Thursday, July 24, 2008

Classic First Born Child Syndrome

I worry.

I've always worried.

I think that I worried that I was going to suffocate around my own cord in the womb.

I probably also worried that I would get stuck on my way out.

You may think that I'm exaggerating, but I assure you my friends, I am not.

As a child, I would longingly look at stuffed toys and dolls placed carefully on the shelves in fancy stores. However, I could never bring myself to actually pick one up. Instead, I would ask my parents to take me to another store, where they sold the dolls and toys that no one wanted. I'd agonise over my final decision, trying to find the most pathetic looking doll to take home and to care for, because I knew that no one else would want them. Although I now know that these items lack feelings, emotions and/or thoughts, I couldn't stand the thought of leaving one unwanted toy with gnarled red yarn hair behind.

When I was 10, I cried every time I saw an older lady or gentleman eating alone at a restaurant. I was upset every time I saw a leaf fall from a tree, because I knew that although my ugly dolls may not feel, leafs were once a living thing.

My worries were irrational, but never overboard. After some time, I would forget about the dolls left behind and move on.

As I've aged, my worries no longer revolve around inanimate objects, but are instead powered by the need to please, the need to keep everyone happy and the need to be in control of myself and my surroundings.

I have classic first child guilt, regarding almost everything. I'm confident that many others are afflicted with this as well.

But I digress.

This weekend, my sister, boyfriend and I were going to drive to Virginia Beach to visit my brother and his girlfriend. He called on Monday and told me that if the weather was bad, that we should postpone our trip. I emailed everyone on Wednesday asking about the weather, and the plan for the weekend. My brother noted that his girlfriend had to work, his friends would be away, and that there was a chance for thunderstorms. I desperately wanted to reschedule this trip, but I felt so guilty about cancelling at the last minute.

Boyfriend has recently started a new job which would mean that we could not leave Maryland before 7pm. We had just returned home from the beach, and I was incredibly discouraged about spending another weekend in the car. Additionally, I just wanted to be home considering the fact that we have only two weeks left to move out of not one, but two apartments. Of course I waffled and hemmed and hawed when trying to make up my decision.

Finally, today, I emailed my brother and sister and requested that we postpone our trip until August, after my birthday and after we move.

Although I'm pleased with my decision, I'm feeling incredibly guilty about postponing the trip. Thoughts akin to, what is my brother going to do this weekend? Will my sister be upset? have invaded my head.

Like I said, it's classic first born guilt. I feel the need to make everything okay and to please everyone regardless of whether or not it pleases me. Recently, I've become much better at saying no in the workplace and in other areas, but I'm still weak in regards to my family.

My sister has no problem changing plans and does not appear to feel guilty, but I feel guilty regardless of the choice that I make. If I choose to go, I'll feel guilty about leaving boyfriend behind, leaving the cats again, and for leaving a long list of things that need to be accomplished before the move. If I don't go, I feel guilty about ruining my brother's weekend, cancelling so late in the week, and putting off what I could do today until another time.

I'm so scared that I'll upset someone, that I actually upset them more (unintentionally of course) with my inability to make a decision. My brother was more annoyed with my waffling than he was with the fact that we had to postpone the trip.

So now you know a little bit more about me, in addition to the fact that I'm a ditzy bitch. You may think I'm crazy, but luckily I'm a psychologist, and if there's one thing that I've learned, it is that crazy people never think that they are crazy.

I'm blessed to think that I'm crazy at least once a day.


A.D. said...

I'm a worrier too, but I worry more about things like floods, houses burning down, the kitties getting hurt...that sort of thing. I honestly just have to stop and remind myself that my worrying is not going to help anything and that if something happens, I'm just going to have to suck it up and deal with it. This usually doesn't work, but I try to calm down as much as possible! I'm pretty sure I'm a certified nutso (that's a technical term...feel free to use it), but most of the people I know are crazy too so we get along well :)!!!

Kids, Canines, and Chaos said...

I'm so glad to hear that someone else used to cry about people sitting alone in restaurants. One time when I was about 10, I actually refused to sit with my family for dinner and sat with an elderly gentleman. He informed me that he actually enjoyed eating dinner alone in peace and quiet, and I was stunned. I still get a feeling of sadness when I see people sitting alone.

And... I'm a terrible worrier, a huge ball of stress, and so full of anxiety that husband often wants to punch me.

I know I'm crazy... does that mean I'm not?! you know.. crazies don't know they're crazy? Hm.

Ashley said...

Lori.. It's actually true.

People with serious psychological problems never *think* that they are crazy.

For example, that's why schizophrenics never realize that there is something wrong with them and go off their meds so frequently.

Additionally, people with personality disorders don't know it either.

That has stuck with me throughout graduate school. =]

We're certainly neurotic, but not certifiably crazy.

Lori said...

Such a relief!

Jennifer said...

LOL...I love the comment that people who are crazy never think they are crazy...boy is that true! I learned that in graduate school too;) You describe the first child syndrome so well...and unfortunately I am one too:)

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