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May 4th, 2014 12:48 AM #11
Wow this is such an interesting thread! I'm the eldest of two girls (4 years apart, or just under) and I actually have a major lack of the supposed first-born qualities. Our personalities are certainly shaped by our upbringing but in our case I don't think we fit the typical birth-order traits.
I'm the more free-spirited, outspoken, anti-authority one of us, and I was in trouble all the time at school/argued a lot at home; my sister is the total opposite, being a people-pleaser, easily adaptable, non-confrontational. I guess a lot of that is nature, but she grew up surrounded by several other children almost constantly - so maybe it was a conformity thing, a desire to fit in? My parents have also told me that because I was their first they were much more... 'experimental' with discipline techniques etc. (they apparently went 2 years never using the words 'no', 'naughty' or 'bad' in my presence, at least in reference to my behavior). On top of that I was just one of those crazy toddlers, my dad used to joke it would be a miracle if I lived to age 5.
I was never a motherly/controlling older-sibling, my little sister is by far more responsible than I am and probably more maternal too. I was entirely disinterested in her as a baby actually. I don't even have very many memories of playing with her, I always just found her to be annoying - we get on well now but it's just an awkward age gap. I'm also super independent compared to my sister and always have been (I'm currently living alone on another continent at 16) whereas she's more clingy and emotionally dependent, dislikes being away from home etc.
The only exception is the academic performance thing - it's not that I felt pressure/expectation, but I did very well in school and a vast amount of it was early years. My mum especially focused more educational attention on me when I was in primary school. I also got a definite sense that I was special or above average - which has come back to bite me recently but was certainly a confidence boost as a young child. My sister does well in school but has always been considered just average by my parents and there was almost no you're-so-special treatment.
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May 4th, 2014 12:37 PM #13
I love learning about people and their family history so I'm really enjoying everyone's posts. No matter how different we are from each other, we can find some similarity or commonality in another individual's life experience. Thank you all for taking the time to share your stories.All the best,
May 4th, 2014 01:38 PM #15
How do you always come up with these great topics for conversation, mischa? There are just SO many factors that determine our personalities in life, it's hard to pin point one thing. Here's my story, for the record.
I'm the oldest of two. When I was 4 years old, my mom gave birth to my brother, putting an end to my only child-ness. I've always had to feel responsible because I was the big sister, so I now have this controlling personality when it comes to relationships. It's very hard for me to just rely on my SO to do something. I love to read and be on my own. The two good friends that I do have, I never want to hang out with or see. (Which, as you can imagine, puts a bit of a strain on those relationships.) Though, they do understand i like my space. I would definitely say that I prefer having friends at a distance and being a hermit in my own little universe. I'm not sure if that part has to do with having a sibling or if it's just the way I am.Amory
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May 4th, 2014 01:55 PM #17Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2013
I am technically the youngest, but was raised as an only child. I have an older half-brother and half-sister from my father's previous marriage - they are 10 and 14 years older than me, respectively. They grew up with their mother, so I was the only kid in my household.
My sister is very headstrong, very blunt and was a hell-raiser as a teenager, so my parents tell me. Now, she is a confident, outgoing, successful woman. My brother was very quiet and shy, and I suspect was kinda overlooked and forgotten about. Unfortunately, he got taken in by the wrong crowd, and now suffers from mental illness caused by drug abuse.
It bothers me that I was never close to my siblings; I have not seen or spoken to my brother in 5 years, and my sister only comes round on holidays (I also have a nephew who I've haven't seen since birth; he's my brother's son). I have always felt pressure from my father to be his "perfect little girl" because he feels like he failed his other children, my brother especially.
My father is the youngest of 11, born during WW2, so he had a tough upbringing. He was orphaned by the time he was 15, and was starved of attention from his family. This deeply affected him. Also, since he is older than most dads (he was 51 when I was born), we are too far apart in age to really understand each other, so I do not have a close relationship with him.
My mother is the youngest too, she has a sister a couple of years older than her. They are very close, and I know my Mum really appreciated having an older sister to talk/rant/vent to. My maternal grandma was in a similar situation to my Dad; she was at the bottom end of a 13-strong sibling group and starved for attention. As such, she was very possessive over her husband and children and did not show affection physically.
As such, my parents are not really "touchy-feely" kinda people, so I feel I'm kinda distant with people because of this. If I ever do have kids of my own, I would want more than one fairly close in age, so they would always have someone to talk to and play with.
May 4th, 2014 02:00 PM #19
I am the youngest of two sisters and I come from a very female driven family so I always feel that I had a lot to live up to when it came to that aspect of things. My father sadly died when I was five and my sister was seven and since then we haven't had any real male force in our lives.
My sister, Marilyn, is actually the least "successful" I guess, she isn't at all driven and she lacks the real passion and drive that other women in my family possess. Even at school she was lazy and didn't bother and left school at 16 just after getting some qualifications to take a position as a sale's person in a shop. She started to have children quite early into her twenties and I find that the only thing she does seem truly passionate about is her husband and her kids. I think she is fantastic mum and if I could be even half the mum she is to my little girl then I would be thrilled!
I found that my sister out of both us was the one the family always seemed to centre on as they wanted her to do well. I was always pushed to second place because I was doing well and school and I did have an idea of where I wanted to go. I know this sounds horrible but I always felt somewhat eclipsed by sister in everything that I achieve in life which frustrates me as I don't see how (this is an example from years ago) my sister quitting her job for no apparent reason would be more important than me getting top grades on my exams or the fact that I would ultimately get accepted I to university with theses grades. But you get dealt a hand in life I guess.
It's quite fascinating reading how older siblings are mostly very headstrong as Marilyn isn't. I do have diagnosed OCD and BPD that I get help for and I do wonder if that is from a life of living in Mar's shadow (not that I'm blaming her at all!). I always tried to make everything perfect so that my mum would notice me and I really did at moments feel unloved. Even after I got diagnosed with these issues in my late teens I didn't tell my mum for ages (I got them diagnosed after talking to the uni counsellor and she sent me to see somebody) as I thought she would be ashamed and I'm still yet to tell her the full extent to some things that happened in my past.
This was a very fascinating thread to read and answer! Thanks Mischa!
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