The little sister.

In every family, there are roles that each person plays.  Because I am the youngest of three by quite a few years, I slipped easily into the role of “the baby”.

Not much was expected of me as far as chores around the house, not like my sister and brother years before.  Some of this was just because of convenience – for example, by the time I was old enough to wash and dry dishes, we had a dishwasher.   Some of it was circumstance, as my parents loosened up over the years and chose to take over some of the tasks previously delegated to my siblings.  In fact, I was one of those kids who goes off to college and has to learn how to do laundry from their first roommate.

Because I moved a thousand miles away immediately after college graduation, this role of “baby” was perpetuated, even though by then my sister had children who were babies themselves.  Every visit home, I continued to evade responsibility.  No, you don’t have to do the dishes.  No, you don’t have to clean up after yourself.  No, we’ll pay for that.  I fought it, certainly, though my role was still clearly there.  Even as I cooked delicious meals for my husband and cleaned up every dish afterwards here in Colorado, it just didn’t happen back at home.

It has only been recently that I realized that my role has been extended to the emotional sense as well.   The deepest problems I face stay with me, I shy away from telling my family good things that happen at work or with my writing, I have a hard problem communicating well at all.  I blame it on being too busy or being too far away, which is sometimes true.  I just don’t expect much because I feel like I had enough in the past.  Like I don’t deserve help or praise or a phone call if I don’t cook or clean or pay for something while I’m there.  And it creates fear that when my family needs me, I could never be as good as they have been to me my entire life.

It is clearly messed up thinking, some of the type that hurts me most when it comes to anxiety and depression.  Current situations dictate that it needs to change, once and for all.   It’s a big step, moving away from this role, but now there are four in the generation behind me and my siblings.  It’s beyond time.

Posted on September 30, 2009, in Anxiety, Family, Living Out Loud. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.

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