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What does it mean to be the black sheep?

What does it mean to be the Black Sheep?

The black sheep is a term used to describe someone who doesn’t fit in with their family. The term originated from the practice of ritually removing one of a flock’s lambs. Making it different from the rest of its peers. Today, the term often carries connotations of being an outcast or misfit. Because you don’t conform to what your family thinks is right. In some cases, this can mean that you’re actually an incredibly talented person who doesn’t do well under pressure. Or enjoys being different than most people around them. However, if this describes your situation it might be time to reconsider your relationship with your family of origin.

You are the black sheep.

You are the black sheep. It’s time for us to talk about you. You have a lot of thoughts and feelings about being the black sheep, and we want to hear them. But first. A disclaimer: this article is not meant to invalidate anyone who has been hurt by someone else’s behavior. Especially given the painful history of people who were ostracized due to their skin color or religion (or whatever it may be). The purpose of this piece isn’t to create a hierarchy of oppression or invalidate anyone else’s experiences but rather explore your unique position in relation to your family. And how that affects how you might feel about yourself today.

The reasons why some people are perceived as “black sheep” vary widely depending on who you ask. But there are some common themes among those who identify as such: they’re often the youngest sibling; they’re often the smartest; they’re often creative. They’re often sensitive; they’re often independent thinkers with their own ideas about what makes sense in life. What doesn’t make sense in life. Sometimes these ideas differ from those held by other members of their family

You don’t feel like you come from your own family.

It is tough to feel like you belong when you are around your family. You might even feel like an outsider or that you don’t belong with them and your relationship with them has been strained for as long as you can remember.

If this sounds like something that could be happening in your life, then it may be time to take a look at why this is happening and how it can change for the better.

happy ethnic family resting in bed with little dog
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

You’ve always felt alone in your family.

You’ve always felt alone in your family.

You don’t belong, but you can’t talk to anyone about it. You feel like you’re the only one who feels this way, and that no one else wants to talk about it. It makes sense: people are often told that if they just worked hard enough. Or tried harder or loved more fully. Then everything would be fine. For some reason, none of those tactics seem to work for you and your family isn’t here for you either. You’ve always assumed that because no one else seems to see what’s wrong with this situation either (or they do but aren’t willing to say anything. Then maybe there really is something wrong with YOU?

As someone who has been in this situation many times before myself. I assure you that there’s nothing wrong with yourself or the way that YOU think; there are just differences between YOUR worldviews/experiences and THOSE who have a different set of beliefs than what might be considered common practice by society at large.

You can’t count on your family for support.

You can’t count on your family for support.

Because they don’t believe you and they don’t want to hear about it, your family may not be the best source of information when you’re feeling down or struggling with something. Family members often want to ignore the fact that something is going wrong in order to keep things comfortable. So they might even try to convince themselves that everything’s fine by arguing against your concerns or telling you nothing’s wrong at all. This can be especially frustrating if you’re trying to confront an issue with a parent who refuses to see their own role in it, because it means there won’t be anyone listening to what’s really going on for you and why these issues matter so much.

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You try to talk to your family about personal issues and they shut it down.

If it feels like no one is listening to you, then it might be time for you to think about whether or not it’s worth continuing the conversation with them. If they aren’t willing to listen and acknowledge your feelings, then what’s the point of bringing up anything personal?

The truth is that if your family won’t acknowledge your personal problems, then they don’t care about them—and there will never be any real solution until they do care.

Your family denies that there’s anything wrong with them even though you know there is.

Your family may not want to admit they have a problem. They might be so used to their situation that they don’t see anything wrong with it. Or they might feel as if no one else understands them. As an example, you could have a brother who is addicted to drugs and won’t seek help. But doesn’t understand why his family is upset about this and keeps saying things like “There’s nothing wrong with me.”

Your family members may not see the problem as being their fault. It’s easy for us to blame ourselves when things go wrong in our lives. Sometimes we need someone else around us who will tell us what really happened. In your case, maybe your parents didn’t know how much you were struggling at school until after you graduated; maybe they didn’t realize what had hurt you until recently. Maybe they just weren’t paying attention at all!

Your family members might not want to acknowledge that they’ve hurt you by doing something unacceptable (e.g., cheating on your spouse). Some people consider themselves immune from criticism because of their accomplishments or status in society; others simply don’t want anyone telling them how bad their behavior was because then it would make them feel guilty about doing something wrong. And nobody likes feeling guilty!

Your family expects you to behave a certain way and get very upset when you don’t.

You may be the black sheep in your family if your relatives expect you to behave a certain way and get very upset when you don’t. Family expectations can be unhealthy because they may be based on stereotypes, not reality. For example, it’s common for families to expect that their children will all grow up being doctors or lawyers if they are Asian-American. However, there are many Asian Americans who do not become doctors or lawyers.

Family expectations can also mean that members of a family are treated like property and expected to live according to their parents’ wishes instead of having free will over their own lives and choices. A relationship between parent and child is supposed to be one where both parties have equal power; but when parents believe they have authority over their kids no matter what, it results in an unequal balance of power which can lead some children feeling like they cannot do anything without approval from mommy & daddy first…which isn’t healthy!

black sheep on green grass field
Photo by Michael Waddle on
family taking a group photo
Photo by August de Richelieu on

Your family does not acknowledge the pain you feel.

The black sheep is often the only one in their family who realizes that something is wrong. This may not be true for every member of a family, but it is often the case that someone in the family has enough insight to see what’s happening and feel pain about it.

The rest of the family can have their own delusions about how things are going, and they may even be abusive in ways they don’t realize. By denying or ignoring a problem, they are actually doing something abusive by putting themselves first instead of helping out a loved one who needs assistance.

Your family won’t discuss the things that have hurt you, even if some of them were intentional.

When a family member is a black sheep, they’re often too wounded to confront the pain. They will go through life avoiding dealing with it, which only makes things worse.

They feel isolated and alone because no one wants to talk about what’s going on in their lives. The black sheep’s family won’t discuss the things that have hurt them, even if some of them were intentional. It’s all part of an unspoken conspiracy: “If we never mention your problems or struggle, then maybe you’ll just disappear.”

But being ostracized has consequences. And not just for the black sheep themselves but for everyone around them as well. If this person could make peace with their past and start healing from any trauma (if there was any). It would change everything for everyone involved!

If this sounds familiar, it might be time to reconsider your relationship with your family of origin

If this sounds familiar, it might be time to reconsider your relationship with your family of origin. Your family of origin is the family you grew up with and that you know best. It doesn’t necessarily mean your biological parents; it can include extended family as well.

While many people find their families of origin helpful and supportive, others have a complicated relationship with them. Sometimes, toxic elements within these relationships can cause us to become isolated from our own support systems. Or even harm our mental health over time.

If changing the way you view yourself feels daunting or impossible at this point—don’t worry! There are other options for support and resources out there if you’re looking for them.


If this sounds familiar, it might be time to reconsider your relationship with your family of origin. A lot of people have trouble leaving their family behind. And that is understandable. It can be hard to let go of the closeness and comfort you’ve always known. But if it’s not working for you anymore, sometimes it’s better just to let go and move on. This can be a difficult process. But finding love from others who accept all of you can help heal old wounds while building new ones in their place

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