Quotes from Chapter Seven of
Being the Other One, Growing up with a Brother or Sister Who Has Special Needs: (Stroehm, 2005)
Growing Up Fast (p.81)
Tara felt the ongoing pressures.
Adults always told me I was so mature for my age, so good to be spending time with my brother and helping my mother. I hated those comments so much. I just wanted to be a child.
As an older and only able sibling, I developed an extraordinary sense of responsibility for family and friends. I limit my friends, as I can't cope with the "obligation" I feel if the number of people close to me is too large .
I have learned that as a child I internalized the need always to be okay, to be self-reliant and never need or accept help. It is a difficult lesson to unlearn, and the repercussions as an adult - social and emotional isolation - are devastating.
A child's reactions may change over time. Nance started to feel differently as she approached her teens.
When I was very small, until perhaps eight or nine, I remember seeing myself as my brothers' little protector and being praised by every one of my parents' friends for being such a good girl looking after my brother. Then as I approached my teens, I remember feeling overwhelmed by what I then saw as a burden. I did not have a brother I could play softball with, confide in, or have what I saw as the "normal" relationship all my friends had with their siblings.
Finding the Positives ( p.86)
Josie talks of bonding with her brother.
I truly think that taking care of my brother helped me better understand my parents and my brother. And I connected with him and bonded with him in a way that I never would have, had I not had the responsibility of watching over him. Now I am the only person that he lets hang all over him and hug him for long amounts of time. We take car rides and only with me does he sit up front. With my parents he sits in the back because he grabs the steering wheel or gear shift, but with me he just sits in the seat and smiles and rocks back and forth to the loud music that my parents probably don't play.