Many families have one. A person within a family unit that has been labelled as the “trouble maker”, “problem child”, the one who rebels and doesn’t fit in with the rest.
I am the black sheep – the oldest – head strong and threatening. My parents were stricter with me than they were with my siblings. My mistakes were blown out of proportion and punished disproportionately. I always felt like I didn’t fit in, and was constantly tattled on by siblings of anything I did and punished for it, therefore I didn’t develop strong connections with them. Instead I was mocked, ridiculed and scapegoated, often being blamed for things other siblings did. Black sheep experience many problems within a family unit. Parents and siblings will often dislike anyone you date or have a relationship with. If you get too headstrong, confident and happier, your family seems intent on bringing you down or convincing you that you are still and will always be viewed as the family problem. If they have ever had to help or support you in any way they want constant acknowledgement that you never would have made it to where you are if they didn’t have to lend a helping hand. Usually they don’t recall how thankful you were for their generosity, only how ungrateful you have become. Therefore pushing you further away from ever asking anything of your family again – actually you will avoid this at all cost even if you are struggling.
You may be an Atheist in a family of Christians, a party animal that didn’t stay in school or had a high school pregnancy. As an adult – you may have experienced abusive marriages, financial collapse or job complications all in the twisted upbringing that brainwashed you into always trying to do better to please your parents so you could fit in with their docile herd of sheep they call a family. Funny enough you’re the one they will talk about at family gatherings, because you are rude, obnoxious, or make poor choices and they wonder where they went wrong. If you are the oldest child you are head-strong and threatening. Younger black sheep sibling tends to be naive and abusable. Either way your contrasting behaviour, personality and likes pasted a bulls eye to your back and you were targeted throughout your life. They may fear you because you are outspoken and bold, having no fear in standing up for what you believe in.
Usually you are outnumbered as the other white sheep will conform and stick together in need for emotional/monetary family support and stability. Your past will follow you into your future and you will always be viewed by any mistakes you have made no matter how much effort you put in trying to correct them. Often families go to great measures to keep the member of the family they’ve unconsciously chosen to be the black sheep that way, otherwise they are forced to face their own inadequacies. So if you’re stuck in a pull-tug relationship with your family where they treat you like crap, but cry and mope when you back away wishing you could all just get along, this is why. Even though you have put your problems behind you, they are still airing them out as dirty laundry.
I was always civil because I’m a good person, but there comes a time in your life when you are still being pushed beyond your own limitations and you snap. Shit happens. Get over it and move forward. It’s not your job to make everyone happy, not everyone is going to like you. So be it. Eventually, you may have cut away from this destructive family dynamic. You are not the cause of your family dysfunction. When a person or group of people need to subconsciously elect someone else to personify their own pain and distress, someone to point the finger at and pin their problems on … these are very unhappy people indeed. They haven’t yet learnt how to consciously handle their feelings of guilt, of insignificance, of embarrassment or disappointment with themselves and their lives.
Because of the black sheep trait – I have excelled in many things, explored many life’s opportunities and are constantly looking for ways in which I can achieve more and continually striving to become a better person – I’m surrounded by amazing supportive friends and a wonderful husband (yes, he’s a black sheep too!) We’ve gone through the best of times and the worst of times and in the end, we are always there for each other. Climbing to the top almost becomes an addiction but somewhere along the way you learn that when you are that determined you can do anything. It’s not all about getting to the top anymore – it’s how you get there that counts. You learn to accept who you are, love yourself and free your mind of the guilt placed on you your entire life. As you become an adult – you can choose who gets to be in your circle. You don’t need to justify your lifestyle to your family. I have many dear friends from relationships decades old who know the “real me” quirks and all and love me for exactly who I am. They are the ones that make me strong, confident and I feel at ease when I’m around them – that’s what I call family.
I get many emails all over the world on a daily basis of people with “black sheep” traits asking for help with their families who don’t understand them and they feel they don’t “fit in”. I hope you take from this article what you need to help you do what’s right for you. Whatever your life holds for you, it is your journey…you are the one in the drivers seat! Your first steps are to recognize your problems – secondly strategize a solution. Most importantly forgive yourself, forgive your family and move on – life is too short.