6 Sad Reasons Why A Family Creates A Black Sheep

I’m the black sheep of my family,”

said the young man who sat before me in my therapy office. I tried to imagine this adorable, sad young man being the “black sheep” of anything. I couldn’t.

Generally considered the outcast of the family, the black sheep is typically assumed to be an oddball. Furthermore, the rest of the family believes that the black sheep brought this upon himself.

It is true that sometimes the black sheep is indeed “odd” by anyone’s standards (sometimes the result of a hidden mental illness). Or she may be a sociopath who violates the family’s boundaries and care, so that the family has to exclude her to rightfully protect themselves.

But surprisingly, very seldom is either of these scenarios actually the case. Many, many black sheep are lovable folks with much to offer their families and the world. In fact, they are often the best and brightest. They may be the most creative of the family, or the one with the most powerful emotions.

In truth, the world is full of black sheep. Think hard. Does your family have one? This question is not as easy to answer as it may seem, for many black sheep are not physically excluded from the family. For most, it’s much more subtle. The exclusion is emotional. 

Three Signs That Your Family Has a Black Sheep: 

  1. One member often, over a long period of time, seems hurt or angry for no apparent reason.
  2. One person is often, and on a long-term basis, talked about negatively behind his back. “He’s so annoying,” “What a weirdo/disappointment/loser/fill in the blank.”
  3. One member is subtly not invited to certain family occasions or left out of the loop on family news. 

So if most black sheep aren’t actually weirdos who brought their exclusion upon themselves, what would cause a family to treat one of their own this way? The real cause does not lie within any individual family member. No. Instead it’s a product of family dynamics.

Here are the sources that I see most often.

The Six Top Family Dynamics Which Result in a Black Sheep:

  1. The child who has the least in common with the parents. This child sticks out because of his personality, temperament or interests. The parents are baffled by him and inadvertently treat him differently, which spreads to the siblings.
  2. The best and the brightest. This child threatens to outperform or outshine one or both of the parents. Either consciously or unconsciously, the parents sabotage her to hold her back. This way, they won’t lose her and they won’t have to feel badly about themselves in comparison to her.
  3. The child most prone to depression or anxiety. The child with intense or dark feelings or thoughts which the parents cannot understand may frighten them. At a loss about how to help, they may just keep him at a distance.
  4. Sibling rivalry. In this family, there is simply not enough attention or love to go around. One or both of the parents is limited in some way; by mental illness, personality disorder, or substance abuse for example. The siblings must jockey for whatever they can get.
  5. A parent who despises himself deep down. This parent can appear to be quite loving of her children, so she can be difficult to spot. But she is unable to tolerate certain aspects of herself, so she projects those traits onto a chosen child, and despises him instead. It is an unconscious coping mechanism that happens outside of the parent’s awareness.
  6. Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN): the child who is the most invisible. In this family, all of the children may get the subtle (or not-so-subtle) message that their feelings don’t matter. But one is better at hiding his own needs, feelings, and self than the others. This child literally disappears from the family’s radar screen and is ignored. He becomes persona non grata. He is the one who matters the least.

With any of the six causes above, the excluded or targeted child senses early on that he must be different, bad or inferior. In a case of self-fulfilling prophecy, he learns to play his role in the family. Often, he plays it very well.

What should you do if you recognize your family in these words? It is indeed difficult to turn around entrenched family dynamics like these.  But you can make a difference:

Choose to see your family through a more complex lens.

Ask yourself: Is this right? Is this the person that I want to be? Is this how I want to treat my sibling or child?

Share this article with chosen members of your family.

Look at your black sheep with fresh eyes and notice what you’ve never seen before.

Open your heart and your little section of the family circle.

Let your black sheep know that you reclaim him.

If you are a Black Sheep:

You are right to be baffled and confused. Nothing is as simple as it has always seemed. Know that you have value. And it is not your fault. Watch for a future post: Message to the Black Sheep of the World.

