I never really believed that middle children were treated any different from others up until a few months ago–in fact, I thought it was just a way for whiny teenagers to angst about their family when they had nothing else to complain about. This may be true, but recently I’ve noticed more and more than I’ve been ignored by my parents while my little brother works to keep it that way.

My parents are divorced, but we always end up moving back in forth between living with both parents and then living with my mother. In the last three years I’ve moved 3 or 4 times, spent quite a few weeks in hotels. It’s been stressful on all of us kids. My older brother got out of it when he left for college, and ever since my little brother has become more and more of a tyrant.

Everywhere I turn he has something to criticize about me. He calls me fat and ugly–at the moment I’m struggling with anorexia and have gotten to such an unhealthy low weight, and still he berates my figure, telling me to exercise and stop eating. He always laughs in my face when I mention college. I’m too stupid to get into college–I should just drop out already, since I’ll probably be pregnant before the year is up. (Even though I haven’t so much as had my first kiss, never mind sex.) I’ve recently done experimentation with makeup and my clothing. He has since started to call me a slut and tells me to stop wearing “whore-paint”. No matter what I do he criticizes me; and whatever I’m good at he brushes it off and says I’ll never get anywhere in life with it. (Those things being writing and drawing) He, at times, even goes so far as to be physically abusive when I don’t give him what he wants leaving scratches and bruises on my arms.

My mother has seen all of this and doesn’t step in. Sure, she yells at him at times, but he just laughs in her face and keeps doing it. I’ve told her that I don’t like what he says and does and that she is being unfair and I end up as the bad guy in the situation for “always bothering her”. I don’t misbehave much; I’m relatively respectful but I’ve lost so much respect for my parents that it’s hard not to snap and yell at them every once in a while. My grades are the only thing my parents can fault me for, where my little brother drinks and parties and curses to his heart’s content. But, since he still somehow manages to get As and Bs, I’m the one who is in the wrong. I can’t even see my friends because I’m selfish when I ask for a ride, but my brother can see his girlfriend and friends whenever he wants–and my somehow my mother always complains that I don’t have a social life and I need to get out of the house and stop being such a loser.

I’m so sick of this. I can’t do anything right even though I try hard to be a good daughter and sister. I don’t have a voice in my house because I’m too tired of being yelled at, so I’m not bothering to stand up for myself anymore. I’m angry and miserable and so inevitably powerless. It feels like I’ll never get out.


14 thoughts on “Invisible

  1. i kmow how you feel nina and just lime anyother middle child i feel your pain. i also dont have a strong relationship with my parents and sometimes i am tempted to leave when we get into fights that are caused by my sibilings. and trust me thnx for the whole applying for college overseas idea it was inspiring. and dont worry time might not heal but sometimes it help start mending somethings. if i were u i wont cut my losses change my name after graduating from college. and never talk to them again they dont deserve you in their life if they are like that. remember that karma exists and one day the tables will turn and if u want to salvage what ever relationship u have with them i suggest family therapy
    hope things get better <3

  2. Hey, its Nina, the OP of this post. I just stumbled on this again and wanted to give a quick update.

    Thank you all for the kind words and support. When I wrote this I was going through a particularly hard time–since then its calmed down a little. My little brother is at once my worst enemy and my one-sided best friend. I love him dearly, although he has made it pretty clear he wants nothing to do with me. xD (Just like my older brother, who never once wanted a relationship with me.) Even so, I’m trying to mend things with him bit by bit. Its hard because he can be so explosive, but he’s my little brother and I want to be in his life.

    He hasn’t been quite as horrible as he usually is. He still calls me fat, ugly, etc, but at the same time we’ve actually been able to stand each others company, talking and joking like friends. He seems to be getting his anger under control as well. He is very much like my father in the sense that his anger is explosive and volatile, often inciting violence. He hasn’t struck me or anyone else in a while, and if he does I’m making sure to calm him down and letting him know it is NOT okay to hit anyone out of anger. He blows me off, but I think it is getting through.

    My mom is still the same, but after quieting some of my own demons I’ve been able to get a long a little better with her. Its tough though, not to snap at her at times.

    I’m, sadly, still struggling with anorexia and all that, but I’m attempting to recover for the billionth time. I’ve been dating an awesome girl for 6 months now and I’m feeling much happier. Everything isn’t perfect, but I’m getting better.

