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 

To learn more about Childhood Emotional Neglect, see my first book Running on Empty.

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


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
KK - August 7, 2021 Reply

I sat here and read everyone’s post and cried as I’ve either been through the same or something like that.. I have ptsd Anxiety and depression. The saddest thing is I just lost my mom a week ago we had to pull the plug and I wanted in the roo. And my oldest sister would not let me in there and at the viewing I was pushed away from the casket by my oldest sister she would not let me grieve. I was ignored by almost everyone and talked about by them. It’s sad that they put of this face when someone’s watching and then we’ll funerals all done they have nothing to do with me. I wasn’t aloud to have anything of my mother’s at all. Because the oldest sister got it all along with her kids. My mom had 8 of us to died young kids. So out of 6 kids left I got nothing at all . But it’s hard because I loved my MOM the most as the oldest use to beat my mom and the others just used her for whatever they wanted but me I did things for her. When she totaled my husband’s and my car we told mom it was OK not to cry as we can replace the car not her . The others would of been passed. Sad how family’s can be like this

    jared - August 22, 2021 Reply

    To Michelle
    I will be your husband again love and miss my family

Marissa - August 7, 2021 Reply

I was the black sheep for no reason I was hated my family always pushed me away all I wanted was to be loved and they pushed me further I’ve been on my own since I was born kicked out to the streets when I was 12 behind lies no one listened nor believed me my heart was hurt angry my family hurt me Soo bad that I moved Soo far bcuz of all the pain and hurt and anger I had behind them and the feeling I was feeling unwanted now I’m alone and always have been I’m 28 now and I’m still the black sheep Still was confused until I read why but the pain is unbearable now i fight the world alone with my kids … This feeling sucks badly but I keep my head up so high bcuz I Kno even if Im not wanted by none of my family I am wanted by God and my kids … I smile when I’m hurt I’m laugh when I’m angry bcuz I’m a warrior that pain I went through made me who I am today … I learned to accept Im not wanted and I still love hard … Including my family I call to check on them I also pray for them … God bless you all

Jane - August 5, 2021 Reply

So relatable. Now, as an adult, I completely understand that my shyness, softness, and awkwardness as a child was a mirror that my mother hates looking at, so she refused to offer me much emotional support. I also understand that how she treated me was internalized by my brothers and therefore they learned to mistreat me as well. My oldest brother was detrimental to my emotional health by convincing the neighbourhood to reject me(I would get on the bus and everyone would turn their head away!!), I was excluded from almost all play and learned to play by myself and I remember the last time I asked for help sobbing when I was 8 and she responded “what do you expect me to do about it”.
BUT my heart still aches. i cognitively understand the intergenerational family issues that created this situation, I know I’m a good person, but my heart has not caught up to my head. Here’s a question: How do you handle family gatherings? I have not cut them out because the cousins are very close. I am fighting to stop all the dysfunction and give my kids a healthy family life and cutting them out would hurt my kids. My kids are blind to everything. I have anxiety and knots at gatherings because I know I’m not wanted and I’m there bc of my children. How do we manage these events?

Anna-rose - July 28, 2021 Reply

Gosh i can so relate to the other posts on here. When i say stuff like im the scapegoat or black sherp of the family in my minds eye i can see them exchanging glances “oh there she goes again. So full of self pity”. I hate myself because it is true and the fact ive been treated as less deserving, as mentally “hysterical” all my childhood is not a figment of my imagination. Aged 61 i discovered my mum&dad had secretly brought the golden blue eyed child a property. A pittance left for me in the will. Its a long story, but i have written to the family asking that they respect my wishes to cut all contact. I was lied to by them all in this cover up, and to be treated unfairly hurts every bit as much if not more aged 61 as when i sensed this as a child. I have had lifelong mental health issues. Why does the family have such power over my sense of self worth?

Peter - July 26, 2021 Reply


JJ - July 26, 2021 Reply

Sometimes the black sheep is a sociopath who hates peace. One of my brothers had a calculated, hours-long meltdown and no-showed as the best man to my other brother’s wedding. He threatened to stab multiple individual family members (who he named) during his meltdown. He is not mentally ill and confessed to me that he simply enjoyed doing these things. He has always done things like this, like setting fire to the carpet once to get another child in trouble, but manages to appear picked on and misunderstood to the outside world. He has already spread the rumor that he didn’t go to the wedding because he couldn’t get a ride. He lives, rent-free, with one of the people he threatened to stab.

Articles like this do serve a purpose, but please stop acting as if deranged black sheep are so uncommon. Sometimes that “best and brightest” person is just smart enough to pull the wool over some naïve outsider’s eyes. This is not separate from the article’s six reasons. It is a seventh reason.

    Jonice - July 29, 2021 Reply

    Dear JJ, I’m very sorry you are having to deal with this situation in your family! Sociopaths are far more common than most people think, and I have written multiple articles about them. But in this article, I am talking about family dynamics in CEN families. No one article can cover every possibility, it’s just not feasible. I hope you will read my articles with that in mind.

    Jp - August 26, 2021 Reply

    JJ, that was the first part of the article before all the comments….. The ones who don’t bring it on themselves.

