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It is situations like this that make me glad I am an only child
Old 07-31-2022, 09:01 AM
  #1

When I was growing up as an only child, I wanted nothing more than to have at least one sibling. I was a miracle child. My parents were starting to think they would not be able to have any before I came along, and my mom was definitely not able to have any more after me. My dad was against adopting and as this was the late 60’s IVF was not a thing yet.

As I look at where my life is now, I am starting to feel like maybe the benefits of being an only child outweigh the detriments. Both my husband and my best friend are going through some bad situations with their siblings.

My best friend is in a feud with her brother over moving their mother to a memory care unit. I believe her brother is gaslighting her. His family is not n good financial shape because his wife’s brother gambled away all of her mother’s money, and the brother and wife are paying for the mother’s senior living home. They still have one kid in college, and one who just finished as well. I heard they remortgaged their home. The brother is trying to keep all of their mother’s things to sell to get more money and not allow my friend to pick out what she wants to keep. He also is trying to bar her from seeing their mother and is trying to brainwash their mother and mother’s sister against my friend.

My husband’s brother is marrying his girlfriend of 14 years tomorrow. He has been living with her for at least 12 of those years and been taking care of her kids like they were his own. This is good news, but my husband had to find out about it on social media and is the only family member not invited to the wedding in Vegas which will be tomorrow. Even cousins they have not talked to in a long time were invited.

I told his sister that I was not happy with the fact that the brother could not even pick up the phone and call my husband to let him know about the marriage. I don’t care about Vegas.

His sister claims that my husband and the brother were currently feuding and the brother is mad because my husband never calls him. My husband doesn’t call him because all brother does is complain about everything, and that gets exhausting after a while. He has always stressed that he would be happy to take his call if he reached out.

I think I am more upset about this than my husband is. The sister said she can’t control the brother. I told her I understand that. I just want him to know how much it hurt me that he was ignored like that for no good reason.


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Old 07-31-2022, 10:02 AM
  #2

I am an only child, too. Well, my only brother passed away in his 20's.

There are pros and cons to the situation, for sure. I saw what my dad went through when his father and mother passed away. I really couldn't believe how ugly the sisters got. All driven by money (of which there really was very little). Then when his brother got sick, my dad moved him to my dad's house and cared for him for about 2 1/2 years. And I mean, he took care of brother (brain tumor) and his brother's house, and brother's special needs adult child. He mowed brother's yard and kept the house up, in addition to his own. Did sisters show up? Visit? Nada. Then when my uncle was too much for my dad and mom, they had to make the tough decision to put him in nursing care. My dad had to sell uncle's house and garage (full of 10 cars in various shapes of readiness- uncle's pasttime was restoration). It was like 3 full time jobs for my dad alone! Anyhoo, all the sisters were concerned with was that putting uncle in nursing care was going to eat up his $. It was a sad and sick time. One sister actually told my dad that she hoped he got cancer and then threatened to beat him up! This is people in their 70's! And, like I said... did she help out? Take uncle to any appointments? Visit him once? No. But they were worried that there wasn't going to be any money leftover...

Sometimes when I feel the pressure of helping my parents through the struggles of aging, I dearly wish I had a sibling. Reality is though that the sibling wouldn't live any closer than I do, and therefore we would have disagreements or malcontent over what each other's responsibilities were. So, mostly I try to look at it as a plus.

I am sure when my dad goes there are going to be a few relatives who think they are owed something from his estate, given he has anything left. There are a couple that I would give to generously (although my dad could put them in his will if he wanted), but the ones I think that are going to want something are the ones that are going to get nothing. Not even a trinket out of the house. . Just fyi- if my dad hasn't moved out to live with me or assisted living before that day, I am again going to wish I had a sibling. I do not want to have sole responsibility of clearing a house 1500+ miles away. . Pros and cons. Definitely!
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Old 07-31-2022, 10:15 AM
  #3

I have 2 siblings. Younger one is making a nightmare out of trying to settle my dadís estate- an absolute sh$$ show.
And the will clearly says in thirds🤷#♀️🤷#♀️

The stress of the last 3 months is crushing
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Old 07-31-2022, 10:22 AM
  #4

When my mom's mom passed away, there was no arguments or disagreements between the 7 siblings. I guess it helps if the deceased has no money or major belongings!
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Old 07-31-2022, 10:39 AM
  #5

Iím an only child, and people have often said things to me about how much Iíve missed out by not having siblings. Well, honestly I donít feel like I missed anything because I have never known anything any different. Iím fine with it.

Plus, families are complicated. Iíve witnessed some really terrible things between siblings, and I have zero desire to have any drama in my life.


