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Only Child Dynamics

November 27, 2011

I am an only child. I often get asked if I would have liked siblings and in all honesty I don’t know, I often say “no, because then they would had to go through the same as me” and the reply is often that I would have had someone to go through it with. There always ups and down to being an only child, I never had to share my toys and I always got all the presents at Christmas but then I was constantly surrounded by adults and had no one to play with when visiting family because not only was I an only child I was the only child in the extended family at the time.

I think being an only child has contributed to some of my aspects that would be considered borderline. I have extreme jealousy, I never learnt to share and If I have to share I feel that thing or person is no longer just mine and it is also someone else’s making the value of it less. I was the only child yet I didn’t still get the attention and love I deserved. At least with another child there I could think, well I’m not the only one here so the attention is shared but with me being the only one and still not being noticed it made me question why. I do remember as a child saying to my parents I wanted a brother or sister but they struggled enough dealing with one child. I wasn’t a hand full, I was just quiet, but I felt like a burden. I was always in the way. I guess it would have been nice not to feel so lonely but then if I had a younger sibling I would feel even more responsibilities that had been falsely placed on me. I was already looking after my parents without having a younger sibling to look after too. I never really had to learn to share people, I didn’t even have to share my parents with each other because there was no connection between the two of them. So even though I was often neglected, they still loved me more than they loved each other. It’s probably quite damaging that I didn’t have the opportunity to share my parents with another person they loved. Although saying that, I feel my mother was the one that neglected me due to having to share her with her celebrity obsession, she may not have loved my father but she loved MO and I hated her for it. I learnt that if my parents loved someone else I wouldn’t come first anymore because that is what happened.

I am very scared of change happening back home, my dad is back in hospital but while he has been in hospital he’s been constantly saying he has to find a new woman and he wants to get married and have more kids. It scares me because I don’t know how I would feel about a sibling now. I know that the chances of him finding someone who will have kids with him past 50 is slim but them with his Bipolar hyper sexual activities there could easily be an accident. Even the thought of him getting married makes me jealous, he has always just loved me and if he has someone else he might forget me. I don’t want to cause problems and I wouldn’t but after almost 20 years of being my dad’s little girl, anyone new coming into the picture would be scary and rejecting. It scary to think that I may have taken on the wife role in my parental household without meaning to. It was a big open space and I stepped into it. I need to someone remember that I am their daughter, not their mother or their wife. But then when you’re an only child with a disfunctional home you can be pressured into inappropriate roles that were never intended for you. I just wonder if I’m still emotionally in those roles even if I’m not actively anymore.

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One comment

  1. Your post makes an awful lot of sense to me. I too am an only child, I often wanted a sibling when I was younger, but once I reached my teens that want faded away. I use to struggle with the sharing concept growing up and the jealously, I was especially jealous of the girl next door I think partly because she was so perfect and had a sibling. I recently discussed with Mr Therapist that there was another only child my age and more often than not, we would end up “playing together” but neither of us like sharing our toys and we found it difficult to communicate as children do. I have particular strong memories of the day after my birthday and pushing her because she wanted to inspect my new Barbie dolls!

    I spent the majority of my life being a carer not a daughter and when mum died I vowed not to care for dad or continue that role, almost three years on it is exactly what I am doing, I feel he never sees me as a daughter, just the dogsbody who will do things for him.



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