Jack - July 26, 2021 Reply

I have been the scapegoat my entire life sister is the Golden Child could do no wrong they even bought her a house and wont so much as co-sign for me or loan me money. The three gang up on me and they ridicule, mock me and laugh at me. They have lied to me my entire life as well and my mother actually carried on a relationship with my abusive ex husband for a year plus behind my back after he had left me for a woman he had an affair with and I had just spent 2 years caring for him when he had cancer. Him and her sat around shit talking me without my knowledge she even convinced him to go to our shared doctor during the divorce and tell the doctor there is nothing wrong with me I am a drug seeker I dont have back problems from an injury when I had serious back issues that required surgery. The shared doctor dumped me as a patient I had no idea why until years later when I read my file. Took me 10 plus years of struggling with doctors and being treated like shit because he did that to me as well, I almost lost the use of my right arm I had 2 trapped nerves and herniated ruptured discs pushing right into spinal cord. The most recent stunt is lying to me for a year or more straight even making up a big story saying they wouldnt take the covid jab cause they knew I was worried about it and their health they said their doctor told them not to take it cause its dangerous and dont worry they wont take it they carried this lie on for who knows how long until a few days ago when they were laughing and mocking me on the phone and told me they did get the shot and its none of my business anyways and they lied cause they knew I was against it. They have been awful to me my whole life, I finally cut them off once and for all after that I should have when she betrayed me with my ex husband throughout all these awful things she never once thought she did anything wrong she feels she was a great mother that was helping me and I should be thankful and how dare I talk to my mother that way, she gets golden child to send me long winded emails about how wonderful a mother she was and how awful a daughter I am and have always been. I am so angry that she treated me this way I did not deserve that, there is something worse that happened when I was a child and a mother should protect you but not her she threw me to the wolves every opportunity and lied about it to protect herself, she fucked me up and its is wrong that she did that to me, she’s an evil narcissistic witch of a woman and I dont care if I ever see her again now I hope she really did take the death jab she deserves to suffer for what she has done to me. The golden child will be totally lost without them she has no idea how to live her own life.

Finley - July 24, 2021 Reply

I’m the black Sheep, but so was my Brother. I was born legally blind, something my Dad blamed on my mom at the time. My Mom always worked hard to make sure I had what I needed, but my Dad was only kind to me when I was really little. The older I got, the more distance he put between us. He hated that I had my own opinions. His way was and still is, the ONLY way.

He would yell at me all the time, for spilling a glass of milk, for using my knife wrong, for not cleaning something properly. I walked on glass when he was around. NOTHING I did was right. His dynamic with me soon rubbed off on my sister, and then my brother. My sister would take my things and run with them, ALL the time, knowing i could never catch her. My dad coached my siblings in sports *mostly softball and baseball* and I couldn’t participate. So, I’d just draw. Dad hated it. He said drawing will never get you anywhere.

A lot of really bad things happened too, but it’s a super long story so I’ll stop here. I just turned 40 last month and I still have lots of trauma from my life that was mostly caused by my parents. I moved out of state 4 years ago and now I’m working on loving myself. I was a people pleaser most of my life, because I saw so little value in myself. Now, I’m getting therapy to help me change that.

    Jonice - July 25, 2021 Reply

    Dear Finley, I’m so sorry your dad treated you that way. It makes me happy that you’re seeing a therapist. You deserve so much better and more! Keep working on accepting and owning that.

Pamela - July 10, 2021 Reply

I am a black sheep. I hope to encourage others to hang in there because we black sheep will embrace you. We know that parants and siblings who rejected you lost the best one.
I was very different and from a small child I learned that being alone was the safest place to be. My mother had two favorites and two black sheep. If she couldn’t control our lives she would have very little to do with us. She could be very good to us but more often she was mean and cruel. She would humiliate me in front of groups of visitors and ridicule my body. Ironically we were similar in shape and build. She chose one daughter and the only son to be her friends and confidants. She would use them to do her dirty work. And they never stood up for me. My father always protected her even when she was wrong.
When I became the subject of family gossip I learned to distrust my parents and siblings. I stayed confused about whether to love them or not because nothing was ever stable. So as an adult I tried to walk out of my family’s lives. It never worked because I really loved them, so I remained in a very fractured relationship until both parants were deceased. During that time when Dad lay in Hospice, one of the favorites treated me horribly. When my Mom was living she would write me hate letters. Now my sister uses text so I have to block her number.
As adults our lives have been a mess. The other black sheep married six times because men kept leaving her. The favored sister is a drug addict. The brother has been in prison numerous times as a sex offender. I married young and divorced after 27 yrs. I also became an alcoholic.
We were preacher’s kids and not every person in a church is good. My parents came from their own sadness. I find hope in my friends who are, by the way, Black Sheep.

