To feel sad that I'm an only child?

(109 Posts)
perceptionInaPearTree Sun 30-Dec-12 23:38:46

At Christmas, particularly all my friends have their siblings to visit etc. I feel like I've missed out - I would have loved a brother or sister to have a close relationship with and talk to on the phone.

I'm very glad my children won't ever feel the way I do (lonely) as I have three.

Anyone else feel like this?

noddyholder Mon 31-Dec-12 17:03:53

I used to worry about this with ds but tbh he has an amazing life and families are not all like the waltons.

natation Mon 31-Dec-12 17:05:33

I'm married to a 3rd generation only child and their extreme narcissism is very hard to handle, no aunts and uncles, no siblings, it's really hard at Christmas, thinks only of himself and forgets his family of wife and children completely. I hope our children cherish the fact they have siblings and that they share their emotions, material possessions and are responsible for each other, because I know they have missed out in having virtually no family on their dad's side.

noddyholder Mon 31-Dec-12 17:07:12

My son isn't like that but to be fair we have always had a very open house attitude to his friends. I have a close friend who is an only and her dh and they have just one too and they are a great family full of love and life

MoomieAndFreddie Mon 31-Dec-12 17:11:51

yanbu but even if you had a sibling/s there is no guarantee you would get on

i have a brother and sadly he is a bit of a twat tbh (and to be fair i think he probaly thinks the same of me)

slambang Mon 31-Dec-12 17:17:56

Another lonely only here. YANBU.

Yes, I know that some siblings are awful etc etc (Dh has 2 sisters, one is lovely the other is a nightmare). But even for those who are not close to their siblings you have the benefits of shared experience. (Do you remember when X happened? Do you think that mum's upset about Y? Why on earth did our parents do Z?)

Even if you don't get on, you have another person from the same background with a different perspective on your childhood and parents. At best they're a shared support and friend, but even at worst they shed a different light on your upbringing.) That's got to be a bonus.

noddyholder Mon 31-Dec-12 17:19:50

I am one of 4 and its just not like that. I think my ds would have liked a brother when he was little perhaps but now at 18 he is happy and very social. We are very close though and all of our friends and their kids are in our life.

BridgetBidet Mon 31-Dec-12 17:20:35

It's not unreasonable but has made me feel very sad as I have one son through IVF and we simply can't afford it again so barring a miracle he will be an only child. I hope it doesn't effect him badly, there are a lot of worse things he could be.

slambang Mon 31-Dec-12 17:21:57

And it's the type of stereotyped comment that Natation makes about only children's '^extreme narcissisim^' that only children have to learn to live with. It doesn't help. sad

chezchaos Mon 31-Dec-12 17:24:37

I'm an only child and I would love to have a sibling. My dad left when I was born, my mum is now dead and the rest of my family don't really bother seeing or responding to contact from me much so apart from my DH and children I do feel alone. I appreciate that not all siblings are close but I do envy those who have great relationships with their brothers or sisters.

catsmother Mon 31-Dec-12 18:04:26

This is one of those where you can't say you're being unreasonable, or reasonable, because as all the replies have demonstrated, there are so many different individual circumstances. Having family doesn't necessarily mean you get on with them, and in extreme cases, you don't even have the "shared experience" thing Slambang referred to if all contact has been cut. Conversely, people who are only children, and maybe their parents were too so their extended family is small, may be lucky enough to have deep, meaningful relationships with either friends or much more distant relatives who effectively step in to the space left by having no siblings.

I have one sibling - but we have had no contact for almost 13 years - with good reason. Regardless of a shared past, I felt my mental health was suffering through the contact we previously had always been such a stressful and unpleasant experience (extended family have since validated my feelings by confiding how they felt about my sibling's personality and behaviour too) and therefore I made the decision to cut ties. That does make me feel very sad and lonely at times .... not because I miss them as an individual but because I feel sad at what could have been had they been a different person if that makes sense ? Because I've never been an only child in the true sense of the word I don't know if my situation is better or worse ? But I kind of think it might be a bit like the cliche of feeling lonelier in a bad relationship than you would be on your own? Neither situation is ideal but one is "better" than the other.

I do feel very envious however of people I know who have very close relationships with siblings .... as many have already said they might not see each other for months or even years on end but if push came to shove they would be there for each other. That isn't true of myself and my sibling and I suspect the next time I see them will be at our mother's funeral. I actually feel quite sick at the thought - this isn't something which can be "made up" - and right now, from what bits of info I pick up every so often from other relatives, I think that occasion may well be made even more diffcult by how (very probably) my sibling will react.

I really hope my children remain friends as they grow up. My sibling and I were never really friends and it just got worse not better as we got older.

I've only skim-read the other posts on here, but I think I'm the only one so far who can say I'm an only, absolutely love it, and the mere thought of siblings gives me the screaming heebie jeebies - always has done, and I think it always will. I've married an only as well and he feels exactly the same way. Neither of us is 'extremely narcissistic' but we do entirely understand and respect each others' occasional need for alone time. Maybe that's what non-onlies see as 'narcissism' - we just see it as liking or needing our own company from time to time.

I find Christmas one of the best times to be an only because there's no obligation to be dragged around to extended family's houses, or make phone calls to people you never speak to for the rest of the year...because they don't exist! Stay home, eat crap, hog the telly (with NO arguments over the remote) and revel in the shed load of presents you've got because what family you do have hasn't got anyone else to buy for. Bliss!

Salbertina Mon 31-Dec-12 18:56:19

Catswoman- completely get that, same w me. I feel so sad at the loss but not of dsis herself ( shes really a selfish, narcissistic , envious person! ) but of the potential sibling relatiplonship that never was sad

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Tue 01-Jan-13 11:35:36

I think the narcissism factor our a bit of red herring tbh and if people are inclined to be like that they will be regardless of family circumstances.

Ime a lot of onlies go completely the opposite way as they are so aware of the negative stereotype and end up being people pleasers who can't say no instead.

Hulababy Tue 01-Jan-13 11:40:53

I know a few only children who are now adult and they don't appear to be lonely or feel lonely. They seem surrounded by friends and also families of their own - partners and children - as well as their parents and extended families.

Likewise I know of several adults with siblings who have little or no contact and where siblngs really have no bearing on their adult life. Many adults with siblings only really see them when at their parents, as the common ground, and I often wonder how often they'd see or speak to each other if and when the parents are no loner around.

Yes, siblings can be wonderful friends and great company. But there is no guarantee. Just like their is no guarantee that an only child will or won't be lonely.

perceptionInaPearTree Tue 01-Jan-13 18:25:15

What I've observed in other sibling relationships (including my children) is how protective they generally are of one another. I certainly am aware that sibling relationships can be toxic as well - my mother is one of 6 and she is bitterly resentful of most of her family but she had a toxic mother who played them off against each other so hardly surprising.

SamuelWestsMistress Tue 01-Jan-13 19:27:34

Both mine have died at a young age in the last few years. I do feel cheated but in a different way. I got on with one and it was a bit turbulent with the other but unfortunately they hated one another so Christmas was always hugely stressful.

I guess I'm jealous of those who have siblings who get on well, but at least there is no fighting any more.

Chottie Tue 01-Jan-13 19:37:49

I have one sis who I get on well with, however I don't see her as often as I would like as her DP is not a family person. I try to get on with him as I love my two DN and would hate to lose contact with them.

I have 2 DC and I am so glad they get on really well. I wish I had had another child and that I had another 2 siblings.

fluffypillow Tue 01-Jan-13 19:54:42

YANBU OP. I am an only child, and hate it. My DH is also an only child, so our children have no Aunts, Uncles, or Cousins. We had three children mainly because we wanted them to have a family when they are older. We feel it's important.

Because I'm an only child DH and I feel a reponsibility towards my Mum, and we have no back up, nobody to share problems with. We feel suffocated sometimes.

It would be great to know that there was someone else there to help when things get tough. We feel very alone sometimes.

Being an only child is crap.

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Tue 01-Jan-13 22:36:54

fluffy I know what mean about the responsibility for ageing parents thing - it can be very hard work & stressful, even when their needs are more emotional than physical.

I think a lot of the issues my DH has with my mum parents is their neediness. At 43 he is one of 3 of much younger parents and has only lost his grandparents over the last 5 years, so he just cannot relate to my situation at all.

I dated a couple of onlies before meeting DH and I did feel they understood that side of things better, although I'm sure it would have it's own issues over the longer term.

flippinada Tue 01-Jan-13 22:45:24

I read this thread with interest as I'm mum to an only child and I wonder how some parents of onlies would feel reading this back.

Haven't you ever wondered why your parents only had one child? Has it not occurred to you they might not have had a choice in the matter? It seems to be a very glass half-full perspective on life.

Saying that I can understand the concern about looking after elderly parents...but then again you could have brothers/sisters and it would still fall to you.

It's very sad that people feel they are missing out because they don't have siblings.

flippinada Tue 01-Jan-13 22:55:05

Just read back and that sounds a bit sharper than I intended; people are entitled to their feelings and to feel sad about it.

And of course I mean glass half empty!

JustAHolyFool Tue 01-Jan-13 23:00:33

I have a brother, don't get on with him at all, in fact he's a massive pain in the arse and was horrible when I split up with my first boyfriend. He has said a couple of really unpleasant things to me.

Keep in vague contact through my mother, only because it would upset my mum too much if we actually didn't speak.

But am jealous of the close relationships others have with siblings, so I see what you mean. But having a brother/sister does not necessarily equal having a good relationship.

perceptionInaPearTree Tue 01-Jan-13 23:01:40

flippinada - yes, obviously you can't always choose the number of children you have, I realise that. In my parents case they probably could have had more but my mum had an anxiety disorder and found having a newborn very stressful and she didn't want to go through it again. Of course there are some people who want more children and just can't have them (like my friend's parents) - I don't mean to make them feel bad about their child's only status. But I can't help the way I feel.

flippinada Tue 01-Jan-13 23:10:10

I do understand that PearTree, hence my second post. It's a very emotive issue.

I'll never have another child through a combination of circumstances, but mainly because I had very severe PND and never want to go through that again.

It is a shame though to feel you have missed out though. Lots of people have siblings they never see/can't stand or worse, who are/were abusive. I think when people miss siblings, they imagine a suppportive/friendly relationship, whereas that's not always the case.

ChiefOwl Wed 02-Jan-13 20:07:04

Flippinada I certainly don't spend my days missing siblings I never had, however I do get pangs when I see my friends talking about things they did with their siblings such as holidays with them and all the kids etc, or Christmas, or new year or days out. My parents could have had more children but chose not to, I actually asked them!

As a child I never cared that I was an only, funnily enough it's only since I've had my own children that it has bothered me.

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