Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,
I am one of 4 children in our family. My sister and I have middle child syndrome. We feel that my parents favor the first and last born; my sister and I could disappear and it wouldn’t matter. Both my sister and I are grown, with our own families now. We talk to our parents once a week, but it’s not a close relationship, more like checking in to make sure we all are alive and doing well. I periodically talk to my oldest brother but don’t find any enjoyment in contacting my youngest brother. He has different political views and just likes to argue for the sake of arguing. Is it because of this middle child syndrome that I cannot communicate with my youngest brother? Am I jealous of him? How do I get over this middle child syndrome?
Beware of labels! They are boxes we place ourselves in, and then can’t see past. You are interpreting your parents and family not from the big picture but from your own point of view. You are going on feelings rather than facts. There is always a larger picture. Your parents probably didn’t go out of their way to make life miserable for you and your sister. More likely they thought you two were pretty close and supportive of each other so they put resources to where they were most needed. It is common for people to compare, blame, label and assume but more often than not none of it is true. I think you might need to get over yourself. Learn instead to be patient, listen, question and share. These are skills that you and your sister might not have practiced growing up. It is true in some cultures boys are favored and girls seen as a burden but I don’t gather that is the specific issue from your question.
If your parents really were evil and guilty of favoritism, or of alcoholic abuse and they really did go out of their way to make you and your sister miserable…well then I am wrong. ACOA (adult children of alcoholics) would be where to go to get answers and support.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: I’m not sure why you are asking us how you feel. You don’t like your younger brother, simple as that. His opinions upset you. If you want to develop a relationship with him for some other reason, then find something you have in common and focus on that. But you are not going to solve the problem by putting a fancy name on it and asking other people how you feel. You know how you feel. You just want an excuse for it.