The only child syndrome is a historical myth that only children are spoiled, selfish and lack patience. When you tell people that you are an only child, the first thing they say is “You’re spoiled!” or “Oh you clearly have only child syndrome” or “I really wish I had an only child”.
Do people even stop and think for a second about how insensitive these comments are? Not only do you invalidate a person’s feelings but you also reduce their purpose down to a materialistic presence.
Anyone who has been following me knows I don’t receive advice very well. I often spark when people try to help me with something, it may be perceived as rude, but it is literally a survival instinct. Picture this, spending 20 years of your life, mostly alone, constantly being prepared for the day your parents won’t be there anymore, constantly being taught independence from when you were a toddler because that’s all you have left to hold onto.
Imagine how difficult it is to unlearn a habit that has been ingrained into your mind for years… It’s not that we don’t want help or don’t appreciate it, we just aren’t used to it, we don’t know how to accommodate a safe space where we can truly feel heard because vulnerability is one of the most dangerous tools that can be used against us. It’s not your parent’s fault either, they are only trying to create a buttress for the day we fall. Please don’t mistake a person’s stubbornness for ungratefulness.
Being an only child has its perks, the undivided attention, affection from your parents, but who is really there for you? It’s easy to say your friends will always be there, as they are, but some things only a sibling will be able to do for you. There’s a certain type of irreplaceable bond you have with a person whom you love unconditionally, they go to extreme lengths for you, when you don’t have that, there’s always going to be a void.
Imagine the pain of unrequited love, believing you will never be anyone’s first choice, you’ll always be a sometimes or just a pit stop before someone reaches their final destination, for a lot of us that isn’t a feeling, it’s reality, and nothing in the world will ever change that. It can be extremely draining feeling like you are pouring more into someone than you will ever receive, but what choice do you really have? The myth that only children are selfish is one of the most horrific things I have heard and is clearly naive, because who is more selfless than a person who gives unconditional love without hesitation.
When it comes to love, things get even more complicated. This is extremely morbid, but not being close to your extended family be it cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents or simply not having them at all can make it very difficult to adjust to the death of your parents. The day your parents aren’t around anymore is the scariest day of your life because you are truly alone. Every decision you make as a young child will lead to something bigger. Finding a
suitable partner as an only child is so vital, because one day, they will be the only family you have left… This is why there is even more pressure on only children to “marry into a good family” because one day they will be all you have. When you have siblings, this thought wouldn’t resonate as much because grieving together is easier than grieving alone, nobody would understand the connection and bond you have with your parents unless they are living the same life you are. On the Brightside, loving an only child can also be a beautiful thing because we don’t constantly crave affection, we know how to be alone, we know how to enjoy our own company, there is a lack of the sentiment of void a lot of people feel when separated from their siblings simply because we don’t know what it feels like. Only children know what they need in a partner, they won’t wait on a person forever, this is why we are often labeled as impatient or said to jump from “relationship to relationship”.
I don’t write for sympathy. I write to broaden my perspective as well as the readers. I hope this can help people understand why I am the way I am, I have a very peculiar personality.
It’s not always about the money, the undivided affection, or not having someone to play with when you’re a child, sometimes it’s the small things that hurt; feeling like nobody will ever be there for you the way they’re there for a sibling, pushing people who threaten your independence away or just need a void to be filled. Some of the strongest people I have ever met are only children, sadly, they are often the loneliest… I would usually refrain from utilizing my personal fears as a source of content because I knew the attention would take a toll on me rather than empower me. Now that the fear has been healed, I am able to emerge from the shadows.