6 Sad Reasons Why A Family Creates A Black Sheep

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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


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James - July 27, 2023 Reply

I guess I would be considered a black sheep never thought of it that way before but growing up I know being 4 years old it’s very difficult I never got along with anybody at school I already got along with my parents they made me scared they dragged me with them everything everywhere they went it wasn’t I didn’t enjoyed it all but I didn’t know any better they wanted to do this they didn’t get along the greatest but didn’t do any drugs but then they did get along in a certain way and it’s strange but I guess they could have been normal for them I have two other sisters I know like seven to 10 to 12 years older than me they left early cuz they couldn’t deal with my parents 16 they were gone and I never really talk to them morning from time to time here and there but basically I didn’t know how to handle life I never did I could not learn anything even though I was really smart I am now 57 it’ll be 58 in February so I basically didn’t know nothing about life itself I live with my parents pretty much until they died in 2005 both at the same time simile within 4 months apart but I went through a lot I did not get I created eating disorders I was heavy and I wanted to lose weight so I stalled myself and get it I’m not a female either of a male but I just wanted to change myself completely I want to give up eating regular food like day eight or anybody else saying that matter but the folks it on my parents I want to see sweets I took it to the point I didn’t want to eat nothing anymore just drink soda and juice I was in and out of hospitals I love going to hospital and being away from my parents had a couple of girlfriends but it didn’t go nowhere cuz I brought myself down to a point with me myself really sick but I couldn’t deal with life just going to the hospital I don’t understand why I’m not dead now but I do have a lot of different strange illnesses that someone in my age would not have because of the way I eat but that’s not all about it it’s a lot it’s a lot worse than that I couldn’t deal with other people unless I I found what I took opioids I got to take you to opioid pills Vicodin and codeine morphine that made me outgoing like I’m crazy or do anything normal person would do it without it I couldn’t never I’ve been an opioids I saw this moment for injuries and major auto accidents I’ve been into and other stuff broken bones off the approaches and can you say all kinds of stuff they’re still going not dead yet but all that goes back to it I’m playing my parents for it all because they don’t want me to do nothing they want to they wanted me to figure out life on my own or go to school it never happened that way though don’t need my father wanted me to work with him so I could not stand my father actually hated them it was not the kind person I did not want to work with him he wanted to move to a different state I don’t want to go with them none of them and put more attention on but even though I live with him cuz I couldn’t function anywhere else but other people or whatever I wasn’t thinking opioids yet but still I got into a lot of trouble going out doing things I should have done what I was young and didn’t do when I was 17 I acted like a 12-year-old probably go around stealing things and shoplifting and got in trouble and hung out in the wrong people or whatever when I got older very similar actually still do but I’m sicker now and I don’t do much more but I drive I did accumulate quite a bit money I know life was rough I’ve been on disability since I was 17 or 15 cuz only sick for his mom’s accumulated her cell cars and work on my parents wouldn’t allow me keeping cars on their property but I did it anyway it was a lot of aggravation I did it anyway I made money selling cars fixing cars they couldn’t stand it I brought it all to have property I went to jail for 3 years for stupid stuff tonight it’s so hard to get into the stupidity of the things but I got in trouble with but I went back there when I come back to live with them don’t even lived what two years more or pretty much had life down pat I thought I didn’t know it was more trouble coming cuz I did things against the law I got traffic tickets like forged to get out of them I need a truck I need an opioid so I made my own prescriptions that’s pretty smart I think very I never even I cut school so much it wasn’t funny so I’m not I’m not even dead 20 years my parents and I saw them both died was a miserable thing I thought it wasted on it being times at least there was not a nice thing to say but anyway that’s how things go I guess I had to see it all over there I seen it all promises left wherever I stayed there until I sold got my money whatever at some more money moved to a trailer park which I’m still at I know some people here but none of them need decent people issues I could have bought my own house but I wanted to get away from this trailer park so I don’t like it here from minus to stay here because no they are no other people I was afraid to move somewhere cuz it might create more problems I’m really screwed up I still eat I don’t eat regular food I get enough granola bars sweets and I need help I need more food to function from Pain Management I could die any day you know I’ve been to some major action I drive pretty good but other people don’t I broke many bones have so much metal in me but I can actually what I’m high on opinion getting around knowing everything is anything wrong and basically yeah so that’s my life story and in a 10 minute Memaw it’s about 55 years crazy things

Anon - July 21, 2023 Reply

I am the black sheep of my family. I am their human encyclopedia and their credit card. I am also their emotional dumping ground. They insult me, berate me, and gossip about me behind my back – judging my life and spreading unfounded rumors. Any success I have experienced is a direct result of how great they were as my family. (Never mind that I have been on my own since age 17.)

Amy - July 21, 2023 Reply

I am the black sheep in my family since I can remember. My mother had to have a man. My younger brother and I were fed and sheltered, however, our emotional states were ignored and we just got dragged along as she divorced Dad, (he cheated and they verbally fought), and remarried an abusive man soon after. We left once, but then moved back (7 yrs total.) Finally after that divorce, she finally married a good man. I was then 16. I had no idea about respect, and rebelled as I felt my safety and trust was compromised. Why would I do what she said since she never expressed concern before and placed my brother and I in danger. We moved 26 times before high school. My brother drank, I did not. Due to my constant rebellion, she began favoring my brother. He did no wrong. It increased, and he was later diagnosed with leukemia at 23. For 5 years, she focused on his health, understandably. I was always “there” but in the background. He died at 29 and still all of my feelings had built up, now adding my feelings for my brother along with them. A year and half later, I had a seizure that was stage 3 brain cancer. Ive been cancer free 19 years and never has my mom commented or celebrated my survival another year. My mother was never there emotionally for me and throughout this time, I moved further and further from her. But never giving up, I tried several times through years and years, but instead of a loving mother, got “It’s called life, deal with it.” Or “it is what it is.” She said she doesn’t talk openly about her feelings, but interrupts me saying “no one knows what I’ve been through” each time I needed her to listen. The last time this happened, I left and we haven’t spoken since. My sweet daughter I raised as a single mother, has grown up and of course, spends a fair amount of time with Grandma. I raised her well in my opinion without the dysfunction, and emotional neglect I had growing up. I taught her to see things as they are. Look behind a person’s outside. I promoted her school activities and attended them, and praised her accomplishments. I can see that she is sometimes portraying the traits from her grandmother now, and repeating the same things I just got away from in my mother. I am sad that she, being my only child, is saying these things to me as if I am damaged. It’s true I am not married, very independent, enjoy living alone, and do not have or attend many family or social functions for years now. She and my mother enjoy attending things, and because I choose not to, and other traits that do not directly match them, I am put down verbally. Your article was helpful as it seems the person who is involved in activities and self sufficient maybe targeted? I am very much into physical fitness, I do crafts, am a cyclist, and play piano by ear since a child. I am 50’s now, and very active and ADHD. I have seen that walking away has actually brought peace into my life. I am hanging on with a thread to my daughter, and not certain what will be the outcome next.

Anon - July 20, 2023 Reply

I don’t want my mother to find out I spoke out online about this.

I know im the black sheep. Im disabled, physically and mentally and also mentally ill, I was born premature, and im LGBTQIA+. My mom is a very..narrow minded view kind of person. She didn’t used to be before I was 7 but when I hit 7 she started to get into conspiracy theories and politics heavily and changed.

She stopped disciplining my siblings she overly disciplined me even for things they did. It turned into threats of physical harm and yelling. Never actual physical harm. Just threats, Gaslighting, guilt tripping.

Then at 10 I was pushed into a caretaker role for my OLDER siblings to help her out at 12 I was pushed into being their unofficial mother. Im the youngest.

For the past 14 years all I have heard is
“Your siblings are depressed too”
“do you know how hard it is for me?”
“I get tired and your siblings need the attention more”
My siblings demand attention from mom all the time and throw a tantrum as adults if they don’t get it. So mom will neglect me to this day in favor of them.

I am not able to live on my own bc of my disabilities, I have no other relatives, No friends. No escape. I have to try to take care of myself and im living in constant pain every second every day of my life since I was born physically, emotionally and mentally and my health deteriorates more and more as I age. Im in my early 20s now. But I STILL am expected to play caretaker.

I have tried since I was 14 to talk about my feelings but its met with anger and victim blaming.

I know im the black sheep, and I have no escape and it hurts.

E - July 17, 2023 Reply

I feel like a black sheep still to this day. I can remember feeling the same way at maybe 5 years of age. Middle child syndrome, some say. No. My parents divorced when I was 11 but it was drawn out for 3 years. In those years of battle, my older sister (the favorite) & I ended up in states custody because WE WERE CONSIDERED UNGOVERNABLE. I was not interested in school since day one Kindergarten because I felt like an outsider. My mother & father brainwashed all 3 of us. My older & younger sister was molested by a man, distant cousin to my father. I don’t remember being touched but I saw both occasions & was scared to say, FOR YEARS. I may have been the stronger child physically, emotionally and mentally but I don’t feel any positive feelings towards those categories. I’ve been hospitized in mental facilities twice once at age 16, the other in my 20’s. No parents to give a damn. My Dad was mad at me for taking his insurance card to the facility to check myself in but the kicker was that my mom rode with me there. I’ve never felt loved but knew if I spoke up, attention would be raised. The two became mad at me for opening my mouth. After running away during my years as a teenager, when I was in the 1st facility, I met someone. Age 16. I knew there was a reason regardless of where I was. I ended marrying & having 3 children whom my parents did not care for, even still to this day. My reasons for feeling this way are mine but I completely blame my parents for how they were & who they are today. If I were treated like a gift from God as everyone knows children are, I wouldn’t be on here. I have grown children now, grandchildren & a different husband who helps me cope, sometimes. The two sisters, both have lost all of their children, 9 total, to states custody. I RAISED my older sister’s only son his last couple of years in school and now am raising my younger sister’s only son whom I gained emergency custody of at 6:45pm in a parking lot on a Thursday while I was at work by Social Services. To this very day, I’m hated by all of them. I tell them exactly what I think & they don’t like it. Some say God has a plan for my husband and I with these issues but we fight alot about the struggles we’ve both had to endure from all of it. He & I are done raising our own children and have grandchildren. These issues are not how God intended. I will stay my distance from all of them because of the toxicity they all carry. No thanks. I’m busy. Raising their kids & being crapped on for it. It’s not the children’s fault for the way things went. Both of my parents always seemed to care more about my sisters and I was just another one to call when emergencies arose. Never again, but I am lonely & feel empty.

