Middle Child Syndrome

middle child syndrome

What is a Middle Child?

A middle child is someone who is born in between two or more siblings. Being born in the middle, as you’ll soon find out is not that simple. The middle child, unlike the eldest or youngest child, does not get much attention. Middle children are also usually considered outcasts in their families and often develop a condition called Middle Child Syndrome.

What is Middle Child Syndrome?

Middle child syndrome is a condition in which children born in the middle experience feelings of emptiness, inadequacy and jealousy. It is also characterized by low self-esteem and extreme introversion, sometimes even leading to psychotic behavior.

The middle child, unlike the eldest child and the youngest child, is not given much attention. They have to go the extra mile just to get some of it. Middle children tend to be achievers because they need awards to be recognized by their parents. Sadly, this also goes the other way around, they can be very troublesome and determined to get noticed even if it means getting scolded at or punished.

Because they lack emotional support and guidance from their parents, they will always have a sense of low self-esteem. These feelings of emptiness and loneliness make them not very friendly and maybe even weird to other people. Most likely, these negative feelings will also stop them from pursuing what they want.

Other observable traits of middle children are insecurity and jealousy. Being raised in an environment where they have to compete for attention, it’s natural for them to have feelings of insecurity and jealousy of others. Seeing others easily get attention while they continue to strive for attention, these feelings of resentment towards others will continue to build up. All these repressed feelings of being unloved, unwanted or even hated can trigger an extreme case of middle child syndrome where they show psychotic behavior.

Possible Causes of Middle Child Syndrome

After discussing the common traits of people with middle child syndrome, we can find two main causes, identity crisis and lack of emotional support.

Identity crisis is very common to us all, and it’s something that we all experience at some point in our lives. Wanting to be different from everyone else is very normal and there’s not much we can do about it. The other cause is lack of support. Because the eldest and youngest are the common favorites, the middle child is not given any support or attention. This unloved feeling makes them less confident and envious of others, often leading to even more problems such as drug abuse.

Is there a Solution?

Some say that middle children should be given the love and attention that they should have had when they were young, but I believe this will only make them more dependent on their parent’s approval.

There are also cases where middle children tend to separate from their family at a relatively early age to have families of their own. While having a new family means getting another chance, I do not think this is the best solution because escaping the past will not really resolve any childhood issues and these issues may haunt them for the rest of their lives.

The main cause of middle child syndrome is lack of emotional support, which is the responsibility of the parents. So logically, I would have to say that good and responsible parenting is the real and outright solution for middle child syndrome. While this may sound more like prevention rather than treatment, I think that it’s never too late for good and responsible parenting.

But this is just my opinion, what do you think? Comments are very much appreciated.

P.S. I’m a middle child in case you’re wondering. 🙂

Feel free to join the discussion. We’d love to hear from you!

941 thoughts on “Middle Child Syndrome

  1. Well dang don’t think my life could be explained in any better terms at least I know I’m not the only middle child that feels like I do I moved 10hrs away from family jus to prove I can do it without them. They may care for me but not enough to even make an effort to come visit me or offer to help me if I need help I asked for help on my rent cause I wasn’t able to work for a week and I got told to go find a shelter and know they had the money to help but I wasn’t important enough I guess that is why I have became the fuckup I am cause that what I was told I would be but yet I have great knowledge of the world and have forgotten more things than some people will ever know but I am still a lonely man but I jus keep pushing forward hoping to do better but can’t seem to keep a grasp on it cause I jus want to forget all of it so i fell to drugs at a very young age and still use them to cope so someone tell me how do I move forward from something leaves u so mentally scared and those scars will never heal like physical I broke my back and neck and missing one leg and wasn’t supposed to walk again but I said I was and I do I am in better shape than a lot of people I know to supposed to be paralyzed

  2. I am the middle of 3 girls. I can relate to all the signs and symptoms of MCS. I left home just after finishing school and have achieved the most of all of us. As I get older, I remember more about my childhood eg, my parents never attending any of my sports but attending all of my sister’s extra curricular activities. Now that my parents, who are very frail and live in another state, I am the one who goes often and willingly to visit them. There is no expectation of my siblings to do so and yet when I visit, I seem to constantly be told ( by my mother ) how marvellous the other 2 are. Looks like the favouritism of the oldest and youngest never ends. Over the years I have learnt to distance myself emotionally as a way of coping.

  3. Isn’t the middle child need to change some how? Where is it best to go to listen and change myself? Is all this mess up ness really from being middle child or it is they we are the one that never has a role in the family or just keep being the black sheep and mess up our life as well as our families lifes.

    1. Anna, I’m assuming you were a bit high answering, I too am a middle child. I am approaching 60 years older.
      It really is a screwed up number to be. Hold your head high. Be who you are. And screw EVERYONE else….

  4. I’m a Middle child. I must say it does depend on how far apart in age you are. Like, I’m 8 years younger than my sister and I am 6 years older than my brother. So I had time to be the youngest, the middle and the eldest. But I still have ….this middle child thing with the esteem. Always working at something so hard but never satisfied until….im satisfied or I just get frustrated. I’m in my 20s and I feel stuck. Lots of pressure to grow up but, my eldest sibling only did that by getting married. My bro will be going to college. I’m out of college. Just working. Existing I guess until I can figure out how to “wiggle out of this frame I’m in”. The loneliness kills….bites.