Nobody - July 3, 2021 Reply

I too was/am the bs of my family.
My father left when I was six which was a big knock to my sense of self.
When he left it gave my mother full access to beat me for any reason or no reason at all.
I remember begging my father to take me with him.
I am now forty years old and am still rather confused and very emotionally hurt by this.
I am acutely aware that all my family knew I was being beaten on a daily basis my father grandparents aunts and uncles and not a single one of them did anything to protect me, makes me very angry to think about this.
She never raised a hand to my brother though which I have never understood.
I was a good kid never caused trouble did my homework…. My brother was a naughty kid getting into trouble in school and causing trouble outside of school did not academically achieve and yet my mothers favourite and could do no wrong.
What’s strange about my relationship with my mother is that somehow I still speak to her..lol.
I don’t see her much and moved away 20 years ago and have only been back a hand full of times for a visit..
I for some reason hate that place more than I hate her.
I tried to have a conversation a couple of years ago with her about how she treated me…. It’s like I made it all up because she will not acknowledge that she did anything wrong.
She refused to discuss anything regarding the physical assaults and the verbal abuse I grew up with.
I tried to cut her off after that episode but she harassed me until I picked up the phone.
It’s not just her I am estranged from though I barely speak to my father either who was once my whole world but now I just feel that he is equally responsible for my misery as a kid.
My brother is still very much in their daily life.
I think if my mother had not remarried (stepfather) and had three more children I would have even less to do with her.
I sometimes feel like throwing my phone away so there is no way to be contacted but I guess I’m still kind of stuck in the situation of being a scapegoat but now I am the least liked or loved if five and not two.

Dara - June 29, 2021 Reply

Black Sheep – well I am still wearing that title. I had a cruel, mean mother & siblings who carried out similar traits so I distanced myself early to avoid the rejection and pain of never being loved or included in our family. My father died & because I distanced myself in self-love protection I never learned of it until my friend called my mom while visiting my home town. Several years had gone by and no one in my family of origin told me. What a shock. Then when my mother died she instructed the other kids to exclude me from her obituary as though I never existed. I just discovered that I was excluded from the virtual memorial for my girlfriend whom I knew for over 41 years. I am a good person – kind, loving, thoughtful – I just dont understand why this issue of excluding me keeps repeating itself. I know I am not a bad person but at the very core of it all do I even matter to these people that keep inflicting the same message over & over. As I say to myself – I hope I can get over this too. The pain hurts.

Fred - June 23, 2021 Reply

I have been excluded my entire life by my family. It became clear to me that I had to leave and go far away in order to reclaim my self esteem. I learned through years of therapy that each one of them were not capable of extending themselves and most likely damaged themselves by an abusive parent. That said, I not only had to move away from them, but also forgive them in order to find my own peace. Yes, it is sad but I have moved on and do not stay in touch.

Danielle - May 31, 2021 Reply

I look native, nothing like my fair skinned, green eyed sisters, I have hated getting my pic taken since I was young due to the contrast in the way I look compared to them. It seemed everything was okay when I was married, and had a career. Now, because of divorce, and health issues, I seem to be an embarrassment. So, I walked away from their disdain, and pity.

Tay - May 19, 2021 Reply

Deep down, I always knew I was the black sheep. I have a family of 5. A mom, a dad, and two sisters. One older, one younger. I’m the middle child.

Sometimes, my siblings will get treated to things like ice cream. It’s normally because they had to do something like blood shots or whatever and I can understand when I don’t get something when they do in a time like that. But it still hurts and sometimes I’ll glance for a bit.

Everyone in my family knows I love family night. I walked into the living room seeing my mom and sisters watching Pirates of the Caribbean. Naturally, I asked “Whatcha watching?” and my older sister replied “Pirates of the Caribbean” to which I said “Oh, okay.” And I stood there, staring at the TV, thinking “Why wasn’t I called down” before walking off.

I don’t show my sad or upset side a lot. In fact, I almost always appear excitable. My parents don’t understand when I try to explain how I feel. The message I try to convey is always misunderstood or never truly gets across to them. So when I’ve been forced to, I’ll attempt to explain. They’ll ask for clarification a lot to make sure they understand and I only remember saying “No” “Not what I mean” “not like that” or “Ehh, not really” to them. It’ll keep going back and forth like this for a very long time and in the end I give up. I throw in the towel and say “You know what, sure.” they’ll leave after a bit of me forcing them out of my room and the NEXT DAY they’ll ask if they want me to get help from a therapist. And time and time again, I’ve told them “No. Therapy never works.” and “No, I just had a bad day.” Because therapy doesn’t work and I have to lie about having a bad day so they get off my back!

Our family is loud and we fight a lot. Especially me and my older sister. But sometimes, one will intentionally or unintentionally hit hard in a sensitive spot to the point where I have to quickly end the conversation to avoid crying in front of them. So I’ll end it asap, walk calmly upstairs, enter my room, lock my door, flop on my bed and start quietly sobbing for hours.