Beckett - July 13, 2023 Reply

Iam the Black Sheep of my family and thanks to this article..I understand a little bit more..Why this was done to me and continued to this day at age 61..

    Laurina - July 20, 2023 Reply

    55….I feel foolish that sometimes I cry like a child confused I did something wrong or I am not likeable. My sisters and now my adult daughter treat me the same. I have a grtandson and my sisters are all over him and me, I am scolded but at least my daughter knows I am a good grandma when I can. I am so tired of the same feeling all my life……I didn’t do anything horrible as a kid, in fact I was ideal but weird I guess. I feel for you.

Carolina - June 27, 2023 Reply

Hello, I do not understand the use of Black Sheep here in the article, I know it is commonly used but it is also derogative for Black people, have you thought about how this expression might re-traumatize your readers?

    Jonice - July 2, 2023 Reply

    Hi Carolina, the term is a very well-known one in the U.S., commonly used to refer to someone who is excluded because of their difference. It is a term that makes a point about how wrong that is so it is sympathetic to the excluded ones. I would never use a term that was pejorative or excluding of people of color. Thank you for your thoughtful question.

Sheila Young - June 26, 2023 Reply

I am the black sheep of my family. My parents got pregnant with me young and had to get married. 4 years later my sister was born. My father became an alcoholic when I was fairly young and was abusive physically but worse psycologically and verbally. He picked on me the most. My Mom never did anything to stop it and seemed to enrage my Father against me purposely sometimes. My sister would do things to cruel things to me too. little petty things at first like pulling the fourth leaf off a four leaf clover I found or rubbing my toothbrush on a towl until it was dry so I would get in trouble when my parents checked to see if I brushed my teeth. My Mom treated my sister like a daughter but never me. I noticed suttle things like getting 1/2 full Christmas stokings and my sisters stocking overflowing with gifts. When I graduated highschool my mother never bothered picking up my photos, but she had my sisters hanging on the wall. One time my Dad beat me up pretty bad. I had a busted lip and ear drum damage. My boyfriend at the time came and got me and I went to where my Mom was doing Jazzercise to tell her what had happened, and that I was going to move into my boyfriends home. She didn’t look concerned for me at all but just said “that would probably be best.”
I attended college and got married and had a baby girl. My life wedding compared to my sister’s was like night and day. Hers was at an expensive venue with a beautiful new dress and a very nice reception. Mine was at the Masonic Lodge, because my Dad was a Mason. I had to borrow a dress from a friend. We had a simple reception with a one tier cake at my parents home with a few family members.
My husband died right after my daughter turned 4 of Lymphoma cancer. i really don’t remember receiving a lot of support through it. I got married to my second husband who was a friend of mine for years. This time I was determined to have a nice wedding. However my parents were in the process of a divorce and my Mom paid for my dress only and Dad paid some of his drinking/drugging buddies to prepare the food. The reception was at my Mom and Dad’s home again. My Mother brought her new boyfriend and ofcourse it created a huge problem, especially when she requested hers and my Dads “song” to dance with her new boyfriend.
My sister and I got pregnant with our son’s at the same time. They were 3 weeks apart. Although my Mom seemed to favor her son over mine, we were fairly close for awhile and my husband and her husband became very good friends. We decided to move our young families to Colorado together. My sister began having an affair with a coworker and doing methamphetamines pretty soon after we moved. It devastated her husband and their marriage ended. He moved to another state to be closer to his family. She became a single Mother and worked nights so my nephew became like a second son to me and my husband, even though I worked full time ++. Being on Meth was a financial strain for my sister and she began pawing things and getting money from my Mom often. She even pawned her car! I don’t know to this day what my Mom has spent on my sister but it has continued throughout the years. She paid her monthly cell phone bill, her electric bill ect. She also drained my Father constantly needing new cars because hers were constantly wrecked or broken down. This all went on for years. I asked my Father for money one time because I was in desperate need of therapy that my insurance wouldn’t cover. I needed about $3000. He did give it to me after a lot of greif.

Fast forward to now. My Father past away and I cared for him the last month of his life. He left his home and belongings to my Mom and StepMom do divide. My sister broke in and took whatever she wanted before they auctioned off the rest. I told my Mom but she just acted like she didn’t hear me.
My stepfather was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. They decided to sell their home and Mom and I purchased one together so I could help her with my stepDad, who I was very close with. I hadn’t lived with her for YEARS so I guess I forgot the kind of person she was. It didn’t take long to remember once she took over the entire house and started making me feel worthless as s human being again. She started telling my new neighbors I did nothing to help her with the house or Rick (my stepDad) She yelled at Rick and called him stupid often because “She had just told him that” She had him put in a home because he would lose his temper with him. She started talking about my kids and grandchildren horribly as if they were the worst parents and children around. And when my sister came out to visit with the daughter she had from her second marriage who never went to school past 6th grade and her grandson, this week she began the whole cycle over again saying how much she loved the little great Grandson and how wonderful he was and making comparisons to my Granddaughters putting them in a very negative light. Both my sister and niece did time for methamphetamine possession, have no teeth, and the little boy is SO hyperactive he can’t sit still. you can’t understand him because he was born with a cleft palate and he wrote in various places on our home with side walk chalk ( none of these things would be tolerated or looked over if my Granddaughters were doing them)
I felt like my sister and Mother ganged up on me the last two days she was here. My Mother lied and said my step Granddaughter had punched her the first time she met her and my sister told me my step Granddaughter was a disrespectful brat and she wouldn’t tolerate her!
I’ve told my Mom I can’t live with someone who treats me this way and says things about me behind my back. She began crying and saying she had never lived alone and was scared to. I told her we could sell this home and I would take my half and she could take hers and buy a place with my sister. She said she didn’t know if she could because my sister is a horrible house keeper.
I can NOT live with this woman anymore!

Cheryl - June 26, 2023 Reply

I feel different from some of the others who have commented. I don’t think that either of my parents meant to be cruel. They were both raised in very strange religious households. They raised me with no religion. When I discovered “religion ” for myself, I found some good people. My faith has kept me going, and kept me mostly kind to others. I hope for all of us who have been damaged in the past.

    Laurina - July 20, 2023 Reply

    I am sure it is different for everyone. I assume it a is a family member that does not mesh as the rest. You are just different to some people, loved but not understood? I don’t know. I wish you the best….I mean that.

Shelly - June 9, 2023 Reply

I am the black sheep. I was also scapegoated by my family. emotionally and physically abused by them and as I have come to learn over the last few years I was sexually abused by my grandparents. I am 55 years old, unemployed, no house, vehicle or husband. I have a 30 year old daughter that I am close to and an 18 year old son who has no respect or even decency toward me. He has believed the lies and stories that both of my narc parents have told. I have one younger sister but she was the golden child so she and I have never been close. She moved several states away many years ago and has a beautiful home and a husband. I was left to deal with mom and dad. My narc mom and I never got along she has always hated me from birth. She was extremely critical of me growing up and it did not change into adulthood. My dad is a covert narc and talks about me behind my back to whoever will listen. When mom died in 2019 I was already coming to their home a couple of days a week to do the cleaning and laundry since neither she nor dads health would allow them to do it. At that time I was living with my boyfriend of seven years. I lost him suddenly in 2020 and his death hit me hard. I decided to move back to the house I grew up in so I could take better care of my aging father. I don’t know what I was thinking but it has been the biggest single mistake of my life. Old wounds have opened. My covert narc father has not changed, in fact he is worse now then when I lived here before I moved out at age 19. He has opened my mail. Read my text messages, goes through my belongings when I am not here. (I have put locks on my bedroom door but he removed them claiming he doesn’t believe anything in HIS house should be off limits to him.) I have tried to spend time with some friends here and there but every time I leave he ends up locking me out of the house and I have to call and bang on the doors and windows for hours before I’m allowed in. No I was not given a key. My son who stays here also has started to treat me with no respect or care, acting instead as if I am just a piece of garbage in his way. I had a vehicle in my name but since moving here I have signed it over to my son after much pressure from my dad and other family members. The house I shared with my late boyfriend was in his mother’s name and she has since sold it. Since coming to stay here I have learned many things about my childhood, about my parents, and even discovered that I had a baby brother that no one EVER talked about. So many lies. So much deception. I take care of my dad to the best of my abilities. I dispense his medication. Drive him to medical appts and anywhere else he wants to go. I cook his meals do his laundry and see to his daily needs. I keep the house clean do the shopping and care for the animals. My son has a job so believes he has to do nothing around here and so that’s what he does. Nothing. I even take out the trash and mow the lawn. Anytime I start to question dad about the past he gets really snarly and belligerent and if I push the subject he calls me a bitch and offers to “bash my face in for me”. What kind of a man does that to his daughter? By the way when my sister calls he is just as nice and friendly with her as he can be. I have asked him why he just doesn’t go to stay with her but he just sighs and says he wants to stay in “HIS” home. Meanwhile he pays me nothing for all the work I do around here so sadly my personal care is suffering as a result. When I do ask him for money he has this long drawn out routine of throwing his hands up in the air, asking what I need it for and shaking his head as he gets it out of his wallet and the tosses at the floor. It is never more than twenty dollars and I’m expected to put gas in HIS car since that is the only vehicle I now can drive. There is so much more to this story but I have written too much already.

    Me - June 24, 2023 Reply

    God gives us some fuckup parents sometimes. And, he wants us to Honor them. For what reason when they didn’t raise up to be nothing but, there flunky. I feel your pain lady! I live with my mother and she always complains about something. Never satisfied and always smoking cigarettes when she knows here health is not that Good. So, I hope avery goes well with you, your son, and parents.

    Laurina - July 20, 2023 Reply

    I didn’t even finish. Your son has seen too much and you are stuck financially. My daughter has no respect for me when I quit my job and learning right after my mom died he took her to adviser and left his money, my home, his home….4 million to her and nothing to me? I raised her, never got child support and he is older and dying and all they do is invest money and make fun of me that I have nothing to show for anything. Funny thing is….I paid half the mortage and have all cancelled check. Her dad pins her against me so much I just cry and give up. I am sure, you had so much more to say…I do too…..but I understand pain and I am sure a strong bear hug from someone who really loves you unconditionally. I miss so much, people passing away….I feel so alone

Yulya Sevelova - May 15, 2023 Reply

For anyone being threatened,harassed or gangstalked by abusive family members or parents this is for you : we can only change ourselves, improve ourselves, not others. If you’re being scapegoated by abusive relatives, please consider going no contact,if they won’t meet you halfway, especially. You only have one life, and staying around those who ill- use you,or don’t want you is foolish at best, don’t age and become vulnerable with such people, they’ll only escalate the abuse, possibly killing YOU in the process. Get out, change your number, disappear for good. In this unfair,corrupt economy this won’t be easy to do. Until you test out how getting some space to think and live in peace feels, you won’t ever know for sure. Been there and done it. My only one regret is not doing this at 18,instead of 41 !! Don’t make MY mistake. And don’t let churches guilt you into staying in contact with people you aren’t safe being around ! That gets people killed. Accidental births of unwanted kids sets them up for being a black sheep or a scapegoat. The parents and others literally hate you from conception on ! Lots of people don’t know that. You feel hated but don’t know WHY? There’s the answer,for too many people !

