This thesis aims to explore the power that my personal struggle with sibling overshadowing and bullying had on my personal development, perspective, and character. To accomplish this analysis, I review many current theories in the areas of self-identity, self-confidence, and sibling relationships. I find that there exist theories from psychologists and sociologists, such as Stets, Brody, Kohlberg, and Hetherington, that can provide insight as to why I felt as I did. I discover scientific concepts that explain my stress from being constantly compared to very accomplished siblings. Also, I find that there exists significant research that confirms my inability to trust compliments and feedback in light of at-times low self-esteem. In this personal story, I will apply sociological truths to help decipher my struggle with academic achievement and overshadowing, confidence, and identity. The hope is that this explanation may provide assistance to others in similar circumstances.
In Section 1, I highlighted the 8-year struggle that I faced that had a central focus and emphasis on bullying. I discussed many important ideals, including how grave the bullying in elementary and middle school was and how it shaped me as an individual. I also discussed how sibling overshadowing and comparison contributed to my struggle and growth over the 8-year period in chronological order.
After telling the story in Section 1, I then discussed and did an unbiased theory exploration that attempted to discuss and uncover the theories, relationships, and trends found across three central “themes” presented in Section 1: Sibling Relationships, Self-Identity, and Self-Confidence. I discussed what theories were argued and presented across many famous and well-known researchers, how their work relates to the central theme of interest, and how these theories relate to each other. I found that there were many theories from Stets, Brody, Kohlberg, and Hetherington that provided insight as to why I felt weak and frail. I also found that there was significant research that confirmed my inability to trust compliments and feedback. I lastly discussed some opposing theories by individuals who argued against these same ideas along with the respective amount of weight that they carry over others.
In Section 3, I then took the theories, trends, and relationships presented on these themes in Section 2 from various researchers and integrated them with Section 1, my life experience. Section 3 represents a hybrid discussion of how the theories argued, debated, and explored by researchers relate specifically to moments throughout my life and 8-year struggle. In this section, my goal is to help readers understand how these theories can or can’t relate to someone’s personal experience. I also discussed which theories carry more weight than others based on the volume of research conducted.