Archive for January, 2013

16 January 2013

The Middle-Child Syndrome

by misslampa
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Why, Mama dear? Why?!?
Joke lang po! ILoveYou!!!Ü

Earlier this week, someone wanted to know if I sometimes feel that my parents love me less compared to my siblings. It was already a tough question in and of itself, but what made it even tougher this time around was the fact that the one who wanted it answered was my mother.

I mean, why would any parent ask her middle child that of all questions? Hasn’t she heard of the middle-child syndrome? Did she want me to give her a reason to be sad? Haha!Ü

In the end, because she brought me up to be honest, I said yes, growing up, I have at several instances felt that my parents were playing favorites. To illustrate, I told her I remember them taking my sister on a shopping spree just before they sent her off to college in UP Los Baños, and that I remembered it vividly because we were forced to tag along. Clothes, school supplies, stuff she was going to need in the dorm, the works. But then when it was my turn to go, I got nothing. Not a new blouse or a bag or a wallet, even.

(Oh wait, I think they gave me money to get myself a pair of maroon shorts because I needed them for PE. Lucky me!)

I was quick to reassure her, though, that I can be mature about it now – that I have been mature about it for quite some time, actually. Like all that’s happening around me but not really to me, I’ve chosen to look at what they did for her as something that had nothing to do with me. My sister Diane was the first to leave the home, so perhaps that was their way of loving her, perhaps they wanted to prove themselves to the world, perhaps that was how they coped with her leaving.

Plus, in all honesty, there have been many instances too when I felt like I was the favored one so in the end, it’s bound to even out. Which is why my mindset for years now has been that whatever isn’t about me shouldn’t affect me so immensely. Makes sense, right?

As it turns out, not necessarily.

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I recall this memorable conversation on birth order and personalities which I had with a fellow traveler several months back.

Somewhere during the week we happened to Sydney, the brilliant Rodz told me about this TED video where a journalist (I did a quick search and found out much later that he was referring to Jeffrey Kluger, and that it was, in fact, a TEDx video) talks about how, like animals, we do everything in our power to get our parents’ attention from the moment we are born. And that, as middle children, we’re at a natural disadvantage simply because we didn’t get to be the favored eldest or the favorite youngest. Now as much as I wanted to disagree with him, I couldn’t. I mean, never in my whole life did I hear my parents go, “Let her have it. She’s the middle child, for crying out loud!”

This, however, doesn’t deter middle children from fighting harder to get recognition in the home. According to Kluger, we do this by being different – and by working hard to be very good at that different whatever that we choose to do.

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In true middle-child fashion, Rodz wore work clothes while on holiday. Who does that, seriously?Ü

So aboard one of Sydney’s trains, Rodz and I took turns talking about how we are indeed so different from our siblings, especially the first-borns. I told him I was the only artsy one in my family, he said he was the only tech wiz in his – differences we both seemed keen on keeping and making even more pronounced. What amused me the most was discovering that even our favorite chicken portion – the thigh part – was heavily influenced by siblings who loved chicken legs, haha! I got tired of competing with my siblings for them, he wanted to be different from his brother. Crazy. And cute, too.Ü

This preference for what’s different doesn’t stop here, though. Outside of the home, I often go for what’s eclectic or eccentric or asymmetric – options which usually appeal to the least number of people. Moreover, when something I really like starts gaining popularity, I find myself losing interest. Unless we’re talking about John Lloyd Cruz or Derek Ramsay. Oh, but I digress. :))

All this, he said, can be traced back to our supposed natural longing to be the favored one back when we were young, a longing that some middle kids never outgrow, sadly.

So there I was thinking, have I been wrong all this time to think that anything that was between my parents and my siblings shouldn’t affect me?

Probably. But should I allow myself to feel any less loved because of it?

Nah. Not necessarily.

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When I’m hit with a new idea, I tend to get consumed by it for a while. It’s just me.

I didn’t talk to Rodz for a good eight minutes the moment we got off the train, so much so that he had to ask if I was okay – because if you’ve traveled with me, you’d know I’m one to keep a good conversation going. The meanie was delighted and amused that I seemed perturbed.

And I was, for I was having a hard time getting my head around the thought that Kluger could be right – that like most middle children, I’m different from my siblings not because I’m unique and independent and couldn’t care less about what the world thinks, but because I wanted to give my parents a good reason to sit up and take notice.

Which means I’m not that different after all, right?

Maybe, probably, most likely.

But once again, as with most things, I’m choosing to go with no, not necessarily.

I’m a middle child, after all. I should feed this tendency to be too cool for anything most likely. :))

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This one’s for Mama dear and Papa dear, who are immensely, completely and absobloominutely loved. My siblings and I are a pretty awesome bunch because of you! <3