Dennis - May 14, 2023 Reply

good article and helps me understand why I am constantly excluded from family events. I’ve always wondered how it looks on social media with these “family pictures” yet I am never present. Others that know my family well must notice.

RGigi - May 12, 2023 Reply

The day my father suddenly and unexpectedly passed away is the day I found out at age 40 that I have no family left on either parents side that care or acknowledge my presence. The day he died is the day the last of my paternal and both sides of my family (family meaning from my childhood all way up to the day I married and created my family) other then my husband and kids)died out for me….even though there are many everywhere in the town we still in live and come from, I’m neither a part of them nor part of my mothers side. To Clarify: My mothers side, I chose to walk away decades ago in order to protect myself, my kids, and my husband from the emotional and mental abuse that I had endured (and was starting to happen to them from her and I was highly aware of it immediately) my entire childhood from her and stepdad constantly fighting or causing issue with my father then telling me I’m stupid (from age 6 up) and no one likes a cry baby…all because I cried for my dad each time I was forced back into my mothers custody. Me and my 2 older siblings all have different fathers.
My dads side, I never knew they looked at me this way and would be this way. Telling others behind my back that I should be kept on an info diet about dads funeral arrangements cuz I’m not reliable enough to get it done (I mean really, who was there w him each time in and out of hospitals through years and who was there to make sure he was keeping up with his health and going to his appointments, me! For many years now) and that I’m just going to be like my mother (no contact for decades now) and just take everything sell it all and my dad is just a means for money to me. Yeah my dad loaned me and gave ne money throughout the years when I asked but I paid him back over half of what he gave me and I paid ALL back of what he loaned me.
I was surprised by his obituary two days after he passed and 4 days before funeral. My name and my kids names were spelled completely wrong and I and my kids were mentioned at very end of obit like it was an afterthought. I wasn’t informed by anyone about when going to funeral home to choose things for service, even though daily I text my dads girlfriend and aunt and uncle about when and where, they ignored me and I saw the obit and found out everything was chosen and scheduled and I was treated like I was just a friend of family that wasn’t that close as others. I was extremely close w my father, he lived few blocks away from me. I was there when he was sick or had issues with medical persons etc….my kids were closer to him then I and anyone else in his life ever was to him. But yet moment he passed, I was informed later on things and kept shutout on it all, my kids were hurt the most on they cuz they were shut out to. I feel angrier over that way more then how I feel about them all treating me this same way.
It’s been a little over a year now since that fiasco of stress and tears and questioning what I did to deserve it all and what my kids did but honestly the answer will surprise anyone about to read on….cuz it took me completely by surprise so much so that I just reacted without thinking first….I asked what the problem w me had my kids were w them and why I’m treated and they are treated as though my dad hated us instead of love us….hahaha yeah here’s the answer I got from more then 4 family members on 4 separate occasions…..
Because I don’t care about them nor any other of the family since I ignore them all on social media and I don’t respond to family invites!!!!!!

Wow! Right? I personally choose to not have social media at all not even a tiny bit 6 years ago and I sent out group texts and messages to them all at that time saying “as of tomorrow I will no longer use social media nor login to any old accounts or profiles. You can reach by the way you’ve done recently and for few years, my text call or email.” I included my number and email and address and my husbands number.
Nothing. No anything. There’s been get togethers and I never knew about it at all because I don’t use social media it equals to them as I don’t care to be a part of the family. Go figure since most of these idiots saying this and being this way are over age 50.
It’s my choice they should respect it and understand instead of doing what they did and apparently have been doing for past few years. I mean youre on your phone to use social media but you can’t use the text feature on it also?
Since his passing, no one has reached out to ask me or my kids or husband how I’m handling my dads passing on holidays birthdays etc….not one of them cares enough to ask. But yet I get crap by text (funny they could use text pretty well at that time) for not contacting them to ask. I did for months to many but never got replies got put on ignore and just ignored as though I never was born and like my dad didn’t love me and I didn’t love him.
Since when does choosing to not use Social media equal out to people being labeled as not caring about family at all?
It’s my choice it’s a harmless choice or so I thought years ago but apparently nope. It makes me sad.

    Laurina - July 20, 2023 Reply

    I am so sorry. I don’t understand what I did when I give so much, even my inheritence. I learned people who don’t care for you will never appreciate you and engaging is painful. My daughter and her wealthy dad and so close….where was he when she was a child and I was alone????? I can go on, but same thing….her dad is so sick I take care of him and today the pain was so bad as he bashed me in front of my daughter and my 9 months old grandson. Her dad said I am mental and get a baby sister for the one day I watch him. THe only fortunate thing is that my daughter knows I am great with kids but together with my daughter’s dad….I am a loser and he says it….the name calling for so many years……who does that? I am sorry, you don’t deserve such exclusion.

Annie - May 9, 2023 Reply

I’m the Black Sheep • I would be fine with this if my mother & brother didn’t get bored with excluding me & lying about me for their own ends ‐ & have now made my adult children believe their easily debunked lies too. My son was the hardest to crack • but last time my son phoned me? He was angrily parroting their bald‐faced lies. I have no one now & I miss my kids so much that I feel I’m going to die from the grief.

    Mackenzie - May 10, 2023 Reply


    I feel the same way, finally someone is on the same page as me. Cause I have always been the black sheep since day one literally.

    P. S . You’re not alone!

    Becca - June 12, 2023 Reply

    i feel the same way as you and going through the same thing as you. I have no one now and not even my kids… I feel like im going to die from the grief too… I thought I was the only one going through this.

    Susie - June 30, 2023 Reply

    Annie, I can relate & it’s painful. Although it’s very hard to do and you might think you see a break here in there where maybe things might change and they don’t and it compounds on your shoulders. It was hard because I could see my family & I love them. please believe this – it’s not you it really IS them! Of course all of us have flaws and you can work on them since that is totally in your control, we can’t control others so don’t give headspace or energy to that situation. Save that energy for you to love and self care because you are valuable lady!!! ☺️

Madeline - April 30, 2023 Reply

My sister beat me to the point I thought I was going to die. I have a restraining order. My parents resent me and tell me to get over it. I’ll never understand why I’m the black sheep. Dad is going in for major surgery and doesn’t want me there, likely because he wants her. I will never understand. But I guess I must respect his wishes. I am a nurse. I am not a bad person. I do not understand.

    Jonice - May 9, 2023 Reply

    Dear Madeline, sometimes the people who should know and love us the most are the ones who are incapable of it. I’m so sorry you are going through this. I hope you will stand on your own truth and get the support and help you need and deserve.

L - April 3, 2023 Reply

Great article. I doubt sharing it with family members would make any sort of positive impact. Any time I mention behavior that bothers me I am met with anger or gaslit into thinking I’m crazy. My advice is to be proud of who you are and find positive friends who appreciate you for who you are.

    Jonice - April 12, 2023 Reply

    Dear L, couldn’t agree more with your advice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Julie L - April 14, 2023 Reply

    L, I agree completely! I just, for the first time, set a boundary with my siblings and have been ignored since. It’s difficult now but I’ll be so much better for this eventually.

Mamabunny34 - January 24, 2023 Reply

sadly being given the black sheep of the family role is a very hard thing to endure. however positive side you will over time become a stronger,independent person.forgiveness is key for you to get past this,and move on not for them.it is fortunate we now have resources for those that are suffering unlike in past where children had to suffer silently.

Joel - December 28, 2022 Reply

Proud to be the Black Sheep! Wouldn’t want it any other way. Abusive folks tried their best to destroy me, but they failed. I’m here today shoving it back in their faces!!! Lot’s of folks out there need the black sheep’s love and compassion, and fierceness. Thanks and blessings to all you Black Sheep out there!

    babablksheepy - March 11, 2023 Reply

    great comment. Made me feel like maybe there is some good to this. Supported my mom financially and physically for 12 years only to keep being abused by her, my sister and my brother. I excused it for years but she went too far once I had my baby. I will never forget the day she told me that “if you give someone a gift they should be able to do what they want with it, give it to who they want” she wanted to be able to give my property to my little sister, who may be the person who hates me the most on this Earth. I did not even end it there ity tool another year of abuse until i threw in the towel. Still feel guilty tho but this helps. Thank you

    Shannon - April 30, 2023 Reply

    Absolutely! Own that s**t and know if they put the label on any other siblings they would’ve crumbled long ago! I can’t imagine being anything BUT the black sheep!

    Yulya - July 17, 2023 Reply

    That’s a great outlook to have ! You don’t take any crap from narcissist parents or relatives,and people who are scapegoats or Black Sheep need to remember that. Going no-contact is usually the best way to handle these situations, because people don’t change, at least they aren’t motivated to .

Mel - December 17, 2022 Reply

I found a durable power if attorney with documentation of a joint account my father had been abusing through a legal right of a POA. I discovered it Oct-Nov 2021. It was the first time I read the paperwork and had no idea what idea that he had been delegating my person information while leaving me in a trash housing assistance with 6 years if abuse, neglect and threat if a utter any emotion, concern or advocacy for a small studio that had been roach, bed bug and rodent infested.
I turned to free legal help to learn how to revoke Poa. Over the process my Grandmother passed away and I was told last minute of her being I’ll from cancer I heard last she had surpassed.
My uncle started to accuse me of being a drug addict because I looked skinny. I was skinny because I couldn’t eat, I had no food or a car to commute for getting grocery and I had been pleading for financial help. I moved into central nj with my long term relationship. My housing screwed me over with BS NO Security deposit. They said it belonged to my father. I learned more that I was in permanent disability and my parent before covid filed my on his taxes which hindered my grant eligibility for education and also delayed my full stimulus check, this when I had no car, no food.