  5. I am 22 years old and I am still suffering from MCS. There are three of us in the family and I’m the only girl. At a young age, I was aware that my mother was never affectionate of me and my father would always want me to learn the household chores such as cooking and cleaning the house instead of playing. He often implied that I would just get married to someone and then disappear. Growing up, I proved them that I’m capable of other things. I, oftentimes, got recognized for my academic performance. I also joined in a lot of extra-curricular activities. Not only that, I got into one of the premiere universities in our country. I was happy that my mother finally noticed me. However, she only brags about me in front of other people. She never personally told me that she’s proud of me. If her friends’ children had outdone my achievement, she would tell me that I was incompetent. It was just recent that I discovered I’m suffering from depression.

  6. Wow, reading all your MCS traumas force me to express myself while I try to not sound like my family and I win the Oscar for extreme MCS! My older brother, younger brother and myself all turned out drug addicts in the end. Although my older brother and I are in recovery, my little brother is a lifer in prison. For many years he sold drugs from mom and pop’s home while my older brother used them under their roof. I decided to leave home at age 17 and dealt with loneliness, emptiness and insecurities far away from home. All three of us are in our 40’s now yet my brothers have been forgiven by my parents and hold a fairly close relationship, my older brother with mom and younger with Dad. After 4 yrs. of being away and not speaking to either of them at ALL, I decided to come around. I again set my expectations that this time around, things would be different and that I would finally feel that sense of warmth and belonging and, boy was I wrong. I basically opened up a huge wound that never healed but was numb to the touch. I am convinced after this last experience that some families were never meant to function united. I think parenting classes should become mandatory once the third kid is on his/her way.

  7. I can relate to this very much.
    I am 13 years old and yesterday I felt so unappreciated by both my siblings and my parents. There are even times my siblings get praised for stuff I did! It so unfair!! Yesterday there was like this situation where I felt soo unappreciated.
    I’m so tired of hearing my family praise the others and complain about me. Yesterday with the situation that had happened, I just wanted to be alone. So I played loud music on my headphones and even though I know someone was trying to communicate with me i just had to ignore them. I know they heard my loud sniffing (bc i was crying ) but that didnt matter. I just did not want to talk to anyone.
    Anyways I hope you other middle children know that we are in this together was we all have similiar feelings in different situations- Just keeping trying hard! We don’t need attention, although its nice, we should work only to impress ourselves <33

    1. hey… i’m thirteen too and my parents only love my older and younger sister. hang out right there with me sister 🙂

  8. While growing up as a middle child, I had all this syndromes but I never knew it has these verse effect on other children, I believed it was just me alone. I never knew there is any syndrome for the middle children. My parents were great and loving but as compared to my elder/younger sibling they have these preferential treatments that I never get to enjoy growing up, I would have to force my way into getting some things and at the end of everything it would seems am just a bad ass. It wasn’t really funny.

  9. I am a middle child, too. I often fell unloved and ignored. And although i may be 15 and i should know not to do bad things i still get bad grades to get noticed it works but i always regret it and end up lowering my self esteem. I know this is very unwise and bit by bit everyday my self esteem chips away. Being the middle child is not easy. You are told to be like you older brother/sister and your little brother/sister gets spoiled all the time. Sometimes they will say ” why don’t you get good grades like your older brother/sister ” and i want to say because I’m not them! Also being bullied at a young age added to my anxiety. My parents will bring in some of my school friends, too. They say ” why can’t you do anything right like (insert name)” and to be honest i agree with them sometimes but i just have to learn to get used to it i guess… Bye:/

  10. I have been reading the comments and I honestly still don’t know what to do. Im only 12 but my whole entire family targets me. they accuse me of doing things that I didn’t do, and when one of my siblings accuses me of something, my ENTIRE family adds on with stuff that is entirely not true. Even my cousins have all done it to me at some point and i don’t know what to do. Usually every night I just cry myself to sleep because i feel like nobody in my whole entire family and the whole entire universe just has this strong hatred of me and i feel like Im trapped. I too have tried to get attention from my parents. I have straight A’s, and I do everything I can to get on their side.I even achieved the goal of being on BROADWAY! They still won’t even acknowledge that I work so hard to impress them and it seems like nobody cares. Somebody HELP ME!!!

  11. I regret to be the middle child among 3 children. Wish my mom and dad did not make me. all theories which says parents give fair love quality to their children is not true and they work hard to hide their favoritism. I left my family and wish i never see them forever. Family is like a hell to me. I am divorced and I feel proud of my own child because she does not have to share love with siblings.