To learn more about Childhood Emotional Neglect, how and why it happens, and how it affects all of the children in the family see Running on Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships 

This article was originally published on Psychcentral.com and has been republished here with the permission of the author and PsychCentral


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Ricky - February 19, 2021 Reply

I am the eldest of three, I was adopted by my step father because my biological father didn’t want me. Growing up I always knew something wasn’t right. I could hear my “dad” say excuse him he is a drug baby. Everything I did was wrong. My dad is a preacher and yes I have sinned and he would point it out and get angry. I had children out of wedlock. My dad and my grandma refused to hold my daughter when she was born because she was born out of wedlock, they don’t condone sin. But yet my brother who is my dads blood, pride and joy had two children out of wedlock and they held his kids. And he still isn’t married. When I get introduced it’s (my brother)hey this is my son who works in law enforcement and (me)”O”and umm this is my other son. (said it quick) Anytime he mentions me is yea I have good boy he saves me money at the hardware store. I work crazy hours and I still do everything around the house and the church for him and my mom when they ask and even times where they don’t whereas my siblings don’t. My sister lives far away and complains all the time about anything and everything they do, she is ungrateful for what they do for her. My children even suffer they are work horses just like me and yet he judges my children and not my siblings kids with short skirts, on their phones ignoring people, and are brats. My brothers oldest son told my wife one day at the store, she told him to get one thing in the store per what my dad said and he said he can have whatever he wants. (Spoiled rich kids) And one year I thought about taking a management job at the coast and they still had my old phone number listed as my parents house and he found out and said he would never visit us but he has vacation houses there and yet drove 100s of miles to see my sister. When I got a bigger place to live he helped give me a boost with like $5000 which I am grateful for but I paid the majority of it back. I am the poorest out of the three. My brother gets a free place from him turns around and sells for almost $40,000. My wife is tired of it and wants to move 1000s of miles away. I told her I am use to it and I have to be like a duck and let it roll off my back. She has been real patient but I fear she will break and just pick her stuff up and move and never look back. She keeps telling me its wrong, and we will be doing everything when they get to where they can’t do for themselves and that my siblings would just come around if it benefits them. Granted I am done wrong, I still can’t leave my parents knowing how my siblings are. After they pass my siblings are materialistic and will sell everything and I will be left with a broken heart.

Sandy - February 17, 2021 Reply

I am one of seven ….. not the youngest but the next to youngest girl then one more sister and a baby brother . Six girls and one boy . From a very dysfunctional , abusive child rearing . Father was a very narcissistic alcoholic that had multiple affairs while married to my mother for 25 years . My mother was a martyr of sorts and lived the role of a string yet helpless victim her while married life !
Fast forward …. after all of my siblings and myself have grown into adults and had children of our own things seemed strained at times but everyone could still get along when we all gathered for family functions …. until we no longer could …. if that makes sense .
I have one sister that has always been the focal point of vanity and conciet . She was always hefty … not hard on the eyes exactly but not one to fixate on either …. but she always had a superior attitude that she was entitled to the best of what my family had …..no matter how trivial it might have been .
As adults at one time or another one of my siblings have been outcast ….. this one sister seems to be in the center of every outcast episode yet has never been outcast herself ….. she thinks and acts like her cheating alcoholic husband and kids are above everyone else’s …. she has the backing of my mother to an extent that my mother just says she can’t control what her adult kids do ….
Long story short she has now targeted my two children and my family …we are the outcast now . I know that all these years I have been left out of a lot of family get togethers for what ever reasons ….I have dealt with that knowing the dynamics of how things work ….. but when my children are targeted for bad behavior of adults that have never learned to move out of the abusive ways they were raised in start to take shape … I had to draw the line .
I addressed the issue with my mother … she told me that basically I cold just come around when no other family members were gathered together … for me this was not acceptable . My mother has always been in favor of whom ever had something for her … in other words if she had something to gain …she would be in favor of who ever held the prize …. sad but I learned that early in my own childhood life .
So if my own mother doesn’t see the pitiful sad manipulative daughter that is the root of every sibling being cast out at one time or another and this particular daughter never being cast out how does a situation like this pan out …. in a healthy way ? Other than me being the one to walk away ….
The emotional roller coaster and broken heart of bad behavior from the clique my sister has formed with in my siblings what else is there to do ?
My mother is in her 80’s …. willnever change ….. will always side with this sister ….other siblings will follow ….. what is left ?