    Thank you to everyone who bothered to read this drivel and sent your kind words. It means a lot to me. c: I’m gonna get through this, one way or another, so no need to worry. <3

  3. yo~ I ‘m the middle child out of 3 girls so its different here. With me I have to fight for my dads love and my little sister gets in the way and he says that he only gives her more attention because shes little but when I was little he didn’t give me shit. Same with my mom (more of a bitch and cheated on my dad so a whore too). I am still a teenager but no one gets me only my other middle child friends. I am the best out of my sisters, good grades, the only one that can fits fight, listen good. I am not going to lie I did fight with my parents A LOT but why couldn’t they just do the one thing I wanted them to do, love me. I try so hard and get nothing. Now my dad is trying but my mom just says I am crazy. I think shes making me crazy. Sometime like to day I get flashbacks of her hitting me and I can feel the hits on my leg whenever I get these flashbacks. I start hitting my own head and going crazy in a my room. I feel better when I hit myself. I feel the pain now gets ride of the pain from the past but it doesn’t help so I just cry. I like hitting my arms or head. When I hit my head I feel like I’m getting the thoughts out of my head. I don’t want to get hit by anyone else but myself. Yeah somethings wrong with me but no one will get me help. So I try to live life with the pain in my heart. The only thing keeping me alive right now is knowing one day I’ll move out of the house and no longer be around them. Or dying and REALLY being away from them and it REALLY being all over. 🙂 Girl I tell you something my friend is just like you the middle child, only girl, and I’ll tell you what I tell her. Girl fuck your bro, when he calls you ugly be like “Oh snap because you have good teats?(BS!)” . The only person who knows how pretty you are is you sweetie. Tell yourself “I’m am sexy! I will not let no little bro tell me that I am not!”. No you can’t do anything about it but girl wear makeup gain some weight date a hot guy or just an ok guy or even an ugly guy shit its your life its your teats! Your bro can suck it! Even after all of this if he says your ugly and fat be like “OH?! because your skinny and sexy bro?? HA!” don’t let him put you down he only wants that! Don’t be like your parents and give him what he wants by letting him hurt you! Girl stand up be a women and put that little bro in place! Where is that? you should know your older then him and no one is smart because they get good grades. He can’t call you dumb because of that! Shit my older sister got bad grade failed high school and she can spell WAY~ better then me! and she failed english to! My mom passed high school and she can’t spell, read, write, do math shit she can’t do shit! How do you think I feel when I have to listen to her bs! I don’t even know how she fucken passed. So look no one is dumb or smarter then anyone . Knowing that! is being wise which is way~ better then book smart :3 you got that beautiful? Also if your bro is sexy and skinny still tell him hes not it will make him feel like shit about him self ,even though its wrong it will feel so good.

  4. Hello Nina!

    I totally feel your pain, reminds me so much of myself!

    Just to let you know, adjectives my family members used to describe me include fat, stupid, short, ugly, nerdy, geeky, crazy and the list goes on. Like you, I am the middle child and the only girl, with an older brother and a younger one. I hope I am none of those above-mentioned traits, although they tell me that everyday! It is hard to brush them off all the time.

    My parents NEVER stand up for me amid all the bullying by my brothers – my younger brother especially, who is twice my size although he is younger. Unfortunately for me, he has dreams of becoming a pro-wrestler and I am the punchbag on which he practices upon. I have ended up with countless dislocations, abrasions and all, and have almost suffocated to death when my brother sat on my face with a pillow. My parents hardly let me out (citing my safety, which I don’t believe) and consistently complain about my tuition fees. I ran away from home once, and work during the holidays to pay for my own tuition.

    Anyway, not here to start a pity-party! I guess we’re about the same age (I’m 18) and I’m about to start college too. I’ve applied to as many colleges overseas as possible in a bid to get away from my family. I know you’re greatly wounded – mentally, emotionally and physically. Do know you’re not alone, and if you ever need anyone to confide in, I think I make a pretty good pen-pal, haha! Well, these few years I’ve sought many ways to find love that I never felt in my house (using ‘home’ here would be an euphemism). I’ve tried many things that didn’t work, but I’ll just tell you the things that did.

    1. I sought the Lord. Religiously went to church and every time, there would be a message that related somehow, and healed me bit by bit.

    2. I immersed myself in community service. I learnt that giving was the only way to receive. The satisfaction and fulfillment experienced really filled the empty void in my heart.

    3. I did what I LOVE, no matter the financial cost. I’ve always aspired to be a ballerina but my parents never felt generous enough to expend on such lessons. Like with tuition fees, I now pay for lessons myself.

    4. Friends. Have good ones, and stick with them through thick and thin.

    5. I told myself that one day, my family will look upon me as the greatest ‘winner’ amongst them, and that I will outshine my brothers. It is a great motivating factor, but do note that this may cause bitterness in your heart.

    On hindsight, I am actually pretty fortunate to grow up (and not die) under these circumstances. It has taught me financial prudence and time-management way beyond those my age. The countless times that I’ve spent in deep reflection gave me wisdom that my friends deeply respect. My own tough times enabled me to have sympathy and compassion towards others. The lack of warmth and acceptance I used to experience help me appreciate every little thing I have now. Pushing myself to the limit to achieve the best accolades to gain love from my parents makes me now the high-achiever in the family.

