she has always been popular "outside."

Unfortunately, she hasn't let any of her friends "inside" for at least thirty-five years, and, until she had a health crisis in 2005 (more on that another time), she hadn't allowed any of her adult children inside her house for several years. The reason is apparent from the moment one walks through the back door and into her kitchen. (One can't walk through the front door because it faces the heavily traveled street, and if it is opened, the family secret might escape.)

I grew up in this environment. For years, I was convinced that my mother loved "things" (like coupons, newspapers, and junk mail) more than she loved her family. My siblings and I were deeply ashamed of our living situation, and I would be lying to you if I said that we were past the pain, the conflicted feelings of shame and anger, and the constant struggle to salvage a sense of identity and self-esteem. We didn't understand that our environment had its roots in a mental illness. We thought that we were the only ones who couldn't invite friends over to visit.

We were wrong. Compulsive hoarding is a serious mental illness with significant public health consequences, and a million or more people in the United States are estimated to suffer from it. While no cure for the condition is yet known, the pace of research on this disorder is increasing, and support groups are springing up on the internet and in a range of communities.

With this website, I hope to share some of my experiences with having a compulsive hoarder in the family, and I hope to help others learn that they are not alone, either. I'll try to post at least once a week until I feel that my story has been told.

In the meantime, if you are a child of a hoarder or know a child who may be in such a situation, please take a look at or its private Yahoo! group, both of which have been very helpful to me and many others despite only being online for a few months each.


Anonymous said...

Really looking forward to learning more about how hoarding has played a part in your life and the discoveries you've made along the way! It's so important that other people know that to the children of hoarders, it's not "just about the mess".

Great site/blog and your photo speaks (and probably weighs) volumes!

Here is another link for your consideration to add:

I found that site quite helpful in my first steps to learning about hoarding.

Hoarder's Son said...

Thanks for encouragement and the feedback!

PS. I've added the tripod link to the blogroll...

Anonymous said...

Dealing with this with my mother-in-law, though hers is a matter of papers, not so much objects. I just keep my shredder active, and we're making progress.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this site...

nashbabe7 :-)

Anonymous said...

I am so overwhelmed with emotions...I did not know what to call my mother's condition all these years. After watching a TV show last night on compulsive hoarding, I quickly began researching now that I had a "name" for what my mother did and continues to do. I did not realize that other people lived like we did! My search led me to your blog and I am so grateful to you for sharing your story.

I also have a brother that grew up in this situation with me. We only had one other family that knew our "secret". I can only remember a few occasions in my entire life that people from the "outside" came in.

Thank you for sharing your story so now I can show my brother that we are not alone and hopefully help my mother.

Thank you so much!

Hoarder's Son said...

Dear Hopeful - Thanks so much for the comment! I'm glad that you found the site to be helpful!

Best wishes,

PS. If you haven't already checked it out, be sure to take a look at

Anonymous said...

I am an adult child of a hoarder. I just sat here and cried and cried reading your blog. I can relate to each and every word.

Thank you for being so brave and sharing something so personal and painful.

Hoarder's Son said...

@anonymous: I am grateful for the feedback. It really helps to know that we're not all alone!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your strength.

I am trying to find my own strength to confront my parents once and for all regarding the potential safety issues lurking amongst their cluttered home environment. Years ago a small fire started at a floor electrical outlet that was accelerated by papers stacked on top of it.

Since then I find it difficult to visit there overnight with my husband and two small children because i truly fear that if there was another fire, we would be trapped. They are in their mid-60's and I am going to try to get my brothers to make one last push for intervention. After years of effort on all our parts, we had all given up.

Words cannot express how thankful I am for your courage/video postings. We know we are not alone!

Anonymous said...

It is awesome that you have told your story and showed pics and videos. It is a condition that has led people I know into drug abuse and alcoholism! It is more serious than anyone outside of it has any clue about!

So Thanks for potentionally saving lives!!!

Anonymous said...

I didn't grow up with a hoarder, but I can see many similarities between your experience and mine as a child of an alcoholic. Our homes were dark shameful places filled with denial and a kind of sick narcissism. These experiences are horrible scarring.