Michael - February 2, 2021 Reply

I relate all too well with this article. I am one of 7 children and the only boy at that. I have one younger sister and 5 older sisters. My mother told me all my life I was the reason she had so many kids because she wanted “her son”. I feel that put an enormous amount of weight on my shoulders. Growing up with all girls, and my dad being a workaholic I couldn’t really identify who I was nor who I could relate to other than all my sisters. Which, isn’t the best way for an only boy to feel understood. I was often overwhelmed with the feeling of isolation due to there being an off-balance of girls to myself. I always had the image that they were more important because they overwhelmed my mother and fathers (very rarely) attention and in essence had me thinking I was just kind of “there”… I have recently tried to form bo of a bond with my father, growing up I worked with him in his trade, but with his own moving business locally. He is an amazing hard worker, but that seems to be the extent of things we have common ground on. I’ve also recently tried to express myself and come to an understanding why I never said anything when I was younger. I’ve came to the conclusion that I didn’t have words for the emotions I had at that young of an age. I am now going to be 28 in October, and after spending 6 years with my ex girlfriend I moved back home in 2018 only to be told by my parents that “anything we do for you after 18 is a gift.” I don’t blame them, I kind of blame myself for having taken so long to be born, hence the reason my mom felt a need for me to be in this world. But also, I struggle with the fact that with being the only boy, I never remember a time where my mental health was important with living in this hectic, chaotic, confusing outlook of being surrounded by women. I was always a quiet child, never played in the dirt like a normal boy (my mother didn’t let my father spend time doing certain “boy” things with him) so in the end I feel I was extremely compromised and trying to address my emotions and not sounding bitter while getting the correct feedback from them seems almost impossible & I’m “emotionally unstable and need to be put on medication” when all I really need is for them to understand me and try to spend more time with me. Till this day my father is still obsessed with working and finding ways to make money. Our relationship is as abundant as an empty nest. I’m never considered, often my ideas and interests get overridden by what they presume to be “better” or more “effective” in what knowledge I am trying to gain. I truly feel alone, unrelatable, and desperate for a normal family bond. I’ve felt this way since I didn’t have a way to express these feelings as a young child.

Kimberly - February 1, 2021 Reply

I am the baby of 4 children; 2 boys and 2 girls. There is a significant age difference: 60 brother, 58 sister, 52 brother and I’m 49 female. When I was young, I was told by my siblings that I was adopted and my own mother even told me that she was not supposed to have anymore kids after her third son. I was vocal, loved to talk, sing, loved having an audience and always seemed to be seeking acceptance and attention but was met with mostly “Kimberly shut up, quit talking so much, move, go away, be quiet, leave me alone, not now”. I remember all of this from a young age and it still hurts thinking about it. As I grew up I was accomplished in school and career and found my voice and people who liked for me to talk, engage and had time for me. In my teenage years and early 20’s I had an unhealthy attachment to my parents, not wanting to live far from them and staying as involved with them as I could (I don’t know why I did this as I was married and had my own family). My first husband noticed early on the fact that I was ignored, pushed aside and disregarded at family gatherings and it made him very mad to the point that he would speak up on my behalf, which usually ended in us leaving with me in tears. All of these issues were never met with an apology from anyone in my family. I don’t ever remember anyone in my family ever apologizing for hurting me. I was just left to deal with it alone. I don’t know why I’ve been dimissed and pushed aside all these years but it hurts and I’m to the point that, as much as I don’t want to, I think the healthiest thing for me to do may be to remove myself from my family’s toxic treatment.

sharise - January 31, 2021 Reply

I am the black sheep, scapegoat.
Everything my sister does is ok.
No matter what.
My mom allow the abuse to go on. THEY both gang up on me. I am not worthy. I don’t matter.

    lilly - March 4, 2021 Reply

    I am also the black sheep of my family. I have two brothers who gang up on me and a mom who projects her self hatred onto me, as the only girl. I used to feel this way too, but truth is, they gang up because they are afraid. One day you will move out and ammount to so much more, at least thats what I tell myself.