    You know, we were born into such circumstances, and there isn’t anything we can do to change that. Just take charge of whatever lemons you were given and make the best lemonade that you can. Adversity can birth good things – but only if you want it to. Live your life the happiest you can, girl! Don’t starve yourself! Eat, if it makes you happy. Dress up in whatever way you wish, if it makes you happy. Don’t let your mum or your brother stop you with their unkind words or actions. You have the RIGHT and the CHOICE to be happy!

  5. i m a middle child. i felt exactly the same. i always had a strong belief in my mind that my mom doesnt love me. i felt ignored. but now im in my 30’s. i never felt close to my sisters but always had some good friends. now i have 3 kids of my own. im doing really well in my career and my personal life and after all these years now im slowly understanding my mom that she loves me the same. after i became a mom to 3 children. i must say its not easy being a middle child. hang in there. things will get better for u once u start college

  6. Don’t let your nasty brother get to you. He’s probably jealous cause he can’t get a girl haha. I’m sure you’re very pretty.

  7. I’m getting a strong sense of Deja vu after reading that. Same situation but instead of anorexia it was suicide. The only way is up now though. Just keep praying (I will be). You’re beautiful 🙂

    1. I totally feel the same way! I’ve been talked out of suicide so many times. I can’t go to my parents for anything, but my friends have been there for me, talking me out, even unloading the gun… and God has been my savior during this.

  8. This treatment has nothing to do with “middle childness”, if there is such a thing. (I am one, but calling it a syndrome is going too far in my opinion…a “syndrome”? Really?) But at any rate, what this poor child’s situation is called abuse. And you AND your brother are being abused. You, because you are being dismissed by your parents, and because both your brother and your parents fail to give appropriate care and acknowledgement. Your brother is being abused because he is being allowed to grow up into an abusive, violent young man, and someday some other woman will pay for that as well. Basically, you have bad parenting going on in that family. If your recitation of events is true and balanced, your brother shouldn’t even be in the house with you. Your parents are sluggards and should be under court supervision. You are being maltreated. Anorexia is a serious, serious mental and emotional illness, and it develops for very specific psychological reasons. Your brother continuing to call you fat is in effect helping you to pull the trigger. Your parents are either too stupid or too selfish to see this and step in appropriately. It sounds to me like you got the short end of the stick in the family department. But don’t let them win. Keep your grades up, talk to your school counselor, get some help and when the time comes LEAVE and go to college. There are scholarships and grants available. The best revenge is to make them wrong. Believe in yourself and practice NOT needing the approval of your family members, because for one reason or another, you aren’t going to get it. This has NOTHING to do with you or your value, and EVERYTHING to do with their lack and insufficiencies. Your brother is a psychopath in the making, if not yet an actual one. He will probably end up in prison one day. This will be largely your parents fault because their behavior is allowing and encouraging this. My parents failed me too. But I got my revenge by making my own good life away from them. Concentrate on yourself. You deserve it, and no one else is. And remember. This is only the very very beginning of your life. It seems like it is lasting forever, but trust me, there is a lot more life AFTER childhood than there is DURING it. And THAT part of your life is all yours.

  9. OH MY GOSH!! All I can say is that your post made me laugh because it reminded me SOOOOOOOO much of myself as a teenager!!!! You basically are the teenage version of me.

    I grew up middle child with 2 brothers… (only girl) and my older brother used to pick on me like crazy and always call me fat and ugly. I suffered a little from an eating disorder and my self esteem suffered from his insults too. I totally believed it sometimes…

    I would beg my mum to step in and when she did it had absolutely no affect whatsoever. Made me feel very alone! My grades suffered and older brother would have active social life and still get good grades.

    Good news is I am now 24 – very happy confident and doing well in life. Older brother often feels guilty for how he once used to treat me and we now get on very well (even though we once used to want to kill each other). I don’t feel like a wall flower anymore and I have so many friends and I think it is all due to going through a hard time feeling invisible it has made me a very compassionate person.

    So learn to love yourself and trust me things will pick up… just keep sticking it out, you will get there 🙂

  10. omg! honey! I just want to give you a hug! everything will be alright. ignore your brother. spend more time with your friends and people that make you feel good about yourself. you’re making it too easy for him to destroy your confidence. college will come soon. and then you’ll be soooo happy.

  11. Also a middle child I understand how it is too. I’m still going through the putdowns of my brothers. My way of coping is trying to find time for myself and think about the differences between me and them. You sound very kind, and humble. It sucks we can’t be treated fairly as other siblings who are first born or the youngest. But I know that being the middle child my eyes are more open to life. More open than it is to others who get what they want at an instant. Realize how some things are dealt, and the reasons for it will always make us a stronger person. We’re always stronger after the hurt. I accepted my life how it is so then it wouldn’t slow me down in another path.

  12. Nina, you should trying encouraging yourself. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that your beautiful,list positive things about yourself, etc…. because if you are constantly hearing that your a loser and aren’t worth anything it will bring you down. Trust me I know because I too am a middle child and know the struggles of being ” the middle child”.

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