It's so ironic. Another blog I read is by a woman who hoards but is in complete denial about it. She cannot see the impact her hoarding will have on her kids when she's gone. I couldn't keep reading her anymore...couldn't stand it. Unlike your mom though, this woman proudly displays photos of the mess and jokes about how she's unable to face organizing it. The mind boggles.

Anonymous said...

We don't choose to be hoarders. I know you think you are helping but imagine your worst secret being video taped by someone you love and presented to the cold judgemental world.

That's what you did.

Get her help, don't just embarrass her like this. I really hope you did not tell her you did this.

I'm a young adult hoarder getting help. I don't want to like that. But you refuse to understand we find comfort in that choas that disgust you.

Anonymous said...

I saw some of your videos on YouTube just y'day and have only within the past 72 hours realized that how I lived for so many years w my mother and how she lives now, it has a name. Thank you for your courage to bring this secret to life. The shame, I feel will never escape me, but I am realizing this has nothing to do w/ me, there is nothing I could have done differently and nothing I can do now to MAKE her change...God grant me the serenity...

Anonymous said...

I am an adult child of a hoarder. My dad wasn't this way when I lived at home, maybe he had me to keep order. Anyway, I am at my wits end in trying to resolve this situation. What do you do when your parent refuses your help, and won't agree to get help, because their in complete denial. I can see why the frustrated child would take extreme actions.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Im so glad to have some where to look now. I grew up in a house that wasnt messy at all. But always knew something was up with my dad because the garage was a different story. When my mom left it started to creep into the house. The kitchen became un usable and piles started stacking up else where. I had a very young son and my brother was just 14 and they couldnt even sit at the table to eat. I remember a time when my aunt and I decided to clean out the fridge and found meat in there from the 80's it was at the time 1996. Also moldy cheese and various other obviously expired "treats". We threw them out and next thing we knew my dad had dug them out of the trash and put them back in the fridge. He has made some progress in recent years but there is a ways to go. I offer time and time again to help clean it out being his i handicap and the clutter cant be good for him but he always makes excuses. Im so affraid that one day some thing will happen and he will be all alone no one will know cause he cant get help cause of the mess. Thank you again for you site.

Anonymous said...

I am married to a hoarder and believe me it is no joke. I am sick and tiered of visiting immaculate homes of my friends and relatives, then to come home to this heap.

It is driving a wedge between us i am beginning to resent him for this, as I just want a tidy home with no clutter.

Like you said the excuses are never ending and as he has health problems he has become a skilled manipulator and uses this as a reason to avoid discussion, or to get out of doing it. EG "Oh i cannot handle this i am feling stressed. We live in a one bedroom flat and it is no joke, our storage cupboard has been overtaken by junk from floor to ceiling.

I do not know how much longer i can stand it before one of us dissappears under the vast pile of junk, or i walk out.

Anonymous said...

I am married to a hoarder and believe me it is no joke. I am sick and tiered of visiting immaculate homes of my friends and relatives, then to come home to this heap.

It is driving a wedge between us i am beginning to resent him for this, as I just want a tidy home with no clutter.

Like you said the excuses are never ending and as he has health problems he has become a skilled manipulator and uses this as a reason to avoid discussion, or to get out of doing it. EG "Oh i cannot handle this i am feling stressed. We live in a one bedroom flat and it is no joke, our storage cupboard has been overtaken by junk from floor to ceiling.

I do not know how much longer i can stand it before one of us dissappears under the vast pile of junk, or i walk out.

Anonymous said...

I would like to find out where I begin to help my mother. I would like to speak to someone versed in dealing with this disease so that I could approach her without her going into a tirade.

My mother moved out of her once gorgeous 3600 sq. ft. home when 3 out of 4 bathroom toilets stopped working, the washing machine broke and the furnace failed. The house is jam packed with stuff...junk, antiques, collector pieces of all sorts, papers etc. There are a number of leaks in the roof and ceiling, as well as a dilapidated deck that is about 12 feet high off the ground which is a hazard if anyone should attempt to walk onto it.

Tonight is the first time I went on line and am seeing pictures and videos, none compare to the enormity of depth to the problem my mothers house, I kid you not.

