My book club has just finished reading Gone Girl, the mystery novel by Gillian Flynn. We met last night to talk about the book. Everyone brings a dish to share and we outdid ourselves this time! I took shrimp salad, served in a leaf of endive, which is also good on crackers. With full stomachs, we began the discussion.
I had found a passage in this book which spoke directly to me (or so it felt):
" There is an unfair responsibility that comes with being an only child - you grow up knowing you aren't allowed to disappoint, you're not even allowed to die. There isn't a replacement toddling around; you're it. It makes you desperate to be flawless, and it also makes you drunk with power. In such ways are despots made."
I don't know if I could be called a despot, but I know that mr. kenju (and my children) would say I can be. But I grew up knowing that if I did something wrong, it would displease my mother greatly (and out of all proportion.) I was not ever allowed the luxury of being wrong because it reflected badly on her. She was very concerned about what other people thought, and always wanted to be "well thought of". The fact that I could be less than perfect was not to be known by the outside world (or even most of her family, God forbid.)
I've wondered if that was solely because I was her only child - or if it could also have something to do with the fact that I was adopted. I asked the members of the book club how many of them were only children. There was one other woman who was an only child, plus a woman who grew up as the only girl in a family of boys, and both felt they were treated just as the character in Flynn's book and I were.
So what is your experience? Are you an only child? Were you treated in this fashion? How do you think it has affected your adult life, and has it made any difference in how you raised your children?
Please answer in the comments....or if you write a blog post about it.....please send the link to me.