OCS: Only Child Syndrome

Not to be confused with OCD. OCS is a condition found normally in people who are, well the “only child”(OC).  These are not your common characteristic traits of Only Children. If you want those, I’m sure physchologist or child devlopment reseracher,  have doucmented several experiements.  These symptons are the odd, less obvious, less talked about. Every OC, I meet, I now asked them if they suffer from the same things that I’m getting ready to describe.  I have yet to meet an OC, that doesn’t suffer from alteast one of these symptoms.

1. The Shutdown: The completely and abrupt stop of all social and friendly communication. This commonly occurs at casual social gatherings. At random gatherings, I can be enjoying myself, socializing and partaking in the moment if you will, and if OCS kicks in I shutdown tighter than Fort Knotts. Normally the verbal responses become  short, yet tactful. Then it quickly evolves to non-verbal communication; head-shakes, shrugs, facial expressions.  We normally don’t remove ourselves physically from the crowds. We sit quietly and observe amongst the crowd.  Attentive, but just not very responsive, nor receptive to communication.  We usually only drift away, when non-verbal communication is no longer effective enough to satisfy the conversationalist. The shutdown’s duration, is highly dependent on the individual, and the situation. Most often the shutdown, is uncontrollable, unpredictable, which leads to problems at times.

2. The Bubble. The transparent wall of protection, commonly placed around an activity.  It’s like we really don’t want to be bothered, but we allow engagement, and it’s very controlled. For instance, when I paint, I do it in my room, listening to easy music. I normally leave the door open to “invite” spectators in.  But I normally place objects around me to prevent people from getting to close.  The bubble is more often abstract rather than physical. We use body language and gestures, and subtle verbal phrases to let people known, that what we are doing, is for us and us only. Similar to a bubble, you can see through it fine(Allowing observation), gently you can touch it(ask questions and converse in small talk), but not to hard, because it’ll pop(You can not take part, or ask too many questions or stay for long periods). 

3. The Jewel; The holding and up-keeping of a special item. I’m sure that some of us have items; teddy bears, lockets, and such that we hold on to, because they hold a very special place in ourhearts or lives. Perhaps someone special gave us the item, or we found comfort in it.  We as OC’s don’t hold on to special items for the same reason as decribed before, I’ve discoverd that we choose the very random items. We have a higher percentage of keeping this item in tact and with us.  I still have a comforter,  I had as a child.   The “jewel” is more likely to be an everyday item, that for some reason, we just can’t let go of. With the case of my comforter,  it wasn’t given to me, it was simply my bed spread. It is a Garfield,  twin -size comforter, that I have had since I was two years old. I still use it today. Whenever I’m home, I will use it, regardless of where I’m sleeping, bed couch, floor, in the heat or cold. It doesn’t have a nickname, it’ not oddly small, or colored. When I move a great distance from home, it’s coming with me, that’s for sure. Guess you can call me Linus, or something. 

4. The Ranking of Friends: The compulsive, ranking of friends. This is something that I’ve found myself doing, constantly. I thought maybe I was, just being a little odd, but when I asked several Only Children, about this, they, surprising admitted to this or something similar, such as groupings. I will normally rank my friends from Best to Worst. Think of it as Speed Dial, the higher on the list the more I value the friendship. More so, what do you bring to the friendship table. Do you call often to hang out? Do you make me feel good?, Do you just call me when you need something? Are you dependable? The more you bring, the higher on the list you are?  I think it stems from our reliance on other people for things. As Only children growing up, we at first rely on adults for help, and then ourselves, this causes us to view people by the criteria of how  much they can do for us when we are little.  It’s sad, but true.

5. Super Autonomous Person: Built in, by years of self-independence. The most obvious and weaker of the OCS symptons. An OC will normally do things, alone, that are commonly done together.  We can dine alone, go to the movie by ourselves, and in general entertain ourselves with out much help. We as only children tend to prefer working by ourselves. That’s not to say that we don’t work well in groups or teams, we just prefer to work alone.  There’s something about accomplishing a project solo, that’s just more rewarding.  We take the “borrowing” or “stealing” of ideas extremely personal.

I started 22 different drafts of the the past week and was only able to type about 3 lines, but I have returned, and  you know what it feels good to be back! 🙂


30 Responses

  1. wow is all i have to say..I never knew.. lol…

    thanks for dropping by on my blog as well mate much appreciated


  2. Justin!

    Did you take #5 from me? I apologize for closing off comments… (hey, did I just embody #1 and #5 in one post there?) on that one entry… but ‘The Shutdown’ is a pretty strong force.

    The Bubble is an interesting aspect, especially when one is in a relationship. I’m trying to react to #5 by doing #1 and retreating to my #2 (not the other Number Two), and being comforted by my #3 — while trying to figure out how this new individual fits into my #4.