My mother moved into a hotel 4 years ago that allows for extended stays. She has completely filled the room perhaps four to five feet high, with a small pathway to the bed which is piled high.
She will be 80 years old in a couple of months and has health issues. She lives mostly on take out food, canned soups and whatever she can prepare. The "kitchen" has no counter space because there is stuff everywhere.

She does not allow anyone to enter her room. The only reason I've seen it is I needed to take her to the hospital 5 months ago so she let me in. She does not want to talk about this stating she's feeling ill if I breach the subject.

Her home ought to be condemned because I fear some kids could go over to her abandoned house to poke around and fall and hurt themselves or worse!

I have two brothers who live out of state. They don't know what to do so have basically said we'll deal with it when she dies. She is a recluse, so there are no friends to help her and she has alienated herself from me which means her grandchildren as well. She feels I am against her so I don't talk to her very much because she accuses me of all sorts of things. Her meanness is not healthy for my own mental health so I try not to engage with her to avoid hurtful accusations. We (my kids and I) can't visit her since there's no place except the hallway to stand. My kids have never been to her house oldest is 15 years old.

I would really love to help her!! Given she is an adult and doesn't want my help I haven't a clue as to how to proceed. The hotel room she's in is a fire hazard, her home is a disaster waiting to happen and she's not getting any younger. I feel I have an obligation to her, she's my mother, I love her, I hate to see her disrespect and degrade herself in this most pitiful way. She deserves better!

I would like to find a person locally who could present a few scenarios as to how to even begin a conversation with compassion that could lead to some sort of action. Someone with experience in this kind of illness as well as legal understanding. What is my role if I don't do something knowing of these potentially dangerous situations? I want to do the right thing, whatever that might be.

I thank you for reading this and appreciate any direction you could point me towards.

Hoarder's Son said...

Hi Pamela,

I'm so glad that you've started to find some resources on the web about hoarding, but I'm sorry to hear that you need them!

The first thing to realize is that you are not alone. The story you've shared is very similar to many stories that have been told on hoarding support sites. Some researchers have estimated that at least 1% of the population suffers from it, and others have suggested that it could even be as high as 5%. In either case, that means millions of people just in the USA.

The next thing to realize is that while it is natural to want to fix the problem, hoarding is a real psychological disorder, and it is not easily fixed, even with professional supervision. I tried very hard to help my own mother (at great cost to me, financially, psychologically, and more), and I made zero progress. If she doesn't want help or doesn't see the need to change her situation, unless she is in immediate danger or putting someone else in danger, there is little that can be done. A few people have tried interventions with their parents. Sadly, these rarely succeed beyond the short term, and many end up being traumatic for all involved.

I know it is easier said than done, but you need to make sure that you place your own health and well-being first.

I encourage you to visit the Children of Hoarders support site at, and you might also take a look at the related Children of Hoarders group on Yahoo. You'll find lots of stories about how people like us have coped with these situations, including some intervention stories.

Good luck, and please feel free to come back and post again!


SLEastler said...

The group Hoarders son recommended is a great resource but it sounds to me like you are seeking professional help. In that case, I suggest that you start with the book Buried in Treasures and then branch out from there by following the authors' (Randy Frost and Gail Steketee) other books on hoarding and call their hoarding research center in Boston. The authors have some of the best research out there and even though I disagree somewhat with their focus on OCD, you won't find better help anywhere. Their website is loaded with info and resources:
Best wishes to you, Sara (also a member of the COH website)

Anonymous said...


You and I are in the exact same boat. I had 7 bedrooms to deal with and my mom was put into a care facility. My brothers (2) live out of state and I've had to deal with this same...(scary) exact thing your going through. Please feel free to contact me at

Anonymous said...

