Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Father of Middle Child Syndrome

Profiles in Middledom: #3 in a series, featuring Middle Children (real-life or otherwise) who have earned their place in the pantheon of birth order oblivion.

     Alfred Adler is considered by many to be one of the three great psychologists of the 20th century, along with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. But you probably never heard of him. How fitting for the man who laid the groundwork for the condition any self-respecting Middle Child claims to be afflicted with.
     A Middle Child himself (the 2nd of 7), Dr. Adler was one of the first to suggest that birth order influences personality. He theorized Middle Children would be the most likely member of the family to be rebellious and feel squeezed-out.
Dr. Alfred Adler: From
“Who's Who?” to “Who?
     Back in the day, Freud and Adler were like brothers, complete with some serious psycho-sibling rivalry. When Adler broke away from Freudian psychoanalysis and formed his own school of thought called Individual Psychology, Freud was infuriated. He issued an ultimatum to his fellow members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society to either drop Adler or be expelled. (NOTE: Freud had two siblings 20+ years older from his father's first marriage. He was the first born from his father's third marriage, with seven younger siblings. While technically a Middle Child, he's what some would call a “functional first born.” That might explain a few things.)
     Sadly, Dr. Adler never received credit for many of his theories that
have become accepted as part of modern psychology. In fact, according to psychohistorian Henri F. Ellenberger, “It would not be easy to find another author from which so much has been borrowed on all sides without acknowledgement than Alfred Adler.” What an appropriately twisted tribute. Just what the Middle Child doctor ordered.

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Middle Children need to be heard!