Oldest Child Syndrome

I am 6 years older than my younger sister.  I spent a long time being the only child. Then my mother married and had my sister. Besides being the oldest, I also felt left out. There was my mom, my stepdad and my sister, one whole family, and me. I felt like the left over baggage from a bad relationship. My mother had a bad childhood and was the youngest. As a result she always related to my sister and never even tried to grasp my needs or wants. On top of that, my mother had sever bi-polar. She was in and our of the Pscyh ward through out my growing up. With my stepdad working nights I was often the care giver to my sister. I was given much responsiblity and was severly punished for any infractions, large or small.

Now my younger sister does nothing. She does not do any chores. She is disrespectful. She straight out tells my mother "no". I can never remember one time telling my mother no. I knew better because the punishment would have been severe. My sister is clingy and needy. She is 15 years old and you would NEVER know it by her immature demeanor.

My mother and I have had a lot of problems. We recently talked some of them through. However the chip on my shoulder is still there. I would have thought that talking with her about it would have made me feel better, but it really hasn't. I still have such bitterness and resentment because of it, among other issues with her.

I am all grown up. Moved out. Married. No children yet, but regardless I am on my own. Yet I still can not let this go. i don't know how to let go of this burden and it is really eating away at me. I am moving very far away in a few months and I feel like if we don't resolve this before I leave than we never will. She seems willing to resolve it, and as much as I want to I just can't let go of it. Any advice would be appreciated.

Jenn026 Jenn026
18-21, F
9 Responses Sep 4, 2008

I'm only 17, but I'm the oldest of 6 kids. The youngest is 1 and my oldest younger brother is 9. So there's a huge age gap and they all have the same dad except me. My mom puts a lot of responsibility on me too and she never sees it. I enlisted in the army and she still tells me I'm lazy and have no responsibility even though I ship out in 26 days. I'm terrified and I just feel like she doesn't care because I'm the oldest and can "take care of myself". Idk how to work any of our issues out. I've tried. She has so much resentment to my dad that I feel like some of it is aimed towards me because she doesn't even talk to him now.

I feel your pain. I am the oldest of 4, my next oldest sibling is 5 years younger. I was the experimental child, born to teenaged parents who married but didn't grow up. The siblings who followed are 12 and 16 years younger. I was Cinderella, cleaning and changing diapers until I left at 18, never to look back. I figured if I was going to play wife and mom, I may as well do it, so I married and had children young. I put myself through college and grad school, and am now a school administrator. Being left to take care of myself at such a young age made me develop a strong sense of independence. You can get through this life and make it better for yourself and your future family. You'll be a better parent for it. Turn your bitterness into a sense of determination and try not to look back.I

i identify with many of you on this post. i came to this site because i was searching about sibling issues and in doing that, found these interesting blogs that also relate to me. im the oldest of 3 girls. my sisters were twins. they always had this bond that was so incredible and i was always left out. we are all older, me being 25 and them 22 and we are in completely different situations which has only exascerbated things. they view me as irresponsible and don't agree with some of my choices in life.they dislike children and think im dumb for having one. they are extremely judgemental people and im just the opposite. i feel for other people. i have a beautiful wonderful 3 year old daughter from a failed marriage. i just recently got a divorce. once i got married to this man, he completely changed. he no longer was who he used to be. he became controlling and lazy. i couldn't deal with it. i lost alot of "friendships" when i had a baby. no one my age could relate to me anymore and i kind of don't blame them. i can't exactly go out all the time anymore, nor do i want to. i just wish i had friends in the same boat. i know not one single person my age that has kids. none. i feel like my daughter is going without because i have no play dates for her or anything like that. in fact i only have 1 real friend and we talk very little because we are in different points in our lives as well. i have a new man in my life and i am very happy. he is my best friend. he is the most caring and loving man iv ever met, unlike my dad that was extremely emotionally distant alcholic. i still have trust issues and barriers from my first marriage and i feel bad that he has to deal with that but he does very well because i think he really loves me. he is completely different than my ex. i plan on one day starting a family with him, but much later down the road for financial reasons. i feel like my daughter will be bitter towards me and feel left out when i do have another child with him. i don't want this because she is extremely important to me and im not bitter at all about who her dad is. i love her unconditionally i really want her to know that. she is the most important aspect of my life. i would do anything for her. i don't want her to feel left out although i do want to begin a life with my partner. any advise?