    Not to mention the real world. There are probably a plethora of issues associated with that. Agh. Like doing the whole ‘team player’ thing in the office while trying to maintain a strong sense of #5.

  3. Woops — I’m on my other WP account… normally you know me as 25cents. 🙂

  4. LOL,

    Corinne/25 cents, you slipped about about two weeks ago, with a comment, and I figure you= 25 cents. Great comment above. I though you would enjoy, being an OC yourself.

    I would never take your ideas, cause of #5, But you did mention it, and jogged my memory of much #5, bothers me/us. 🙂

  5. i don’t think #5 is a weak aspect… maybe it’s more dominant in me… due to my passionate personality. Which is probably derivative of my Leo-ness. Explosive combination.

  6. OMG, Justin, this is so true for me, an OC.

    I just don’t have a #3 consistently. It changes and/or I have a bunch of little things that make me happy.

    I assumed that a lot of #1 and #2 traits of mine were because I was born with a bad hearing loss and had hearing aids (technically still have to but that’s another story).

    Great post and it’s not something you can just write; I can see it perculating through several drafts to get it just right. Would perfectionism/black-white (or all or nothing) thinking be a part of OCS too?

  7. […] think it’s mostly a result of my headstrong OCS (see Justin V’s post) personality clashing with the whole relationshippy concept. You know, the part where it states I […]

  8. I have a hard time sharing food. I’ve never had to. Funny thing is, I don’t have a problem with other people’s food.
    I can also make myself laugh pretty easily. It’s still a mysetry to me what OCS and behaviors consist of.
    Thanks for bringing it up to my attention.

  9. Well, well, well. Really interesting. To start with, my name is Justin too. I am an only child.. ohh.. and I guess I experience a bit of every condition you mentioned..

    Actually, I’m a very insecure person and i’m always searching for answers, why things happen. Most of the time i’m unhappy in my life and insecure about every single thing. (Insecurity is also a common thing in only childs). This behaviour has led me to be what I (and others) call a ‘strategist’. Others might disregard me as a CCC (Confused Confusing Confuser) just for being as I am..

  10. Justin, (sounds odd)

    Thanks for stopping by the blog. I’ve also had issues with being insecure, and I think it can be common among only children. CCC that’s an interesting term. I lik it. LOL

  11. Thank you for the post
    I had to share this with my only other only child friend
    I completely relate to every step…some more than others though…The Bubble completely and The Jewel but I never even thought of it as an only child thing…just a quirk

    and I just went to an entire film festival by myself and that was just last weekend so #5

  12. Lorena, thanks for stopping by the blog.. I’m glad my post could be some use for you. LOL.. a film fest., COOL.. that’s what I’m talking about.

  13. This describes me to a tee!!! My friends just don’t get me. I can’t wait to share this with them 🙂

  14. Renee,

    Thanks for officially stopping by the blog. I’m glad you can relate to this post. Share share Share.. LOL

  15. I am an OC, my husband is an OC and our son is an OC. (Really small family…LOL). As I read these symptoms I tried to fit them to each of us. I can somewhat relate to #2 and I can really see this more in my son’s behavior. #5 really sounds all three of us. The last sentence in #5 sounds exactly like my son. He is very creative and totally freaks if someone tries to steal his ideas. Even at the young age of 11, he is already talking about copyrighting his artwork and characters he has created because his friends keep trying to copy his ideas.

  16. WOW…..I never knew that # 3,4,&5 was an OC thing. I am an OC & I plan to raise my son as an OC, but now I’m not sure if I want him to have these issues.

  17. I’m NOT an OC and I also do alot of these so-called “issues” listed. I personally wouldn’t call them “conditions” because I see them as strengths and not a disease or imperfection. It just means you can own yourself. Be proud!!!

  18. Hey there Justin! Cool post. #4?…Oh so true. I would even take it further and say that OCs are extremely loyal friends….esp. since we usually keep our pickings slim.

    My fave is #2…I still have my stuffed poodle from when I was 1 month old (baby shower gift, I guess lol). Thx 4 sharing :).

  19. Asheselah,

    Thanks for stopping by the blog. Glad you could indentify with the post. I just returned from and yes, I slept with my Garfield blanket. LOL

  20. This was a great read, and so true! I can identify with 4 out of 5 of your points. Scary to say, I am a typical OC!!

  21. This is extremely informative and interesting, as I can relate to all of these points (Bar 3 to a certain extent), and yet I am not an only child.

    I’m the youngest of two children and me and my older sister get on extrememly well.

    Someone mentioned OCS to me when I was telling them how if I was an outsider looking at myself, I would detest that person (the person that I am.)

    Thank you for this.

