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Pick Myself Up By My Bootstraps

Pick Myself Up By My Bootstraps

Jun 20, 2023

I loathe that saying “pick yourself up by your bootstraps.” I heard that all the time mouthed by my family. As the youngest child, I would quizzically give them a lost look. Like what the hell is that supposed to mean?

My life began as a dung heap. Mom already had three older children. And oops, eight years after my brother is born, I arrived. My mother was not mentally stable. She did not and could not handle me. She was exhausted from the three older siblings. Also, there were tell tale signs my mother’s side of the family had some form of mental illness. My father would tell me stories about her family, where I would cringe. My mom was not treated well by her mother and her father died from alcoholism at the age of fifty-six. He died two years before I was born.

She was essentially told at eighteen get married or move out so her parents could focus wholly on her five year old brother. Her mother worshipped my uncle even though in later years he treated his mother like crap. Ironic.

My mother was closer to her dad, so I am sure his death lead to her mental status to spiral further.

My entire family never dealt with family issues. They were more or less brushed under the rug. We were all taught to stuff our emotions. Bury any anger, sadness, fear or resentment because it shows a sign of weakness.

Have trouble processing things I didn’t understand? Tough shit, nobody had or wanted to hear about mine or anyone else’s garbage in the family.

So all the unresolved issues stewed into a perfect storm. All of my siblings, including myself, have uncontrollable rage if we hit a melting point.

I have been to therapy to find methods to resolve my rage issues. I used to black out when I hit my boiling point. Yikes. Therapy taught me ways to practice calming down before utter rage hits. While I still hit extreme moments of escalating anger, complete rage does not grab hold. I’ve learned to count, take breathes, and when really angry, go off by myself to calm down. I still have a ways to go. I want to get to a point where my anger does not overtake me.

I have no idea what or if my siblings went to therapy. I have not communicated with any of them in past twenty plus years. Other then brief conversations when my dad passed, we have stayed apart. I am fine with it. Each of us were toxic pieces that came from the same messed up family. We each probably need our own space in hopes of healing.

I definitely am happy I am no longer bound by the adage if things go bad, “I should pick myself up by my bootstraps.”

Yea, no thank you.

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