Still Invisible: My Middle Child Syndrome Story

I'm 22 years old. I have an older brother and a younger sister. For the most part of my childhood, I was ignored by both my parents. My dad works, and doesn't get home around 9 or 10 in the evening. My mom is a housewife. She showered my sister with so attention whether she wanted it or not.

When I was 10 years old, I got reprimanded for not helping my sister carry her heavy bag. At that time, I found it unfair that they expect me to look after myself and my little sister, because we're a family. It's like they were forcing me to grow up.

I can sing. I've been singing since I was 5. Most of my childhood was spent watching cartoons and drawing. I was never good at making friends in school. I hated lunch time because I hated eating  alone. School didn't interest me until I turned 12. By then, I became grade conscious and competitive. I always did my homework and studied really hard; my hard work paid off when I got into advanced math in my last year of high school and I got accepted in one of the most prestigious universities in my country. I continued to study and work hard, to the point of losing sleep and skipping meals because my schoolwork was getting harder and my workload was increasing exponentially. I was also active in my org for 3 years; my last year was dedicated for my thesis, so I couldn't afford having my org take my time. In my 3rd year in college, I was an appointed course representative for two organizations and I was the assistant vice president for documentations for my theater org. I was overloading one subject during my first semester, had worked as an usher whenever my theater org needed one and I worked for my school's registration committee in that same year. Because I deliver good results, I was mostly ignored. I make it a point not to screw up. To me, it's either positive attention or no attention at all.

In addition to that, I started taking summer workshops. I took voice lessons first, and when that didn't turn out well, I experimented with musical theater classes. Those were fun, I got to develop my skills, and it became a good excuse to not stay at home. So I made efforts to save my allowance so I can enroll myself in summer classes. That's a good 22,000 from my entire life's savings. My parents watched my shows when they can, especially my dad.

I grew up independent and responsible; it hit me that I couldn’t rely on anyone, and it tired me out knowing that others can rely on me. With a rebel that can’t be trusted and a little one who looks up to me, what choice do I have? I’m always stuck in the middle and I can’t get out.

I love my sister though. We're best friends, but I love her because she will forever be in my shadow. She puts me in a pedestal though I don't feel that I deserve that. I started singing when I was 5; she joined the singing club when she was 8, but she stopped singing when she discovered that it's not her niche. She started becoming grade conscious when she was 12 or 13. She followed my foot steps in taking summer classes (probably to get away from our annoying brother). She took taekwondo and learned the violin. She stopped taekwondo after reaching the yellow belt and she simply lost interest in the violin. I doubt that she had to save up for those classes.

I will never forget the day when my mom told me that she's giving me money for my graduation ball provided that I leave the planning of my 18th birthday to her. They wanted to have a small formal celebration; they booked a hotel function room, a photographer, videographer, had me buy a really nice dress and all that jazz. I said clearly that I didn't want to have a party like that. Not that it wasn't fun or anything, but I'm still bitter about it, because I was turning 18 and nobody even bothered to ask me how I wanted to celebrate it. On the other hand, my brother turned 21 that same year, and he had requested to have a party at home with a lot of drinks. That night, I found myself staying in my room. I went out to have dinner to find all my relatives dancing to loud music. Three years later, my sister celebrated her 18th birthday, and she had asked to have a party similar to my brother's. They got a mobile bar and a caterer for the celebration.

I hate being forced into things. I hate that I was forced to be a part of some girl's 18 candles because my sister cried after telling my dad that she didn't want to do it (the girl is a cousin of our cousin). I hate that I was forced to have a formal debut without anyone asking me how I wanted to celebrate my birthday. I hate that I have to put up a fight to get the things that I want when my sister can simply ask, and it is automatically handed to her.

My life has been a never-ending battle for attention. For rehearsing and working on a great show, I get positive attention for at most 3 hours. For screwing up, I get negative attention for less than 10 minutes. For getting good grades for a whole semester, I get positive attention for one minute. I had created a barrier for myself: I project an image of a strong, independent and responsible woman. Recently, I've found myself failing no matter how hard I try. Yes it made me cry, but at the same time, it made me feel human. I've been crying a lot recently, and not once has anyone in this house ever asked me what was wrong whenever they see that I'm upset. Because of the image I project, I couldn't tell my parents about the time I failed a subject in school, or the many auditions I've been through that didn't accept me, or the story of my first break up, or that I don't pray because I stopped believing in God, or that time that my director was comparing my performance with hers, or that time I got UTI, or the fear that ate me up when I failed an oral exam that's 35% of my grade. I was so scared, I thought I wasn't going to graduate. (Note: I did graduate. In fact, I have two other course mates, and I was the only one who graduated in my course.)

Now I feel tired and broken. Unloved. Unappreciated. Insecure. Invisible. and I don't trust anyone.
PinkRobot PinkRobot
22-25, F
1 Response May 12, 2012

I don't know if you'll ever see this but know that the rest of us middle children are right there with you. I too suffered from this extreme favoritism by my parents. Case in point: when my brother got into University of Kentucky no scholarship, my parents through two huge parties one for his friends and one for family. When I got into Princeton with a full scholarship, my parents didn't even say congrats. Not even once. The only acknowledgement I ever got was from my mom. She told me "at least we don't have to pay your tuition". I was hurt for several months before I went off to college. I even contemplated suicide because my whole life had been like this. But once I went off to college I realized I could do a lot and I didn't need my parents recognition. I got recognition from employers, friends, even my friends' parents (how ironic is that). You can do a lot. You're independent and smart. Don't mind your parents. Whatever they do you are you and you will be great. Have a nice life :)