I have a LOT of issues and disorders. Depression, Anxiety, Binge-eating disorder, To-Be-Determined Mental Autism, OCD, pretty sure I have narcissism trust issues,

Randy - May 19, 2021 Reply

Im the black sheep of the family i was born to. 5 of these 6 represent how i was raised and i gotta be honest, growing up in the households i grew up in, i was always thinking about how i was always going to leave. I feared if i left i would long to return to my relatives due to a fear of loneliness, but i turned 18 and i flew out the doors and tasted the freedom from living in a house in which i was looked at like i wasnt even welcome there in the first place and tasted freedom for the first time and i am glad i havent returned. Unfortunately i also grew up not only an outcast to my relatives but i had a difficult time understanding social interaction. I actually didnt have any friends i saw on the regular until after high school. Those same friends and i ended up rooming with when we all moved out but 6 months later it ended in disaster. I also struggled in relationships in Getting affection for and from someone. I didnt have a hard time meeting people thanks to the internet i just still had difficulty dating and socializing even though i wanted to get it right. I did however eventually find a lovely girlfriend later on whom is loving to me, and her family is welcoming to me. Its new to me and i noticed i have been closed off to the idea of being part of someone elses family and i hate it and cant figure out how to rid myself of those feelings and its eating me up inside. Im now 22 years old now. My girlfriend and i have been together for 3 years and live together with 2 pets. My goal wasn’t to put my life story on here but if anyone reading the comments knows how to deal with being the black sheep of a family and afraid to be apart of another family for many emotional setbacks. If anyone reads this and has an answer I’d appreciate it.

    Caribbean - June 1, 2021 Reply

    Are u in contact with your family? Have they reach out to your or no?

Me - May 8, 2021 Reply

I have been a black sheep all my life (45 years) and I’ve always known it. I am the youngest of three. My brother is 8 years older than me and my sister is almost 6 years older. All of us have high IQs and are two points apart. My brother is the classic overachiever and lords it over everyone he deems as inferior. He has picked on me most of my life. My sister is the classic middle child wallflower. She moved away when she got married 27 years ago and comes back once a year even though our parents are old and in failing health. I was never understood as a child or as an adult. I am a devout Christian and everything I do or say goes through that lens. I chose to get married and not go to college at a young age —which was looked down upon my my dad and my brother. It took years to hear the end of it. Things I did as a child that were wrong, were never forgiven by my brother. I stole a cassette tape of his when I was 11 and he still grumbled about it when I was 35. I even bought him a CD of it and gave it to him to make restitution. No dice. I had three children and, horrors!, I homeschooled them. How awful this was for my brother, who berated me about their lack of social skills, poor education, etc, etc. This, of course, was not true, but in his mind, I ruined them. I took a vacation with the kids, who are all adults a few years ago, and he called and chewed me out and wouldn’t tell me why. He then told the kids he’d come and pick them up if they didn’t want to be with me. The kids heard this on bluetooth while we were driving and they couldn’t believe the vitriol. Whatever I did, he will not talk to me about it. He did talk to me once, and blamed all the problems on me.

Well, today my sister came over to my mom and dad’s house to grace them with her presence and my brother is also going over, but nobody called me until they were there and then it was my dad who called. I told him I wasn’t invited and he sounded hurt and said he invited me. I told him thanks, but no thanks. Family gatherings do nothing but hurt me as I am always the scapegoat and laughed at. I used to go for holidays, pre pandemic, and I would come home and cry. I am done with this. I don’t need the stress.

    Jay Jay - August 14, 2021 Reply

    I haven’t always been the black sheep. But I can thank my narcissistic sister for turning me into one. She would make sure all the nieces and nephews liked her and not me. I won’t even go into detail on how she did it, but it worked! She and I use to play “old maid” when we were kids, every time we played this game, she told me that I was so ugly that I would never get married and die an old maid, note that I was 5 years old! She beat me with brooms and hangers, played tricks on me all the time. Excluded me when our cousin was over. And as an adult, she even went as far as lying to my son about me. And she is his “favorite” aunt. So sad because my other sister’s don’t even know this, its just too hurtful to tell them. I’m sure she pulled the same crap with my son as she did with our little nieces and nephews. I contribute all the ridicule and verbal abuse from my niece and nephew as adults to her conditioning them when they were little.. Finally at almost 57 years old, I walked away from that sister and her 2 flying monkey’s (another sister and her daughter/the niece that was influenced) Very hard to do since when my niece was in her late teens, her and I were inseparable. Sad she married a jerk, he made it even worse. I love her very much, but she has signs of a grandiouso personality and throughout the years she too has joined in with the verbal ridiculing of me. So I walked away (hardest thing I’ve ever done) and wow she lost it. I won’t bore anyone with the details, but I have to go back and read what she said to keep me balanced so I don’t go back. Remind myself of what she really thinks of me and that nothing has changed, except for the technique they use. More of a sublte and politically correct technique of verbal abuse, but abuse never the less. Don’t blame my parent’s at all, they couldn’t see past her facade, she made herself out to be the golden child. Always cleaned the house, had dinner made for my parents, grades were almost perfect. Just thinking about how she has most of my “family” members fooled disgusts me. So non of you are alone! We totally get it. Just love yourself enough to walk away, keep a record so you can refer back to it so you are reminded of who they truly are. Blessings to whoever reads this! A.J.

