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Your True Birth Order and What it Means with Michelle Payton (September 2020)

Your True Birth Order and What it Means


Claiming the accurate Birth Order title
My first exposure to birth order is when I was reading theories about Adult Children of Alcoholics in the 1980’s. As years passed, information evolved to address the functional and order isn’t as cut and dry as many may think. Claiming the title of youngest, firstborn, middle, or only child has some nuances. To take a closer look, birth order “…is connected to the order of birth and role you played out within the family unit that raised you from infancy and beyond.  There are differing opinions on Birth Order theories.  It becomes quite intricate… as it takes into account years between births, gender Birth Order, physical/mental strengths and weaknesses (handicaps, body build, physical attractiveness…), size of family, adoption…   

Rules of Birth Order Thumb
Some rules of thumb that a variety of experts embrace that have helped me in my baseline work:


If the siblings above you are both five years or more older and younger than you (and/or no siblings are below you or above you), you can take on only child traits.

If you are second in birth line, but the sibling above you is of opposite gender, you are also first born, [… each] opposite gender and can take on first born patterns.

If you are second in birth line, but the sibling above you is handicapped, has problems with physical attractiveness/body build, you may take on the traits of first born (switching Birth Order in essence).

If you are from a large family, the family units can run in fours (first born number one and fourth born youngest). 

Middle children are not always predictable: can be the pleaser or the rebel, but generally a negotiator.

Adopted children can become rebellious at any order.

There are always exceptions to these rules and many, many, many opinions. 

(Excerpt from Birth Mix Patterns: Astrology, Numerology, and Birth Order and their effects on the Past, Present, and Future, pp. 17-18.)

Family Models
Look at some snapshots in time of family models and determine where you fit.

A Family of 4 may not have a Middle child identity. A common assumption is the 14 and 12 year old children would assume that they are Middle children.

(Identifies as) Girl, 16 years old—Firstborn girl, family A
(Identifies as) Boy, 14 years old—Firstborn boy, family A
(Identifies as) Girl, 12 years old—Youngest, family A

(Identifies as) Girl or Boy, 6 years old—Only, family B

A Family of 7 could have three divisions:
(Identifies as) Girl, 20 years old—Only, family A

(Identifies as) Boy, 14 years old—Firstborn boy, family B
(Identifies as) Girl, 12 years old—Firstborn girl, family B
(Identifies as) Boy, 10 years old—Middle, family B
(Identifies as) Girl, 8 years old—Youngest, family B

(Identifies as) Girl, 3 years old—Firstborn, family C
(Identifies as) Girl, 1 year old—Youngest, family C
 
While there is a gap in research for Fluid and Non-binary identities in birth order, it would be reasonable to consider that a family of 4 schematic might show three Firstborns and no Middle child.

(Identifies as) Boy, 14 years old—Firstborn boy, family B
(Identifies as) Girl, 12 years old—Firstborn girl, family B
(Identifies as) Non-binary, 10 years old—Firstborn non-binary, family B
(Identifies as) Girl, 8 years old—Youngest, family B

Personality Traits by Birth Order
Here are some basic traits of each birth order.

“First Born—The Achiever

Personality Theme:  In control.  The one in power.

Role:  Ambitious, goal-oriented, conformist, responsible, organized.

Best at:  Bringing people, projects, events together on time, following rules. 

Challenge(s):  Being too controlling and putting pressure on self and others to perform to their expectations.

Famous Firsts:  Majority of U.S. Presidents and First Ladies, Sir Sean Connery (actor, “James Bond”), Albert Einstein (genius, inventor, E=MC2), William Shakespeare (author).

Only—The Turbo Achiever

Personality Theme:  The Center of the World.  Independent Creator.

Role:  Goal-oriented, accumulator of knowledge, independent problem solver/creator.

Best at:  Planning, setting and reaching goals that clearly benefit the Only. 

Challenge(s):  Seeing past the “Only” way. 

Famous Onlies:  Third ranked Birth Order for U.S. Presidents and First Ladies including Bill Clinton (9 year gap between brother) and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lena Horne (African American singer in beginning early 20th century), Leonardo da Vinci (painter, inventor, genius visionary), Elizabeth Dole (“Only” but youngest charm, Senator, 2000 U.S. Presidential hopeful/never ran)

Middle—The Negotiator
Personality Theme:
  Weaving own dreams with realism.
Role:  Diplomat, negotiator, risk-taker, competitor (larger family, at times less competitive).
Best at:  Compromising.  Making friends.  Being flexible and cooperative.  
Challenge(s):  Confrontation (rather please others) but can be rebel, independent, stubborn, and/or secretive (sometimes), competitiveness varies.

Famous Middles:  Second ranked Birth Order for U.S. Presidents and First Ladies, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (French Military Leader), Charles Darwin (naturalist on evolution and natural selection), Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco, Donald Trump (entrepreneur, real estate developer)

Youngest—The Charmer
Personality Theme:
  Enjoy life.  Outgoing.  Expressive.
Role:  Fun, funny, people person, loving and lovable. 
Best at:  Working with small groups or one-on-one.  Creative, innovative thinking since they are more fun-loving, open and feel less pressure to perform.
Challenge(s):  Listening.  Being  grown up.  Following rules (question authority). 

Famous Youngests:  Last ranked Birth Order for U.S. Presidents and First Ladies but includes Ronald Reagan, Thomas Edison (inventor—light bulb and devices to expand usage, alkaline battery, motion picture camera…), Mohandas Gandhi (lawyer, peace activist), Mark Twain (author of classics like Huckleberry Finn).”

(Excerpts from Birth Mix Patterns: Astrology, Numerology, and Birth Order and their effects on the Past, Present, and Future, pp. 80-87.)


Order just Is

Remember that there is no good or bad order; the order just is. People have good days, bad days, and influences that create shifts. Dive deeper to decide how this fits for you.

More on Birth Mix Patterns
For more details on Birth Mix Patterns, Michelle has written three books on this subject, and they can be purchased at Crystal Visions. Training for free and fee can be found in the Education section on MichellePayton.com.

About Michelle
Michelle A. Payton is an academic and wholistic developmental and growth mindset professional, is the author of 9 mind-over-matter books, facilitates individual sessions and workshops at Crystal Visions, and teaches English at a local college. Find more information about Michelle and her offerings at www.MichellePayton.com