The Other One

I am a middle daughter.  My older sister is very strong, sarcastic, outgoing and funny (to others, I am often the butt of her jokes).  My younger sister was the smart and athletic one who needed a lot of attention because she was difficult.  I was always just ‘easy’ as my mom likes to say, but this also meant that I got little attention.  Both of my sisters were athletes, I was not.  When sports didn’t work out for me it was like my parents didn’t know what else to do.  I think I could have been an amazing dancer but that wasn’t the kind of thing my parents would think of getting me into.  Since I was so ‘easy’, they didn’t really find a need to help me find my niche. Growing up I found it very hard to express who I was since my older sister was always right there to make fun of me.  Eventually I just started inhibiting myself.  While I was always able to make friends because I was pretty (sad but true) inside I never felt like I belonged.  On the outside I was well-adjusted but the internal struggle has continued to grow for years.

I’m now almost 30 and have gone through years of depression, isolation and sadness and no one knows it (no one).  I moved away from home after college to get away from that ‘me’ and hopefully build a new life based on who I wanted to be.  While this somewhat helped for a while, I realized that the personality traits that I so hate about myself continue to sneak in and affect my work, friendships and relationships.  What’s even more frustrating is that I feel I have so much to offer the world if I could just rid me of my self-consciousness.  On top of all of that, I will admit that I am very attractive, but to be honest it’s almost like it makes me hate myself more.  I feel like a huge let-down.  You see an attractive person and think they’ll have confidence; I’m just quiet and lay low, forgettable.  I’m so worried about what people will think of me that I often just fade into the background, never wanting to be the center of attention but at the same time wishing I was confident enough to be just that.  I feel like life is passing me by and I’m desperately trying to figure out how to not waste another day like this.

The biggest problem is that I don’t even know who “me” is.  I guess that’s the definition of an identity crisis.  My family constantly reinforces these thoughts of myself to this day, which is why I try to stay away.  My sisters both have nicknames for each other and refer to me as “the other one.”  I’m the weird one, the odd ball, the one that no one really knows.  Just when I think I’m making progress and feeling better about myself my sisters manage to knock me back and don’t even think twice about the comments they make or understand their profound effect on me.  I’m so tired of living this way and live in constant jealousy of the ease with which those around me live their lives.  Even in times of difficulty they know who they are.  I live with this every day, good or bad.  Sometimes I wish I could hit a restart button to my life.  I just don’t know how to fix it…..


A Beautiful Community

I am a middle child. When I read the posts here, I can relate to them from the core of my soul. I often wondered, family patterns and cultures vary across different parts of the world, but some things are universal, like us middle children.

I have experienced all or most the symptoms associated with middle child syndrome. I was always made to feel like an ugly duckling of the family. Whenever I played a game, I wasn’t applauded. When I excelled in school, it was a not a big thing. When I dressed up for a party, I was always made to feel like a clown, even though I was well dressed. My eating habits were also picked upon; I could not get a morsel down my throat because my heart was heavy. If I continue narrating my saga, then it will take a major part of your time.
Now, I am a married woman with two lovely kids and a very caring husband. All of them know about the trauma I went through and they pamper me like a child. All you middle children, I just want you to know that God has a way of balancing things. I now have a wonderful family.

There is so much maternal instinct in me, that I still feel connected to all of you on this board. Kids, be happy and joyful. I am a mother, but I still have the middle child inside of me, only this time the pain is much less, because I have a lovely family.

Never ever think that nobody cares for you, I care for all of you. To all middle children, we are not weird, we are unique. We are not abnormal, we are above normal. We are not eccentric, we are exclusive. God bless you all!

A point to add here is that some people who have come on this board have stated that even though they were middle children, they grew up normally. Good for them, but let them not dilute or simplify what middle children go through.

Anyways, middle children, we are a beautiful community.


Hoping for a Better Life

Hi, I’m Gina, I’m 20 yrs old. I’m the second child among my four siblings and everyone in my family thinks I’m a useless person.

My life was like “why you can’t be like your sister?”, “why you always being so childish?”

I love arts, very much. But my parents won’t let me further my studies because my sister couldn’t make it into university and they assume the I’m same too, will never make it. As my brother turn 17 this year and he wanted to study law. My mum started to put every effort and support so she can get him into a good school.

I have changed numerous jobs because I just don’t get want I really want and I don’t even know what I want. This really destroys my resumes and often got rejected. Now I have spent full time teaching myself drawing. But whenever my sister saw me drawing she started to say I will never succeed and I’m wasting my time. I complaint to my mum about it she just reply I’m such a troublemaker.

I just feel this world is so unfair. I wanted to run away from home. I did think about commit suicide but I’m too afraid.
Even romance don’t work well on me. Guys just flee off when they came to know that I never been in relationship before. You can guess I’m a lone wolf. I just want a better life.

Sorry for my bad English as it was not my native language.


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…


Pushed to the Side

I am the middle child of 7 born 11 months after my sister.  I have learned my position early in life.  It was a competition to be heard in our family and my personality aggravated the middle child problems that existed.  I am still today not going to compete to be heard. I am still, at 50, cut off in mid conversation where the rest of my thought is finished by someone else. I was the child that didn’t know what love was, but my younger sisters had it in abundance.  My older sisters were allowed freedoms that I looked forward to, only to be told no when it became my turn. I was treated unfairly in most things and my siblings did the same. They learned that I was the outcast, the one who was dumb, something is wrong with her, etc. And this was not corrected by my parents.

I always waited for my turn which never came.  I was ostracized from my mother into adulthood. Was it because I got pregnant at 18? Divorced with 2 babies at 21?  I was not invited and uninvited to “family” get together’s repeatedly. I was talked about by my sisters and mother as the family shame.  The one who didn’t get married and pregnant in that order.  The one who dated and married abusive men.  Something was wrong with me, so they think/thought.  Whenever my sisters or mother have or have had a question about me, they didn’t ask me because I was too stupid to know.  Instead they talk to one another and make it up as they go along. I suppose it makes them feel better.  But I do know that it hurts me. I would have fantasies as a child of being loved.  I thought it was unattainable, just a story (I read a lot), not real. My life has been hard and painful for myself and for my kids because of this ostracizing.  Why was I chosen to be the family punching bag?  Growing up I thought it was normal, as an adult I see the destruction.  The psychological impact on a neglected child is enormous, especially when you are the only one.  You have no one to confide in, no one to team up with and find support.  You are alone in this.  Alone in making your own screwed up decisions.

I raised my kids by myself for 17 years after 2 divorces, which is a long time for someone who wants to be loved.  I am now married to a man who had a similar experience to my own (he was alone for 12 years).  We both have finally found someone who loves us and truly cares about us.  This is my 3rd marriage and this is his 5th.  Statistically we are bound to have a divorce.  We have had some rough times trying to unload and process our mistreatment.  We finally found someone who understood.

To all parents:  make sure that you show your love to all of your children, especially the quiet child.  They already feel delegated to the bottom rung, and are just waiting their turn to be hugged and made to feel special. When that doesn’t happen, that is what they expect in life and from others……nothing.

– Susan