Constance - May 6, 2021 Reply

I am definitely the black sheep of the family. The oldest of four kids. I’m still lost to this day of my 46th year. My career is non-existent. I’m currently unemployed after finally quitting my last hourly job after four years of going nowhere. I am in unemployment hell. My sister on the other hand has a nice executive job where she can work from home with no fear of job instability or losing her insurance. I’m broke, have no money for any holidays or birthdays and have been doing all I can to find work in the emerging post pandemic job market. She has never struggled always got the job even right out of college. We interviewed at the same company she got the job I didn’t. She hated the job I struggled finding a job. She just moved up and I moved from job to job with no upward trajectory. I’m miserable but I’m mostly sick of her attitude of entitlement. She looks down on me as my family looks down on me. They don’t even acknowledge they do it. I have depression and anxiety they just use it against me whenever I have a issue. They say to just get my meds adjusted like that is not ok to say…ever to anyone. Its is serious and getting worse. Today I am sick for the last time. I never thought I would hate my family but here I am. They are cruel and their job advice was to dismiss my unhappiness due to circumstance blame me for not getting a head hunter or a job as such and such…like just go find a magic job fairy. I’m going to be positive and hope the tables will turn. I will show them one day I am capable of providing for myself and others. I will have parties and invite them but they will be vegan oh and there will be cats.

    Deb - June 20, 2021 Reply

    Hi Constance, I’m 58 and still struggling. And it still hurts. Now my father even turned on my only son and grandpa was the world to him.

    Jamming Jelly - June 22, 2021 Reply

    I so understand what it’s like being a black sheep of the family. I never have felt wanted from childhood to this date. Last time I went to visit my son. I called an asked my mom if I could come see them. I was told they were busy. It broke me. my little sister called an had to tell our own mother let me come over. You talk about a deep pain. All I can tell you is you are worthy. Much love an hugs to you

Constance - May 6, 2021 Reply

I am the black sheep and scape goat. Oldest of four children with parents always working. I was blamed for everything and never right. No one stood up for me ever. To this day I am so hard on myself and everything is my fault. I felt like I never got kindness or understanding and the sad thing is my favorite family members are cats. I never got support and I always question myself. I found love in the wrong places such as raves and bars and loser boyfriends and other horrible people. I don’t deserve it I’m so tired of being dragged by compassionless people. At this point I don’t even want to be included. I hate them. Can’t stand the stuff they talk about at family gatherings.

    AngelaT - May 10, 2021 Reply

    I hear you! My family members are dogs!

Mimi - April 26, 2021 Reply

So I’ve know since I was younger that I was the black sheep or as I would say “tin foil”. My sister on the other hand is the golden child who could do no wrong. I’ve been forgotten many time. I’ve been left out or pushed aside by family and friends. So I became the invisible one who only appears when they need something from me.
I don’t expect anything from them. I’ve been depressed for many years now. To this day no one has ever noticed. I tried to express myself to my family only for them to laugh at me. My mother hates me, My father thinks I’m annoying af,My sister wishes that I would just die and my extended family don’t k ow I exist. I’ve become numb to the harsh words and the feeling of being unwanted. I’ve accepted that I may never be seen as a worthy person to my family and I’m okay with that. I’m finally at a place in my life where i can say that I’ve accepted myself.

    AngelaT - May 10, 2021 Reply

    I know the feeling. You are not alone.

      Marie - May 24, 2021 Reply

      Keep your chin up and be confidence ready! I say that because I fully understand your predicament. I am 61 years old and still dealing with the damaging repercussions of being the family black sheep. My “entire” family cares less if I am with them or not. I’m simply not missed. I could be murdered and they wouldn’t be out looking for me. Some close relatives don’t even acknowledge me as family. Why this happens I’ll never understand, but I do know I’ve done nothing to any of them. I have wronged no-one. I am just the chosen vessel to blame for them when everything goes wrong, and this includes my only daughter! I certainly know your pain but after so much time trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I finally questioned why “they” were not behaving like normal family members. How can an entire family be poisoned by one sibling and be so openly empty of compassion? I was told call someone who cares so I did! I personally don’t know how they even live with themselves! I know judgement day is coming, and the truth then will come out unhindered by lies and manipulation. Hurt as I have been, and as Christians, we should pray they begin to worry about their own salvation. I focus my attention on my own conscience and the corresponding destiny it holds for me. Given my family is telling me I am different than they are, and I don’t fit in, I can accept I was a mistake in their eyes. But they are not my Creator! I am not a mistake to the One who truly counts! The stabbing emotional pain subsides if you don’t waste your time trying to figure them out. You won’t. In their world, I am worthless but thank God the day is coming when they will have no tine to cast blame on me when they see the mound of sin they face themselves. I feel really good that i personally could not treat anyone as I have been treated. It actually lifts my spirits. I don’t want to live a life of instinctively reacting to someone else’s self-serving conscience. I tell yourself: I am better than where I came from. I tell them: don’t throw rocks when you live in a glass house!! I will move on and embrace life emotionally free as much you i can make it. I am a victim of Childhood Emotional Neglect, not a participant! That’s not who I am! It is beyond me how any family can gather together while totally ignoring one family member. Love???? They are making a mock of the meaning of Christmas! Devaluing anyone is simply cruel. BUT…….. through my renewed, previous faith, I have learned to spend my time worrying about what Jesus thinks of me, not any of them. “Judge, and you shall be judged”!! I choose to leave the problem behind and see the rest of my life as a new classroom to prepare for where i’m headed when it really counts. Anyone belonging to Jesus is never alone! Cry out to Him and really listen: you will hear from him! You’ll trade your pain for joy and a new loving friendship with Him. It’s at your fingertips when you choose where you’re going. I’ll gladly leave this emotional hell and live to better this world, not myself. I am a good person and I have better things to do with my time. Gods bless.