  12. I am a middle child i have an older sister and baby brother i feel the pain and loneliness everyday. I commited suicide sucsesfuly and brought back. Im now 29 my life has never been easy i did all i could to win attention and eventully stopped trying yet still to this day i feel alone unwanted and invisable. Im tired of living in pain each day im tired of thinkong death is my way out and fantasizing my own death. Even now i think fuck it im unwanted no one will care on top of being mtf tramsgender. The world aty nack and all i ever wanted was to be loved, wanted and needed. Its not easy being a middle feeling low self-esteem. Lashing out at people being very unkind to most everyone i dont know for opions ill never no. Caring yo much about silly things like being wanted, it just hurts so much my tears flow and it physically hurts to breathe, getting bad insomnia most times feeling inadeqate to this life. I should have been a BJ

  13. Hi! I am Maisra 24 years old from Pakistan and I am suffering from middle child syndrome. Ever since I was borned I was ignored by my parents at every stage of life. I have 3 siblings, 2 sisters and an elder brother. I am the 2nd one and being on 2nd tells me the value I have in my family. I have heen facing injustice and inequality since I was a child not knowing what mistakes I had made. Even though I was the very best in academics as well as all other physical activities but then I started to fall down after I realised that was not praised or supported. When I started to get in my teen age and when I started feeling the ignorance I started paying attention to studies and other activities which lead me to an absolute failure in studies as well as lead me to drugs as I had no one to check my problems rather than getting beaten and scolded everyday by parents who had and still have no idea what I am going through. I quit studies 2 years back as I had no direction and not even a single guidance what about my future expect of getting taunted and scolded everyday and telling me that I am useless piece of shit. Altough my elder brother quit studies too as he was much spoiled and had lacked interest in books since he was in 10th grade and I was a 80%+ achiever whose parents still weren’t happy with the results I obtained but still my elder one was always loved and taken care of whereas I always been ignored. I don’t know why I writing this all as I have no idea who you guys are but I have no one here to share my condition as I have become totally anti social and full of self esteem. I still haven’t given up and I gave up on drugs and started to go gym and setup my own business but still I am facing the same problems that I am not worthy enough and I am useless. This really hurts a lot sometimes as I cannot describe what I feel even though I try my best to be helpful as much as I can and sometimes it makes me feel that I am adopted lol or not a part of a family anymore. Anger, depression hits me twice a week and my family thinks that I am a madman lol but no one here knows about a middle child syndrome as this is not an advanved nation like America etc etc and I am taken as a spoiled homebound child of my family even at a age of 24. Is there anyone who could help me how to deal with this because somtimes I feel like I am done. I have a girlfriend who is very supportive and helpful to me all the time and she only knows what the f**k I am going through all this time but anger sometimes leads me to say bad things to her even though I don’t mean them at all. I seriously need help here as I am in a very bad state of life and your positive feedback or response will be highly appreciated.

    Thank you!

    1. Try to find a job far from your family. Keep your distance with them and start a new life. Do everything you like to do, everything you enjoy, don’t think too much just do it. That’ll help you to re-build your personality and lift your self-esteem.

  14. I’ve really never read anything on middle child syndrome until now, and I can say this is all very true. I am middle child and have all kinds of mental health disorders, while my older sister and younger brother have nothing. They both got about all the attention from my parents. I always felt like nothing I did ever mattered. My art projects, as a kid, got put in a drawer while the other 2 got theirs put up. My brother was daddy’s angel and so was my sister. If I said “boo” I got yelled at

    1. Try to find a job far from your family. Keep your distance with them and start a new life. Do everything you like to do, everything you enjoy, don’t think too much just do it. That’ll help you to re-build your personality and lift your self-esteem.

  15. I totally feel the same. I have an older sister who’s 17 and a younger sister who is 13. My older sister gets to do whatever she wants, when she wants and my younger sister gets what she wants (no matter how expensive it is) and she gets away with everything. I usually get nothing and I’m ignored by my parents. I somehow get blamed for every bad thing my younger or older sister does.

    One day, My mom, older sister, younger sister, and I were at the mall. My mom bought my older sister a 150 dollar dress. I didn’t really care cause I don’t like dresses. Then my mom bought my younger sister two pairs of shoes and a shirt that all together cost about 85 dollars. I saw a soda machine and asked my mom if I could get a soda (which was only one frickin’ dollar) but she said no.

    I was pretty mad considering the fact that my mom could spend 150 dollars on my older sister and 85 dollars on my younger sister, but she couldn’t even give me one dollar. So yeah, being the middle child sucks.

  16. When you’re the middle child it dosen’t matter how old you are. It will always be like this. I am 64 years old and nothing has changed. I feel the same now as i did when i was small. Only now it’s worse “believe it or not” I have had to fight for every thing with my older sister and younger brother. Example. Yesterday at church i was sitting with my brother and his whole family which he has 4 kids and 9 grandkids. Even though i was sitting with them i felt invisible to them even the little ones would just walk by me like i wasen’t even there. Wow, now that’s bad. So my point is all of us that are the middle child we just have to keep on a smile and do the best we can. I know that this felling of invisibility is just some thing that we have to live with. I would like to know even at my age if some thing can be done to help me. I have 3 kids and 3 grandkids. My granddauhter is the youngest in her family yet she was telling me that she feels invisible. I asked her why she felt that way and she said because there are only boys in her house besides her mom and she thinks that no one likes her because they don’t listen to her when she talks. She said that i’m the only one who does. So i guess it’s not just the middle child but some times its the youngest who feels left out. I don’t know life is some times just to complicated for some of us. My advice is to hang in there. And know that God love’s us…

  17. I am also a middle child. I actually have been the scapegoat for my whole family. Seems that no matter what I do, it’s not good enough. Any time I made a slight error, it was magnified to the extreme. It’s still a case to this day. But I’ve lived my whole life picking up my older sister’s slack and covering up my younger sister’s mistakes. And I never bragged about it to gain attention. I did it because it was expected of me and I know right from wrong. But in the end….I will always be the problem child of the family. Why? I’m not the one that feeds into my parents’ egos. And neither one of my parents is a middle child. Everybody else is either the oldest or the youngest. My son is the middle grandchild. So I keep an eye on things concerning him at all times. Thank you.