dear son of hoarder,

before hand, let me apologise for any mistakes in my usage of english..(typing in a rush during office hours) hehehe

i m from malaysia, n like u, i have been holed up over the years feeling exactly just like mom is exactly like ur mom whois knowledgable n smart. my mom became a hoarder since my dad had a stroke 10 yrs ago N when dad was declared incapable of working, mum on the other hand started to collect items which r meaningful to mom was someone who's a perfectioninst, cleanliness is her priority, but things changed in a very weird manner>cleanliness 1st>but then clutters??.i just feel so ashamed at tat time that how can my mom turn into someone who keeps every little things (aside from discarted take-away food packages)fr screws to cardboboxes..there was once when my sis threw away her expired shampoo (expired for 2 yrs), only to have my mom sobbing badly over it. reason : it was a very expensive shampoo she bought when dad was fine. till now, she would cut coupons or newspaper articles which r interesting so that she can keep it for us to read when we r back for a & my bro r staying in the city while she's now living at home all alone n my sis is renting out at place nearby to my mom.there were many arguements over this issue back then..we were constantly argueing n critisizing my mom n she would alwaz backfire on us for being unfilial childrens n we care less about her feelings till there were moments she would threathen to commit suicide. she alwaz declares tat these items at home arent her's alone, it was alwaz everybody;s fair share. she's very organized, but 10 yrs went by there just ain't any schycronizing done on those items. there will be tonnes of plastic storage boxes at home, but none fulfilled its usage of being a storage box. she would clean items per items, wipe it, n dry it under the sun, pack it n label it, but again, its left somewhre, packed but unkept in a proper place.she will keep expired food n when we threathen to throw, there goes the drama again. she would alwaz have newspapers to be used as spreads for any dirty items...n when we wana discard away the used dirty newspaper, she would stop us, ask us to fold it into half, put it aside as it can still be recycled on the other side...i mean...whenever we wana throw something away, there goes the defensive mode "ON".it wasnt till last year tat i saw a programme in discovery living tat they showed the documentary "help I am a hoarder". tat caught my attention n it was only then i knew tat tis was a kind of sickness. over the years, i have never read or heard of this term "hoarder", back here, not many ppl understands the term "hoarder". often relatives n friends would criticize my mom behind her back n prolonged arguements amongst relative often happens as they dont understand it n have always cast a very negative shadow towards my between mom & childrens became very amongst siblings also was shaken by tis events.the upbringing became very negative n lately only have we understand the illness my mom was facing.its also very difficult for her to admit she's a hoarder, most often when explained properly, she would again defend herself..hmm i guess like many, its hard to cure n hard to convince hoarders to part ways with their items. now, as my dad is no longer around, all i can ever wish for my mom was for her to lead a healthy, happy life.her health is deteriorating..n the clutters aint helping her in any way but more of an obstacle for her daily mobility.she's suffering knee joint pain n slip disc.its heartbreaking to c my beloved mom aging & living in such a condition. i m very thankful to have access to listen & express myself here to people/family members who have/are going thru all this sharing & awareness. god bless everbody n we hope all family members n victims out there live in harmony n to proper understanding towards each others feeling.there's no winner if nobody gives in n it only gets worst...

Anonymous said...

I am writing an article on the adult children of hoarders and I am looking for people to interview on the subject.

If you are interested please contact me at


psp casting said...


Pink Sneakers Productions is currently casting for TLC’s new documentary series tentatively titled, "Life Chronicles." Each episode documents the day-to-day lives of people affected by different life experiences. One of our episodes will focus on hoarding. We are currently looking for people who have been directly or indirectly (family member of, etc) affected by hoarding.

I came across your blog and I really appreciate your openness and honesty. You seem to have an incredible story, and someone whose strength can be so inspirational to others.

We realize the sensitive nature of the topic and we think sharing the stories of people actively coping with this could help let others know they are not alone- that millions of people are dealing with this. This show is being produced to foster awareness and outreach.

These are unique and sensitive topics to be covered through a true, documentary style format to inform and educate our viewers while preserving respect for all parties involved.

If you, or someone you know may be interested in participating in this project with us and sharing his or her story we would love to hear from you. Please contact us at and feel free to check out our website at

We thank you in advance for sharing your story.

Racquel M. said...

