Thursday, March 29, 2007

The OC (Only Child) Syndrome

I have a headache. And I’m all stuffed up. It’s probably sinus stuff. Weather related.

Whatever the case, I feel like a slow-moving slug today! I have a deadline looming – in fact, I’m PAST my deadline, and I’m nowhere near the point in the project I would like to be. I’m probably going to come in on Saturday to get caught up.

This is where I am envious of people who don’t have to work with deadlines. I feel the same way about people (like my factory-worker husband) whose jobs get done while they are away on vacation. When I come back from vacation, my work is still all there, piled high on my desk, waiting for ME to finish it. I KNOW I choose to work at a job with deadlines, but I hate ‘em with a passion.

I read somewhere that only children don’t work well with deadlines. We DO work well under pressure, but we tend to procrastinate and then when things get too big for us, we are easily overwhelmed. Don’t worry, there’s probably a “birth order” explanation to the problems that plague you, too.

Not that long ago, my cousin Charity recommended I read a birth order book. As kids, the two of us had a lot of discussions about how she thought I got everything I ever wanted as an only child (and was a spoiled brat – only somewhat true), and I thought she was the luckiest girl in the world to have a brother and two sisters.

I’m really glad I read the book, since I did learn a lot about myself. Most of what was said about only children DID apply to me. Some of it was new to me, but I found myself nodding in recognition:

The only child develops only child characteristics from having to cope with playing alone and with having to fend off adult intrusion.

Characteristic Bad Feeling: Frustration

Strategies for survival: Imaginary companions, two speeds (fast and slow) for doing things

Felt Loss: Freedom

Sense of Justice: Everyone should be treated equally

Thought Pattern: Organization

T-shirt: "Leave me alone, I'd rather do it myself"

Childhood Behavior: Emotional, Obedient

Emotional Expression: demonstrative, tantrums

Source of Anger: Intrusion

Nature of Humor: Sarcasm

Means of Relating: Projection

Spirituality: Ethical

Relational: Feels others' feelings, fixer of problems

The Child Within: Smothered

Type of Procrastination: Put off big jobs while doing little jobs

Blind spot: What others think/feel

Boundaries: Has them for self and others

A walk in the woods: Stays on the path

Careers: Radio Announcer, Finance, Teaching, Ministry, Management

Strengths: Organizing, Stability

Parenting: Allows children time and space

Marriage: Tries to meet partner's expectations

As Friend: Emotional, Considerate

Social Contributions: Organizational leadership, authors of self-help books

Expression of Love: Worry

Driving Style: As if everyone is going to do the right thing

Listening Style: Puts own meaning into others' words

Common Phrase: "You know"

Responds To: "I don't know about you but...."

From Wikipedia
Only children may have characteristics of either the first born or the youngest child. Adler (1964) believed that because only children have no rivals for their parents' affection, they may be pampered and spoiled by their parents, particularly the mother. He suggested that this could cause later interpersonal difficulties if the person is not universally liked and admired.

Another view of only children, as noted by Alissa Eischens in her paper The Dilemma of the Only Child is that they learn to be children on their own, they learn to depend on themselves, and they have no problem being loners.

Naturally introverted only children may show extroverted qualities if he or she wishes to make friends. On the other hand, naturally extroverted children may learn to show introverted qualities by being content to focus on their thoughts when playmates are unavailable.

I really identified with the nature of humor (sarcastic) and the type of procrastination (SO true for me). Now, of course, I often think of those things when my deadlines loom, and I start to feel overwhelmed.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and I have Saturday, too, so hopefully, I’ll be able to get everything done.



Anonymous said...

I'm definitely not an only child... but I relate to a lot of those characteristics. Thanks for the thoughts.

Ann-Marie said...

Yeah, we only children are quite the enigmatic bunch! I think it is kind of comforting to know that there are other people out there with similar characteristics. Although, I don't know why it keeps saying "organized." I've never been organized a day in my life!

Jennittia said...

I read a birth order book for a college psych. class and was amazed how right on much of it is!! Weird how that works!

chanel9009 said...

Icompletely agree with this blog. but what do you mean by all only children go though this because I did