    1. i am not a middle child but I am researching material for a song I am writing called “Stuck in the Shadows”. I have known many middle children but was not aware how huge a problem this can be. MCS was a new term for me but I am fascinated with it. S. Cruz made a remark that had not been mentioned before, feeding her parents egos like apparently her siblings had done. I cannot say I feel your pain, but on occasion as a small of stature boy I was passed over for bigger, taller kids, I know how it feels to go unnoticed. Most people have a hard time identifying with a concept song like this one will be, but I can only try. Thanks for sharing your feeling.

  18. I am the middle child. My younger brother is definetly favoured. At first I was like you’re being paranoid but the other day, I’m like at work to keep the family afloat and my mum says to me if I could please pay the school materials for my younger brother cause she has NO money. Yet later I find out she has given my younger brother 50 euros!!! And me nothing. Yes I agree in working,but don’t say u have no money and then give my sibling 50 euros!!I don’t mind helping out I mean I’m 17 I can help out I live here too but don’t lie in my face…. My younger sibling doesn’t even need the money… But its nit even about the money I mean please don’t lie to me and keep the money giving quiet..

  19. I’m 14 about to enter 9th grade and it feels like I get no support from my family while my younger sister gets every thing she needs and she’s only 1 year younger then me. I turn to video games to talk for closer and it helps but things just get worse with my family. They’re always ignoring me plus yelling at for eating what I can when there is little food that I can make in the house. Now I feel a little better over all that there are people who have or bad simaler problems as me.

  20. I am a62 year old middle child. Two older sisters, and then identical twin younger brothers! Wow…definitely got left out. My oldest sister struggled with school, and the next oldest was very bright. I was a straight “A” honor student. But I only got noticed the one time I got a”B+” My younger twin brothers were average students, but they got band, because they were boys they got to buy cars so they could date. I worked after school from middle school till now. Always working. Saving money, yet still was not allowed to buy my own car till I put my foot down as a senior as said enough! Not fair! I left home as soon as I graduated and became independent. Yet always tried to get my parents attention some how. Realizing years later that I was my dad’s favorite daughter, but he had always been so hard on me, that I didn’t know. He wanted me to be the best, but it was for my looks, not my mind or skills. Strange double messages. Thinking back and realizing my older sisters got college, and braces and voice lessons…I was told to find a rich doctor to marry. And yet my placement testing put me as the second highest in my entire school district! But as a female in the late 60’s in Utah, I didn’t get the scholarship offered, as I was a girl. But my twin brother’s mediocre scores had my parents scrambling to help them with school for their futures. Needless to say, I didn’t marry a doctor…I tried to please them by marrying in the common Faith, but after catching him cheating, I left him and the religion and struck out on my own again. And now after raising four kids, and several grandkids later, I find myself still feeling left out. My father is gone, mom is 91 and the oldest daughter and the sons have control of my parents estate. Not much there to care about, but just that my entire life I have felt different. I was the built in babysitter for my twin brothers…the peace maker when my old older sisters fought..the one that always did her homework and made dinner and cleaned house before my parents got home, and yet was never recognized. When I was in my early 20’s and was leaving my parents home one day, a neighbor came up to me on the driveway and told me that she had watched me grow my entire life, and wanted me to know how special I was. That she saw how hard I worked..how much I did for my siblings..And how sorry she was that my parents didn’t recognize that. Iwill never forget that moment! Because although my parents took me for granted, others saw my worth. But unfortunately, the need to please your parents and have validity is so vital. Still to this day, I feel the same in my family. Even attempted suicide when I was 21 and spent a week in intensive care. Nothing changed. Life goes on. I just am glad that I can understand why it all happened.

  21. Mcs- older sister 48, my younger sister 32.younger sibling babied , parents at her beck and call. Ive recently had an operation but she didn’t call/text to see how I was. My parents have informed me that she did not contact me as I upset her a few months ago (we had a minor disagreement) , so there was an expectation on my part to contact her to smooth things over. It gets tiring and I’m at a point where I just am fed up. Ironically my parents are very opinionated over other family members who are favoured/left out. But have no awareness of their actions. My younger sibling basically has always been favoured so that is her expectation of how she should be treated by everyone and makes very little effort with anyone. My elder sibling always is right and is very opinionated and if your views differ from hers, it gets nasty. I’ve distanced myself over the past 6months or so because it was wearing me out emotionally and actually I felt a lot better focusing on me, my life, instead of being apart of a family, who actually dont make me feel that great.

  22. I Feel like this constantly but what makes it worse is that there are two middle children in my family but I am the only one ignored and forgotten and not once have they asked how I have done in my mock exams where as the oldest she is asked as soon as her foot is through the door. Its gotten to the point now where I have to repeatedly say the same thing over 15 times until they listen but sometimes they don’t even hear me. Why is it so hard?

