The Lost Sister

 

I guess my story is all too familiar and not at all unique, but I still feel the need to share it.

All my life I’ve struggled with being a middle child, sandwhiched in between two sisters born 2,5 before and 2 years after me. I’ve always been the odd one out, the odd ball, the weirdo who as a child hid in the closet with her books and talked to herself. When I hit puberty I was described as moody, difficult and impossible and I spent most of my time in my room, scribbling in my journal and writing obscure poetry about how awful life was. I still tried my very hardest to please my parents and make them notice me. It was a tough job, I’ll tell you… My sisters were both very successful competetive riders and I was the groom, always on the side lines, taking care of the horses, rooting for my sisters and being pushed out of photos taken by our proud parents.

I moved away from home at an early age, to attend high school in another city. It was a relief to stand on my own two feet and leave the bubble of never being noticed. I am now 24 years old and to this day I still crave the praise and attention of my parents: two things that they squander mainly on my little sister. I’m at the bottom of the phone list, when there’s a family gathering coming up I always hear about from my sisters, I rarely receive a direct invitation. When my parents call me, 9 times out of 10 they want to ask me how my younger sister is doing and if I’m looking out for her. It makes me feel unimportant and replaceable.

Some people think this whole middle child syndrome discussion is stupid and just a way for chronically wronged people to blow off some steam, but I think that’s over-simplifying the matter and offending those of us who grew up in this reality. I can still feel sad thinking about how my parents would make us take turns playing with toys or having candy handed to us by saying “Oldest first” or “Youngest first”. No one ever thought to give me the first turn, not once. I really don’t want to be one of those people who clings to old issues from the past but fact is that this is still very much part of my life. My parents are planning a trip this summer and my younger sister has been offered an indefinite loan so she can afford tickets and accommodation. I’m expected to pay for myself.

The biggest effect of my middle child syndrome is that I’ve grown a bit distant from my family. I’m engaged to a wonderful guy and we get more support and emotional validation from his family. My relationship with my fiancée is my future and I’ve decided to invest energy in our life instead of dwelling on my family situation. I hope I’ll someday start feeling good about being me, being in a happy relationship, having wonderful friends and a meaningful career has gone some way towards easing my sense of being odd, strange and “wrong”. I pray that all middle children suffering from this syndrome one day will reach a point where we all feel that we are unique and worth just as much as our siblings, regardless of how we’ve been treated and still are being treated by our parents!

Emmy

The Odd Child Out

 

Being a middle child really makes me frustrated. Mostly when you have a big sister and a little sister. I always think that my big sister likes my little sister better than me. Maybe because the youngest child gets mature faster. My big sister is always telling her to do her favors. Whenever I ask of why she doesn’t make me do favors, she says that she doesn’t trust me. My big sister believes that I am the incompetent one. She thinks that my little sister does everything best.

During weekends when me and my family hang out, my dad is always telling me to go with my mom everywhere. “Dena, go to your mother and her relatives in a car home. Your sisters and I will take a taxi ride together home.” says my dad. Sometimes I feel left out and that nobody likes me in the family. I don’t even think my dad likes me that much. He is always wanting to be with my other sisters and pushing me aside to my mom. Once, my dad only wanted my sisters to come with him at grocery shopping. “Dad! Why can’t I come with you?” I say. “Just stay with your mother. Your sisters are the ones that know how to carry the groceries.” says my dad.

I believe that the middle child syndrome affects how I learn. The embarrassing thing is that, my sisters know how to speak Chinese fluently and I just suck at it. My little sister is always showing off. I believe that she is always better than me at everything. She is the talkative one and to strangers and I’m the quiet shy one. I’m also the one that doesn’t have a deep voice. My little sister’s voice is deeper than mines and everyone makes fun of me. Even my sisters do. In the car, my little sister is sitting next to my big sister talking and I’m just the one next to the car door staring outside of the window not talking.

Many people in my family don’t realize that I try so hard to get my attention. I always scream out loud in my house saying, “NO ONE LIKES ME!” When ever I make an achievement, no one seems to care. I try so hard to make achievements so people in my family will like me again. Everyday, I just think I’m in everyone’s way in the family.

All I can say is, my parents suck. They don’t make my siblings and I treated equally. They treat my sisters a billion times more special than I. I hate being the middle child and because I always get blamed for everything.

To all of the middle children that feel the same way, good luck to you because it’s going to bite you on the butt for the rest of your life. Most people say the middle child are always the under achievers. Well to my opinion, to those who think that, there are many people born middle that I know. People such as Donald Trump, Julia Roberts or, Tim Allen were born as middle children.

So, even though the middle children don’t get as much attention or they are often called as under achievers, well I believe that we might get bothered when we are younger but, we are actually smart and trying hard. Maybe we might turn out as better than our siblings. What do you think?