Saffiyah - January 25, 2021 Reply

I’m the black sheep, I feel as though My mom may not Ignore me and treat me differently but the rest of my family does, Just now they all decided to play a game together and I even said I wanted to play too, they obviously Heard because I said so many times.
But of course they just ignored that because Me making them drinks is more important.
So now I’m here, trying to understand why.

I’ve Always been forgotten In a lot of things, Apperantly everybody just finds it easy to forget that I was even born.
When they do remember I exist it’s just to tell me how I look
”You look homeless”
Yeah thanks, really love myself thanks to that

Mazzie - January 24, 2021 Reply

I’m in my 40’s and have two very loving parents that live a few hours away. I have siblings that all have kids and are also married. I grew up as a sick child. But am independent and better now. My siblings are all in contact with each other eveb though they all live in different countries and have the kids to talk about… they are very much a keep up with the Jones’s family…. due to illness I live on social welfare. I just get on with it.

They even said I was the black sheep. Only recently have I started standing up for myself.. they literally will stay silent if you say something that they dont feel like answering…..

I have been in my current home 7 years and not once have any of them come to visit when they are home visiting parents. They even stayed in same town a few times on holidays.

They are highly materialistic and if one of them puts up a pic of their kid you can be guaranteed within 30 mins the other does the same. That’s on WhatsApp so l left family group cos I don’t have kids so I felt like the spare wheel.

My parents are elderly and I often wonder when they pass will times be cut with my siblings. My life is different to theirs. But that doesn’t make it any less important. There is no humanity in them so its hurts when I send a few emails and dont get a response… I’m the loving aunt to their kids. My own aunt said to stop buying their kids stuff and just look after myself so that is what I’m doing. I buy the bare minimal. I’m looking after no.1 . But it hurts none the less. They are who they are. Not everyone is compatible. What I’m learning is it works both ways. When they see I dont need them they suddenly contact. But if I stay in touch they vanish. Took me a few years to cop onto this so as I said I’m looking after me now. And just being more aloof. Sucks but it is what it is.

Annie - January 22, 2021 Reply

I was always blamed for my sister’s issues. I asked my mom why she thought that. She said it was because I was born. My sister always showed emotional issues, so my mom goes out of her way-to this day-to show her she matters. My mom said that I don’t show my feelings, so I must be okay. In my family, there are the yellers and keepers. I am a keeper, so I am overlooked. I only keep in touch with my parents and two other siblings. We are a family of 12 siblings. I am slowly separating from my family at age 42. I just can’t deal with their issues when I am a military wife and mother of four. I have too many things to deal with already.

    Jonice - January 22, 2021 Reply

    Dear Annie, sometimes separating from your family makes you stronger. I hope you know that taking care of yourself is vital and a sign of strength. All my best wishes.

Ally - January 14, 2021 Reply

So hello, I always knew I have been the least favorite. I was born premature, was a hard to deal with child, hyperactive, rebellious.. I didn’t seek my family’s expectations.. I didn’t let them shape me, so here I am. I have a half sibling who is married and a sister who is an age younger than me. I have been bullied or ignored throughout if not all, most of the family members. It still hurts, I can’t forgive them for belittling me, beating me, not listening to me.. I became defensive and hot headed just to survive, to have a place, to say that I’m a human being too.. They don’t respect my preferences, they don’t listen to me but they want to see my face.. To hell with that. I have told them many times that what they did to me was unfair, and I don’t plan to forgive them. My little sister always says I was favored instead, she was ostracized too. But I feel that there’s a loophole. She became the favorite by pleasing them. She was the most expensive one among all of us. She also went throughout the abuse, but somehow, she was sheltered. She is being listened to, she’s the reasonable one, she has a way with words.. Whereas I am just standing there, waiting for my turn that will never come.. I’m so sad for the childhood and teen years I could never manage to live, I was never enough for anyone, and I never could get help from anywhere. I’m 19 now and have no idea how I managed to get through all this till today, it took so many tears and pain but what’s worse was nobody bothered to help, but they shunned me

My mistrust in people started in early years. I would put too much hope in them. Waiting to be friends. Waiting to be acknowledged. I was shunned by being who I am.