I am so grateful to have come across this blog. I really have felt that I am one of the very few people who is the child of a lovely mother who is a compulsive hoarder. My maternal grandmother is also a compulsive hoarder. Recently I have been on the verge of having a nervous breakdown because of the situation--and I don't even live with either of them. I'm not going to spill out my whole story here, but again, I'm just so thankful to have come across this blog, and thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I'm fifteen year old and my mom is a hoarder as well. People have no idea how hard it is to grow up like this. We have pathways to each room of the house. My room, the bathroom, and the kitchen are the only room without useless clutter. I can't have my friends over, and I haven't had a birthday party since I was seven because of all this mess. I've known my bestfriend for SIX YEARS and she's never stepped foot in my house. Never once... It's very depressing. My mom is great and I love her to death, but this has to stop. I don't know how I can get it through her head! She blames things on to me when they ARE NOT my fault. "You won't help me clean the house! That's why it's like this!" Nothing is mone in the livingroom is mine except for probably clean laundry that I don't knows in there.. She was never like this when I was younger.. She started renting a building, she always wanted to have a store. So she'd go to yard sales, thrift stores, ect. buying needless junk. She'd say "Oh, I'm buying this for my store!" Yeah right.. She's been renting that building for about six years now, $300 a month.. Ugh. I just don't know what to do. I'm going to be a sophmore in highschool next year. I'm going to be sixteen in September. I atleast want to have the house cleaned up and be able to have friends over... Sigh, I don't know what to do....

Hoarder's Son said...

Hi anonymous - Thanks for the comment. I probably could have written the same thing when I was fifteen years old! :-) Everything that you wrote sounds so familiar to me, right down to the part about mom saying, "You won't help me clean the house! That's why it's like this!" My mom used to say things like, "The house would be fine, if I could only get some cooperation from you people!" To her, cooperation seemed to mean sitting next to her for hours while she picked up a stack of magazines that the cat knocked down, stopping to read every one of them (or at least as many as she could until she got tired), and then maybe putting one or two (out of a pile of hundreds) into a recycling bin, which somehow would never make it out the door. I only let a friend in my house once as a kid, and I was punished for it. I never had a friend in the house as a teenager, and now, years later, some of my old classmates still think of me as "the kid who never let anyone in his house."

When I was fifteen, I thought that I was the only person in the world who was growing up that way, and I was so ashamed of my house. On the bright side, you know that you aren't alone! While it's sad that there are a lot of us "children of hoarders," at least we can reach out and support each other!

There are a few things that I wish I knew when I was fifteen:

1) Hoarding is a psychological condition that usually is very difficult to treat. It's not a matter of a hoarder being lazy or sloppy. It's a matter of not processing information the same way that most other people process it, and it's very hard to change the way someone is "wired." Don't expect your mom to change her behavior overnight!

2) Someone on a support group for children of hoarders once said, "Remember, our parents living conditions never were, are not now, and never will be, our fault. We didn't cause it. We don't need to carry any guilt for it." So true! Since the worst of my mom's hoarding started after I was born, and I knew that when my older sisters were little, the house was messy, but it was manageable enough that they could have birthday parties and friends visit, I was convinced that the mess was my fault. It was quite a relief to learn later that it wasn't my fault! Unfortunately, even after learning that, it took me years to realize that I couldn't fix the problem by "helping" to clean up or fix up the house. Again, my mom has a psychological problem; she is not lazy or stupid.

3) You have a right to live your own life, to have your own goals, and to pursue your own happiness. Do not get caught up in trying to "fix" everything in your mom's house if there is no sign of real progress, particularly if you notice that trying to help your mom interferes with you doing important things in your life that you want to do.

4) I wish that I could say that there is a good chance of getting the house quickly to a state where your friends could visit. There probably isn't, at least not without support from others, including professionals. Also, to be successful, your mom has to want to change.

Thanks again for your comment. I think that I'll make it into a blog post, and we'll see if anyone else has better ideas and suggestions than I do! :-)

Feel free to comment again!

Hoarder's Son said...

Hi, fifteen year old anonymous! If you are still reading, please check out some additional responses to your comment in these new blog posts:

Anonymous said...

