First-born child syndrome
Hi there, this is not exactly the right forum to pose this question, but there is no "Siblings" or general "Family" forum, so I chose this one. I imagine many of you have experienced this issues firsthand with your own children or siblings, so I hope you can help.
My older brother (age 35) has what I guess is called "first-born child syndrome". HereÂs a good description of him (from an article I found on the web):
"The other side of the coin is the compliant firstborn, Âmodel children who grew up to be pleasers of othersÂ. Compliant first borns are well known for taking it and being walked on by a world that loves to take advantage of them. They are also known for nursing their resentments quietly, and then venting with one grand explosion."
My brother is a great guy. Always willing to help people, responsible, caring, they typical "dutiful" son. But this causes problems because he carries a lot of resentment. He always feels he has to make the responsible choice, says yes even when he should say no, and has become oversensitive because of it. He has difficulty accepting apologies from people who have hurt him. He has difficulty letting things go. Also, he continues to try to do what he feels is the right thing even when he doesnÂt want to, and this causes him further problems. For example, heÂll ask my parentsÂ advice on an important decision because he feels he should, then the next day do the exact opposite thing because heÂs already made his mind up. Which is fine Â heÂs 35 after all! But then my parents get upset. They would rather he didnÂt ask if he didnÂt care for the advice. (It's not like they expect him to TAKE every piece of advice they give, but if heÂs asking, they expect him to at least consider it. I think thatÂs fair).
I am 33, the middle child and only girl. I get along really well with everyone in my family. Our younger brother (22) came after a very big gap. He has a great relationship with me and our parents. The problem is between the two brothers. Older one resents younger one to no end, because my parents were so slack with him in comparison. I understand the frustration with that, but our younger brother is an adult now, and a good guy (a very good guy, in fact). But older brother cannot relate to him and still chides him on not having his "life figured out yet". I feel my older brother, who used to be a really fun guy growing up, is getting more and more bitter as he grows older. I feel sorry for him. I wish he could loosen up.
For anyone who can relate to this, how can I help him? My younger brother has never known the fun older brother, the one who used to sneak me into parties or cover for me when I went out with my friends. And I feel my older brother has forgotten that part of himself. In trying always to please others, he has lost a part of himself.