Can You Relate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gale

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

Woes of a Middle Child

I’m 13 years old and of course the middle child. I have an older sister and a younger brother. It seems that all the time my sister will randomly pick a fight with me and I will always be the one to get in trouble. Other times I will just be sitting in my room doing homework and my little brother will come in with his nerf guns and I will chase him around the house in response then get into trouble for “attacking” my little brother.

I’m unsure if my parents just don’t like me or if it just comes with being the middle child. Not to mention I am a high honors student and both of my siblings get C’s. When I’m not getting yelled at by my parents, I feel like I am constantly doing other people’s chores. It’s like I don’t even exist unless I’m being yelled at or asked by my parents to do my little brother’s chores because he is still too young to be doing the dishes (he’s 12).

My parents don’t even just push my siblings’ chores on me though. Just last night my mother had me cook an entire meal ( Fish, rice, broccoli) by myself so she could sit and watch TV then when I asked her for a new $10 shirt that I had wanted forever she said I hadn’t earned it then proceeded to spend $50 on call of duty for my little brother. I am also usually responsible for my sister’s chores as well because she is also sleeping or yeah she’s typically sleeping. Is it usual for a middle child to be given all the responsibilities and for the younger child to be given all the gifts and freedom or do my parents just hate me and favor my brother?

Heather

At the Middle

I’ve “always” known to be and feel “different”.

What a burden it’s been and continues to be so even at my age now. My older brother and the eldest, my sister, were popular at school, clever, good fun, well informed and with real friends. I was anything but unable to know who I am or how to make lasting friends, always thought that I am stupid, teacher tied my left hand behind my back every morning to prevent me using/writing with my right hand, I was 7, This caused me much humiliation and embarrassment, it made me feel even more self conscious.

I craved attention and to be heard or noticed, when I did receive any input I usually blew it, the attention went to my head. Weak, pleasing personality and I despised myself at times. Somehow I never truly succeed, all my life I have always been second best but that’s my own doing because I am now incapable of ever putting myself first so I very often fail.

Believe me I have tried to change, but nothing works.

I do have my happy and good moments but I never quite fit in and feel that I am on the peripheral.

I am “pleasing” another word would be weak, boring, unable to question or challenge very much, always afraid of being rejected, so I developed a “pleasing” nature with my Mum in order to survive, I must have got on her nerves terribly.

I’m OK, But I have also been selfish and cruel by lacking much understanding and being naive and ignorant in the past. I could put my signature as “Loser” but I don’t want to down myself any more.

I could leave the past and guilt alone if my life was good now; I guess I just have got to live with this low self esteem, not a lot to be proud of – eh

Mary