If you are reading this it may be because you are feeling particularly alone this festive season and have googled ‘only child’ or ‘adult only’. My research highlighted that many adult onlies feel most alone at Christmas because they have no siblings or even parents to share it with. For others, who do not have a partner or children, Christmas can feel very lonely. I know after my parents’ died, and I was divorced and both children spent some time with their father over Christmas I often felt quite cut off from the ‘family gatherings’ of other people. I always tried to find others in the same position, to share these times together, and that certainly helps. However it is not always possible, so I am keeping in mind those people who do not have family to be with at this seasonal family time.
I also know from my experience and emails I have received from other onlies, that Christmas family gatherings can be quite an ordeal for some people too. Onlies who are not used to the cut and thrust of family relationships, specifically of larger families where siblings have had to learn to ‘fight’ or at least ‘jostle’ for attention, can feel overwhelmed with all this energy being expressed. When you have been used to getting attention as a matter of course, because you are the only one, this exuberance for attention can seem rather hectic, although equally quite entertaining!
In similar circumstances, in the past, I have found myself in awe of the ricocheting dialogue that many family get togethers are able to maintain for the whole evening. I notice I often keep rather quiet and just observe the dynamics! Some family members do not always understand why I do not join in their banter, as I am by no means quiet when I know people well, and I think they may find my silence uncomfortable. However, in a lively family get-together such as happens at Christmas, when I do not really know people, I have to admit to feeling quite intimidated by the free and easy conversation and references to family history, I neither know and certainly have not participated in.
I think it also tends to bring to mind that at this time of my life I have very few people to share my own family history with, something I know many adult onlies notice far more as they get older. This can feel both sad and nostalgic - so if you are in this position I will be thinking of you.
Despite this, I would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas who reads this post and please feel free to share your experience by joining the discussion – see below for the box to put in your comments. (The one past the adverts). Alternatively email me and I will happy to hear your experience and respond if I can.
Have a good Christmas and enjoyable New Year