I recently found your website and read with interest many of the comments that echo my own experiences as an only child. That was most helpful. Many of the stories were wonderfully optimistic and portrayed loving parents who nurtured and supported their only children. I loved these stories.
My particular situation, however, was rampant with dysfunction that I truly think compounded the only child circumstance. Both my parents were alcoholics. We were not poor, did not live on the wrong side of town, my parents were not criminals and I did not go without the essentials of food, clothing and shelter during my childhood.
As I have come to know after years of trying to understand alcoholism, an alcoholic puts the “condition” ahead of all else in their lives. That is to say, meeting the need of the alcoholism comes before the children, the home, the extended family, everything. Therefore, in addition to being an only child and having the normal emotional/psychological conditions associated with that condition I felt somewhat alienated from my metaphoric umbilical cord, my parents, or one step removed from the core of my immediate family because of the
alcoholism. I think this compounded the detachment related problems and possibly created some larger abandonment and trust issues as well. I would be interested to know if others have experienced this same unique situation as only children and how they have learned to grow from that situation.