I have two cats now, and I am close with them. I also have dreams I want to pursue. Sometimes it becomes too tormenting. I want to escape but I see nowhere.. There’s no one to get help from. No hotline.. My country wouldn’t look after me at all.. I just know it. Since I knew myself, I was on my own.

Arguments stir when I’m with my family. They don’t listen to me and I can’t tolerate them. I face with them every day and the things they have done to me play in my head again. My fathers indifference and fake love. My moms overbearing presence, I remember how she hurt me till I was done with it at 16 and went all out. My sister still doesn’t forgive me for what I did to her as a child, we would fight often and I would hurt her. She probably doesn’t want me to be in a good place either. Other family members are just distant, scheming, conspiring individuals.

I prayed many times to be heard.. God didn’t answer me. My only friend is the cat sleeping beside me. I sound pitiful, I know. I tried every possibility.. Tried to make friends.. Tried to socialize.. Tell someone my grievances. It all resulted in a cold shoulder.. I’m still a student, doing my hobbies.. Persevering, doing the most chores at home.. But it’s been years, pandemic doesn’t help, I’m still waiting to save myself from all this, all by myself.. People say ‘get help’ but I can’t fathom it. I have never been understood or loved. The only proper love I received was from my cat and my accomplishments, be it small or big. I don’t know what to do. I’m just afraid that I will hurt myself because others hurt me so much.

    Jonice - January 15, 2021 Reply

    Dear Ally, I urge you to listen to what people are telling you. It is essential that you talk to a therapist. Many therapists are offering online treatment right now. Please do reach out and allow someone to work with you and support you. You deserve it.

    Susan - January 19, 2021 Reply

    Dear Ally,
    I read your post a few times. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am 56 years old and the black sheep of my family. I have been estranged (with no contact) from my family for about 10 years. Like you, I often think of myself as having been difficult to deal with as a young person. Or, in my weakness, I just couldn’t bear up under pressure as well as other family members. I blame myself often. The truth is though, these are NOT good reasons for family members to mistreat you. Being born premature is NOT your fault! You needed proper care and love and those needs were not met by the people who were obligated to provide them. I’m sorry that happened to you.
    By the way, I understand your relationship to your cats:) And thank goodness for animals, who provide non-judgmental love and companionship. I have dogs and it helps me to keep busy taking care of them.
    In December, my only brother passed away at 58. He had a brain tumor. I learned about his death only a few days ago through a social media post. Although I had tried to reach out to him many times over the years, he never wanted to have contact with me. My problems were mainly with my parents and I never wanted estrangement from my brother. But he remained loyal to them and joined them in excluding me. It helps me to know others have these experiences too, although it’s a club we all wish we didn’t belong to.
    I say all this to let you know that therapy will help you sort out the family dynamics in your family so that you will better understand what happened. It can also help with coping strategies and managing anxiety and depression. You didn’t have a good parent, but you can BE a good parent (someday). You didn’t having a loving sibling, but you can BE a loving friend. I raised two really great kids who love me and talk to me almost every day. They are 25 and 28 years old. They know there is nothing in the world they could ever do or say to make me turn my back on them. This brings me great comfort and pride. I wish that you may find interests and relationships that bring you great comfort and pride. When you regain your strength and feel ready, find people who need help and BE helpful! Black sheep make the best, most empathetic people. Peace to you.

Grace - December 26, 2020 Reply

I’m only 16 and still a child, but from the age of 4 I could remember feeling like I wasn’t important. My sister is two years younger than me, and I can’t tell if I’m the bad kid or she is. I’m definitely the black sheep, my parents have always had a strict, lack of emotional support way of raising me while they hugged my sister when she fell, just told me to suck it up and get up. It made my sister very selfish and entitled. But it made me a people pleaser and it was up to me to compromise with people. My entire elementary school life was horrible, i was shunned by all my classmates. And I was bullied continuously throughout. I have had suicidal thoughts for 2 years but my parents just told me to suck it up. I started seeing a therapist a year ago. What sucks is I can’t really complain. My parents are married, I have a house, food, clothes. What more could I ask for? I can’t tell if the way they raised me made me become the black sheep because I remember feeling happy as a kid. And then since I can remember I feel isolated. I don’t know when was the last time I felt truly happy. Even with Christmas yesterday. I don’t know how to live with myself to accept myself because no one ever has. Since I think I was 6, I thought I was adopted because I clearly wasn’t being treated like they treated my sister. I couldn’t believe that they would treat their biological kid like that. I am quite a sensitive girl.What do I do?

