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Family drama- it's not just middle child syndrome

Community Member

I am the second child of 3 in my family and due to work purposes I am living 2 hours away from my parents and siblings with my husband. My older sibling left home at a young age, started a family and has been needy of my parents attention ever since (approx 12 years ago). This has only gotten worse in the last few years when the marriage broke down and they have since gotten into a relationship with a person who also has a number of children. My younger sibling is finding their feet but we rarely talk.

I have tried on multiple occasions to communicate my frustrations to my parents about spending more time with them and my siblings - it is extremely hard to get them to visit us although we are a relatively short distance away. One sibling has visited us ONCE the whole time we've been married (6 years) and the other has visited us a handful of times. Mum and dad have improved the amount they visit but its maybe once every 2 months.

I feel the older sibling uses their children as an excuse every time, and the younger would rather hang out with friends.

I understand that yes we are grown up and all are busy with our own lives, but I feel like they don't care.

Husband and I used to put a lot of effort into our nieces and nephews for Christmas, birthdays and Easter etc where we'd try and catch up as much as we were able, now we don't get invited to their birthdays anymore. Husband and I want to pull right back now since they don't acknowledge anything (and there's so many of them)

I have become increasingly angry/frustrated/hurt the longer this has been going on and am at the point where I want to ignore everything and spend more time with husbands family I have spent hours talking to husband regarding this and he sees how it affects me but honestly I dont know what to do. I could talk to them until I am blue in the face but it won't get through.

Thoughts on what I can do?

4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Bluebird 2018~

Welcome here to the Forum. It is not an easy situation for you, in fact it is very hurtful. I guess we all have the idea that families should be close, and enjoy each other's company. Sadly it is not always the case.

People go though stages in their lives, and I have a feeling that valuing family is something that hits one later on in life. Unless of course you live so near that you form part of everyday lives - same house or over the fence as it were.

I'm sure you have explained the situation and it has had no real effect.

Do you think patience, not trying so hard and concentrating on where you are appreciated instead might be the go for a while? It sounds like you have a partner you can share with, a real blessing.

Do you think his family would be more caring?


Community Member

Hi Bluebird,

Welcome to the forum. I'm dealing with something similar with my family and the question is fast becoming one of if it's doing more damage to stay than go. My parents invest a lot of time in the relationships with my siblings, and yet not for me. It effects me deeply and increasingly as we also have tried talking to them to no avail.

Unfortunately I struggle to deal with it emotionally, and this effects my husband and daughter. There is fast becoming a time when having a happy mummy is going to outweigh having peripheral grandparents.

I've tried accepting the status quo, but the hurt runs too deep. That's actually the part I'm baffled with, why does this continue to effect me so badly? Why can't my daughter have a happy mummy and peripheral grandparents?

I know this isn't much help, but perhaps there's sollice in knowing you're not alone. The only thing I would say is that if you do choose to withdraw, understand there's probably no coming back from that, and for as long as you hang on, there's hope things will improve. There absolutely does come a time when enough is enough though.

Its good to hear you get on with your husbands family.


Thankyou for your reply Croix. In regards to my husbands family, there's never been an issue with them. They often come up to see us (every week or fortnight) yet they live in the same area as my side of the family.

My family on the other hand have to schedule things in months in advance (again being busy with with work etc

I will try to keep patient with them and hope that things will improve over time.

Thankyou for your reply Chickenhead.

It is nice to know that other people are in the same boat with this. Although we don't have children yet, I've worried that my future children may not get to know my family if things stay the way they are.

Emotionally it tears me apart and it's been going on for a long time - which sorta goes in cycles when I'm fine and then something triggers it to come crashing down again.

I honestly don't want to cut them off but instead I'll just wait it out