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OCS

Posted by Sue on June 24, 2009 in Deep Thoughts, Life, Self-exploration |

Those of you who have been around for awhile know what that means. It is shorthand for “Only Child Syndrome”. I'm not sure it is anything that actually exists in any medical journal, but it certainly exists in me. My husband is the one who first pegged it and gave it the name and it has grown from a small joke to a large reality. It covers a wide range of “symptoms” including

  • The ability to totally entertain myself – I actually have more interests than I have time in the day, hours in the week, weeks in the month, etc.

  • I can stay at my home for an indefinite amount of time as long as I have food, water, electricity, heat, and either reading material or my computer with an operating internet connection.

  • I don't like to share. Not even with the people closest to me. This means sharing food, property, or feelings.

  • I am a deep thinker… but it mainly all stays in my head.

  • Yes, I talk to myself. Yes, I also answer myself. I know that is supposed to mean something. Deal with it.

My husband teases me that he is lucky I even let him hang around. He's more accurate than I think he even realizes. I've spoken before about being a bad friend. I've tried to analyze that about myself at some point I made at least one connection into a truth about myself. When I was young my parents and I moved a lot. I was a very shy child (am still a shy adult) and although I was bright, it was difficult to make friends in new schools and new neighborhoods. I had no older siblings to pave the way or younger ones to protect. I pulled the shell around myself and kept the walls up, just doing the work and moving through life alone.

The few times I had friendships as a child, they were rocky relationships at best. One of the closest relationships I had was when I was in third, fourth and fifth grades. We lived in a fairly small town and at that point my parents were still “normal”… they hadn't gone into their psychotic phase yet. I had two girls who lived on my block who were my age, one living right next door. Well, you know what happens when there are three. There is always one on the 'out'… and it always seemed that there is an alpha female who is always playing the second friend off against the third. We were no different. As close as we were, it was a painful situation at least a third of the time.

Now as an adult I've had some friendships that I consider good, but for one reason or another they've gone south. When I watch movies or shows where women have such good friendships, ala “Sex in the City”, I wonder why I don't have those types of friends. Then I remember that I don't put up with a lot of b.s., prefer to say what I'm thinking, have a hard time playing the “part”, hate mind games, don't like shopping without a goal, prefer my family's company to others. See? It even sounds bad when I put it like that, doesn't it? I don't dislike the friends I've had, I just don't cultivate it. I don't nuture it. I don't grow it. Friendship takes work. Any relationship takes work. My husband is my best friend, my kids come a close second. I haven't found anyone else I have been able to trust and love with all my heart enough to work at the relationship. I always feel like I'm wearing a mask when I'm with other people – that people aren't seeing the authentic “me”.

As lucky as my husband says he feels… I feel I am the lucky one. Lucky to have someone who has the love and patience to put up with me, quirks and all. Someone who has learned to live with my OCS and love me in spite of it. (Thanks, honey.)

7 Comments

  • cmk says:

    I suffer OCS–and I have a brother! But, he IS 5 years younger than me, so that might explain it. 🙂 Glad to know there are others like me out there, only I don’t know if it is something I should admit to, as I am NOT an only child! 😉

  • Nat says:

    Funny, from the sounds of things I have it too. (I have a younger sister who is 3 and a half years younger than I am.) I’m not so shy anymore, but I work at it.

    And apart from The Man, I have few close friends. In fact, I am a bit skeptical of people who have relationships like that… it’s just there isn’t that much emotional crap I care to share. I just need people get it, instinctively. I’m awful no?

  • Q says:

    Oh yeah, I’ve got that!

  • Lisa says:

    Although I have a sister, you just described me perfectly!

  • Becky says:

    I think it’s also harder to make friends as you get older. The walls are higher and much thicker and, I at least, have far less patience, I guess. That being said, my family dynamic has always been awkward for me, so friends have always been a source of comfort, esp. when I lived in so many places without any family. But, I’d say that I’m still “closer” to friends I made in high school and college than most I’ve met since.

  • Modo says:

    OCS? My closest friend is 1800 miles away in Iowa, you tell me.

  • Janet says:

    In some ways I have OCS, but I must say I never had a problem sharing. I always hated that most people thought that about most only children, not to say it can’t be true. It just was never true in my case. But the entertaining oneself indefinitely? Totally.

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