Dena

Middle Child in Late Years

Hello, My story may be unique, in that I am 72 years old and a Middle child of nine children. I am in the process of writing a book about my childhood.

While researching, I have noticed many difficulties which may have been caused by being the middle child , even though there was a separation of many years from the oldest child to the youngest.
I know that I stuttered very badly as a child and it continued until I became an adult. I also remember having terrible nightmares, which I still have today. I have sought counseling for some of my marital problems, which may, or may not stem from my childhood upbringing. I do remember being left out of many situations as a child and pushed aside by my siblings.

I have not drawn a  definite conclusion yet as to the affect of “middle child syndrome”, if it exist. Nontheless, there is a question…..

Ralph

Middle of Five

Although my parents give me the least attention, i get attention. Althought my parents give me the least, at least they give me something. Although my parents do more for my siblings, they do things for me. Although my parents love me the least, they still love me. We middle children should accept this and not let it get us down; we are better than our siblings and parents and we will be/are better parents than they were/are. As the middle child, i have noticed that other middle children get less attention, too, but those children are intelligent, great, even. We cannot let middle chid syndrome get the better of us. We must accept middle child syndrome and not let it take us. Unfortunately, not everyone sees this, not because they are unintelligent, but because i, for two and a half years, was the youngest, before my younger brother, than sister came. Although only the middle chid for two and a half years, my older brother has transformed into someone who gave up on academics and decided that it is better to be ‘cool’. He is distanced from the family, and i do not want to become like him. We must know that at least we are loved, even if only a little. Yes, we aren’t liked as much, but that cannot affect who we are. We cannot let it.

– Bilaal

A Story from the Readers

 

I am 22 years old, been married for nearly 4 years and have 2 gorgeous daughters, so it is unlikely that I fit into the loner or commitment bracket as much, but I don’t have a wide circle of friends. I had always grown up in the shadow of my elder brother, he was the brainy one. My younger brother was the baby, and got away with everything. I was the middle child, always getting noticed for the wrong reasons, I am still reminded of these reasons now most times I go home.

An example would be my brothers both being able to have friends over, it was always an inconvenience for mine to come over. I was expected to look up to my brother, and be an example for my younger brother.

As I got older into my teens I used to spend every weekend and my friends house, where I felt most comfortable and less like an outcast that my brothers could gang up on. My friends parents didn’t know or didn’t care about when I was bad, therefore I was never bad to them (wonder why?). I had my escapism when I joined a military youth organization, I found a niche that I fitted right into, I also enhanced my independence.

My older brother got jealous, and resented me (he still does), probably because my mother noticed me for something good for a change. I joined the Air Force and now live 300 miles away from family, where I feel most comfortable.

But problems persist. On my wedding day my mother pleaded poverty to my in-laws, and did a good job, but managed to buy my brother a car for his 21st (she even tried to justify it by saying that your 21st only comes once, so its more important). My wife’s family were seething, does my mother think that my marriage wont last? I can tell you that my relationship with my wife and her family is spot on, and in no way of stopping. We didn’t even get a proper wedding gift. I only received a fraction of the amount the car cost for my 21st. Its examples like this that make me glad we live so far away.

My wife has put up enough with this, she is at her wits end and I believe that this whole middle child syndrome had manifested into a kind of middle family syndrome. My wife and kids are more important to me than the background I come from, I believe. They are my future, and a new life, none of the crap I’m used to. We never get calls, e-mails, we’re always expected to make the first move, and we’ve never asked or received any help (we have had plenty from my in-laws), yet my older brother has his food cooked, bed made, washing cleaned, but he shows no thanks. It makes me sick because my wife and I have struggles and learned to pay our own way, and pay plenty of taxes, he is just a freeloader. Why are we treated differently? Is it because we are moaners? Or are we just thought of as Owain and his new family, and are (once again) ignored and not given the time of day? 2011 is going to be a good year, I am not going to blab about my life and achievements, but am simply going to see if anyone in my family asks or shows concern. Here are some other examples, to summarize;

– My younger brother receiving money to travel home. We are never offered any help to go home, and it costs us a heck of a lot more. Yet my mother uses poverty as an excuse to not visit.

– My daughter stayed at my in-laws, but my mother HAD to see my older brother the same day (he lives 30 minutes away not 6 hrs like us). She went and visited out daughter, moaned about money, and went home. (Only went to see her once in the whole 2 weeks she was there while my wife was giving birth to our (equally) second daughter)

– Brings up stories of my misbehaving youth every time we go home, as if I am still to retain my place in the family lineup as the ‘little git’ one.

– We are not called, or given as much help as my other brothers, we almost feel forgotten.

My wife and I are going to concentrate on the future with our children. If we are to be sidelined, then we have to let that be and sideline my family, we have our own life issues without this hanging over us. Its a case of ‘get involved and interested, or not at all’. We wont see our children feeling sidelined and alienated.