    Jonice - December 27, 2020 Reply

    Dear Grace, I think it’s so important for you to get some support. It’s not okay for you to struggle so much alone. I suggest you talk with a counselor at your school, and perhaps you can get a therapist for support. You deserve to feel important and supported.

    Michelle - January 17, 2021 Reply

    Hello Grace, I just read your post and I was amazed at how well you articulate your experience at such a young age. What you describe is not your fault. Please know you are not alone and you do have the choice to make yourself stronger or allow it to destroy you.

    I believe you have the power to be anything you want to be. Yes, it’s much easier when you have the support of your parents but if you don’t please don’t allow childhood emotional abuse to make you think you are not worthy of unconditional love. You are an amazing young woman and I wish you the best in life. You deserve it. You have done the right thing by reaching out.

    I am 60 years old and my parents are still alive. Nothing has changed as far as me receiving the love from them I so desperately needed. I tell you this only so you understand to not wait for something that will never happen. I looked for love in all the wrong places and ended up being a single parent at 19. Please look after yourself FIRST. I wish someone told me what love looked like. Infatuation feels like love however it is not love. It does not last the distance if something goes wrong like an unplanned pregnancy. If you can recognise that then my job of giving you some support has been worth the effort.

    You are precious and beautiful. I know how upsetting it is when your parents don’t see that in you but it is their loss. Anytime you feel the need for support please do what you have done here because it will help you until you feel better able to support yourself.

    Remember this – A fish can’t keep swimming in a toxic stream. Little fish, little fish! Please don’t swim in the toxic stream! There is another stream that is pure and will sustain you. It gives you everything you need to grow strong and swim to your destination. The pure stream is near you. Keep looking and you will find it.


Dianne - November 29, 2020 Reply

The worst is when its not just siblings. My mother has used my children, used them for her power. They now all exclude me, hate me. She has always excluded me from their life. Making it seem like it was me. Now doing the same with my Granddaughter. I feel helpless, tormented, confused, angry.

    Michelle - January 18, 2021 Reply

    Hello Dianne, Some people might wonder how could a Grandmother do what has happened to you. However I know exactly what you mean. It can be soul destroying and leave you doubting your worth. Please know you are not alone in your experience. If you need support please reach out because there are people like myself who will validate your pain. I am truly sorry you have experienced this loss and I hope you look after yourself first. Many of us did not learn to look after ourselves first. We put everyone’s needs before our own. I hope you are okay.

    Regards, Michelle

Jessica - November 28, 2020 Reply

I’m a black sheep. I don’t have any good memory’s of my childhood we did fun things I guess but all I can seem to remember is the bad. My dad would beat me my mom and siblings just watched never helped me. They made me sleep outside like a dog on the back porch scared an waiting to be let in. Sometimes the garage on the concrete floor behind 2 vehicles. I was Diagnosed diagnosedwith adhd when I was verry young. The medicine made me less hyper more like a zombie I would feel emptyness and sadness constantly.. I was just a little girl . But the forced me to take my medicine everyday even when I didn’t have school . The medicine made me numb like a zombie, I begged them not to make me take it and how it made me feel they didn’t care. My brother and sisster both had normal lives.. happy ones. They got whatever they wanted never got touched not even once. I was the example to keep them in line I guess. They would make me was dishes even if I had homework. I could never be myself around my family the whole family outcasted me but was always fond of my siblings . It was hard as a little girl I felt soo alone and was verry confused all the time. I’m now 23, I stil feel empty, sad and confused . I don’t understand why nobody likes me . Jobs, family, people in general. They just simply don’t like me just like my parents I don’t get it . It’s so hard for me to make friends. I’m jelous if my sisster she has t he life I always longed for .. to be accepted and loved and supported, has everything handed to her. Nice cloths cute room so many friends that care about her.. I just want my family to accept me an love me long time friends Ik it sounds pathetic but now it’s too late I see them all as horrible people for always treating me so bad. And still watching my family from a distance all happy and together . I don’t feel there is a explanation It’s just cruel .

