Forget ‘Golden Child’ and ‘Black Sheep’ – I Was the ‘Knife Kid’

When discussing unhealthy family dynamics, the conversation is often dominated by talk of the “golden child” and “black sheep.” This has left me at a loss for adequate analysis regarding the role I was forced to play within my own family: I was the “knife kid”, and I have no idea how to process that.


I’m sure there are others like me out there who could benefit from a more in-depth examination of the role the “knife kid” plays within families, right? Like, it’s not just me? I’m not the only one who would wield a rusty knife whenever my parents would tell me to turn off Max & Ruby and go play outside?


Regardless of who’s to blame for “how I got the knife” or “why I was allowed to sleep with it under my pillow every night” – this whole childhood ordeal has left me wondering: was I the villain in my family’s story?


Sure, there’s something to be said about my parents’ failure to prevent me from acquiring the knife. But once I had it, there was no way they could’ve apprehended me. I was a skilled knife kid. So, I don’t really blame them.


I do blame my older sister for not letting me have the last Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tart that fateful Saturday back in 2006, forcing me to brandish my rust-knife, and making things “weird” between us for years to come. If she had just taken one of the Blueberry Pop-Tarts instead, this whole thing would have never happened and maybe I would’ve been allowed to attend her wedding.


However, even if I was the “villain” in childhood, does that mean I’m still the villain today?


They say the family members most likely to heal from their emotional wounds and develop into healthy adults are those who eventually make the decision to pursue therapy. Does this still hold true if I kept a little knife up the sleeve of my Old Navy t-shirt from ages six to 12 and inadvertently inflicted little nicks and scrapes on myself and others? Can I ever truly be “healed” after all that? Do I have tetanus?


At the end of the day, all I can really hope for is an increased interest in the role “knife kids” play within the family structure, and more readily available information on how to overcome the stigma that comes with accidentally turning into a “knife adult” when you reverted to old habits and threatened your roommate with a butterknife after they ate one of your Pop-Tarts without asking. Other people besides me could really benefit from that.