Like many Gen-Xers, I grew up in a broken home with an violent alcoholic parent, so developed most of the traits commonly associated with childhood trauma, including hyper-responsibility, perfectionism, anxiety and depression.

I also spent a lot of time alone, and aside from teachers, there were no adults actively involved in my life.

After my father and mother divorced, my uncle even went so far as to declare me “The Man of the House,” and my childhood more-or-less ended as I entered my teenage years. I had no adult support and this required I figure out how to manage life on my own.

By the time I was 13, I was mowing lawns and giving my little brother 25% of my earnings for an allowance because my mom was trying to make it as a single mother and we were broke. She’d also suffered severe psychological trauma that went untreated her entire life and this impacted her ability to provide support and love to her children.

As an adult, when I was laid off and lost my health insurance, I was faced with either accepting a steady decline into insanity or doing something to improve my circumstances.

I’ve also found most self-help books and strategies unhelpful, because the approach they take is often superficial, repetitive, and unsustainable. Many gurus and wellness systems even suggest magical thinking as a way to overcome challenges and live a full life.

After years of trying to find a life processing system that worked for my unique forms of madness, I decided—as I had with raising my little brother, learning to drive, paying for college, and trying to find my way in the world—I’d just do it myself.

The MTM tools and process were the result of a DIY ethos common among latchkey Gen-Xers who grew up too fast. Like all behaviors, the innate tendency to act independently and never ask for help has a shadow side that is often born out of abandonment or trauma, but if channeled in a healthy way, a self-reliant bias can result in creative solutions, new perspectives, and innovation.  

Leave a Reply