My older brother was a shit. He was condescending and he asked me if I was on drugs too. I was hurt and insulted. My entire family neglected me and never knew who I am. I lived a lie while being financially abused.

Lori - November 24, 2022 Reply

I’m the black sheep & when I still lived at home overheard mom talking to Aunt on phone when mom stated that comment. I ran far away but went back when my brother and mother passed just weeks apart. came back home where I now live and my common law husband died 8 months later. my father also passed in February just a year or so after mom & brother.But i have no one. I’m not bitter I miss my husband mostly and confused why he had to go. he was 6 years younger than myself and he should of outlived me . Ive realized I can’t see myself with another man. I adored my husband and can’t imagine scrambling my beautiful memories. I just miss him so much. My brother still lived with mom and Dad in Ca. I’m in Oklahoma. I thought I wanted to return to Ca but discovered it was no longer home. Home was now Okla. I’m so lost. I have a cousin in Oregon buy she is so negative and tries to keep me on phone p for 8 hours at a time. I have things to do and I hate being tied to a phone for hours cause I feel I can’t do what I need to (thoughts please)I know my book, comment are all mixed up but I’m pretty emotional. I didn’t explain about my brother
he refused to talk to me until my cousin told him how happy I’d be to talk to him because even though he outed me I wouldn’t hang up on him. he finally called just a couple months before he died. I was so happy and told him wed just go forward and nothing more need be said. I’m thankful we spent this time together. my husband got mad about them getting my attention he even had said he wished they die meaning my Dad and Brother. not too long after that comment my cousin called and told me my brother died and husband came in and I was bawling and I told husband I couldn’t ever forgive him for those words so him saying he was sorry for my loos was not true and he’d just said that a few days before bro died. I know (now) my husband died from congestive heart failure and was suffering far worse than I’d imagined but we had not licenses and live in a very rural area. it is difficult getting rides anywhere and people don’t like to taking out of their time to assist. we aren’t rich by no means so sadly my husband died

    Deniz - April 18, 2023 Reply

    hi Lori your story is so impactful. I connect with your story so much. my mom died last month and then my dog. but my mom was black sheep and my best friend even though how difficult she was. I also said to my mom I wish she died and my dad her ex said it too because she was sick with mental illness from drug abuse that made him text test to her Same day I said it. my common law husband was always kind to her but kinda got upset with her too that day. about a month later she died. the story is on YouTube “unidentified women found dead in burnt tent”. she didn’t live the tent some random guys she was hanging out with . but I wish I never said it to her it was a huge mistake. I only now have my father and common law husband and I am scared I just can’t bear more pain. your story is weirdly inspiring to me because you seem to be keeping strong. if you like to add me on Facebook so we could maybe keep in touch since I know support from others do help I guess really for me. Facebook daryaseadeniz. thank you for sharing your story I felt so alone in this pain. my best a dearest hope and wishes for you. & I think your husband would want u to be happy he will send the guy he finds fit for you. I believe you will know too.

    Sincerely Deniz <3

Jen - October 26, 2022 Reply

I am the black sheep.

today I heard words from my dad that I never would have imagined he would say…. I would ruin his life.

I’m nearing ng 41, and for the first time ever homeless with my younger 2 kids. in an area we will freeze to death. I asked my dad for help. he said I would ruin his life and marriage if we move in with him. I’ve not lived with my dad since high school. tho there was a time he separated from his ex wife and he lived with me,.as did my brother and his best friend.

my dad saved me from my moms abuse growing up. it hurts that I love and care for him so much and this is his true feelings about me. my entire family is ignoring my situation. and I don’t know how to deal with it.

they leave me out of family gatherings, I got tired of making all the effort. so I stopped. no one talks to me. I’m baffled

    Julie - April 13, 2023 Reply

    I’m so sorry you are going through this, family can be so cruel. It’s awful to feel like your all alone in this tough world we live in. I am also having tough times. My narsisstic twin has turned my daughter against me. She has always been jealous of me. So for many years she was/is gaslighting me, lying to my daughter and to the family so they can make judgement on what a bad person I am. I am not this bad person she says I am…She is the MONSTER for lying and manipulating people. Anyways…I am so hurt and lost without my daughter that I don’t even want to be here. My daughter has completely shut me out of her life. I wish I could go back in time and do it all over…first thing I would do is take her so far from this dysfunctional family. Had I done that, I know I wouldnt be going through all this pain right now. Because I stayed it has been my BIGGEST MISTAKE that I will REGRET forever. I’m still suffering from these toxic family dynamics. So trust me on this…Your better off without them!! You and your children will be okay and you’ll find better people, friends who treat you like you should be treated and who truly care about you. It’s hard to move on but you can do it!!! I wish you all the best! Be strong.

    Carol Kotcheck - April 26, 2023 Reply

    I’m so sorry you had to hear those words,so awful. I was in critical condition after a house fire , in the hospital, fighting for my life on a respertory , and barely made it, but did.I had burns down my back. My Mother came and informed me that I could spend ONE night at her huge condo with her new husband, but after that, go to a homeless shelter. Instead of going to my home to stop everyone looting all my possessions. She had me helpless in my hospital bed, and thought it was a good time for tough love, minus the love. The fire wasn’t my fault in the first place, but as the black sheep, that didn’t matter. Now I’m stuck in a tiny apartment close to this mother and I’m supposed to be the doting daughter. I do help, I’m human and she’s 91, but wow, who is she? In the cab from the hospital, she leaned over to me and said “you’re in for a comedown”. Huh? She felt I’d had more attention than her.. in critical condition! I’m stuck in a boring suburb with no car, having lost every possession , can’t find a therapist or anyone to even talk to about all this! Getting more bitter every day, I got through so many other black sheep traumas, with hope in my heart, but I don’t think I’ll ever bounce back from this one.
    Take care, everyone, limit contact if you can and just know you never deserved to be put in a box and labeled “wrong,”or “broken”that’s on them, not you!

      Yulya - July 17, 2023 Reply

      Hi, Carol. I’m appalled at the way your narcissist mother,or bio- donor- as some would call her- is oppressing you ! While you’re in that small apartment,please apply for affordable housing, without telling her,or anyone else who could tell her. Have boxes and other supplies for moving ready. This time,once you get your own place, it will be a good idea to go no- contact with this barren ,cold woman. It sounds like you have been her scapegoat from birth. As long as you arrange for her care in a facility or at home, without you having to speak to her again, you have more than fulfilled any obligation to her. She can stay in her new condo with caregivers paid by the state, rather than YOU.

Estela - September 14, 2022 Reply

Hi , i looked diferent on my face all my life ,my family called me names and laughed made fun and made of me the joke of the family, i wasent invited to theyre house ,my mother always said that she wouldn’t say anything cus they give here stuff ,my dad was just embarrassed of me he would call me inside and tell me to stay in my brother to i think my brother didn’t like me cus of that ,at a time my bike was stolen from work so i walked home abaout 1 hour walking 2 family members drove by me hanked and drove away ,i was only good to my grandma if i did anything to here other than that i was ugly . I moved far away from everybody its been almost 20 years im still heart broken i love them and miss them actually but still broken till today .

    Bee - October 21, 2022 Reply

    Miss Estella
    this is my first time on this site, and I checked all the boxes when I read the article. When I got to the end there was no emotion, or the hope of learning something new that would explain one more callous on my heart.

    Then I read the first comment and found you.

    I wish I knew how old you are, because I spent 55 years wondering what I did that was so bad. The way I looked, what I said, how I dressed, etc…

    From me to you personally, find a great physiologist NOW. Money should not get in your way. Money should not get in your way. MONEY SHOULD NOT GET IN YOUR WAY. I worked 3 jobs, lived by myself, and had no insurance, granted it was 40 years ago, but I was able to call around the hospitals in my town and they referred me to a government department that allowed me to receive treatment at a fraction of the cost. Get it?

    My point…

    I did not have a great physiologist, and decided to treat myself. DON’T DO THAT!!! Because, your scares run very deep and it’s going to take a lot of work on your part to see yourself out of it. If the first phycologist doesn’t cut it, go to the next one. You know yourself better than anyone. This was inflicted on you by people who were selfish and cold. Look up Stockholm Syndrome, Narcissistic mothers, daughters of narcissistic mothers. Then go to Pinterest. You will find a lot of people just like yourself, and you will find comfort too. Sounds crazy…. just try it.

    I’m alone in my so called family. No one calls, no one visits, and just the other day I made a comment to my husband, if I were to move across country no one in my “family” would know. He agreed. In a nutshell, I was the black sheep. I would love more than anything to be a part of it, but I’m not. And my heart breaks everyday. I have cried almost every day of my life so far. I have become adept, so please try to get great help.

    People who go thru this have the biggest hearts, and are the strongest. My arms are hugging you right now.

Black Sheep - September 9, 2022 Reply

Maybe the child is the unwanted one because he was the result of the mother being an unfaithful and lying spouse?
Her guilt of her deed causes her to neglect, insult and emotionally abuse this child. The other children see this and think it is how it should be.
Deliberately sabotaging the child’s entire life so he could never outshine the 5 older siblings that were to her husband. From telling him he was not allowed to get straight A’s to making a name for himself or paying the other children to “lose” his homework after he went to bed.