    Guillermo - December 2, 2020 Reply

    Hi Jessica. You are very important. You know what an amazing human being. You deserve love. Unlimited love. Don’t try to make others like you by being a fool or making your true self aside. That is not love you are searching for, that is pity. You might feel you need it in order to survive but you don’t. Never pity yourself, that is you hurting yourself. Mistakes are part of life, that’s what makes you human. They show you where you can be better, they are a present. Only you can show the world your brightness. We want to see it, stop hiding. Don’t try to justify others for any kind of violence you suffer. They should apologize, let them know. Speak up. Place limits. People who love you will search for you and take care of you. They’ll find you. Make time for them, don’t waste your time in people that don’t love you, specially if they say they do but they don’t act as if they do. Get rid of them as soon as possible. Make of life what you want it to be for you. It depends on you only. Ask for help, you are not alone. Don’t be afraid, you will find that you are also invincible.

    I’m a 39 year old black sheep. I have lived with suicidal thoughts most of my life, specially when younger. It seems as if I have everything so people think I am crazy and treat me as such. It has been a nightmare. I would have loved that somebody told me what I just wrote you and that I had the opportunity to place limits at your age. I am placing them now. It’s not pretty or easy but it feels AMAZING. Abusers are used to abuse and when you stablish your limits they will be more violent, more abusive because they want you to stay where you are. They are afraid, they know they did wrong and will not accept it. Fools! Pity them! Never you! Breathe, think and find a way to put yourself first. Hope this helps. Thank you for expressing yourself, it gave me strength to read that I am not crazy or alone in my suffering. Neither are you.

Ken - November 19, 2020 Reply

I’m 68 now, alot of what u said is me, i’m youngest in family, i was a mistake, as my father was a boozer, womanizer, and gambled! We had to move house when i was 6yrs old, bcz he wasnt paying the mortgage! My next sister up who is 8- 10yrs older was jealous of me bcz she was going to loose all the attention, and now in her 70s, still is,! We were never a close family as my brother and older sister were 20 something yrs older !! At one of my Aunties birthday party, i heard my brother call me ” the black sheep of the family” not knowing what it meant i just continued on playing, i was a skinny kid and mother literally brought me up on wellfare ! I had no friends, wasnt allowed to bring school friends home ! In the 50s it was more like ” out of sight, out of mind !” for kids, and ” speak when ure spoken to “! And a strange thing my father called me for several yrs was the word ” jerkypeak ” and i still dont know what it meant! Every time he saw me, he would call me this, and i would ask him what it meant? But yrs later he told it meant ” fool “!! Very nice thing for a father to call his son !!??? Why??? Still dont know , but putting two and two together now i think i may have been the result of an incestual liaison with my big sister, but shes past away yrs ago so its just supposition.!!

Iris - October 24, 2020 Reply

Thanks again for running into you when I’m running on empty again Jonice. You have helped me with the books, a video reply to my message. Right now I was ‘googling’ on how to deal with being excluded as I found out my family (parents and brother with his family) went away for a weekend. This is a reoccurring theme where they have even went to a funeral of a family member all together without telling me. They think/say I’m too sensitive and that I am different. It’s a repetitive tune that started in my childhood and I am looking for ways to break out of the cycle of letting these events hurt me over and over. I keep trying to find my way in, while I wish I would focus on meeting other people and not backing off from new contacts. Thank you again for your expertise and compassion. It means a lot.

