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The Golden Child

(6 Posts)
LookingThroughTheFog Thu 06-Feb-14 17:52:06

This question came up on another thread, which I don't want to derail:

What is the price for the golden child

What are the cons of being the fav..

I was led to believe I was the favourite. Hell, I probably was the favourite, but that didn't constitute actual, unconditional love.

The conditional/unconditional aspect of it is critical. The love was there for the taking if I conformed. And conform I did; I moulded myself into something I thought he would like. His interests became my interests. His views were my views. If I didn't do as he expected, I was cut loose, then sucked back in when I started conforming again.

Nothing I ever did was good enough. He was greedy for my adoration, so dropped praise sparingly, only letting me feel I was close to his admiration, and he wanted more and more. 98% in an exam? What happened to the 2%? Why am I not going into law or politics? Those are the right professions for me. I was instructed on when I was to have sex (not until marriage, and then willingly whenever my husband requested it). I was not to have children as it would ruin my career. His way was the only, and I obeyed him. I adored him and thought that he might, one day, adore me too.

Where this has left me is confused. I don't know who I am. I know nothing about me, because I've spent all my life either attempting to be what he liked, or reacting and rebelling from that. When I went away to university, I started unravelling fast; it was the first time I was free to make my own decisions, and I was completely incapable of doing so. I'd been told what to do, but never taught how to decide for myself.

My relationships with my siblings suffered (he put us against each other), and it was grim and vicious, and I hate the person I was to them. We've mostly recovered, but my anger at myself goes on and on.

I was not a happy child. Even then I sensed that there was something horribly precarious about my position. I still feel terror of upsetting someone in case I fall from grace and I become a non-person to them too. I'm still constantly scrabbling for the 2%. Because that's all I know how to do - this is the way I understand love; you change and conform, you attack his enemies (my siblings, my mother) and then you get praise.

I know, intellectually, that it doesn't work that way, but the habit was ground into me by the time I was 6 or 7, and it's extremely hard to shake.

The point of this isn't to suggest 'poor old me, it's much worse when you're the favourite.' That would obviously be nonsense. It's simply the other side of the same coin - me and my siblings all had the same toxic father, and this is the way it landed on me.

He dropped me like a stone, eventually, occasionally trying to assert his control, but mostly he doesn't care at all, and is happy not talking to me. There's no point to me, really, if I'm not going to be what he wants. Realistically, he never did care.

Anyhow; just thought I'd share. This is my experience of being the golden child.

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 06-Feb-14 17:59:05

thanks for the share.

Striving for the 2% strikes a chord with me. I was once found by a teacher in hysterical tears because I'd scored 98% in a test or exam, can't remember which.

It has taken me years to even begin to reset to "B is not a fail" in order to build realistic expectations for my own DC.

Anyway, I think this isn't necessarily about being the favoured child, I don't think, but about your parents' unrealistic expectations and conditional approval. They would have been like that if you'd been an only child, surely.

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 06-Feb-14 18:08:23

That part of it, perhaps, Hortensia, but it was only my dad, not my mum, and the rest of it - setting to attack my siblings (who were not held to the same standard), being separated and set apart from them, being told how amazing I was when I was doing everything he wanted - those are the golden child bits.

All of it with the expectation that I would conform, because I was so loved. The love was dangled in front of me as a prise, and look how special and wonderful I was. Talking to my sister about her experiences; she never felt that at all; Dad was peripheral in her life, but front and centre in mine.

HoratiaDrelincourt Thu 06-Feb-14 18:24:22

::shudder:: How horrible.

Maybe you do need to unpack "my father expected too much of me" from "my father used my achievements to belittle my siblings" though. Because they're both horrible but they aren't the same issue - I have only one of them wink

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 06-Feb-14 18:37:49

Oh, I'm unpacking everything in therapy at the moment.

I was also thinking, I wasn't totally golden. I got hit too and so forth, and I wasn't protected at all. It's just it was awfully divisive too, and by the time I was a teenager, my relationship with him was creepily close.

My mother was dealing with some bad stuff in her life, and there were four of us and money issues, and she was working two jobs. She said it actually shocked her, one day when she sat and thought about me and him, and how while she'd spent years trying to stop everything from going under entirely, he and I had turned into something quite sinister.

By that time, he barely registered my siblings at all, just raising his voice to yell at them when they appeared.

Like I say, it's one aspect of a complicated story.

baytree Thu 06-Feb-14 18:47:23


Have been on the other thread so I can understand your need to start a new thread. Where you seen as him to be the perfect partner (and I don't mean sexually necessarily). The whole thing about controlling your sexual relationships too though is a worry. I am sorry but glad you have found the courage to have therapy to help you.

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