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Old 07-31-2022, 11:31 AM
  #6

I have 8 younger siblings. Iím totally jealous of only children
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Old 07-31-2022, 11:47 AM
  #7

Iím an only child who agrees with every word Ima wrote. I was fine as a kidóI learned to make friends and to entertain myself. My parents loved me and I loved them.
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Lonely Only Here
Old 07-31-2022, 11:53 AM
  #8

I am an only child.
For the better part of my life, my mom was a single, working mother.
I spent most of my time playing all alone.
My Nana kept an eye on me.
The pros: I feel that I developed my creativity and imagination and learned how to entertain myself.
I was spoiled with stuff.
The cons: Admittedly, I have a hard time figuring out people and I am awkward socially (social anxiety, too). Living with three roommates at college was a shock to my system. My parents really never trusted me to do anything, not even basic life skills. My Mom did all the household chores and shooed me away when I tried to help.
I would have liked to have a sibling to hang out with.

My husband is the second oldest of 5.
Three boys and two girls.
He did not like living in such a full house and he always felt that his parents played favorites.
He always tells me stories about how his brothers and sisters were spoiled and given everything.
But, he got the short end of the stick.
He missed out on a lot of fun because his dad made him stay home and do chores.
But, I have to tell you, my husband knows how to do everything. He's Mr. Fix It.
And he used to cook every night for the whole family, so he's a great cook.
My husband's brothers have passed away.
His sisters rarely call him.
Guess there are no guarantees with family.

Our son is an only child and special needs.
It's a lonely life for him and for us.
I had our son very late and then I was nervous about having another child.
Our son's needs are all consuming.
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Old 07-31-2022, 12:26 PM
  #9

I loved having siblings as a kid, but as an adult dealing with our parents it's been difficult. Lots of resentment on my end due to feeling like I do everything while also scrupulously documenting every expenditure so they don't question my bookkeeping of the trust.
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Old 07-31-2022, 12:30 PM
  #10

I come from a big family with several siblings. I get along with some better than others, and I can't say that growing up with so many was always easy. However, over all, I am thankful to have them. They are the people I am closest to in my life, especially two of my sisters and one of my brothers. And underneath any of the sometimes sticky relationship stuff that may be going on with the others, I know they are there for me and vice versa. We'd (metaphorically) give the shirt off our backs if a sibling was in need. (And we have.)


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Old 07-31-2022, 01:24 PM
  #11

I’m am only child (technically, long story) and was raised primarily by a single mom, my dad had joint custody but lived in another state.

I still wish I had at least one sibling growing up, for many reasons. But, as an adult and as my mom gets older I worry about the weight of possibly having to care for an aging parent alone and grieving the inevitable loss alone as well.

My mom is one of 4 girls and her relationship with them has always been rocky and contentious.

My dad is one of 6 and they are all incredibly close, especially the 4 that all live within 30 minutes of each other including his mother. I would have loved to have what they do.


Not the same and no shared childhood experience but I do have two very close friends who I relate to like sisters and consider family in every way.


Quote:
For the better part of my life, my mom was a single, working mother.

The cons: Admittedly, I have a hard time figuring out people and I am awkward socially (social anxiety, too). Living with three roommates at college was a shock to my system. My parents really never trusted me to do anything, not even basic life skills. My Mom did all the household chores and shooed me away when I tried to help.
I would have liked to have a sibling to hang out with.
I think this is more just upbringing vs being an only child.

My mom was single, a teacher and worked other part-time jobs as well. I was often with babysitters or family friends until I was old enough they I could be left home alone.
I enjoyed dorm living in college and I knew how to do all household things along with fixing things. I started doing laundry at 10 and making meals well before that.
My mom also made sure I knew how to change a tire before leaving for college.
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Old 07-31-2022, 01:29 PM
  #12

I have five siblings and we have had great times together as children and adults. Yes,things get sticky every now and then . Everything was divided equally when our parents passed and there wasn't arguing. It's the memories that we treasure together.
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Old 07-31-2022, 03:04 PM
  #13

Interesting that some only children had parents that would not let them do anything. My parents loved me and we were close, but I had to do everything. All of the housework and a lot of outdoor work and heavy lifting that boys would have done.

Sometimes in the summer, my mom had to go somewhere for the day and would leave me a list of 30 chores that she expected me to complete while she was gone. I usually only did a few of them. I was sent out to the garden to pick weeds many times, and sticks as well. I also helped to rake leaves and help burn them when you were still allowed to do that. I helped my dad move heavy things as well.