Mytiya - August 30, 2022 Reply

Lisa can you be my family? I need a real mother or even a good friend. I have love and more love to give and i just want memories and a bond with someone that will have me.

    cummerman43068 - March 21, 2023 Reply

    I will be your mom

mytiya - August 30, 2022 Reply

Hello my name is Mytiya but you can call me tiya(tee-ya) and im a victim of several forms of mental and emotional abuse by practically my whole (small around 8n all in total on moms side) family. First i want to address the fact that i blamed myself for so many years due to the gaslighting/ manipulative behavior my mother and grandmother tortured my with, but also other members telling me its my fault and your a kid, if i had your life/we had nothing growing up/ look at the house(granny helped push suicidal Gpa to actually going for it ironically due to his feeling of emotional, spiritual, mental, psychical neglect as a wife that was supposed to help aid her sick husband(found the secret notes over 20 yrs later expressing how she made him terrified due to him needing help and support with his prostate cancer and all. It seemed as if he was being ignored due to the following notes and letters and his emphasis on certain wording as if he wasnt being heard or understood and was terrified of depending on her he said in others words due to her priorities he is scared to death for the future)) ai if im a rich spoiled “only child” that has it good and is ungrateful. You can already get the gist of the types of “people” that hung around. They reminded me of scavenger birds like crows or vultures that will follow my Gmaw whenever she went so as long as she threw out some old scraps from her collection. Even the thought of possibly being able to ask/borrow money or get some sort of help from her if needed was enough for these clueless leech of people that lacked huge vital portions of morality to even have common sense pertaining to emotional intelligence and relativity to completely ignore the clear signs of emotional and mental abuse and neglect right in there faces. Although she dummed it down tremendously in order to play the victim and make me appear like the big tall bully(they loved to use my height as if i use my height to intimidate intentionally since im “bigger”). Usually my mother would bring up the feature about me that i forget is a thing with me. Im so upset about the lies ,manipulations, mental bull crap games that involve wording and twisting of stories. She is a dirty person when it comes to winning an argument no matter the cost even if she is dead wrong(99.9% of the time) and she is so used to lying to herself and actually living the lie she created in her own fucked up distorted reality that she almost makes herself highly delusional all of this and more just to avoid accepting the severe abuse my gma inflicted on her as a child. She still lives with her at 52 and is a slave to her morally and emotionally. Its sad she actually sacrificed me to her mother to do what she pleased and will defend my grandma at all cost even lying on me about me to me just to defend her. The other day my mother went to the store and i called while she was there to ask a quick harmless question. She assumed the question (which was as innocent as what flavor was that cake on the counter do you remember or know?) involved my granny trying to start some shit and possibly had questions over and that because something harmless like that is a perfect example of granny starting a heel storm of bull ending with her calling 911 when ever i stand up to her abuse and call her out. not even cursing her or be violent in any way she still calls because i put my foot diwn and tell her she is wrong and to please to harassing me if your going to be disrespectful. Anyways although the question wasnt even indicating drama and was clearly harmless my mother started to get angry and aggressive . Why the fuck are you asking about a cake anyways. i said i didnt know(but right after she then said maybe rasp, or straw, uhh idk like rasp van? so i would say try to think mom please? i know you remember something more than nothing since you have changed what you remember) At first she wasnt mean but when she thought about it and realized it could be an argument about to pop up from my sadistic gma that love to watch me suffer she then changed her tone. My mother was prepping to side with my grandmother no matter what happened , no matter the details, and even if i did nothing at all like sit silent what so ever my mother will still be pissed at me because my granny is pissed. I would get abused by my granny and she would treat me very foul and make decisions just to hurt me in creative ways. she wanted to see me scream and cry in agony in pain. my mom would be mad at me for crying and if i went to her for support and love and told her what happened and how bad it hurt she would yell and disregard me leaving me suffering from my granny and now her the pain from both torture and betrayal. no matter how much i would beg them over and over to please please stop they wouldnt. Sometimes it would be one after the other, Then it would sometimes be the same time and others would be them defending eachother for the horrifying behavior. Again thanks for letting pour my pain. im sorry for everyone that has to suffer this forgotten silent killer. We are true strength, We are true love, We are true truth!

    Jonice - August 30, 2022 Reply

    Dear Mytia, I am so very sad to read your story and sorry you went through all of that. I strongly encourage you to find a good therapist to help you work through some of the trauma and neglect you’ve experienced. You deserve someone to validate what you’ve been through and support you to move forward and heal.

      Jane - April 26, 2023 Reply

      It’s not that easy to just get a therapist so easily. When I asked my doctor for a referral, he replied “good luck with that!” I guess Covid and younger people have nabbed up all the therapists. I hope everyone could find one, but I’ve been searching in vain for 6 years after an immense trauma, with no one coming to my aid. Just saying, for those experiencing this that I know you’re trying as best as you can, it’s not your fault if you can’t have a therapist due too this, or very real financial hurdles. Take care, I really like everyone here, it’s very refreshing! xox

    Yulya Sevelova - May 15, 2023 Reply

    Mytiya, you don’t say your age or if you’re disabled- but I want you to know right now that what’s being done to you by the grandmother and mother, is absolutely ILLEGAL !! I hope you will be calling the Department of Social Services and the police station immediately when you see this message. Abuse of a dependent adult,this is what it sounds like here. You need to be taken out of that house !

    Yulya - July 17, 2023 Reply

    Hi, Mytiya. You know,it sounds like you are a victim of various kinds of abuse,and you need to be out of that environment ! If you’re still there with those people, I hope you can apply for affordable housing,so that you will be free and safe. Are you a disabled person also ? It’s against the law to mistreat dependent adults,or kids too. They are breaking the law, those toxic relatives of yours ! I hope you can make calls to Social Services,and get some justice in this situation,and stop living with them. Abusers never change.

Rio J - August 20, 2022 Reply

Human beings are extremely damaged and flawed. Many of us do not know how to properly take care of another person beyond basic physical needs.

Jason - July 23, 2022 Reply

I’m 61 and I’ve know since I was five where I stood in the family. My father died when I was five,supposedly from a long illness. I have four brothers and a sister. The day my father died was hectic in the house and somebody arranged nor all us kids to assemble in the neighbors living room. We lived in a duplex and the neighbor knew of the family situation. So all of us kids were there in the room, some of us on a couch and the older ones standing close by. I remember my sister jumping up and pointing at me saying he’s not crying, why aren’t you crying? I looked up and they were all staring at me as if I committed a crime. Ill never forget that feeling. I guess Inwasnt crying because I was five, confused. I still feel it everyday and I don’t cry, never have. Very often when people ask me a direct question, I feel as if they are attacking me in some way. So, over the years, it didn’t get any better. as an adolescent I was the punching bag for my three older brothers. I was always in pain from their punches, pinches physical abuse. Not sexual abuse, I don’t think. I lived with that treatment for years. At age six the family was moved to a different state where the families of both my parents lived. When I was about fourteen, my mother met a guy and my younger brother and I were ripped from our home again and moved to a different state. He was an alcoholic. I never liked that about him. In always liked the guy except when he was drinking. So, I was just growing up and going to school. We had pets and farm animals so the routine was get up early, take care of the animals, have breakfast and go to school. Eventually I got a job making pizzas at a local shop. One day I came home from work and my mother and her man were sitting on the porch waiting for me. I was told to give up my paycheck or get out. Actually the words were a bit more vulgar __it or get off the pot. Basically, they kicked me out. I stayed in a room above the pizza shop for a while, then begged friends to let me stay with them for a while. I managed to finish high school that way. I bummed around looking for a decent job for a while, then went in the military. After a year I got married. They rejected her, they rejected my child. Its just been horrible. The signs of how much I was hated were everywhere. My mother had a hallway in her apartment where she hung her favorite photos. Never a pic of me, my wife or child. Never. I live within three hours of all my siblings, none stop by , ever. Even though until three years ago, I and my wife went out of our way to participate in weddings, graduations etc. But never a kind word or thanks for gifts etc. Three years ago, I cut them off. And man do I feel good about it ! Mostly. Not really, I actually feel horrible. I feel bad for my wife and kid. They will never feel good strong family ties because I never felt those ties. The cycle continues….

    Jonice - July 26, 2022 Reply

    Dear Jason, my heart goes out to you. It’s very important for you to protect yourself from this level of emotional neglect that is ongoing. I encourage you to contact some of the therapists on my Find A CEN Therapist List on this website until you find one near you who can guide you through this painful family situation.

    Vicki - September 10, 2022 Reply

    My ex-husband is an alcoholic, not born deaf, but accident became deaf, while a year old baby, more or less. His mother gave him the spoiled milk. I never meet his mother. He won’t let me know. I don’t know why. I left him and took two babies with me, and on welfare until they are 18 years old. I’m good so far. I refuse let him visit my kids will learn from him in their future and chaos life. My fault that I married him. How stupid I have done with him. Anyway, If you are my son, I continue blessed you, your wife and your child and move on. I’m happy for you and your family. All my children are hearing, and I’m born deaf. I’m happy for all of them. They are good so far.

      Vicki - September 10, 2022 Reply

      Yes, I forgive my ex-husband and I move on. I learned someone told from the television. I don’t remember what the name of the movie. Anyway, it says, forgive someone and you will be healed, not them, and move on. If you don’t forgive, then you still prison inside unless you let go and be healed. Gotta do it. Find Peace in you.

Lisa - July 16, 2022 Reply

I was adopted at an early age in Germany in 1963 by a loving American family. I found out by accident at age 10 or 11. My mom had to kids after I was adopted, when ,
‘The pressure’ was off. We were in the army so spent my childhood moving every 2 or 3 years. My relationships usually last about that long. I am 60 now and have some long term wonderful friends and family, but have never felt that I truly fit in or belong. In my head, I know it’s not true, but that is just how I feel. Most of my life I have been a people pleaser and codependent chasing this sense of belonging. How can I just get comfortable with the fact that this just how I feel and it won’t change? Or is there a way to gain this true inner feeling of belonging?


Caddie - July 9, 2022 Reply

I was the black sheep of my family as well…and I couldn’t be any more pleased that I was! Why? Because I was told that I couldn’t do anything right, that I wouldn’t be able to stand on my own two feet, that I would never have any real friends, that I would never be successful. I believed it all, for awhile. But, believing that I could never accomplish anything had it’s UPSIDE. I never had anything to lose by just trying…because I was already a loser, in the eyes of all the female members of my family. If you’re a loser already, you have nothing to lose, by taking a lot of chances. So…I did. I got my college degrees (2 of them), owned three successful businesses, had a great husband, two wonderful daughters. The point I’m trying to make here is that the Black Sheep is always unique in some way…different than the constantly bleating, jealous, arrogant sheep of the family. We’re more capable of handling rejection as well, because we’re used to it. We’re also capable of only going UP, because we were kicked so low. Thank goodness that I was the Black Sheep, or I would have become just like them!

Donnee - June 13, 2022 Reply

It took 70 years and countless years of therapy, workshops, self help groups and books to try to understand and fix what I was told was wrong with me by my FOO.
I had an epiphany a few months ago, after a long night on of intense dreams upon awakening in the morning…”They lied and I am fine!” It is my new mantra and the calmness and sense of power that comes from knowing this completely and without doubt is powerful.
The understanding of just how far reaching and insideous the practice of scapgoating is and how devastating it is to the victim and their families is becoming common in the universal collective consciousness. I am grateful to have learned of this and been released from the bondage of their beliefs before I make my transition.

Kim - June 4, 2022 Reply

The pain never goes away. The anger & resentment from not having a mom like your friends. You don’t ever get over it, you just learn to live with it. To this day I can’t stop working, or being busy, chaotic … being still, taking care of myself … was not hardwired into my brain. Telling yourself, “get over it & move on,” or “you are worthy of taking better care of,” is a lot harder than it sounds. I still hope I won’t die, not getting the concept of forgiveness. But honestly, looks likely.

