Middle Child Syndrome | INFJ Forum

Middle Child Syndrome


Community Member
May 30, 2009
I know it sounds a little strange, but I heard that's what most people call it. But anyway, the point of this thread is to ask whether anyone else has experienced "middle child syndrome."

For those who are confused as to what it is, it's basically the middle child (having an older sibling and younger sibling) becomes or at least feels ignored by their parents and/or family. I've experienced it ever since my sister was born when I was 9, so I was just wondering whether i'm either attention seeking (I know it sort of is, but not in the .. bad way I suppose?) or if it's an actual problem?

My mother is an ESTJ, my 20 year old brother is an ENTJ and i'm not sure about my mother's boyfriend. I think he's an ESTP. My little sister is only 8 so I can't really type her for definate, but she's probably something like ENTP from looking at other ENTPs. I'm the only F type in my family, and I get overlooked by pretty much everyone. My brother will only talk to me if there's something really wrong (Like now I have Swine Flu, he talked to me about twice yesterday and that's it.) and my mother is always doting on my little sister.

Of course, I have no problem with my mother focusing on my sister as she needs the attention. But the thing is, if I do anything I feel remotely proud of, my mother will shrug it off. For example, when I got into college her reply was "Oh. great. Well Done." in the most monotone robotic voice and didn't even look at me. She'll always remind me that my sister is exceeding me when I was her age at school and that my brother is a lot smarter than I am. I agree that my brother is incredibly intelligent but to give an example of why it hurts is thus:

My brother's grades in High School: 1 A*, 2As, 5Bs and a C
My grades in High School: 2A*S, 3As and 7Bs.

I did better than my brother in high school but i got zilch when I got my grades. Not a hug, not a "that's brilliant!" nothing. My brother got money, presents, you name it. I don't resent him at all, but it would be nice to have a little affection every once in a while. I also know that the things i'm supposedly "good" at are not considered achievements to her or any member of my family. My granddad is the only one who's encouraged me to keep drawing when I was little because he was an Architecht. My family has always shunned my music, drawing, horse riding, martial arts etc.

My mum has always told me to talk to her if there's anything on my mind that's bothering me. But the thing is, whenever I try to she gets mad at me or tells me to grow up. Telling her anything she doesn't want to hear will just result in an arguement so I keep my mouth shut.

Anyway, enough rambling. Anyone else have a similar experience or is going through it now?
I can't exactly relate, being the younger of two. What you described sounds very frustrating though and I just wanted to say, you did great at school. You deserve to feel proud of your achievements and feel recognised and rewarded. So if it counts for anything at all; a very big well done and congratulations to you. You need to hear this from your family though. I suspect they don't realise what they are doing, or not doing as the case may be, so is there some way you could have a friendly chat with your mum to let her know you love her and would appreciate hearing some words of love and approval from her once in a while? I guess if you phrase it in such a way that you put across that you realise she cares but would just like to hear about it more often...?
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Well, I'm the oldest.

That sounds like a really difficult family to live in. All that ET = bleh. You need to find someone who thinks you are important and lets you know. Obviously, you can't change your family, and they probably don't even know they are doing it (hence "bleh").
You sound like how it was for me when I was growing up. My older brother & younger sister seemed to always get the attention & gifts. It didn't seem to matter what I did or what I excelled in, there was little to no recognition from my mother & grandparents. (My Dad was murdered when I was 18 mos. old) I have always felt like the black sheep of the family & even asked my mother several times through the years if I was adopted. She was not amused, but then neither was I.

Now here's the cool thing...when I left home I decided to make my own rules & how I wanted to live life. I also realized I was never going to get the approval I desired from my family, so screw them. Nor did I want to play their sick games & mind fucks they like to force on others. My mother & I haven't spoke in over 10 yrs. to each other. And I like it just fine. (BTW I'm not advocating you turn your back on your family, I'm only relating how it was for me.)

Being a middle child has a whole heck of a lot of benefits compared to the other sibling racks. We are better adjusted & do far better in long term relationships. Most of the time we are able to play well with others & we don't care if someone else wins the game, as we're there for the fun. And we succeed in life while our narcissistic siblings are still vying for parental, friends, & their spouse's attention.

Bottom line...remember it's your party now & you can create anything you like. Your choices are unlimited & it doesn't have to include people who drag you down.
I'm a middle child and I've always seemed to have flown under the radar but I kind of like it that way!
I loved being under the radar! Especially in hindsight.