Tammy - September 30, 2020 Reply

It seems that all the articles I’ve read that not one of them mentions anything about JEALOUSY what about if a mother is jealous of her daughter because she thinks her husband is malesting her daughter and blames everything on the daughter , and turns the whole family against her , because that’s exactly what happened to me , I was not an oddball I was no different from them and I did not commit any crime and I was not the worst one in the family, I did not deserve any of it. JEALOUSY is real and some mothers can be very insecure I beleive 100 % that is was their fault and not mine

Tracy - September 21, 2020 Reply

I am the mother/step mother of 5 children.
My eldest is 27yrs old and feels that he is the BS. he feels he had a hard childhood and was always grounded. he believes his siblings have/are having an easier ride than him. His siblings are 21yrs sister, twin brothers 16yrs and step brother 16yrs. He claims he spent most of his childhood grounded or in trouble for something and that the others never get grounded etc. I have pointed out he was grounded for reasons eg late in, or being disrespectful or rude at school. His siblings are being brought up in a totally different era where by they don’t go out but alternatively will receive bands from the internet. He can be so mean and hurtful with his words and make me out to be the worst parent in the world. he is far from the BS… I stay in contact with him and he has his own family but I still cant seem to do right from wrong.

    Luma - October 9, 2020 Reply

    I’m guessing there’s emotional stuff that he feels went ignored so he’s acting out from unresolved conflict from way back when. He’s probably seeing the negative more than positive from the past and I can hear your frustration that you’re not being recognized for the good aspects. He probably hears your frustration too and so ramps it up wishing to be seen or heard but instead causes more grief. He sounds hurt. If you enable him, try not to. If he treats you poorly explain how its not okay to treat you that way.. don’t be mean or passive aggressive back but when you put up boundaries be honest and loving. No matter how hurt he is its not okay to treat others poorly.

    Maybe since you’ve said there were reasons for punishments, like the example of being rude at school.. if he was facing hardships that his family didn’t see there could be a possibility that he felt like his family was doubling down and had nowhere to go to with his problems and resents the differences in his childhood compared to siblings but probably doesn’t really know their emotional world either and instead focuses on the greener grass. I wonder if there’s a father involved too and if that’s another sore spot.

remmy - September 16, 2020 Reply

my mom was adopted and her adoptive mom favorited my aunt and made my mom the bs. my mom always felt like the bs even with her real family. she doesn’t have many common things with either sides and it always bugged her.
i suppose now that feeling of being a cast-out has passed down to me now that i’m being excluded from the lives of my grandma, aunt, cousins, and other family members on the adoptive side.
i was adopted by my step dad and now i’ve found that even he didn’t want me. these feelings of being the bs is why i’ve found this article. maybe someone on here can help me expand a bit more on how to deal with these complex emotions. i’ve tried talking to my mom but even though she gets it, she doesn’t get it either. it’s hard to explain. plz send help :’)

    Jonice - September 17, 2020 Reply

    Dear Remmy, I very much encourage you to see a trained therapist for help and support with this. Your mom deserved better and you deserve better. You can unlearn what you have learned. But you’ll need help from someone who understands.

    Michelle - October 18, 2020 Reply

    Hi Remmy,
    I just read your reply to a article on black sheep. My situation is very similar to yours and I made the decision to go on my own and only be around people who could see my good and were good to me. It has been hard leaving family but also rewarding. I finally see myself as being a decent person for the first time in my life. I didn’t realize how toxic my family was to me till I stepped away. We get used to being treated wrong and thinking we deserve it.

Florence - September 6, 2020 Reply

Even though I definitely was the different, oddball, child; I never accepted the name Black Sheep of the family. My siblings may have called me that but I refuse to call myself the BS. I was the quietest child, hurting deeply and didn’t know how to share my needs. I didn’t receive words of affirmation, or love, or positive emotions expressed to me. I totally felt ignored.
I’ve been trying to figure out who I am, my value, and my worth and to live a meaningful life for myself and hopefully have something to offer to my 5 children who are adults now.

Joanne - September 6, 2020 Reply

I wish this article better articulated how the Black Sheep/Identified Patient is often the one to be the most vocal and call-out the pain/dysfunction in the family. Other family members hide and retreat; but the BS can often call out the wrong-doing and by doing so, isolates themselves.

    Jonice - September 6, 2020 Reply

    Very good point, Joanne! thanks for pointing that out. It’s important and far too common.

    Brenda - September 12, 2020 Reply

    Omg Joanne everything u say is true. All of above traits are me but calling them is huge. I did that and have been ostersized. I am now further in my process and accept that I am a very special person. I love and own been bs because I don’t need acceptances. I accept myself And amazing ability to be real

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