I have received a number of emails as a result of my post last year “The Idyllic Life of an only child” which I would like to share, although the emails were posted as a response on the webpage above. I particularly wanted to share this post as it very balanced and makes useful points, specially around the impact of emotionally distant parents, in a thoughtful fashion.
I am an adult only and as I reflect on my childhood and teenage life with emotionally distant parents – who, in all honesty I believe didn’t plan for a baby, had no real solid careers each, and therefore probably didn’t really want one; in my father’s words “She (mother) wasn’t doing anything so she thought she would have you” – I can truly say that being ‘only’ HAS affected me negatively. I do not care (but am willing to listen and value her comments/opinions with a constructive critique of her personal experience) what the author of the ‘edited email’ thinks, being an only is not the best thing. I had lots of childhood (I mean as a very young child) friends, but hated the time spent away from them and sitting in the house after nursery school with just my mot her and the TV, hated it!;
I am a social person and love being among others, people are interesting and fun. I want to distance myself from both of my parents now as an adult, because they are both too much for me to deal with – their personalities are alien to me, and both had siblings. I see it in them; selfish, defensive, not thinking my views are important (no, I’m not a narc.) resentful, passive, non-enthusiastic, not appearing to ‘care’; being distant… and all this stems from (imho) being brought up with other children; they do not understand an only and the adult problems it can cause. Conversely many siblings do understand of course. Plus, as both of them hate each other (there’s history, nothing to do with siblings, or only’s).
I never had any one to talk to growing up; as a counsellor put it to me once: “The adults in your life failed you” when I was a teen, and I had to agree, and it was a relief someone told me this; neither of them made the effort to ‘cover’ the role of a sibling, or to listen and help with bullying etc that was going on and the sickening isolation of it; this lack of interaction at the teen stage has made me a depressed adult I am in no doubt, and I dislike them with a passion for it.
Lastly (if there can ever be a ‘lastly’) not all parents are abusive, whether you have siblings or are ‘only’ it’s the luck of the draw isn’t it? To this day my mother says “You can’t blame me” – oh yes I can; emotionally distant parents should be ashamed. She was always harping on about how independent you have to be, about “I’m better off going alone” to places, etc, etc, and through gritted teeth I growl that being independent is not a problem, but being lonely is a horrible way to live your life. All they have both done for me to this end is alienate me; I will go NC when circumstances permit.
Thank you for listening
I hope this little letter makes at least a bit of sense