    Jonice - June 7, 2022 Reply

    Dear Kim, don’t feel pressured to forgive. I wrote a blog about the dangerous trend of “forgiveness” being seen as the solution to all wrongs. I encourage you to focus on understanding how you were affected by how you’ve been treated, having compassion for yourself, and giving yourself what your parents couldn’t/didn’t give you.

      Kris - July 6, 2022 Reply

      Hi Jonice, I’d LOVE to see what you wrote about the dangerous trend of “forgiveness” as the solution to all wrongs. I agree, by the way. Do you have a link? I wrote a book about energy medicine techniques to help victims of sexual assault and I showed it to my pastor. I believe the way the church simply tells victims to forgive and not have a bitter heart is junk. It doesn’t make the wounds go away; wounds which can haunt a person for a lifetime. In any case, my pastor was wholly dismissive of my book, even though I took the time to feature the work of male healers because the church has a history of “having issues” with female healers, even to the point of immolation. In any case, the pastor said “Only God can heal”. Well, I volunteered at a rape crisis center years ago, and if “God can heal”, it wasn’t on the list of recommended therapies. In fact, men of God are sometimes the perpetrators because the rules of sexuality are so rigid and repressive that they are practically impossible to follow, and impulses can break out, causing harm. He told me firmly: The MOST important thing about rape is forgiveness. Really? That’s more important than actual healing or prosecution of the perpetrators. Wow, thanks Pastor. Pretty dismissive of the victim’s suffering. When he told me that last bit a little spark of wickedness was in his eye. I saw it without a doubt. Then, he went into his sermon which was about a school shooting where a girl saw 4 of her friends gunned down, and she was left as a quadriplegic. The Pastor preached that because the girl had the Holy Spirit she was instantly able to forgive, and became an anti-gun advocate. I don’t know about you, but something seems so extreme in his interpretation of how things should be that it left me with a feeling of disgust.

        Jonice - July 7, 2022 Reply

        Dear Kris, here’s the link to the article. Thanks for sharing your story and your experience with us! https://drjonicewebb.com/5-reasons-forgiveness-is-not-a-good-way-to-heal/

        Yulya - July 17, 2023 Reply

        Hi, Kris. Oh, how I can identify with any survivor of abuse, and how the churches, especially in America always defend the perpetrators over the victims !! I quit church over time, because I just couldn’t stand their unethical behavior anymore. You have every legal right to go after rapists or any other criminal, legally. As in press charges,if that’s what you want to do. I wouldn’t be surprised if this idiot ” pastor” has a double life where HE abuses vulnerable people,too ! For one thing, forgiveness and reconciliation are NOT the same thing, anyway. Even if someone can forgive, it makes sense not to stay in relationship with the offender. I hope you will look for a different church, and it’s probably best not to mention that you were victimized. Churches are conditioned not to advocate for abuse survivors. I’d only tell support groups and fellow survivors, myself. Oooff !! Someone needs to challenge that lousy pastor.

    Yulya Sevelova - May 15, 2023 Reply

    Kim, forgiving and reconciling are two VERY different things. I couldn’t forgive,as long as I believed I had no right to be free of my mother’s abusive family. It takes time,years before being able to get peace of mind. Which is why forgiving without accountability is so dangerous !! It sounds like you may have a form of PTSD. A normal reaction to childhood abuse. You don’t have to die at all. Shutting out your abusers is another story. You’re free to go/ stay non- contact if you desire it. Even on Mother’s Day. Father’s Day,etc.

M - May 29, 2022 Reply

I understand how y’all feel. I’ve always been a “black sheep” too. The weirdo, the misfit, etc.

You have to realize that it has nothing to do with you. They are the ones choosing to treat you this way.
I think in my case, they have some personal issues that they took out on me.
I’m not perfect…but I do think that how they treated me is a reflection of them, not me.

I also think that within my family, on my mom’s side, they have a problem with my father’s side of the family.
Not sure why…but this contempt spilled over into how they treated me.
No other member of the family is viewed in this way except me. I actually wondered if I was adopted, but a DNA test proved otherwise.

I took the test because I wanted to know more about my background, but also because I needed to explain (to myself) if there was some family secret that they all knew.
Like maybe I was a product of rape or not a real part of the family at all, or some terrible secret.
All I know is that growing up, I didn’t fit in with them (or anyone for that matter).
I looked different and they thought I acted different…therefore they didn’t like me.

At almost 40 now, I’ve learned to see that this lifetime of rejection was never about me.
If you know that you try to be kind to others, to be a loving and caring person, and people STILL treat you as though you are unworthy…please remember that it’s not about you. It never was.
You are on this planet to learn, to enjoy life and what it has to offer, and to show love to others (and to yourself).

Lauren - May 18, 2022 Reply

My older sibling is a blessing. Four grown children, son and daughter-in law, two grandchildren, successful career and marriage, true integrity. The black sheep here has had legal troubles, many marginal employment dismissals, zero promotions, zero relations, no children. A loners life punctuated by chronic depression, its difficult to feel anything but being a black sheep. That’s the way it goes, I suppose.

    M - May 29, 2022 Reply

    Hi Lauren,

    I’m in the same boat as you. I think that in some ways, the problems we have are because we were scapegoated…we weren’t encouraged or supported to reach our full potential.

    You’re right, it is indeed a loner’s life punctuated by chronic depression. Is there anything that brings you comfort or joy?

    Mae - June 6, 2022 Reply

    Hello. One of seven children. Scapegoat to them all. Parents and paternal parents. My momma told me my daddy was not my daddy. I was born in 1952. DNA had his family a
    as my relatives in 2016. About five days ago, I got his Haplogroup DNA ! I see the downers they seeded in all of us flock of black sheep as jealousy. We aren’t fitting in. I still get uninvited. My sister’s wedding photos I saw in a family room today for the very first time ever. Siblings did what the parents wanted them to do. I survied by being stubborn a Therapist told me. She told me I was a very determined woman. I was blessed to have a neighbor named MIldred. I would be so messed up if I didn’t have her as a role model.

LD - April 21, 2022 Reply

I am the black sheep and no matter how hard I try to succeed or make my family proud or like me, they just do not. In high school I got straight As in all AP and honors courses, was a member of every club and honor society I could join, participated in Football, Rugby, Chess, Scholastic bowl and Theater. I’m the only one who graduated college in my family (almost full ride scholarship, and also the only one who has ever gone), I have a good job and a nice title. I am engaged and my fiances family loves me. Despite this, I am seldom invited to gatherings, my extended family wants nothing to do with me, my immediate family all treat me with contempt. My sisters all seem to never have to earn any love or care, they had kids early and made my parents raise them. They never worked a job or went to school. They never had to get good grades or do anything to maintain themselves. Whatever they need in terms of help, they get. For years I’ve watched them bend over backwards to raise my siblings’ children with a smile, yet show me nothing but disdain or at best, indifference. I’ve lived my entire life with the express purpose of impressing my parents and making it easy for them to love me like they love my siblings, but I don’t think anything I ever do will make that happen. I think I am going to try and see a therapist after reading this article because I need to unpack how 4/6 of the bottom points directly relate to my life.

    Yulya Sevelova - May 15, 2023 Reply

    Oh, LD- please cut these abusive idiots from your life as soon as you can ! They don’t appreciate you as a relative,this is THEIR loss ! Have your best life without them. You can’t please scapegoaters, or change their minds, because their minds are already made up. Congratulations on your success in life and love, in spite of those relatives !

Alan Jr - April 7, 2022 Reply

I have never referred to myself as the “Black sheep” but have sensed that is how my immediate family see me. Yes, I was always the one with ‘Why?’ on my lips. I believe this is reason why my father yelled and screamed and physically abused me, was because I always asking Why? He grew up in a very poor home and had dyslexia. And he never accepted anyone’s service to him. It always had to be, ‘his way’. (He had a champagne taste on a beer budget’). ’Which is why he alway fought with everybody, and why, he and I always ‘bucked heads’. (which none of my sibs or mother did). I began to stand up to him, when I got into my 20s. I believe he took me as rebellious and not simply expressing my opinion.

When I was 9 years old, my parents took me to a psychologist. After I chatted with the doctor, I was asked to wait in the waiting room and play with the toys, while he talked with them. But it was my nature to spy on them. So I listen in at the door, because it was ajar. My parents asked, ‘What is wrong with him?’ The doctor said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with him! He is a normal, 9 year old boy, with a lot of energy and curiosity. Which my parents didn’t want to hear!

My mother always blamed me for her bad back, because she fell down a flight of stairs, while she was carrying me. She never expressed love to me. She never changed the sheets on my bed, which were always dirty and torn easily.

I have an older sister and a younger sister and brother. The latter two graduated from college. My older sister and I have no training or academic education. We’re always struggling financially. I usually spend my ‘free time’ reading and studying, rather than watching TV or playing video games. I am still curious. Always ‘finding out’ something new.

Here’s my Point: My parents and siblings all treat me as inferior, which infuriates me. Yes, I am smart, even though I do not have an academic education. I am cautious not to flaunt my intelligence. Yes, I am still full of energy and wonder. Even though my body is 63 years old, and is racked with pain, I still am asking, why?

    Yulya - May 15, 2023 Reply

    Please don’t put up with the hate and scapegoating of these gnarly family members another day,Alan. In fact,you may want to consider changing your name to something else you prefer,if you like that idea. You have your own identify. I hope you find soon what you are looking for in life. You also need to heal from what was done when you were young- parents are supposed to carry babies and young children around,that’s normal. Your mother wasn’t paying attention,or was clumsy. You did NOT cripple her back. Something else was going on. No doubt about it.

Alan Jr - April 7, 2022 Reply

My parents and siblings all treat me as inferior, which infuriates me. Yes, I am smart, even though I do not have an academic education. I am self-taught. I am cautious not to flaunt my intelligence. I have always been full of energy and wonder.

Barb - March 29, 2022 Reply

I can remember since a young age that I was treated different. I ran away from home at 16, and stayed away for years. I reconnected with my sister, and started interacting with my family again. My mother had a stroke, and needed care in a nursing facility. When my mother died the family was different. My sister who I connected with starting talking behind my back to the rest of the family. I was hurt, and started withdrawing from all of them. It was a grieving process, but now I am I just neutral to them. I no longer feel angry, or hurt.