Oddly, all of that made me hate housework and I have done the bare minimum as a result. You would think all that would have helped me build character. I have a good work ethic when it comes to non manual labor, but a terrible one for manual labor.
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Siblings
Old 07-31-2022, 03:17 PM
  #14

I'm a middle child of 5. None of us are truly close. Our oldest brother moved to another state when I was 5 or 6. No one ever explained why and it's still a taboo topic. Our mom "pit" my older sister and I against our younger brother and sister. Black sheep-emotional and physical abuse for my sister and I. High pedestal-spoiled for the youngest, I'll never forget the Christmas day that we kids woke up and ran excitedly downstairs to see what toys we had. The tree was filled with gifts. So many that they couldn't all fit under the tree. There was nothing for my sister and I. Every gift was for our younger brother and sister. I cried and cried in my pillow and felt so unloved. Today, we live very close to one another but rarely see or talk to one another. I wish we were closer, but it's just so awkward. We're all strangers. Communication is strained and our mom "doesn't know why" we are all this way.
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Old 07-31-2022, 03:24 PM
  #15

(((raelyn)))) Your story breaks my heart. You must be very strong to have made it through your past. Hugs to you.
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Thankful for my sisters
Old 07-31-2022, 04:37 PM
  #16

I have two younger sisters. I'm the oldest and had lots of squabbles with my next sister when we were young, but we all get along well (not perfectly) now.

I live in the same town where our parents lived and both sisters live quite far away. In the later years of our parents' lives, both sisters made sure to visit once or twice a year. My dad died 12 years ago. Mom lived alone in their house for several years and then decided she needed assisted living. My youngest sister was visiting and was at the point of threatening to nail the basement door shut if Mom hadn't promised to stop going down the stairs. I think I was too close to see that the gradual changes were over the line of safety.

And then both sisters came for several weeks to help clean out the house. Yes, I'm thankful. And they would frequently thank me (and my husband) for what we were doing.

When Mom died, I had the job of settling the estate and there were absolutely no fights. There was some money left. Each grandchild got a small inheritance, and the rest was split between the three of us. I'm thankful for my sisters (although I always wanted an older brother).
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Old 07-31-2022, 07:50 PM
  #17

I'm an only child and I have longed for siblings my entire life. I used to ask Santa for siblings every year, and they never came! Most of my friends are close to at least one sibling as adults, and I'm very sad that it is a relationship I'll never get to experience.

As someone mentioned above, I worry about taking care of aging parents by myself with no support system of my own, especially living in another state, and about having no family left when they are gone. I try to tell myself having siblings would be no guarantee- they might not be helpful or responsible, or may not be around themselves. My mom had a sister but she passed away in her 50s, before my grandpa started needing care, which left my mom to deal with it by herself.

There are also more expectations put on me as an only child. I feel immense guilt about not wanting to have children myself, and denying my parents the experience of being grandparents. They are supportive of me and don't pester or purposefully make me feel badly about it, but I know that not getting to be grandparents is a source of great sadness for them. If I had siblings with kids, it wouldn't matter. And I'd love to have nieces and nephews too- so much more fun that having kids of your own!

As an adult, with wisdom and age I recognize there were advantages to being an only child- it took me a long time to admit that! I didn't have to worry about favoritism or tense relationships, or "competing" with anybody in the family. Going through school, I was my own person and didn't have to worry about whatever reputation came with being so-and-so's sibling.

We were way more financially secure, with my parents only spending on one child. We took fabulous vacations every year, and never had to worry about money. My college was paid for because they only had to save for 1. On one side, I was also an only grandchild and receiving a small inheritance set me up for financial security and freedom. I'm not "rich" but I've never really had to worry about money, and I recognize what an immense blessing that is.

My parents worked really hard at recognizing "only children pitfalls" and raised me to be independent and responsible, and didn't spoil me with endless material things either.

If I had my druthers, I'd prefer to have the siblings rather than the other advantages. But I try to look at the silver linings of the situation I ended up with.
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Old 07-31-2022, 08:36 PM
  #18

Thanks Amiga. Writing about that Christmas and thinking about all the other things our mom did/said to me as a child to me to a dark place today. I really appreciate your hugs.
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Old 08-01-2022, 04:00 AM
  #19

I will be forever grateful that I grew up in a stable and undramatic family and had sisters. While we certainly bickered as children and sometimes as adults, we have also been lifelong friends and worked together to care for sick and aging parents and one, much-loved aunt. We've always had each others' backs. I always knew if I needed help, they'd be in a car or on a plane asap.

We became even closer after losing our parents. In fact, I didn't feel completely orphaned after their deaths because I still had my sisters. I feel that way now because one of my sisters has died and another has a life changing medical condition. I realize families can cause tremendous pain, but having sisters has been a blessing to me.

Last edited by Cassyree; 08-01-2022 at 04:29 AM..
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only child
Old 08-01-2022, 05:53 PM
  #20

While I'm not an only child, my husband and I have gone back and forth about whether or not we should try for a second child. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. This thread reinforces that. Siblings can be a blessing or a curse depending on the situation. The same goes for being an only child. My son will be loved and happy either way!
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