Oldest Girl Black Sheep - April 21, 2021 Reply

My dad has 8 kids I am the oldest of 7. He had 2 by one& the rest by my another. I guess my older sister mom& my mom use to be besties. My mom had sex with her best friends boyfriend & I was a mistake. My siblings have always been withdrawn from me but now that we are older they do everything together & leave me out. Which makes me feel that the only reason we ever spent time together was because we were children. We’re all not less than 3-5years apart but we never went without being together. Now they have bday parties with our first cousins, nobody has came to see my new house, they ignore my efforts. My mom caters to my siblings &leaves me to be the bastard child that nobody wanted.

    Jamming Jelly - June 24, 2021 Reply

    Awe I’m so sorry for what you have been through. Please remember you are NOT a Mistake. GOD doesn’t make mistakes. I so understand being left out an not wanted to be around. It’s like they are ashamed of me. I don’t know what I’ve ever done so bad in life to be so unloved. I truly feel your pain. Just know you are not alone or responsible for how any family members act. It’s something within them. We just have to pray for guidance an peace in our own lives.

Tan - April 17, 2021 Reply

I really appreciate this article… It helped me to understand the “WHY” with my tragedy of knowing that I am the “BLACK SHEEP” of my family!

BLacksheep - April 10, 2021 Reply

I think it boils down to the fact that we are the brightest, we are the strongest, we are the smartest and people feel down in our presence so the only way they can feel equal to us is by constant teasing and subtle constant disrespect.

    Jordan - April 28, 2021 Reply

    So true, mine can’t contain their emotions whenever I try to have a discussion, it’s like their offended that I could possibly be better than them.

    Deb - June 20, 2021 Reply

    I know I am the most compassionate one. And the most outspoken when I am hurt. It never works out In my favor to try to explain my ‘feelings’ I was told when I was young that I shouldn’t feel that way… and it still happens. Just normal things like texting your grandson who loved you like a father congratulations on your high school graduation. Is that really too much

Catherine - April 8, 2021 Reply

I am impressed with your story and how truthful it is. I have looked for answers for years although recently it is true what they say. Pictures do paint a thousand words, yet I was always told it was a feel sorry for me day. After reading the many comments we have to go forward and be proud of ourselves and how we survive. Thank you

Kathy - April 5, 2021 Reply

….nice to read your comment, ..it’s true we have to be the Love in our own life for our Life~ so many times being baffled throws us off our game plan as we wonder why are they being this way, …but we spend valuable time dwelling on that drama when we could be having the time of your Life~ when I let the Sun in I see the Beauty and the warmth in my heart start to think about others hmmmm who can I see to love to greet to help if I could, or just smile more

Kathy - April 5, 2021 Reply

Thank You, I searched for this, it helps so much, I will be rereading but for now I’m tired. Spring 2021 …I’m so very thankful for that as well, …we can stand how we feel, I agree with you and we aren’t alone this thought sustains me also ️

Dianne - April 5, 2021 Reply

I am exact middle of 5. I was very close with my dad as we worked together. I now own the business and am still making payments. $9,300 per month. My siblings and their children have used the pandemic and election to convince my mother I am the devil incarnate. I’m a 53-year old professional. My brother was furious to hear that he can never own any shares in the business. He had the same opportunity to work there as I did. I am no longer invited to family functions, but they all want to make sure mom gets her monthly check. I am nothing but a cash cow to any of them. I could die and they would be happy they get more inheritance from her.

Adrian - April 3, 2021 Reply

My father has Alzheimer’s and has recently started letting out little secrets that I have been able to puzzle together 53 years after being born.

First and foremost, if you’re not born first, you were born with a disadvantage. If you’re the second born son, you must try to accept that we start our at-bat with a strike. The fact that your mother now had at least two children to deal with can NOT be overcome. That’s the key: we have to include the pregnancy. Being born too soon after the first born made things automatically more difficult.

If you add to that, a difficult pregnancy, or maybe you used to really kick hard, you were a sickly child, frequent and expensive trips to the doctor, etc… that’s strike two. Again, your mother already the firstborn to deal with. A difficult task already. In my case, the so-called ‘terrible twos.’

So… yeah. Yada yada yada. Boom.

If, as in my case, the firstborn is intelligent, perceptive, talented, etc… He/she will pick up, mimic, learn – whatever… from the parents, and mirror their feelings, actions and attitudes, and most importantly, words towards you.

Strike three?

BTW: if you happen to have Dennis the Menace blood in you – you’re really fucked.