Beth - February 27, 2022 Reply

I too am the black sheep of my family which I still find so perplexing. I’ve lived such a straight-laced life for the most part! I was the oldest of 5. My mother had a lot of emotional problems. She became pregnant with me as a teenager and married my dad just after high school graduation. My mother’s moods swung back and forth and for some reason, I became the target of many of her bad moods. The other kids followed after her, (I think that they were relieved to not be the target themselves). My dad would spend extra time with me, but I never heard him speak out on my behalf. My mother resented the extra time that my dad spent with me which also became an issue. I finally grew up and went to college 3000 miles away. I was close to my dad but he passed away. Over the years I have tried to have relationships with each of my siblings and with my mother, but it has been very difficult. I could write a novel of detail here but will keep it brief… I tried for so many years to prove that I was as good as the rest of them. It has been exhausting. I spent years on a graduate degree. I work in a service field with cancer patients and doing cancer research. I have done years of volunteer work and I do a lot of animal rescue. I learned how to play the piano, (I begged my parents for lessons as a kid). I have tried to become cultured, and speak more than one language. I’m the only child who has never experimented with drugs. I don’t even drink. But nothing that I ever do is good enough. They make comments about how I’m not married and how I don’t have kids, (so I can’t possibly know what it’s like to love anyone other than myself), and about how I always work. They get upset that I don’t visit more yet none of my siblings have made any attempts to come and visit me. I work 10 hour days and have some fairly serious medical conditions, (which they seem to ignore). I get left out of family functions, and always get the sense that I’m not really included. It’s a really crappy feeling. I’m probably the most quiet of the siblings and I tend to avoid conflict. I recently sent my sister a letter about how I feel — so far crickets… I have been going to counseling and decided that it’s just not worth putting myself in the position to be the family ‘bastard’ anymore. Nothing that I will ever do will matter to them or suddenly make me fit in or belong with them. The really sad thing is that I was unable to have a family of my own so it gets really lonely. No matter how hard I try, I still have nagging doubts about myself — if your own family doesn’t like you, who will? So I stay really engrossed in my work, and with animal rescue. Animals love you unconditionally for who you are. I sometimes wish that I could forget about all of them and wonder if that would make me happier, but I think about them and worry about them. I hope that they’re successful and doing well. At this point, I’m not sure that there’s much more to do.

    Yulya - July 17, 2023 Reply

    Hello,Beth. What you’re describing here is the fact that yes, you’re a scapegoat,and there’s just no way to please abusive, narcissist people like this. You’ve actually made a wonderful, productive like for yourself,and because of your family role, the more good you do,the harder they will make it. Because they choose to ! Please quit trying to change their minds. They need a scapegoat,and this role was assigned to you. Do yourself a favor,and drop all of them. You will only hear crickets or criticism from them. Your friends are your real family. Blood relatives aren’t family, if they don’t love you !

Jennifer - February 9, 2022 Reply

Makuye thank you so much for your comment. It truly resonated with me. Resentment can be deadly. I felt sorry for myself for years over my situation and drank and drugged because of it. I had to pull myself out of a very dark hole. I almost didn’t survive it. Happy to say I’m three and a half years sober and building on myself every day. I cannot change other people. What they think about me is none of my business. All I can do is put one foot in front of the other, do the next right thing, and become the best version of me possible. I stopped seeking my worthiness from other people. It is an inside job.

Again, thank you.


Makuye - December 12, 2021 Reply

While CEN is multigenerational – passed on and on, what keeps it persistent is clearly resentment – THAT is the killer of healing, the preventer.

We read the comments focusing solely upon themselves and their suffering with NO recognition of that of those so weak and untaught who have become impossibly isolated emotionally.

And, though I have experienced rejection and nonresponse to pleas for mere communication since age four to six, having to live as if orphan does NOT mean that our response should EVER be “I am hurt”, as there is NO viable explanation for others’ rejection other than that they experience some unwillingness to be or restore familial love.

To those who are focused solely on their own pain, I suggest approaching others with greater innocence and trust, and RECOGNIZING that those who seem to have no interest are otherwise stressed, and cannot overcome their own blocking fear of expression.

I only periodically reach out to family, awaiting their development of courage never taught to us.

Only our grandmother developed nonblaming, and though she did not succeed (her son was an emotionally cruel man, scarred so by war that he rejected all who disagreed with hm, living in angry alcoholic stupor and burping out meanness).

DO NOT feel sorry for YOURSELF. You may not at all have been subject to the violence that another has(I WAS aware that I WAS his exclusionary target, but it took discovery that my sister was and remains FAR more deeply scarred, unable to reach out, even modeling coldness and rejection to HER children, who retain that trait. My mother left her natal family, retaining resentment for forty years, and demeaning any emotional response in her own children – IMAGINE how impoverished one who does THAT, c0mpared to your own lack!

Although I made it a POINT to reach out to mother privately to assist her in overcoming her coldness, and to those who could not express – I had read Dr. Webb’s books, and FORMED a DETERMINATION to never exhibit any attitudes of, or inducing, rejection or resentment,
I have not been successful.

Every other family member also suffers from the coldness, even though THEY cannot [yet] overcome their culturally-induced norm of coldness, alcohol, busyness.

Life, and YOU are immensely beautiful – follow THIS beauty.

We cannot know tomorrow; we can only shape ourselves with trust and kindness.

Creating persistent narratives of our OWN hurt are not conducive to the basic courage, the THING WE NEED to live WITHOUT resentment.

Be KIND to yourself, and you will radiate sufficient kindness for others to gain the courage they need to see beyond their OWN resentment, to THEIR starving and ignored better feelings.

    Jonice - December 12, 2021 Reply

    Dear Makuye, I do think that resentment/anger is a natural part of the healing process and it does have value. The problem comes when it’s not accepted and worked through. If it turns into long-term bitterness or victim stance, then it does become a huge hindrance to healing. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure so much. Thank you for your thoughtful words.

Kelly - December 9, 2021 Reply

Thnku for sharing this story. I resignate with some points and have similar issues still today . I still have trust issues with my 2 younger siblings who both got me on drugs and prescribed medications.

I have bn drug free for 5 to 8 or 9yrs and completely off all prescribed medications…

I found dealing with myself as the outsider of the family was to take a journey on my own out on country and find peace and acceptance that every family isn’t perfect..

I have found that using my time to heal and work out that I’m not any different than any other sibling or child who felt unwanted in not 1 family but both sides..

I have found some amazing women to share some of my story and find who I really am today…

I’m now working on some activities and plans to help bring peace and acceptance to other families who have had breakdowns in the relationships and family ties.

I hope all siblings and children within their families who r feeling unwanted, U maybe weren’t meant to fit in. We all have our own destiny and is for others to respect who we are as individuals regard if we r family or not…

Maybe in the near future others will do the same for themselves too

H - November 25, 2021 Reply

Thank you for this.

Melissa - November 22, 2021 Reply

Surprise this isn’t mentioned I’m the black sheep of my family. I never fit in I definitely wasn’t suppose to exist I’m close to my Dad and his side only.
My siblings and my Mum are like perfect strangers my sisters have a close bond same with my brothers and me by myself I’m the youngest of the family. I never did drugs like my mum and siblings It felt like I was brought up as an only child at times I had no one and it hurts.
I suffered a serious miscarriage it was brutal and no family nothing I was by myself and felt so alone I got one txt message from my sister who tried to help get my other sister has an early miscarriage has already has children and the entire family gathers to help her by watching the children making sure she not alone as she didn’t want a miscarriage like mine wtf. It still pisses me off how little they treat me I needed them and I had nothing absolutely nothing.

There more like recently my sister moving away had a family gathering but I wasn’t invited well thanks to prove I’m not family my boys would of liked to say goodbye to their cousins. But nup nothing heard how great it is but honestly it really hurts.

James Wilkinson - November 17, 2021 Reply

This is a very sexist web page… All the good people are she’s and the bad people are he’s are only men capable of these bad things and are only women capable of nice things

    Jonice - November 17, 2021 Reply

    Dear James, I re-read my post to see if it paints men as bad and women as good. I think if you re-read it, you’ll see it’s not there.

    Melissa - November 22, 2021 Reply

    Women aren’t nice the most horrible people in my family are females especially my mother.

      Jonice - November 22, 2021 Reply

      Dear Melissa and James, I would say that neither gender can be described as “nice,” as there is a great deal of variability among members of both genders.

        Jackie - November 27, 2021 Reply

        Dear jonice– a helpful article on being the black sheep, although I prefer the term scapegoat. Many of your comments apply directly to my childhood. I am separated from my spouse. However my ex and kids are invited to attend a big family dinner tonight— at my brother’s home and I am not–its pretty fresh. My daughter told me last night because she thought I knew..?so my ex seems to deliberately not told me. So I am persona non grata.

          Amanda - December 2, 2021 Reply

          Jackie my family did the same- invited this man on family vacations, to dinners. I left him for abuse, and my sister’s and brothers sided with him and I was ostracized. Not one of them even called or reached out to ask why I left or if I was okay. It was horrible. I felt so alone and couldn’t understand why they hated me and talked such shit behind my back and acted as if I don’t exist.

    Yulya - July 17, 2023 Reply

    James, there’s quite a few abusive mothers mentioned in the comments here. How can anyone read these accounts and think that they’re ‘ sexist ‘? This is about abuse and scapegoating, not sexual issues or rivalry.

Meme - October 24, 2021 Reply

I am the black sheep in my family and I want to to move on. Family dynamics I am the youngest the smartest most creative and loving also most successful without any support. My mom favorite daughter took all of her attention leaving me without any. I really think my mom hated me. Gaslighting being dismisive non supporting. I can’t remember my mom ever giving me a hug. I want to move on. I am so hard on myself. It’s true I had to realize it and it took over 40 years to believe it.
I am not told anything yet they copy everything I do. Never giving me any credit or praise. Yet they praise or support each other. To conclude it’s cruel when your parent and family dont respect or celebrate you. God Bless them I am out. Never again I am going to let toxic people family or non family members dump on me again. I am not a trash can.

    Jessica - November 8, 2021 Reply

    I can completely relate to you. I do more, care more and have the most empathy but in return I have a sibling that gets praised and is the golden child bc he mimicks my mother’s personality. Cares more about what others think of them (in their circle) more than their family members feelings. They both have always been emotionally immature.

    It causes me anxiety overload and dysfunctional outbursts with my mother because I have so much resentment in my heart.

    Lisa - November 11, 2021 Reply


    your article is wonderful! And it completely sounds like me and my life. I started to realize something was different at a younger age but now that I’m older more educated I can see it exactly for what it is. I always had substance-abuse issues however I still managed to get through undergrad and graduate school and I think they hated that cuz they real trouble started after I got my master’s degree. and then I noticed how I realized that my mother was completely immature drama queen and usually cold as ice. my father had drinking problem and an infidelity problem and him and my mother were miserable 4th of them. and all we did was move to different towns my dad would build a house we move into it couple years later my mother bored would discuss with my father building another house somewhere else and we would move into there and everything was exactly the same only in a different house. in my early twenties I decided I wanted to go to college and my parents didn’t go and nobody knew how to acclimate and I was left on my own to figure it out. I usually work full-time and went to school at night until class came up that I couldn’t go at night so I had to take the day and change my job and my parents would never let me come home so he can help me out with that I end up sleeping on Friends couches while she let my cousin live with them for about 6 months for free. it’s so clear what goes on now and I can finally say that has nothing to do with me the good part is i I wouldn’t trade my life for anything in the world. of course that bugs them all even more.

HannahRose - September 28, 2021 Reply

I am the black sheep but for a reason that is not listed. I am adopted by my biological mothers youngest sister. In my family I was the first born grandchild after it was found out my mother couldn’t take care of me I was placed with my aunt and her new husband at the time because my grandparents didn’t want to loose me. After I was adopted they had a three more kids. One who was a still born boy who seems like he was replaced by my youngest half brother so he never got treated any different. I was always told I’m different, I can’t do anything right and all sorts of other mean stuff. My sisters and brother always got treated like gold. I think I got treated differently because I look like my biological mother and not part of that family.

    Kelly - October 28, 2021 Reply

    I’m sorry and I understand what it feels like to feel like there is something wrong with you because of your family.

Jimmy - September 24, 2021 Reply

Most of my family stop talking to me or even acknowledging that I existed in 2008. When I returned from Iraq I was diagnosed with ptsd and slight bit of brain damage. Which makes me an embarrassment to the family. Because i am different now (in my head) . I wish I didn’t embarrass them , because I miss them. It make me sad a little when I see all them post pictures on Facebook of them having a great time. Only 1 of my sisters except my friend request. So now I’m able to see them in pictures again. I wish sometimes that I never came back from Iraq it would have been better I think

    Grace - November 24, 2021 Reply

    Jimmy, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. Thank you for your service and sending you a lot of love. Keep strong❤.

Ellese - September 19, 2021 Reply

I’m the black sheep. I’m the gay and depressed one with anxiety, I’m better than my brother at school but he is the one that gets awards for his work while I stand back and watch. I’m the one my mom can relese her problems on because apparently I can “hold and take trauma” I have been told by my family that I’m too quiet but when I try to speak they tell me to shut up. I can’t go anywhere because I’m underage and can’t go anywhere else.
I think with all my heart that there must be SOMETHING wrong with me. I honestly just want them to tell me why they hate me so maybe I could change because all I want is for them to say ‘I love you’ but at this point I don’t think it’s ever gonna happen

    Grace - November 24, 2021 Reply

    There is nothing wrong with you, they are the ones with the problems. Keep focused on what makes you happy, focus on school, and learning, not on anyone who hurts you or makes you sad. Most of all…..BE YOURSELF, if someone doesn’t like it, can’t understand it, doesn’t appreciate it…again, its their problem and don’t let anyone, family or not treat you like crap! Don’t wait for “I love you” from them, it will come in all different forms from all different people (animals, too). I care, I love you and you are going to be fine ❤

    Claire - December 25, 2021 Reply

    Hey there your comment struck me. You may not hear I love you from them,do not wait. Something inside them is perhaps broken and it pains you so much because you are not and that is a gift because it means you are capable of giving and receiving love. Depression just means your alive! It’s a sign your working and you have the ability to feel life it’s highs and lows. You will truly appreciate love when you do receive it.as the previous poster said it can come in many forms and it’s not always from our immediate family. I think it’s important though to not close your self off from the world( or to stick in a mindset of sadness) and to keep being a loving person yourself. And remember you are worthy and all the love you don’t get try give as much as you can to yourself. in the way you imagine a nurturing family would. in hard time I would try and imagine myself from far away watching myself and would try to guide my actions based on what I think someone who cared about me would guide me to act upon( even if it’s just getting up and brushing my teeth) good luck and God bless.

April - September 7, 2021 Reply

I’m a black sheep too. In our family it seems the females members are the black sheep.. my mom was, I am, and now my daughter is as well. The younger years life seemed nice and normal but my mom married my step dad who was an alcoholic who couldn’t hold a job when I was in Kindergarten, it was about this time also that all of my moms time and attention went to him. That was the beginning of my mom becoming the black sheep of the family as well. As I grew older, getting into puberty, as a lot of girls tend to do, I wanted to do what I wanted to do, I also began struggling with depression and impulse control issues. I’m sure I wasn’t your perfect example of a teenage girl but the harm was all done to myself. I soon was also a black sheep of our family. I have 2 brothers and neither is perfect as well but family still interacts and acknowledges them. I tried for a few years to fit in with them as I grew up and had a family of my own but my life still wasn’t the perfect life and despite how hard I tried it was still a bumpy road. There I am a single mom with 2 kids and not going places. My self esteem was crap. My stepfather passed suddenly at 37 years old due to alcohol. Sadly because of my family’s dislike for him, they really didnt acknowledge the impact of the loss for my mom and never offered her any help or support. My youngest brother was my step dads son, he was 11 when he died. My mom was devoted in making sure he was happy and had everything from there on out. She did so too. But she also has managed to slowly push me and my other brother out, we have never seen or received the amount of affection or attention from my mom as baby bro did, which continues to this day… it it not abnormal for my mother to not call us for over a year. My blood bro (will call for these purposes) however still has the support of the extended family as they took him in while he was in middle school and I remained with my mom.
For 15 or so years I tried to be normal with my family and participate but you can only ignore the clear dislike of your appearance before you dont even try. That’s where I am today. My daughter is at the stage where I became the black sheep, doing stupid teenage girl stuff. Not surprisingly they have given her the shaft as well. I however unlike my mom strive to keep a relationship with her, even if rocky at times. Some people might say I deserved to be written off by family, I was kind of a pain in the ass at times.. but to that I say .. isnt that the time when family should be supportive, even just mentally. The complex I give myself because I feel so alone in life just adds to my depression. It’s sad not having a single guest over for Christmas or Thanksgiving. To send a Christmas for 10 years straight to never get one back. To invite family over and no one replies. In 20 years besides my mom and grandma, none have been to my house!!
I’m actually convinced theres something wrong with me.. no one really seems to like me. I’m sure if I disappeared only my husband and daughter would notice. For years I didn’t let it bother me but now it makes me wish I could disappear. The rejection while trying hurts the heart and feelings so much more.

    Jamar - September 16, 2021 Reply

    You did such a great job articulating your experience that I feel you will find your way AND go on to help OTHERS! Reading your story has already helped me on my path to healing.

    CJ - October 29, 2021 Reply


    I feel the same as you. No one would notice if I disappeared unless of course it was my husband or sons. It absolutely breaks my heart. I don’t want to be around them at all anymore after discovering the bashing going on behind my back. I feel like I’m the joke of the family. No one even listens when I speak nor do they seem to care.

Crystal - September 2, 2021 Reply

I am the black sheep of my family my mother doesn’t like me but like to vent to me Becuz I’m the only on that listen my dad also vent to me but never want me around I have two brothers I care about I try my best to be the best I could I never was in the streets at a young age I went to church even the church people wish bad on my but I’m so determined to make it somewhere and finally be happy I keep pushing god is keeping me here I have tried to commit suicide multiple times cuz of the way they treat me since I learned how to cook my mom stop cook I have to cook all of our meals when my brothers are not at home even when they are I always have to clean up everything I got my first job at 15 and everytime I got my check both parents call to get money from me I always bought them Christmas presents birthday presents and mother and Father’s Day gifts cuz Ik grown ups would like money to be spent on them my dad use anything I buy to paint in or use it as a ash tray my mom never where the stuff I buy her and she pick it out herself when we where going through rough times my mom left us and we had to go stay wit my dad everyday wen I got out of school me and my dad would argue all the way home because he thinks I’m a hoe and says I’m going to get pregnant always accusing my of doing something when they don’t know I’ve been raped more than 3times. Since the age of 10 to 16 i am 16 now and the last person to rape me was my own brother and he saw I started crying and all he said to me was don’t tell nobody I have no support system wat so ever I try to keep a job but I never have transportation never can get to work my dad has a car he don’t never wanna take me the rest of my family don’t care if im dead or gone finally got pregnant at 16 like they said and ended up loosing it Becuz the daddy didn’t wanna raise it or help me and I had got into a wreck while I was pregnant and stress I saw my baby heart well what supposed to be it’s heart and it hurts everytime I think about it my life is a living hell and I have no one by my side I have no friends I have no support no family don’t nobody like me and idk why wen I try to get they approval but I will never be good enough I will always be a black sheep and I can’t change what I don’t kno is wrong so I’m jus going to play my role tired of trying so hard to get knocked back by the ppl I care about I’m only 16 out here trying my fucking best but the lord got me he has been helping me a lot with my problems and I am thankful to have him in my life

    Danielle - January 10, 2023 Reply

    Crystal, I feel the need to reply as I am bawling from the emotions your story has evoked. I want to tell you that I can feel your strength even as your words are filled with painful emotions. just by you sharing the depths of abuse, cruelty and disparagement suffered in your life and knowing that it isn’t how you or anyone should be treated puts you far ahead of those like me who have literally wasted half a century figuring that out.

    I hope this finds you and that I can tell you how amazing you are! Don’t believe their lies!! And don’t allow any setbacks, failures or difficult life moments to cause you to stop moving forward on your life’s path. it’s through our mistakes and the knowledge we gain from life’s most difficult moments that we truly succeed. Because nothing worth knowing should be accepted as truth without it being questioned and changeable as new information is obtained. So your TRUTH should be questioned by YOU and changed as new knowledge is acquired. YOU ARE NEVER WHO YOU WERE YESTERDAY AND WHO YOU ARE TOMORROW BEGINS WITH THE TRUTH YOU BELIEVE TODAY. YOU ARE AMAZING! And nobody can take that from you except yourself believing otherwise. No matter how bad things get YOU ARE ALWAYS AMAZING!!!!

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