Being an Only – carries a Stigma – socially.

by on May 11, 2011

in Emails

You see – because I was brought up as ‘an Only Child’ (I am a surviving twin) there is an assumption, generally, that (a) I was spoilt (b) I don’t know how to share (c) I don’t know how to mix.  Oh if those who make these assumptions  – ‘knew’ of the inner and private ‘pain’!!

None of these is actually correct.  I enjoy meeting other people, learning about their personalities etc., and as for ‘sharing’ maybe I have ‘compensated’ a little too much in this way, by causing myself to become ‘victim’ to those who have ‘taken advantage’.  Most of all – the one very absolute thing that both angers and hurts comes from the lips of those goodly souls – with ‘a thousand brothers and sisters’ –who take it upon themselves to ‘declare’  - “of course, you are an ONLY child, aren’t you”.  The way in which this is ‘delivered’ is synonymous with having Bubonic Plague.  I mean – it is not as if the Only Child – had any ‘choice’ in the matter!  These remarks have also come as a ‘generation thing’.  That is: they have been said from people who, in a previous generation, came from a large family.

The concept of having been ‘spoilt’ particularly ‘hurts’ because my life as a child was, largely, abusive and very lonely.  In those days – there wasn’t the facility of ChildLine.  This is not the place to write, in detail, on the subject.  And, moreover, some years ago – I accepted Inner Child counselling that was extremely helpful.  Perhaps, it is, that I am conscious of the fact for it is very easy to talk to another person with the “I” being predominant.  Consequently, in such situations I have been conscious to ‘place’ the other person’s responses, first and foremost.  Only trouble with this is – that I end up becoming ‘the listener’ which, in turn, might ‘attract’ those who ‘need’ to be listened to.  Sometimes, Bernice, it is like trying to ‘fight ones way out of the proverbial paper bag’ except it continues to wrap itself around you.

Being an Only, but a surviving Twin – belies a ‘secret’ that very few would understand, nor would I expect them to do so. I don’t ‘dwell’ on being a surviving Twin – but, just occasionally, it ‘catches up’ with me.  The ‘secret’ is that one has to ‘go it alone’ there is no choice, no option.  As a consequence, it is a case of either sinking of swimming.   Especially now at the age of 66 and with not having had a great deal of paternal and maternal family contact – because my parents were ‘always at war’ – I do feel, actually, quite lonely.  This is even though I am surrounded by a husband who is still here, a family and kind people.

It has taken years and years to ‘believe in myself’ and it is now that I am, indeed, beginning to ‘believe in myself’ warts and all.  But that ‘alone’ feeling lurks around – which, in turn, leaves a feeling that the world is different and more confident than you –and nevermore so in this fast-moving, technological, age.  I loathe the thirty-something ‘smart-arses’!    On one occasion, a young woman went in for some heavy-duty – put-downs – presenting ‘her case’ in her ‘known professional style’ and causing me to feel about one inch high.  Until, that is, I presented this rather know-all young woman with a page of (humble) Pitmans shorthand.  Insodoing, I asked her to ‘translate’ it?  She was unable to do so.  Consequently, I then told her that this had been my profession, that we can all ‘learn’ something from history –  and, therefore, she was not to expect – by showing off – that I “should” understand her job!  This worked a treat!  My action was aggressive and I didn’t like finding myself in that position but it was the only way to ‘gain ground’ for myself.  And, you know, when you hit this decade – you do start to feel quite vulnerable.  Conversely, you tell yourself it is OK to slow down.   Above all, I am conscious of the fact that through the means of media presentation – we are made aware of those who are so much worse off and I do actually mean this.  I am thankful for having a kind husband, albeit a bit controlling at times (!!) and three smashing (adult) children with a, now, beautiful granddaughter.  Say no more.  Very many thanks, again, for a brilliant website!

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