  23. I’m 32 year old, the middle one, i have a sister who is 3 year older than me and brother 2 year younger.
    During childhood days according to my parents,(not even parents all my relatives too) she is the most intelligent one, as for my brother he is still a baby and can get away with a murder…
    My brother and sister gets gifts and new clothes for their birthdays, and they can’t even remember my birthday. to get recognized in the family i did everything they told, all the work, just to impress them. but they just used me, i usually scored less in my school, my sis and bro got good grades at school. my sister behaved like a boss where as there is no limit for my little brothers pranks. If i say anything about my sister & brother is doing wrong, parents say she is older, she is right, you are a looser and you are jealous, my brother is still a baby so its alright. These things made me short tempered, i started throwing and breaking things and beating my brother and sister when ever i got a chance. anything broke i will be punished.
    During adolescent i realized that there is no use of going against them, i focused in studies, during graduation, my sis and bro got flunked, and graduated with low grades, i got with flying grades, and not to mention my parents did not paid for my graduation, i got sponsored from a reputed industrial scholarship.
    I moved out from my hometown, i’m highest earner in my whole family and relatives, as a matter of fact i kept hope on my parents at least they will show some love for me now, and full filled all their dreams owning a house, a plot, a Car, and the expenses for their trips all across the country. But it never worked, all they care is for my sis and my little bro… i visit my home town twice in a year, and planning not to visit anymore, 3 year back i was diagnosed with kidney stones, with pain i travelled to my home town for a surgery, friends believe me you will never feel alone when you are eating in a restaurant, but you will when you are going to a doctor, i have to go alone to the hospital to get admitted for surgery, even thought both of my parents were in the house with my sister, and a day after surgery, when i asked for lunch, they told me to wait for an hour, as my mother was enjoying a TV show with my sister. I prepared my food and ate it.
    If my brother is late, my parents call them every 5 min, i stay far from home, they call me every week, as a matter of fact i call them, which lasts less than 2 min.
    Yes from all these i’m the most dynamic and most responsible person in my organization, assigned to very difficult jobs when other fail.
    it’s too much for me to bare after the surgery incident i was more depressed and now i rely on antidepressant medication.
    but deep inside me i’m still waiting for my parents love…

  24. I am getting old but I do recognise some MC traits in myself. I am grateful in some ways as it pushed me to succeed in my career and my own family life. I may have been lazy otherwise. I must note though, there is also Eldest Child Syndrome, which I feel makes the worst human beings (of course this varies in degrees but it very easily observed). They can be selfish to a very high degree, protecting what they believe is theirs. They can lack empathy and compassion and as adults even think they deserve emotional and physical lions share of parent resources. They assume headship and can have monarchish attitude as families and parents age. Youngests can be entitled, ingenuous and ineffective in their lives. They expect that others will take care of them and sulk/cry or disengage when fairly challenged on behaviours or decisions. So, being an MC is not all that comfortable, but I think it makes for a more compassionate and communicative human being. As life moves on, we learn to find joy through our own personal conventions and realise that your birth order has had an impact but it doesn’t have to be defining. I am a MC and so is my partner. We both struggle to know what we really want and with decisions that concern us having a choice.

  25. You know…. I can’t relate to you MCS kids but I feel horrible. I can never ever relate to you. My sister is the middle child and she is my sister and I love her but she is exactly what you described a MCS child to be. I hope all of you guys understand that there are people who love you and people who understand what you are going through(i cannot). I wish you all the best of luck in life. Do be ashamed of yourself. ?

  26. I am 25 and I have always had low self esteem. I never knew why though. I am not writing this to make people feel bad for me, I know there are people in much worse situations than me. I always felt like I was left out. In high school I got into drugs and when my parents found out they kicked me out and didn’t care if I was to sleep in a ditch. I begged for help but they never helped. My older sister was on the honor roll and in college made the dean’s list many times. My younger sister was always babied even to this day at 21. In my late teens/early twenties I was often verbally abused. My parents would call me a loser and a failure. At 25 I still feel left out and empty. My low self esteem gets worse every year. I don’t want to feel this way anymore.

    1. Don’t turn against “yourself” anymore, man! Let your inner-self, your soul be “free”, for yourself and any current loved ones in your life. I am also a middle-child, #2 of 3 boys. I even endured being called, wait for it, AND, as in my older brothers’ name called, then AND, then my younger brother’s name called! I am in my mid fifties now. I have long wondered why am I “no good”, or “not worthy”, or “lost in real purpose”. Fortunately, I was never kicked out of my parental home, or left to scrape and scratch and crawl on my own, at least not at too young of an age. But then, when I look back, yes I did alot of scratching, scraping, crawling while my brothers were given a “leg-up” or two or three, to my nodda’, nothing – AND will make it. He always survives and keeps on ticking. Yes I did, and I do “survive, but lots of lost opportunities and backwards attempts experienced. You will be fine when you can let go of the reigns that restrained and didn’t care when you really needed the care and support. You can be better, for you and others in your circle now and ahead to come, if you be “free” from the “syndrome” restraints and LET GO of shame, resentment and needing “their” approval. Best of luck and best wishes that you can “sore beyond” and live full and real, for you! You deserve it, Mike! And I don’t even know you! This topic, this ideal, this “syndrome” topic has given me new freedom, too! It’ s not our faults so don’t let it be our problem anymore! Cheers to a better life!! Go Mike, Go. -ANDy |in the middle!