Have you thought about writing a journal for your daughter? Give it to her when she's an adult, so she'll know how much you love her. My mom did that for me, cause her relationship with my biological dad, well, it left scars on both of us, and after she left him, that's when she started the journal. Reading it helped me move on, and start healing. I'm still working on some issues, but aren't we all?

The way you feel about your daughter made me cry lol I hope my mom feels that way about me

I have never meant this more than now: "I am totally with you."

I had some pain and hassles being the oldest child. Back when I was younger I was told "time heals all wounds" Well, not in my case. I've been to counseling and tried to forget, but its hard. I wish you all luck, it is different for everyone.

I feel all your pain and thoughts! I too am an oldest child, by a WIDE margin with both of my half-siblings! My story is so complex, way too long to state here, and often traumatic, but I will attest I've seen my half-siblings from the patriarchical side of my parentage, get ALL the advantages I (or my 'whole' sibling) didn't! The advantages they received (and continue to receive) are insanely astronomical, by comparison. I was, through no fault of my own, for whatever the purpose was, born into a family, which I'm guessing subconciously, somehow 'scapegoated' me simply for being a product of a very unhappy union. Of course, it isn't all bad! Naturally, there are, mixed with the unpleasant, wonderful experiences! But even being the mature adult I am now, atop of the fact I still have very young half-siblings, I suffer with the feelings of being 'left out,' 'ignored' by this parent, who seems to only 'get in touch with me' when they have something on their mind that is negative, concerning me.

I am 10 an 13 years older than my siblings. My mother had me when she was 21 and unmarried, an eldest child of a minister and a teacher. It is needless to say that I wasn't very welcome in the family. It was kind of just her and me for the first 9 years or so. She married her husband when I was 9 and he adopted me when I was 10, something I will always regret. They had children right away and I became an instant babysitter and surrogate care giver. I love my siblings very much, but have always felt more like their mother than an older sister, even though they don't see things the same way. My adolescence was a nightmare, with a mother who became more and more wrapped up in her husband's and young children's demands, a "father" who was a controlling, un-supportive, religious freak who tortured his family emotionally, and no way to just be a kid - I was too busy trying to be perfect so that everyone would leave me the hell alone. I left the house when I was 20 and moved in with a man I cared a great deal for, who was thrilled with me just the way I was who eventually became my husband. He had three children from his first marriage and we had a son together almost right away. No one gave us odds on staying together, but I am happy to say that we have been together for 21 years and married for 16 despite financial and other life hardships. He has been my saving grace and been a true gift from God. I need it more and more every day. After 30 years, my "father" did the family one more sick twist turn and walked out to shack up with his cousin, and my mother has turned from a doormat into a bitter person who can't find any forgiveness or joy in anything.

Jenn - you felt like an outsider in your own family; you were not taken care of, at least emotionally, by your mom, who apparently was ill; your sister had everything ... all these things are tough to take! As a daughter I felt some of the same things, especially the not being taken care of emotionally. As a mother I feel guilty about my oldest daughter- especially that my selfishness did not let me see clearly her needs apart from mine. Do you pray? It helped me to pray for my mom, to see her as a struggling person who does love me as much as she can, so I could forgive her. Now that my mother is old, I try to be a kind of parent to her, frankly the kind of parent I wished she had been. I have finally improved my relationship with my oldest daughter, loving her the way she is, and putting her in God's hands.

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That's a lot of years of resentment to build up and I totally sympathise with you. I was the firstborn in my family, a mistake from a relationship that was never allowed to be spoken of. I have 3 younger half siblings, who came from my mom's marriage and made her "perfect family". Whenever she mentioned "the kids" to anyone, it was always the other children, I was just a mistake that wouldn't go away. It can set thought patterns in your mind, resulting in difficult relationships and friendships when you are older. You can bluff your way through life acting like it doesn't matter and trying to be your own person, but deep down them thoughts stay with you. I would urge you to try resolve it with your mom, think it through and note down what you really want to convey, do it in a way that is not confronting. You don't want a negative response or defensiveness from her that will leave it still unresolved, it's difficult when you've been wronged as a child by an adult that knows better, but to get what you need you'll have to use the gentle approach. I sincerely wish you all the best with it. You're not alone with them feelings. You obviously want to be able to move forward from it and let your true self shine. All the best and many blessings to you :)