Stereotypes among people born as only children include living a life of luxury, having things their way, having to deal with less or no pressure at all, or being carefree and laid back. These stereotypes came about because only children are practically alone, with no one to compete or share things with. They are basically seen as fortunate people because, more or less, they have most of the things they want at hand.
However, no matter how truthful these cases might be, it is undeniable that only children also go through a life like typical children born with siblings. In fact, most of these stereotypes have already been debunked by decades of research. Only children, like anybody, also experience adversity. Life, sometimes, greets them unfriendly, and things do slip out of their hand, too.
Allow me, then, to share some of the struggles an only child has:
1. You set unrealistic goals.
Since you grew up alone, you were most probably raised to become independent at some point. This independence is not only restricted to doing things on your own, but also in some sorts of decision-making. This includes deciding for your dreams, goals, and/or short-term and long-term plans. Although this opportunity tends to give you a limitless ways to dream on, it doesn’t restrain you when you become unrealistic or irrational. You often fail to recognize this because the reality is, there is no one to slap you in the face except failure. So when it does, you could hardly accept it, which leads to the next item.
2. You become too hard on yourself.
While you accustomed yourself into doing things on your own, you also unconsciously made yourself believe that you only have yourself to depend on. You know you can fail others, but never yourself. So when things don’t fall according to how you planned them, you feel frustrated. You begin to believe that your efforts were futile and you were simply not enough. Again, you fail to recognize that you were becoming too hard on yourself simply by being extremely fixated on achieving your goal, by setting your bars tremendously high, and by becoming too ambitious.
3. You find criticisms, be in light of improvement or not, difficult to handle.
Frankly, who doesn’t? While everyone undergoes the same dilemma, yours is twice the agony because even before people criticize you, you’ve pretty much done it yourself. You are your first critic, detractor, and sometimes, enemy. You’ve gone a long way doubting yourself, and getting these disapprovals does not help in any way. This is somewhat related to the previous item; when you’ve become too hard on yourself, you’ll most likely fail to see the positive side of the coin.
4. You painstakingly try to hide your jealousy over friends who have siblings.
No matter how much you declare your joy and love for freedom and independence, there is still an indisputable curiosity, sometimes translated to longing, of experiencing a day or two with someone whom you could share your deepest secrets with, snuggle with for no apparent reason, and do crazy stuff from time to time. So when a friend complains over his/her love-hate relationship with his/her brother or sister, you’re most of the time rolling eyes and internally shouting, “Shut up, it’s not like I know what it feels like!”
5. You are, rather, skeptical to open yourself with others.
Since you’ve most likely earned a reputation on independence, you wonder if it’s just the people respecting your space or you isolating yourself from the crowd that hinders you from hanging out and socializing with them. There is an internal struggle of whether you’ll blend in or stand out, of whether you’ll be accepted or judged, and so many more. The good thing is, you are always up for challenges so this should be a good one for you.
6. Detaching is nearly impossible.
This doesn’t mean you becoming clingy as sick. You just know how to properly value the people in your life. They are, more or less, the only people you have besides your parents so you dare not lose them. Since opening yourself up with others took a great deal of a challenge, you treasure every relationship you built with people. You’ll definitely go boundaries if that’s what it takes just to save the relationship.