Did you used to love fireworks? playing hooky? maybe your good-looks would get you in trouble? (that’s a joke) I don’t know. Surely the reader can think of other such examples. Did you (or do you still) enjoy throwing rocks? breaking bottles? fire? Did you used to love lighting shit on fire?

I sure as fuck did.

So I never really stopped, in my father’s mind, giving him problems. The fact that I was giving Pop problems at the starting gate slanted my father against me subconsciously for the rest of his life. My father felt he was allowed to treat me differently because he was forced to deal with these problems. What parent holds a child’s infancy against them? One that is unable to forgive – more about that later.

The treatment was harsh and painfully blunt. Fuck carrots, where’s a stick?

My brother keeps to himself and years ago my father and I were wondering something very personal about him. I asked my father why he wouldn’t simply ask my brother. His response was that he didn’t feel he had the right to ask, because my brother had, again (and matter-of-factly) never given him any problems.

Black Sheep: you have to forgive this. Life isn’t fair. My brother, the firstborn, healthy (and non Dennis the Menace) male child didn’t have the same disadvantages to overcome that I did. Life isn’t fair for our parents, either.

My father was young. When I was born, he was in the toughest stage of life: young adulthood. And he was suffering from his own spat with Borderline Personality Disorder. My root-cause trauma was the doubt in my mind that parental love towards me even existed. My father’s root-cause trauma was a stern mother who died in childbirth when he was only 10.

One of BPD’s symptoms stands out especially. Seeing the world, and categorizing people solely in extremes. It’s either idolizing or loathing. Loathing, with a passion, loathing without a chance of redemption. Once someone had crossed my father, that was it. No forgiveness, no acceptance of apology, not even a consideration of empathy towards the transgressor.

“Try to put myself in his/her shoes? They don’t even deserve it. Why would I do that? Forgiveness? you’ve got to be kidding me.”

My father, during one of his demented Alzheimer episodes once asked me if I thought I were a good son.

“Dad, we both know that ship sailed a long time ago. But did I ever stop trying?”

Sailed? Hell, for me there was no ship. I was left on a fishing dock with maybe a bucket and a life-preserver. And an audience of family members wondering what the fuck was wrong with me. Why did I always misbehave? Why did I always blow-up like a mad-man?

You’re too sensitive. You are still holding a grudge. And then the big lie: “you need to get it all out – otherwise you’ll never heal/move on. ”

It’s almost impossible to get anything out without being accused of still harping on the past. So avoid that trap.

Let go? How else do we let go if not by speaking? Speak of what needs to come out, and how will one not be accused of still holding a grudge?

Oh, and don’t expect your family to ever realize that you are correct. They might concede that you were a black sheep, but they are absolutely blind as to their role in your supposed blackened-ness.

I used to suspect that some of my immediate family members were smart, astute, observant enough to secretly know that I was fucked from the get-go, but either 1) No, they ARE absolutely blind or 2) it’s in their best interest to keep the status-quo or 3) they may be just plain evil people. Who knows?

(I won’t say “try not to worry about it,” because I’m sure Black Sheep have already heard that one a million times.)

Like the young-folk say, “Fucking duh.” Try not to worry about it – phft. Thank you Ein-fucking-stein, I’d a never thought of that one.

Laila - March 17, 2021 Reply

My siblings and I have been treated as outcasts/ black sheep our whole lives by my father’s family. We were never fully included with family gatherings and if we were , cousins definitely made it feel like they were forced into it. I remember going home crying many times feeling unwanted by them. My parents moved away from family when were just about our teen and preteen years. I haven’t seen many of them in over 20 years and I don’t see it as a loss. We have successful careers and homes where we are. Not once have any of his family visited us but expect us to drop everything to see them if we happen to be in their area. I don’t feel the need to have their energy in my life ever again.

    AngelaT - May 10, 2021 Reply

    The golden child in my family never invites me to family gatherings, but expects me to drop everything when she needs a favor.

Alexandra - March 11, 2021 Reply

I am the eldest of five two brothers,two sisters,for years my sisters invited mum to there’s for Xmas,l was never invited,just did not include me then my eldest sisters daughter invited mum again l was left out,l never saw my mum as often as they both live nearer her and drive.Mum passed on 30/12/20,l was there but my two brothers can not stand my youngest sister,whom by the way is the golden child,were not my brothers and l suggested it would be better if mum went in to the hospice before she died,we were spoken to like idiots by the youngest sister,my two brothers felt the atmosphere too and stopped seeing mum before she died.So youngest sister took over as she always has done,she is a very good actress,went to the funeral brothers sat up the back,l joined them at the front,funeral took 3 weeks because of the Covid,now it is over,we learnt that my mum left a will,turns out youngest sister is the executer,will is in the hands of a lawyer .mum owned her house,so we await to hear what is in the will,can imagine that my sister is taking what she wants,very selfish women can act the act,other sister occasionally texts me.Says she does not want involved,strange.So we await to see the end conclusion,l don’t want much just momentoes l gave to mum from abroad it has been terrible,l guess l am the black sheep.

Cyr3n - March 8, 2021 Reply

There is an economic reason for a family creating a black sheep. The less heirs, the more money is concentrated in fewer hands.

Make no mistake, when a family allows wealth to concentrate in the hands of one or two people, it’s never the smartest or most capable person. It’s almost always the neediest or most dependant people who have brainwashed their sponsor to believe they’re most worthy.

If you find yourself targeted, assume anyone who stays silent about the rift has something to gain materially. Your siblings aren’t part of a support network, they’re rivals and out to smear you. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll SURVIVE and live the life you want — not one that is scrutinized and warped under someone else’s toxic narrative.

    Jim - March 11, 2021 Reply

    Rivals, yes! Being in the will is a big one. If they can get you outcast, they can perhaps get you removed from the will, or whatever benefit they might receive. They’ll gleefully undermine or backstab you. If you cannot benefit them in any way, they will ignore you. Divorce? Bankruptcy? Expect no support at all. If this is the case, you’re better off without them.

      AngelaT - May 10, 2021 Reply

      Yes, yes, and yes!

Pranami - March 7, 2021 Reply

When i read all the comments mentioned above.It feels good to know that i’m not alone.I can’t express my feelings to anyone.Even if try some says i am making excuses for my failures,I have ego and even said that ‘You will make me depressed’.It hurts to have no one to talk to.Everyone said that its my own fault and am making excuses by naming it as CEN.

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.

    Georgia - March 24, 2021 Reply

    Oh, Kimberly, it is as if I wrote this! I am sorry you go through this. I was engaged at 44 y.o., but “voted” to become the caregiver to our mom, who had been unofficially diagnosed with Vascular Dementia after several massive strokes hit her. I moved from Miami to way up north in NY. As my living older brother and sister had spouses, and brother had two sons in college, it was rationalized that I had nothing to lose by this new life. Now, seven years later, I am single and still a caregiver. Regrets. You bet. If your parents need you, as a caregiver, be very careful what you agree to. We endured decades of abuse, no need to ever return to this “life.” If I could go back to 2013…Never would have moved. All the best to you.

      AngelaT - May 10, 2021 Reply

      I’m being persecuted for not helping out (I’m single and work full time). Mom is very irritable and unpleasant and says hurtful things to me and this is not getting any better as she gets older. Golden child has husband and supportive grown kids nearby but resents that I am not “doing my share.” I cut ties completely last year. I want nothing from them because it is clear these people do not love me.

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.

      Shirley - March 23, 2021 Reply

      You’re right, they’re actually afraid of you, that you’re far better than them. And stronger … I was treated the same. Turns out after many years of standing up for myself, I did some research and took a DNA test. The results spoke volumes. I found out that my mother had a secret military affair and I was made her scapegoat. Dad went along with it because he loved her more and was afraid that she’d leave him. After she passed away, He was still acting secretive, so I walked away from him. That’s when I started seeking out the truth. I was called ‘ the milk man’s kid for a reason’ or ‘kid nobody’ and all of my sisters and brothers (except my oldest sister because she wasn’t mother’s favorite either) went along with her narcissist behavior. I have overcome a lot but I will never be afraid to speak up for myself, nor will I attend family meetings. Now 14 years after my parents death, the one sister who knew the truth about my birth father and was the executor of the estate wants to be my friend. No thanks! They all ripped my heart out.

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.

    Georgia - March 24, 2021 Reply

    Hi Ally:
    So sorry you are feeling so alone and unheard. Yes, therapy can help. I also want to ask you to be kinder to YOU! Being born prematurely, hyperactive, that is not your fault or within control as a child! You seem like you have managed to cope in extremely turbulent situations. While being loved, shown [familial] respect, included in gatherings with family and friends can be wonderful, sometimes it is not in our lives. You have done NOTHING to earn neglect and abandonment (based upon your post), so let it go!!! Continue on with your studies, EVERY day remind yourself of how unique and worthy of love and respect you deserve. Never, ever, base your self – worth on the comments and/or treatment of others. Be kind. Making friends is not easy, so please don’t beat yourself up. Some of us prefer alone time, and there is nothing “wrong” with this. By the same token, reach out to those who share your passions; pets/cat lovers, learning/studies, etc.

    The pandemic has created a new way to live, worldwide. Take small steps, but please, do not treat yourself unkindly, you are worth so much more…Cats are very particular, they do NOT trust many, they sense a good soul in you

    AngelaT - May 10, 2021 Reply

    Reach out for help if you are feeling this way. Just do it. Go to the ER or call 911 if you need to.

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.


    Alice - April 8, 2021 Reply

    Hello Grace,
    Your situation is almost exactly like mine. I wish I could say it gets better but it didn’t for me…I went no contact with my family several years ago; my sister is still their golden child. I don’t expect I’ll ever talk to them again. But you know I actually feel less alone since I stopped trying.
    Take care of yourself,
    Peace. xx

    Alice - April 8, 2021 Reply

    Hello Grace,
    Your situation is almost exactly like mine. I wish I could say it gets better but it didn’t for me…I went no contact with my family several years ago; my sister is still their golden child. I don’t expect I’ll ever talk to them again. But you know I actually feel less alone since I stopped trying.
    Take care of yourself,
    Peace. xxx

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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