  22. Hello Justin,

    I’ve been searching all night for info and articles about OC’s. My boyfriend (maybe ex) was an OC until he was 15 but was on his own at 16. I’ve only just recently began to think that a lot of his “issues” are related to being an OC. We’ve been together for 20 months and from the beginning I’ve struggled with why he always behaves as though the world revolves around him and that all of his thoughts and feelings are correct and not to be challenged. He exhibits ALL of the traits you talked about and some. I know that sounds bad but the truth is he is equally as wonderful. My question to you is in addition to the issues you wrote about do you find for yourself or have you heard/read about other OC’s who struggle with “The World Revolves Around Me” issues? He genuinely doesn’t seem to know how to be considerate or think of my feelings. Eg. He once turned the radio off while I was listening to it and singing then get offended that I was upset. I recognize that some of this behavior is extreme and may have to do with other issues but I’ve heard that this may also be fairly common with OC’s. What are your thoughts? I enjoyed your article. Thanks

  23. I guess in addition to those questions I want to know if you’ve experienced or heard that OC’s have difficult times “letting people in” in intimate relationship. They don’t know how to “share” their lives.

  24. Kellie,

    Thanks for stopping by the blog. Welll you ex is presenting some of the more infamous traits of OC’s. Most of his behavior just seems a little selfish and inconsiderate. You will have to be the judge on that. I personally dont’ have TWRAM issue or mentality, but I know OC’s that do, hell I know spoil children that do as well..

    OC’s usually have a hard time compromising. They see it as not getting their way. But if they would take the time, the would see they can have their way and EVERYONE else can be happy as well.

    Honestly it is a little harder for OCs to open up to people in relationships.. Much eariler in my relationships I would hold stuff in. I just couldn’t communicate correctly. But i never misreated anyone for they sake of my selfish. Did I possible hurt people with my barriers and sometimes pouty moods, yes.. I’m sure, but then again everyone gets like that sometimes.

    I suggest trying to talk things out with your guy. Make it a game somehow (we tend to be competivite), or communicate in way that works for both of you.

    Best of Luck

  25. wow, you hit this right on point, couldnt be more accurate, this is me!

  26. you explained me to myself. thank you! do you have more written insights on this topic?

  27. I have trouble with all unverbal forms of connection/communication because (#1&#2) mainly through my body language touching and my “vibe” I was unaware that I was sending out these signals until someone told me, thank god they did I guess. I am kind of a loner but have had many very close friends friendship circles, I’m confident & good in large social settings most of the time.
    This OCS has effected me massively in relationships with women and I have been single for too long. I am becoming depressed & frustrated. I gave up on trying to be with someone for a long time & was dealing with it in my own way, basically blocking it out. But recently I have opened up my hart for someone who has now bailed which I knew was going to happen I just didn’t think so quickly, probably something to do with my mental issues & probably her’s too. I could feel myself changing while I was with here becoming more open to everyone which I really liked. Now I no longer have that (connection) I feel my self going back to the (bubble) But now that I have felt “it/love” again I don’t want to go back to blocking my issues out & giving up on relationships. I want to work on dealing with these OCS issues. I (and everyone around me) always knew there was something wrong with me (when it came to relationships) now I know what it is which is the beginning of fixing it and I am very eager to start. Thank you for your page & I would be very greatful for any suggestions.

  28. I can totally relate to all five points and have at one time or another done each one Shutdown is my favorite. Maybe I am in denial, but I don’t consider OCS an issue. I think each individual first, last, middle or only child would have some sort of personality characterestics that apply to the person they have become. Since we are the minority in the population its deemed an issue or “abnormal”.
    Great post Justin V,!!

  29. I am the grown up child of a mom who was an only child. She was completely detached from her family. Went running to her mommy & daddy every chance she got. Never EVER parents my brother or myself. Was and is one of the most selfish pieces of crap I have ever known. Hate her guts. She is accomplished just like myself & my brother and father. She hated me for taking attention away from her the Princess. She was so verbally abusive you can’t imagine. And she made me look bad every chance she got. SHE WILL DIE A HEAD CASE WHO I LOATH. My dad same thing. I raised myself, got my own confidence somehow and made it. All my friends hated my mom too. She was a purely evil self indulging, want her way at all cost, bitch.

    My daughter is now in love with a singleton spoiled ass brat too. His mommy does everything for him except wipe his ass. I am so frightened for her. I am so anti-single children because time and again I see how different their behaviors are and I don’t care what books say they are the same as everyone else, they are NOT. I lived with one and she is dead to me and has always been dead. Oh and btw, after a bout of self hatred towards myself in my teens because of bitch face mom and some very bad avenues I chose for a while there I recovered with my life in tact. My brother no the other hand he was an anorexic/bolemic all his life until he was 32 years old. Mentally very disturbed and at 50 years old he is still very off center in a big way.

    Don’t think singles are f in the head think again…………..not all but most that i have met.

  30. Sue,
    Because your mother had problems does not mean it was because she was a “single” as you put it. Maybe she was/is detached from you because she hated/hates you and thinks you are a mistake (which you are). You are very narrow minded and need to get a grip on reality. You seem to be the one with the issues.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: