Whilst birth–order as a subject for research is highly debated, many interesting aspects of such research have been collected by Frank Sulloway in his book: Born to Rebel. In my experience only children vary enormously but there are certain characteristics which are not uncommon in people with siblings but often constellate in only children as a result of their parenting – particularly if it has been overly intense which can lead them to be distant and hard to negotiate with. Here is an email, which is an interesting perspective from an eldest child. Bernice
Email from Rob
I’ve just found your blog and want to tell you how important this has been for me. I’m 42 years old and have just experienced to most upsetting experience of my life with a only child partner that I was deeply committed to and had believed that we both were looking forward to having children and spending the rest of our days together.
Suddenly it’s gone & I’m experiencing heartbreak greater than ever. In looking for answers I investigated the idea of birth order (she was an only & I the oldest of 4 siblings). I found your site and found incredible resonance.
The ability to draw lines in the sand, the self seeking and self-centered behaviour, emotional brittleness and overpowering parental expectations and reincarnation, and inability to work externally with a partner, really stand out.
I really feel like a victim of a relationship with an only child. Giving everything and getting less and when questioning being shut out until an emotionally incompetent explosion like a cork from a bottle.
Would it be possible for you to make a section for adult partners (potential ‘victims’) that helps us understand what might be critical for anyone in a relationship with an only. Just as business profilinaids communication in work teams, if I’d have been aware of how important some of these traits were it would have been potentially helpful way to work through issues.
The ability for an only child to cut off emotion, hide within themselves, and pursue relationships on the own terms can be a cruel thing for both people as I’ve experienced. Just a thought