VENTING:.....I just don't feel as much compassion for the parents here as I do the kids! I am a child of a hoarder -- my mother is an outgoing woman: charismatic, lovable, sociable and then some (she is mentally ill). The house was not always the way it is now. She use to throw us birthday parties and host family events but something changed when I was like 6 or 7. It started in one room, then the next, and snowballed from there. We did not even have a washer or dryer the whole time I was in middle school or high school (I have 3 siblings). My mother's solution was to buy new socks, clothes, underwear (she did this ALOT!), or wash it ourselves and line dry it. She cleaned the refrigerator one time when I was 16 and took out all the shelves and they still are not in there (I am 34 now). We NEVER could have friends over. She bought & collected so much crap over the years there is 4 generations of family memorabilia in the house and the 4 large sized storage rooms (that I know of) that my mother has paid for every month for the last twenty years (an absolute fortune). Needless to say, I moved out when I was 17. I just could not take it anymore. It doesn't get better with time! So, I think that everyone should sympathize with the children of these hoarders and encourage them to tell a school counselor, perhaps a home inspection: most cities requirer you obtain a occupancy permit which verifies safe living conditions live in the home or a specific time frame to make corrections and a follow-up inspection), maybe contact the fire department about potential fire safety risks and they may also do an inspection of the home, and if need be call Child Protection Services on the parents on behalf of these children. I can attest that growing up in a hoarded house as a child that it is emotionally & psychologically damaging -- I wish I would have told, so an adult authority figure would have intervened. Sorry, hoarding parents, illness and all, BUT the kids come first!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your blog. Your posts, and the readers' comments are both a comfort, and a door to buried pain.

When the comfort truly fits, the old pains surface, and can be released.

I appreciate your offerings to this purpose. They are part of the healing.

ipon said...

thx for writing about hoarder. I never realized that for years I have become a hoarder. And I don't know why. Hope your blog can help me to understand more about myself. thank u very much.

Michelle Pfingston said...

COH myself - I can agree with "Anonymous
VENTING" Between my siblings and I we relised that we treat our mother with respect and give her honor due - but "love" is abstract for us - not a feeling we have towards her. Concern, yes. Love? Not really.

But our extended family (aunts and uncles) have such an influence on us - and they love her, I assume - we, my siblings and I, would have nothing to do with her if it wasn't for the promptings of our extended family.

Anonymous said...

I cannot thank you enough for your site. I know you are helping so many children of hoarders to deal with issues dumped onto them by their parents. However, at least in my case, you have helped prevent some of those issues from being passed on in the first place.

I fight my propensity towards hoarding every single day for my husband and young children's sake. Years and years of working on myself and trying to understand why I am compelled to hoard never really helped. But starting to truly grasp what it's like to be on the other side - on the child's side - absolutely changed my life.

It's obvious to a hoarder that what she's doing is hurting those around her, but I think there is such humiliation and shame involved that the actual depth of the family's pain is never fully exposed. When I discovered your site, it was like waking up. I found motivation that I never imagined existed. I deeply appreciate the unabashed honesty and generosity of both you and the people who have shared their thoughts and stories here.

Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

It is very healing for me to visit your site. My mother's front door has looked like the one posted on your site for years. For years my siblings and I grew up believing we were the only ones living like this. Your website and the hoarder reality shows have really helped me to understand that it was actually a mental illness that my mother suffered from. I always thought she cared more about her "stuff", which seemed more like garbage than anything else. It wasn't a good feeling to grow up realizing your mother placed her garbage above her own children's feelings. Did she actually value her garbage more than her own children? I felt she did.

~Anonomous grown child of a hoarder mother

sparkleplenty said...

Thank you for allowing your story to be seen by so many. Vulnerability like that takes great courage, and it's an inspiration to those who can relate to your upbringing.

I'm the daughter of a hoarder who, to this day, has not been able to rid himself and his home of 'memories' and possessions that should have been given or thrown away years ago.

My father currently sleeps in a room on a bed that belonged to my deceased grandmother. The room he lives in is a room belonging to an old woman, not to a 50-year-old man.

The home is exactly as she left it 11 years ago, and my dad has suffered from it, much like the ways you have mentioned in your post.

I see these habits in myself and want so badly to end this cycle. While I've taken a humorous approach in dealing with this generational issue, I know my journey in eradicating myself from this disorder will be a serious and long one.

Again, thank you for letting me into your world of hoarding so that I may learn and correct my own irrational vices.