Can You Relate?

I have one older sister, E, one older brother, C, and two younger sisters, M and Z. As you can guess, I’m the middle daughter, G.

Looking back, I feel like my entire personality has been revolving around the lack of attention I’ve received as a child. When I say I was overlooked, I wholeheartedly mean “I was overlooked.” I grew to be loud in my words and random in my actions. Still, I never dared to ask for anything and I stayed out of everyone’s way in fear that I would be rejected. All I did was crack jokes and run around laughing. Unfortunately, that only gave me the title of being “superficial.” Now, my siblings don’t believe me when I try to convey my feelings. They deny my right to be human. They call me “heartless” and “evil” and “black-hearted” and “devil” and anything else you can imagine. Don’t even get me started on how they harp about my weight. I have to admit I’m not model-thin, but I’m not even overweight! It’s needless to say that my self-esteem is significantly low…

I don’t really fit in. E is admired for her go-getter and perseverant personality as a first-born. C is the only boy in the family, and so he is doted on more than any of us girls. M is naturally charming and lovable. People are strangely attracted to her and are somehow found doing her favors left and right, like she’s put a spell on them or something! Z is extremely super duper smart. As the last child, she is doted on and admired for her intelligence. Somehow, it turns out I’m average compared to all of them. My family always has trouble pinpointing my good points. That breaks my heart…

I don’t know why I’m never good enough. There was a point in my life where I wasn’t even called by name. It was always E’s or C’s sister. What happened to my name? Didn’t I have an identity of my own? How could I be associated with my siblings by my own classmates? Don’t even get me started on how, at the middle school, I was almost mistaken for M’s and Z’s mother because I’m always taking care of them! And to think that people often mistake me for a high-schooler! Age-wise, does that even make any sense?

And yes, I am the peacemaker in the family. M and Z are always fighting about petty stuff. No one bothers to clear up the air. I’m like their flipping mom! But (Surprise! Surprise!) I also help E and C with their emotionally charged debates. Without me there, things sometimes get violent. I find myself time and time again working as the pillow they vent on. It wears me down and it terrifies me, but I’ve stood strong so far and I know that if I don’t step in, things get ugly really quickly. I say this through experience. Once, when E and C were fighting, I wanted to see them resolve things for themselves for once and it got so big that M and Z crawled into my bed, terrified. I couldn’t watch my younger sisters in that state, so I once again put myself in a position where I had to hide my trembling body and face their vocal assaults. No one seems to realize that I’m not indestructible and that I’m surprisingly fragile. I’m scared of their anger and their criticism. I’m scared half to death of being verbally beaten down…

Whenever my siblings want to do something, I’m always the one to compromise with what they want. When I voice my dislike, they find it appropriate to leave me home alone, while they do their thing. There was this one time when I asked my mom to take me, just the two of us, to go do something together and it was interrupted by a call from home saying that there was trouble and that we had to return. I laughed it off and said it was okay, like I always did. What I didn’t expect was my mom’s angry tone saying “The one time you ever ask for anything and it’s interrupted!” I was so moved that I silently cried in the back seat of the car…

I started feeling depressed two years ago, but no one noticed. The loud me morphed into a silent statue. I never talked. I only slept. I slept and slept and slept some more. I did all the housework, quickly finished my homework and then went to sleep. It wasn’t rare for me to sleep for more than 16 hours straight practically every day. No one noticed… It took two years for someone to one day think “Hey! Where’s G?” But, even after that, it didn’t matter, because they completely forgot about me a second later.

I’ve always been a straight A student, but due to my depression my grades slipped. That was the first time I’d gotten attention from the family. Of course, there had to be a catch! For the entire two weeks of winter vacation, my dad called me incessantly every day screaming for hours and berating me for not doing well and not being good enough. He drove me absolutely nuts with fear to the point that, now, every time I hear the phone ring, I jump up and almost run out of the house. This has made me finally realize that the only time my existence is confirmed is when I’m not good enough…

The last time I heard a good word about me was from a friend I confided in. I was having serious issues about whether I had done something unfair to my sister and to my great surprise he was shocked out of his mind at my guilt and repeatedly called me a saint! I absolutely fell in love with the praise. But, this only served to later make me miserable at the thought that I was desperately thirsting for compliments. It made me feel pathetic…

All the other kids are looked over by mom, dad and grandma. They are showered with attention and even I try to glue together the two older with the two younger siblings. And after all the hard work I put in, whether it’s taking care of the house or emotionally supporting everyone, I’m never recognized. It’s like I’m some invisible force that works as a buffer between everyone. When I’m gone, things crumble. Sadly, even when I’m absent I’m not acknowledged…

My passion is art. I love drawing. I’ve been highly discouraged from doing it, though. From a young age, the fact that I’ve picked up a pencil has been an excuse for ridicule and mockery. But, have no fear! Regardless of everyone’s taunting and bullying, I’ll never give it up! It’s the one thing that I feel keeps me alive. Even though I’ve grown a severe complex because of all the criticism, I’m still unwilling to let it go. It’s my private paradise and now that I’m in college I hope to get into the art community so I can mingle with people who can relate to me. Wish me luck, because my dad will murder me when he finds out about this.

Sorry for being such a complainer and a complete wimp. I just wish I was stronger…

Gale

3 thoughts on “Can You Relate?

  1. Eric another qutseion would be: Am I doing what I am preaching? It’s very easy to tell employees, or children to do this, or do that, and we don’t have the self-awareness that we are not doing what we ask, or tell, others to do. This is a matter of leading by example. God Bless.

  2. I am a middle child too. I have an 2 sisters. An older sister who seems to try her best to convince me that she is righteous and the youngest sister who thinks she knows it all.

    Whenever my sisters did a favour I asked them to do and it turns out wrong, I would not complain. Rather, I just accept and amend the thing they did and I learnt that to do things on my own. You can never depend on anyone, even within your own family.

    My youngest sister yells at me, shouts at me and scolds me from time to time and I do nothing but keep quiet. Though I have every right to hit her and shout back, I don’t. As I have been taught that Muslims should be peaceful with one another. So my way out is to just be silent. Silence is golden.

    My older sister and youngest sister do not quite like each other, since my youngest sister disrespects her and thinks she is wrong while my older sister thinks that my younger sister is wrong. Both of them are always convincing me that either is bad. So I am always caught in a fix, I don’t know whether to be the mediator and solve the issue between them or just let it be.

    My Mother cares for me, but she pampers the youngest one too much. I didn’t know about this Middle Child Syndrome until now that I read this article. It is very relevant to me as I have those traits of a Middle Child Syndrome.

    I learnt that it is indeed true, the youngest gets everything they want. They think they have the ‘hard’ life when they actually don’t. They have it easy, everything is there for them to just grab and go. I guess, for us all Middle Child, we just gotta live with it and do our level best to ensure such things to do not happen when we have our own families in the future. That’s pretty much all I have to say for now.

    – Afsana

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