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  • Olivia Sanders
    Olivia Sanders

    How You Experience Heartbreak Depends on Your Birth Order

    When it comes to navigating heartbreak, not all experiences are created equal. Birth order could be a key determinant in the types of heartache an individual may endure in their personal relationships and the ways they cope with and approach the pain associated with it.

    We’ve all seen or experienced firsthand how family dynamics can play out when a new baby is brought into the house. Birth order often creates a set of rules, expectations and roles that parents, siblings, and family members adhere to on a daily basis. The birth order of a child in the family can determine if that child made feel like an afterthought in the family unit, or cherished as special and unique.

    In the same way that birth order has the power to alter relationships within family units, it similarly has the capacity to influence how an individual deals with the tumultuous causes and effects of a broken heart. As painful and disruptive as heartbreak is, firstborns, middle children and babies of the family may cope and handle the experience differently.

    Firstborns may tend to take heartache very personally. Those who were blessed with being the oldest in the family may be prone to falling into the psychology of mortality, viewing themselves as unworthy and unlovable. These feelings are often deep-rooted and ingrained within firstborns who typically got more attention from their parents and may be used to being successful in everything they do no matter the consequences. Consequently, firstborns often feel as if they can’t bear to fail, not even when it comes to their hearts.

    Middle children, on the other hand, are usually the mediators of the family, so it comes as no surprise that those born in the middle often have difficulties dealing with heartache. Individuals with this birth order can be sensitive and creative, which can cause them to take any setback or break up to heart and view it as rejection. Middle children tend to internalize the pain, leading them to detach and withdraw emotionally rather than talk openly about it.

    As the youngest in the family, babies of the family get plenty of attention and care. However, due to their lack of experience and immaturity, they may have challenges recognizing the signs of an unhealthy relationship or a bad decision. Not up to par with the rest of the family yet, they may possess a short fuse and act out aggressively to mask their heartache. Babies of the family may also feel as if they need to be rescued from the situation and do whatever it takes to restore themselves to the "hero" status that they’re accustomed to receiving.

    No matter your birth order, heartbreak is an emotionally taxing and challenging event. It requires a great deal of understanding, emotionality and recovery. While birth order won't dictate how you will process heartache, acknowledging how it can affect you can help provide insight into how you cope with it and how to direct yourself to move forward positively. Everyone's recovery journey is different, and it’s important to grant yourself the time, space and thoughtfulness to securely work through the fragile pieces of a broken heart.

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