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11 Struggles Only Oldest Siblings Can Relate To

11 Struggles Only Oldest Siblings Can Relate To

Being the eldest of the siblings means you get a lot of advantages and you learn a lot of important lessons—such as compassion and patience—early in your life. However, being the first born is not as smooth a ride as it is perceived, and it is not all fun and games being the oldest of your siblings. While you sometimes get to boss your siblings around and you get first dibs at everything, there is also a lot of responsibility and pressure that rests on your little shoulders if you are the first born. Here are 11 struggles that oldest siblings can totally relate to:

1. You have to be a role model for your younger siblings, even if you don’t want to be

Your younger siblings look up to you as their greatest role model and so you have to be perfect. If you are a first born, you get this constant reminder that you have to set a good example for your siblings to follow. Every time you get into trouble, it is magnified by tenfold, and you are reminded of how you are not living up to the standards of the position you hold.

2. You are blamed by your parents for everything, only because you are the oldest

Having younger siblings basically means that you are in trouble when they are in trouble. Because you are older, even if you aren’t at fault, you are the one to be blamed since you are supposed to know better. Who forgot to put the bikes in the shed before it started to snow? Your little brother, but technically it was you, because you should have made sure he did it. So, you get the blame for almost every wrong thing that they do or whenever they cause any trouble. On the other hand, they don’t get into trouble because they are “not old enough to understand.” You are actually the one who is supposed to be watching them, after all.

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3. You want to be the cool one but you have to be the responsible one

You are constantly torn between being the cool one and being the responsible one. You like being cool because it’s fun, but then you are supposed to be mature and responsible.

4. You fear losing games to your younger siblings

Since you are the eldest, you like maintaining your “superior” status. Therefore, you try your best to win any game you play with the younger ones. It is a dark day for you if you lose any game to them.

5. You are under more pressure to succeed at school

The older ones are also expected to be smarter and get better grades at school. If your little brother or sister gets an A in Math and you get a B, your mother looks for an answer from you. Contrastingly, if you get an A and the younger one gets a B, you are now to additionally serve as their tutor and help them excel.

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6. You have to be ready for unpaid babysitting all the time

You are the babysitter for your siblings if your mother is doing the laundry, going out shopping, or is busy in the kitchen. You are the on-call babysitter and any plans that you might have do not seem to matter.

7. You have to make a case for staying up late or having cool gadgets, while your siblings are allowed to do all that at a younger age

You wanted to stay up late and watch a movie but you were not allowed. You wanted a cellphone, so you had to beg and beg for it and when you got it, it also came with a long list of rules. Yet, it seems that your younger siblings are allowed these privileges at a younger age and with fewer rules. The statement: “You never allowed me do that when I was that old” is, therefore, often uttered in your life—even you have lost count of the times you have said it.

8. You had to manage your frustration when your sibling was born and everything stopped being just about you

Life seemed to be great as an only child. You got all the attention, affection, love, and care of your parents. But when the new baby made an entrance as your sibling, they became the receiver of all this attention. Frustration and jealousy engulfs you when you do not get the same amount of attention and have to share everything with your younger siblings.

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9. You have to make a lot of sacrifices

Sometimes it’s unwillingly, but you have to make a lot of sacrifices if you are oldest of the siblings. These may include not being allowed to have certain toys that your younger siblings might swallow bits of, or having to watch TV shows that are too young for you, or having to stay at home to babysit them when you want to go out and party.

10. You can’t keep any secrets because the little ones are always on a lookout for you

When you have younger siblings, it is very unlikely that you can get away with anything or keep any secrets. They will continue to spy on you like a creeper, and will go running to your mom and dad as soon as they find out anything new. So it is difficult to have friends over, as your younger siblings refuse to stop bugging you.

11. You are often accused of being bossy, while you are just playing your role

You have to be assertive at times to protect them and make sure that they stay out of trouble. However, this is frustrating for them and they accuse you of being bossy, when actually you are simply acting your role.

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Conclusion

These are just a few of the struggles that go along with being the oldest sibling. However, being the eldest myself, I know that despite all responsibilities and pressures, being the oldest sibling is still one of the best things that could happen to someone, and one of the proudest titles to have.

Featured photo credit: UNICEF Ukraine via flickr.com

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Mehwish A. Wahid

Writer and Researcher

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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