In family therapy we often see that the middle child is invisible. They often feel unseen, not valued.
Interesting that my daughter, who was the only child of my first marriage, became the middle child of my second marriage. Could that have caused this feeling in her?
Yes, but there was more.
When she was in her twenties, she described the feeling of leaving her father behind at age two, when she and I moved to California. It was her second birthday, (some birthday present!) She can remember being on the plane, aching inside and feeling completely powerless to do anything about it.
Most of her early years she remembers feeling that she had to be perfect because my life was in such chaos. (Her dad had an affair when she was six months old which continued off and on for four years.)
And I thought I did a good job of shielding her from it! I always talked to her, told her it wasn't her fault, told her Daddy loved her, and tried not to cry in front of her. (Her Dad and I didn't fight.)
Words don't mean much to a child before the age of seven.
Her father rejoined us in California four months later, but then left again a year-and-a-half after that. She was four, and formed the belief that she wasn't valuable. She wasn't worth fighting for. (I wouldn't know that for another 20 years.)
Even though I tried my best to reassure her that I would always be here for her, it wasn't enough.
These are the beliefs that can cripple you for life unless you find them. She didn't know they were there. But after some therapy and feeling invisible in her marriage a few years, plus having trauma happen to her youngest, the feelings surfaced.
The crisis was fortunate for her, but not for her marriage, it wasn't real enough.
I had learned about getting these kinds of beliefs healed a decade ago. Realizing them and deciding to own them and do something about them, have made major shifts in her life, good ones for her. But sad to say, it will be years before we know how the lives of three little boys will be affected.
Is it true that if she is better, they will be? I hope so. I need to watch Brene Brown again.
I believe I got better from my divorce--but did she? Those beliefs--lies--that stuck in her, coloring everything, affected her long before she found them.
And so with all of us... God, help us find them! Make us uncomfortable and brave enough to face them! And then give us truth for the asking.
That is all it takes to heal them!
And I do believe that God will bring good out of everything if we are cooperating with Him.