There are many of us...the middle children in a family. The scapegoats, the peacemakers, the people who walk the fence, trying to appease those who were born first or last...I recognize the middle child, when I meet him.
Because his character and personality can be very much like mine.
As I researched the 'Net about middle children, I found tears running down my cheeks...and it took me aback! What was this all about?
Middle children need to be validated; I was reading articles that recognized this. Articles that mentioned the urgency Middles have to own an object that is new, just for them. Articles from experts that understood our tendency to get left out of things, where nobody seemed to hear our voice. Articles that showed me from where the seeds of creativity, independence and diplomatic behaviour that characterized my personality came.
Along with the reading, came a voice that began as a whisper and grew louder...a voice deep from the Root. A child's voice...saying look at this, here!
Okay...so now I know. There are still childish hurts that have not been dealt with. I can do something about this little untended childhood whisper.
Because, as my therapist advised me many times, I am no longer a child. I have many tools and knowledge I did not have way back then.
And I can use what the experts say about the Middles. It can become the cornerstone of the building I'm trying to construct. I'll take what makes sense to me and leave the rest. There are other events that shaped my life...they require tending, as well.
I was born third in a total of four girls. I felt as if I was just a very small part of the whole parcel. My tiny voice was rarely heard, and when I raised it, when something was important to my young world, astonishment and anger greeted my outbursts. Consequently, there were not many of them.
I distanced myself very early on in life; I sought solitude amongst the crowd. I couldn't bear the limelight, a characteristic that remains true to this day. If attention was given to me, I couldn't enunciate a word. But on my solitary, dreaming walks, I honed my imagination. I told stories to the World at large...the seemingly empty spaces around me.
This is where I learned to become a storyteller...and later, a writer.
I stayed home as little as possible, in my teen years. I'm not sure anyone noticed I was gone. I expected nothing more; I went my own way, making friends and learning independence. I left home as soon as I could, searching adventure, learning to make decisions, enjoying the ability to do what I wanted.
This is common to the Middles; quite often in adolescence, friendships become far more important than family. Middles often tell themselves...If I'm not wanted or noticed here, there are other places where I am.
And in the midst of a group of friends, I became a negotiator, I cooperated well with others. I developed empathy for those less fortunate than I. I learned to see various points of view, always striving for that balance on the fence.
I nursed feelings of injustice, against my family, becoming rebellious in the process. The experts say this independent thinking leads to creativity and the ability to take risks. My rebellion, until it was reined in for what it was, led me to disastrous consequences for awhile.
Middles can be difficult for the expert to evaluate. There are so many variables...Middles can take on characteristics from the sibling closest to them in age or there might be a number of years between siblings, resulting in a mixture of youngest and eldest features.
Middles aren't as cut and dried as first and last born children.
As difficult as I remember family life to be in my youth, it shaped me into who I am today. I learned all those distinguishing parts of me as a result, partly, of being a Middle.
I learned how to adapt and go with the flow. I am most grateful for this ability...it is the one distinguishing part of my personality that came from being a Middle. In my family, attention was concentrated on the eldest and the youngest. I wondered back then...am I here? Do you want my opinion?...and nobody did.
Alright, then. I went with the flow and learned to listen...and eventually, from there, I learned how to watch body language and decipher it well.
I am thankful for the lessons that being a Middle gave me. As difficult as I perceived it to be, at the time, my birth order has shaped a good part of my life's path.
I am finally, finally happy to be where I am...exactly in the Middle.