    2. Funny your reply date is my birthday… I’m a middle child and this is so NOT so… I am the peacekeeper, the balancer, the one taking notes that says.. well, older child did that, that’s not good… the ;younger one.. yep, that’s not a good idea either. I think what they say about the eldest is backwards… in my experience she did exactly the opposite, got into eveyrthing, ripped the envelope and now it’s all about her… the youngest.. in trouble everywhere and into everything and expresses he is the “favorite”…. However I rarely got into trouble and when I did it was because I talked in study hall on a Friday. Geesh… I’ve spent time in the military and now have been entrusted with the financial and other burdens for parents. BTW for those who think I never did anything… not there… been all over the world, I have tats and am very independent.. I married a career military man and have a wealth of interesting memories and cherished tales to tell. I am the go-to person at work and keep the morale going. So… what exactly IS middle child syndrome again?

    3. I am the middle child 2 brothers and 1 sister older and 2brothers and 1 sister younger and I got treated like princess I got spoiled by the older ones and bossed the younger ones I had. Very good life I am 65 yrs old now and sadly we have lost a brother and a sister but I’m still a middle child we are very close as a family as our parents would have wanted we had wonderful parents and friends loved coming to our house it was always full of laughter we talk even now about things we did we must have drove our parents mad but as my dad always said we were a big family because every one of us was wanted and loved and we always know this there is 18 month to 2 years between us all oh happy days .

    4. Hi mike I came across your post I’m so sorry to hear that I think I may have some solutions for you if you haven’t found them already. I admire your courage in transparency

    5. I’m looking at this site because I have a 5 year old grandson who is the middle child and I want to find a way to make him understand he is as loved and important as his siblings. He’s showing signs of what seems to be a typical middle child syndrome. I want to find a way to let him know he’s just as important as his brothers. Middle children need to know that it makes no difference where they are in the family set up they are equally loved. How can I convey this to him? He is a challenge at times but I understand why.

    6. Ummm being the middle child is driving me insane, my younger sister gets whatever she wants whenever and when disturb her in anyway I get screamed at but if she does something to me nothing happens, it’s shitttt

    7. Hey Mike:
      I have an older and younger brother myself, close to twice your age and a very similar past, and still feel how you are feeling now. I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer but if we don’t start doing something about this emotional deficiency I fear we will never recover😢

    8. Hi Mike – I’m a middle too. I’ve also often felt out of place. I think what helped me a lot was distancing myself from my family and finding support in my friend group. Turning to drugs isn’t the answer. Your family sounds pretty toxic to your mental well-being, so a little distance will probably help. You have to find strength in yourself. And I think the best way to gain self-confidence is to do a little something for yourself each day that makes you feel like you’re helping yourself become a better person, no matter how small that thing is. For me, it’s going for a run. I hope this helps. You’re not a loser and a failure! You’re 25 and you have your whole life ahead of you! It’s not too late for a rebirth or sorts. Good luck!

  27. Good parenting could be the answer but it will not fix my families problem. Mostly because my parents don’t know how to parent us so there is no solution to my issue with my sister. I had no clue that this even exists but it fits perfectly with my middle sister. Too bad its too late to fix it and even if there was still time my parents wouldn’t have a clue on how to fix it because of there poor parenting skills.

  28. I am 13 years old I have an older sister who is 16 yrs old and a little sister who is 2yrs old I try every day to get noticed when it come to the family I’m so rude and disrepesctfull and a mistake the only not who pays attention to me is my dad and I don’t even live with him my mom didn’t care that I have amazing grades play well in athletics or the fact that I almost fractured my wrist someone help me plz

    1. Really in a nut shell, your parents are paying attention and love what you are doing! They don’t know you need a little time with them. Think of something you can do with them for couple hours, not a lot expensive because they have to pay for babysitting positions. Writing on a paper the something you like to do with them and maybe slip it under there bedroom door when they went to bed. If you keep it from your brother and sister it can be something special you share with your parents. I hope something helps, I was a middle child and it helped with my mom and I. My mother was a single parent.
      Good luck Huney,

    2. Hi not_loved i can totally relate to this i try hard in school and have even tried behaving badly to get noticed unfortunately none of these strategies have worked i can recommend only meeting friends who can take the space of the the family attention you do not receive. make sure they are understanding, i know they can never fill the whole that can only be filled with family love but try it, it kinda helped me.

    3. Honestly try talking to your mom and dad, most parents love their children very much but are just as guilty of falling into a rut or bad habits as anyone else. It’s easy to forget the needs of your children when your caught up in the fast paced daily routine of just getting things done. Wait until you have a moment when it’s just you and her and things are calm and express how you’re feeling, I all but promise you she’ll listen and with a little work on both your parts you can fix on this together. Best of luck

  29. I thank you for this, I often felt the pain and loneliness even at the present age of 52. I am a middle child of nine children. There was no attention left for myself, Dad worked all the time and Mom did the best she could, I realize this now but back as a child you don’t think of that. I was always in trouble one way or another. It didn’t matter to me if a spanking came with it.
    I noticed that I always had to share everything with all the siblings, Even when I worked hard for it. It seamed as though they never had to share what they had, I was often told to leave their stuff alone.
    I’m not complaining about my life, at least Mom didn’t give me up to adoption, or even worse abortion. Your article really drove home some good points. Also brought on some bad memories and visions I have locked away for a very long time.

    But now I’m a born again Christian, I belong to a new family and my Father has no favorites. We are all loved the same no matter what mistakes we make. Again I thank you and God bless you and all the others with MCS, but their is a silver lining. Be the better person and don’t let MCS rule your life. It will only drag you around by the collet for the rest of your life. Stand up, shake the dust off, and live your life like there is no tomorrow. The best medicine you can treat yourself with is LOVE, love yourself and don’t let this syndrome rule you.

    1. My middle child is 9, and she feels this way. I was overseas for a year when she was 3 and 4 years old, and had my son shortly after. I babied her because I didn’t want her to feel left out. She has low self esteem and cries about everything. I want to try to repair this damage before she becomes a teenager or adult with low self esteem. Her younger brother often breaks her things. She has some toys that she won’t even play with out of fear. I would like to find a therapist for her, but I am a single mother of 3 making $8/hr. I enjoyed reading what you wrote and am open to suggestions.

    2. My middle child is 9, and she feels this way. I was overseas for a year when she was 3 and 4 years old, and had my son shortly after. I babied her because I didn’t want her to feel left out. She has low self esteem and cries about everything. I want to try to repair this damage before she becomes a teenager or adult with low self esteem. Her younger brother often breaks her things. She has some toys that she won’t even play with out of fear. I would like to find a therapist for her, but I am a single mother of 3 making $8/hr. I enjoyed reading what you wrote and am open to suggestions.

  30. I am recently the middle child to two other sisters with the youngest being 3 days old she is getting lots of attention and with the eldest being 18 she is getting lots of support with jobs and cars so I feel left out and sometimes stress out and the only way for me to vent is to break down and cry and go to YouTube but this makes me feel cut out from my family is there any suggestions anyone could give to try and sort this

  31. Oh My god my life right there in writing!!!
    I am a 12 year old girl nearly 13. with a 14 year old older sister and a 7 year old brother we always fight constantly and my mum always tells me off, always sends me to my room, always yells at me and I am GOOD at school I don’t hardly ever get a detention but my sister gets all the attention because she Is BAD but when I get a detention my mum always goes on about it for weeks its so annoying. My mum always focuses on the bad side of me and the negativity not the positive I get sooo down all the time

  32. MCS is real. I am the second child and brother of 3, with an older brother and a younger sister. My older brother is totally seen as the pioneer and the most worthy child; my younger sister gets it her way far too often; and then there is me. I relate to this article so much. I have psychopathic tendencies, and do often consider becoming a criminal mastermind in order to be noticed and noteworthy. I am lonely, and I realize that I probably come off as weird. I am an introvert but still have far too small of a friend-circle. I’m not insecure nor do I have low self-esteem, or at least that’s what I tell myself. I find myself confused about who I am, not knowing how to express my interests and personality into a definable character– I often come off as erratic, weird, or over-enthusiastic about some things.

  33. I am now 37 years old and I suffered for a long time with MCS. My older brother was the apple of my mothers eye and still is, my younger brother is the apple of my fathers eye (they are very alike in personality).

    When I was young I noticed that although I was loved and cared for very well that I was often side lined by my parents in favour of my siblings. I was very quiet around others often analysing and watching, I believe it stilted my development in some way and a sense of low self esteem was there.

    When I became a teenager, I had a group of friends who were to me my family, I went out when I could. With them I could be myself and realised how social I really was and I organised everything we did (mostly involving alcohol – Being Scottish does that to you!). They gave me my confidence and the 5 of us are still as tight as ever.

    Over the years, I have broached this subject with my parents and they are very dismissive of it, that’s fine Iv made my peace with MCS. I have children of my own and have learned from mistakes I felt my own parents made.

    I have gone on to have a career in adoption. Helping others to have a family – perhaps without my childhood feelings I may not have chosen this career – who knows.

  34. also a middle child. five of us. my mom finally admitted a few years back that yes, I was ignored. I was picked on by my older brother and sister and never defended. just told to shut up. she always took their word for things. yelled at
    me for everything they told her I did “wrong”. the way I talked, dressed, walked.
    if my brother wrecked something of mine and I cried, my mom told me to go away. if I tried to talk to her about my day she never answered. my dad hated us all pretty much equally.

  35. i was the oldest of six children and also had 7 children what i was told and found was that for parents to survive the workload they were always having to tend to the oldest who was off and running and to the baby who was always crying-then when managed i would tend to the middle . i had no preference of one child or sib just did my best to balance the workload. loved them all to pieces. in later years the middle child needed more attention so i gave them tons of one on one timeto catch them up. i also found taking children on a two dollar private date helped alot. they could vent or let me know their needs. also in january i would ask them if they had three wishes that could come true what would they be. they dug deep and it let me know of unmet needs that i worked quickly to meet . good luck

  36. I always knew about this MCS since I was 8. I’m also a middle child just like many of you. But for me, it was not mostly my parents (just sometimes) it’s my siblings.

    I have a year older sister named Vanessa, and a younger brother named John (btw, our age gap is 8 years) When I was a child, and John wasn’t born yet, my sister and I always fight. Over small things, big things and such, just the way siblings do. And because I was younger, my mom favors me.

    I guess I was just adapted to my mother favoring me over anyone else, that when my younger brother came along, I became sad and lonely. We always fight, sometimes even physically. Since he was a boy, even though I’m older, he walks away with victory. (I was tall but lanky)

    As to my sister, we share rooms. There was this issue, which only we know of. We were kids that time but we were old enough to know that we will never win an argument with our mom. John had a separate room, and we were infuriated because why can’t we have our own room too?

    Vanessa and I quarrel as often too. She insults me, I insult her back, and so on until one of us will just stop and remain quiet. I know she has been crying every night, as I do too. I really love my sister even though she treats me as a big fat douchebag.

    One day, I saw a pink notebook on my bed. It was not mine, so I opened it. It was Vanessa’s diary. One of her entries said, “Since I’m oldest, I was the first one to experience being left out, every time a new part of the family adds. I was the first one to be neglected. But i can’t tell anyone how I feel, because I’m the brave Vanessa everyone knows. And I can’t do anything about it but cry inside and pretend to feel nothing.”

    I cried that day. You know why? Because that’s what I feel to. I never admitted to having read her diary. She needed to know that someone loves her, that I do. But I’m just a kid, and I’m a coward. I was not courageous enough to tell her that I will always be on her side.

    My father was not in our country, he was working abroad. But sometimes I just can’t helpit getting mad at him. How can he leave us? We could’ve got the love we were always seeking for.

    My mom used to brag about my achievements to her friends. But that was just a cover up, because as soon as we get home, she would say, “Don’t make me disappointed. Go and study in your room. NOW.”

    When me and my siblings study, she goes on checking on my brother often, and sometimes, looking at my sister’s work. But she never even went to my workplace or ask if I need help. One day, I asked her about my homework. Did you know what she said? “There’s google. You can do it on your own.” That was just depressing. Can’t she spend a little of her time to even think of how I can pull through without her help?

    Sometimes, I think about suicide. And I tried. I drank alcohol (the one to clean wounds) before I slept. I was ready to sleep and never wake up. But I woke up perfectly fine. No one knew of that.

    As a kid, I’ve never even experienced to play outside, to meet neighbors and things like that. I was even scared to make friends. I had friends in elementary. They were so exciting and makes me happy. One day, I saw a 9gag picture. “There is always one friend who goes at the back when the space is not enough and is always interrupted when talking, bla bla bla.” It hit me like a potato. I switched schools in high school. And I was the wallflower, not talking to anybody at the first week. I was careful of choosing my friends since then.

    The sad thing about my life is that I don’t know where my place is, because I know that I don’t even belong. I’m too young to go with my sister and her friends, and definitely too old to hang out with my brother. And so, I was always alone. As I am typing this comment, I realized I am still alone. And still sad.

    I hate MCS. It made my childhood not worth of looking back to.

  37. I’m almost sorry I read this article because it opened a very big wound.

    I’m a middle son of three boys. My mother favoured my older brother quite openly but it wasn’t too bad because I know she loved me.

    My father was a different matter. I felt he hated me and worshiped my younger brother. When I was quite young my brother and I were play fighting. He grabbed my head and mashed my temple into the corner of a coffee table. I was really hurt but my father cheered boisterously at my siblings victory. My younger brother and I scrapped a lot. Once, continuing after being told to stop, my father punched me in the face. We were both guilty of the same offence but of course I was the only one to receive the blow.

    It was not uncommon for me to get punished when my brother was delinquent. A day didn’t go by that I wasn’t called stupid, a thief or a liar. Conversely, in my whole life I don’t recall one pejorative word directed at my brother.

    This behaviour continued to adulthood. My father even favoured my brother’s kids over mine.

    The repercussions as a kid was that I acted out. I went to great lengths to get attention and it was mostly negative. I took more risks than anyone else. I jumped higher, drove faster, consumed more.

    As an adult I engaged in unhealthy behaviour. I had a propensity to use women, substances and bad habits to escape pain. I subconsciously told my self I wasn’t worthy of love or success.

    After years of soul searching, therapy, mediation and hard work I can say that I’m no longer obsessed with my father’s hate. This is the first year that I don’t spend several hours a day resenting my father for his misguided behaviour. I’m 57.

  38. Exactly and explicitly honest.

    Middle child here. My mother jumps when my sisters need something. But when I need help I have to wait. My grandmother (her mom) treated all the grandkids fairly. My “mother” always pulls the I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it liner. But boasts to her friends she is so proud of me. I don’t believe it. My family forgets about me and sometimes blames me for everything bad that happens.

  39. Hi! OMG…will you PLEASE stop telling my life story lol… jk I am a middle child and had always wondered why I felt the way I do… i had never heard of MCS before today, so thank you for sharing! I am the middle child of 7 (3 older sisters, 2 younger brothers, and a younger sister) and being that we had such a large family, I not only was the last thought about, but I even put myself last on many occasions just so that it “wouldn’t hurt as bad”. And on top of being in the middle, I am small framed (I am 32 and only 5 feet tall lol) and relatively quiet, which made “running over me” even easier. I’ve healed from a lot of the things that I felt in my youth, but there is such a wide array of emotions, that you never know when the harder to deal with will be triggered. It is just really good to know now that I am not alone 🙂 Something amazing happened when I read so many of the comments above… there was a release, and for that I am thankful! So, SALUTE to all the mid-kids!!! YOU ROCK!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *