Short Stories

The first born dilemma

From very early on First-borns learn to behave or else! As a result, they hold themselves accountable for their actions and the consequences thereof. This character trait can be a blessing for it speaks to their integrity and sincerity, but it can also be a curse since they often accept blame where there should be none, beating themselves up unnecessarily.

First-borns are the ones everyone expects to be okay. The ones who always manage to rise above. The ones who never really ask for help, yet are always ready to help others. See, no one expects firstborns to be weak. The first born is next in line after the parents. They are the high-achieving people-pleasers. The ones their parents leave in charge of the others. The ones always expected to be responsible. The ones who are supposed to know better!

Well that’s a lot of pressure for a first born and sometimes they can’t handle the burdens placed on them (visible or invisible). Sometimes they need someone else to shoulder some of the responsibility. Sometimes, just sometimes, as super human as they appear to be, they need help! Yet, try as they might, delegating is rather a tough task to master since they still feel ultimately responsible as quality control is of primary concern.

First-borns don’t trust just anyone to handle important responsibilities. They need help from somone who understands the dynamic of sibling tendencies and personality limitations. It can be someone who understands how much they do. Someone who appreciates their tremendous efforts even if they can’t successfully help beyond moral support. Someone who sincerely wants the best for them. Someone who gets their need to be understood, to be cared for, to be cherished and respected. These are the things a first-born clings to dearly. They thrive on sincerity, they long for companions who understand why they are the way they are and they feel so safe when they find that one person who can see into their soul — anticipating their every need physically, emotionally, spiritually and otherwise. Such a person can be very hard to find since firstborns can hold others to very high standards. But once found they do their best to keep them close and are ravaged when that person is gone.

To be understood, appreciated and accepted for who they really are is the ultimate high a first-born can feel since they were/are held to high standards from birth and those intrinsic values undoubtedly stay with them for life.

They strive for quality, not quantity, and they search for meaning, substance and wholeness relentlessly. They can be a bit quirky since they need to find unique ways to cope with the burden of ‘being perfect’ in the eyes of their parents and those around them. Their sense of perfectionism carries over to many aspects of their lives and can even interfere with decision making skills/abilities.

Some of them need to have a plan for everything, while some are petrified at the thought of making the wrong decision so they refuse to plan at all. Indeed, they can be very extreme!

For example:
– they can be neat and tidy all over the house but have a colossal mess in one special area that’s hidden from immediate view.
– they can follow instructions to a ‘T’ at work but notoriously refuse to read instruction manuals or follow recipes.
– they can love you with all their heart or refuse to invest in love at all, despising the concept completely.
– They can be super strict at work and a mushy mess at home especially with matters of the heart.
– They can be super smart intellectually while clueless/naive in certain matters of life.
– They either love too much or not at all; either care too much or couldn’t be bothered; either all in or all out!

Yes, first borns can be weird! Their Type A personality requires so much discipline that it can totally overwhelm them. They are detail-oriented workaholics with the propensity to over analyze EVERYTHING!

See, I’m a first born so I speak from experience. And if I seem a bit harsh, that’s just me beating myself up like a typical first born, no ill will intended to anyone else, honest!

I met Someone once who understood the firstborn dynamic without even realizing it. Why? Because that person was a first born also! That person understood me so easily — intellectually, emotionally, comically, spiritually and in many other ways. The high I felt from being understood was uphoric! It’s been a long time since I connected with anyone on that level and it freakin blew my mind! I’m not the needy type. I’m supposed to be strong — The fearless first-born, notorious for being independent. Notorious for being off in my own world not caring what the rest of the family thinks. Notorious for making my own way. Notorious for breaking their rules so I can live by my own. The daredevil first-born who has had ‘stunts of defiance’ named after me simply because I was tired of doing what was ‘expected’ and had to break free.

But when this person entered my world I was frozen like a deer in head lights. I was mush! I didn’t know what to do because my “normal” had shifted off-balance — the bar was raised. I felt a sense of completeness having that person around and now everyone else seems inferior. Sigh…

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls and this person showing up was definitely a Big Ole Curve Ball. I had gotten so used to settling for “ok” but now I know “ok” isn’t good enough, I want more! I now expect better of my employees, friends and significant other (when that time comes). That person has since moved on to bigger and better things, and with all transitions of life our paths converged briefly and have now taken us in different directions. I am blessed to have met such an individual and hope I never forget my uphoria for it has truly opened up my soul/vision/horizons in anticipation of better things to come. Thank you dear friend for picking up my snow globe and giving it a good shake! I guess it was time for the life I knew inside my little bubble to be examined thoroughly.  The winds of change are coming and you’ve given me permission to expect more!  Be well my friend where ever you are.  You are amazing!  😊

Note 1:

My thoughts on this topic are based on a book by Dr Kevin Leman called “The Birth Order Book: why you are the way you are”, as well as my own observations of first born behavior.

Note 2: 

First born characteristics can also be seen in persons of other birth orders if there is a huge gap in births or if older siblings (perhaps from a previous marriage/relationship) do not live in the same home.

I find this topic extremely fascinating! It’s so amazing how the human mind works and how our behavior is altered simply by our birth order.

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Best wishes,

*Originally published November 2015

Contents written: October 20 2015 | Edited: October 25,  November 16 2015 | Copyright 2015 Moylom Enterprises


40 thoughts on “The first born dilemma”

  1. No way! It was like you knew me as you wrote that! All of my strengths and weaknesses, clearly defined, for me to examine. It’s a relief to know there are others like me out there too. 🙂 First-borns unite!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes we firstborns need to stick together, we’re a unique breed 😁

      Glad you were able to relate. I almost canned that post a few times, but it kept resurfacing and rewriting itself. Guess the words needed to be heard!

      The book by Dr Leman is pretty interesting too.

      Hope you’re well. Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been interested to read “The Birth Order Book: why you are the way you are” but haven’t gotten around to it yet. It’s interesting because I’m smack dab in the middle (only 11 months separating me from my older brother, 5 years from my older sister), but I’m type A and a perfectionist and have many of the oldest child traits. And my oldest son and youngest son seemed reversed in their qualities. But I think for the most part, these characteristics hold true. It’s a fascinating topic to be sure.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The book details why the traits can be flipped etc but it’s been so long since I read it that I can’t remember accurately so wouldn’t want to give misinformation. But I’ve been fascinated with the topic ever since.

      There is also a version of the book for couples or for individuals seeking to find the ideal mate. Of course not every person would fit into the categories or types and described since other mitigating factors also shape our personalities. Nevertheless, I see the traits as described in all my kids. And in me and my brother who’s 3 yrs younger.

      Thanks for your input. Good stuff! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, if she didn’t grow up in the same household. But like the experts say not everyone will for the mold exactly.


      2. Well I dunno, I think u need to give Dr Leman a call. He will have to write u your own book as it seems You’ve gone an broken the mold!


  3. I am a first born and having come from a family of 3 kids born in 4 years, we ran around like a pack. Two brothers under me, yes! I was the one “in charge” and took responsibility. I have written a post on each place in the family. I forget my source.
    My middle brother is like my own middle son. They both felt Life was “unfair” at times and seriously, counted jelly beans in Easter baskets. 🙂 The youngest feels well loved and usually is secure.
    I have yet to last past 13 years eith one man and am 60 years old. I have friends of 42 years, of 35 and 23 years who are women. Why can’t men accept me for who I am? Interestingly enough, both my brothers are close to me and like the way I turned out. (When though I may have been bossy to them, one time or another.) Lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s very interesting to hear someone else bring up the relation factor in this dynamic. Most of my meaningful relationships are also with women. I have yet to find a relationship with a male that has been more than 4 yrs. I often wonder if they are secretly threatened by my independence though I doubt I’ll even get a straight answer if I ask them directly.

      Finding meaningful, lasting relationships these days is hard enough without feeling one can’t be their true self. It’s rather frustrating.

      Thanks so much for chiming in. Thoroughly love the feedback 😊


  4. Yup, i’m another first-born and echo your post. First married to a middle child and later to another first born, but lately loved by two youngest children. i find that Master’s playfulness, creativity and love of laughter easily counterbalance the seriousness of being an overly responsible first-born. Submitting to Him is truly joyful and freeing! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we crave laughter. We need that balance. Thanks for your sharing a bit of yourself. Best wishes. Hugs🌷


  5. This is a great post. I’m a first-born as well, so I can definitely relate to the points you make here. I have learned not to be so hard on myself anymore, but it can still be difficult at times. I can’t help but wonder what percentage of bloggers fall into this category. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I find I’m always looking for ‘birth-order’ traits in people. I’m fascinated also with how the human mind works — why we are the way we are. ☺

      Nice to know you’re also in the firstborn club! ☺ 🌷

      Liked by 1 person

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