How Children Become the Black Sheep of the Family

black sheep of my family
not fitting in

I hear this expression all the time. I hear it used in the sentence “well he always was the black sheep of the family” and I hear it used in the first person such as “well I am the black sheep of my family.” This week I have been thinking about HOW a child becomes “the black sheep of the family” in the first place. The black sheep may be the one that rebels against the family system or the black sheep is also used to describe the one who “doesn’t fit in” with the family. Not “fitting in” with the family usually means not being accepted by the family for going against the family rules, questioning certain practices or simply for being an individual. (note: sometimes “not fitting in” is simply the feeling of not being as “good” or as valuable as other siblings or other family members.)

I am not sure if I am now or ever was regarded as the black sheep in my family, but I certainly didn’t feel like I fit in there even before I stood up and publically rebelled against the total family dysfunction I grew up with.  I resisted thinking that I might have been “the black sheep” because to me it was an admission of the rejection that I had always felt; rejection that I was terrified to acknowledge. I tried for most of my young years to comply but even that didn’t keep me safe and the feeling that I was “not loved” was always lingering close by.

There were things said all along about me by my family that discredited me long before I ever exposed any of the truth about what had been going on in my childhood. From a very young age I was defined as a story teller and an exaggerator.  Being defined that way created a default mode where I was always examining ME and not “them” which served a great purpose for abusers and controllers.  Publically, these things were said to discredit me. But why?  Why do those foundations get laid in by the controllers in the first place.  Why did I need to be discredited?

I was defined as moody and sullen, which may have been true, but why was I moody and sullen? The reasons for the fact that I was withdrawn were never addressed but rather this information was used against me as the proof that something was “wrong” with me. And all this was done long before I ever rebelled or disclosed any of the dysfunction going on in my family.

It seems to me as I get more and more clarity into the dysfunctional family system that just as the grooming process of a child is methodical, so is the discrediting process of that same child. People here on Emerging from Broken comment all the time that it is as though “we” have been raised in the same family or “we” must have the same mother or father but the sad truth is that the ways that children are treated, mistreated and devalued are so typical and commonly accepted as “normal” that people are surprised to find out that the difficulties communicated by us as adults regarding what happened to us as children are actually common!

The ways that children are disregarded are so typical in fact that it’s hard to believe there isn’t a script being followed by these manipulative and abusive family members. And the mystery behind why we are so surprised to find so many others who feel the way we have felt is explained by the way we are so successfully groomed to accept and keep the family secrets, “respect” our parents and all their decisions and behaviours as “right” and not question or discover that there could be an explanation for our depressions, low self esteem and other mental health issues.

I was defined from a young age as dramatic, an exaggerator and story teller so much so that I accepted that definition of myself. I believed that I exaggerated ~ and believed this definition of me was proof that I was the one in the wrong and thus the beginning of the Black Sheep Syndrome.

I was groomed to believe that the problem WAS me; I tried hard to accept that even though deep down I still thought I was right that I had been wronged but because no one validated me in any of my distress, I continued to beat myself up for not getting over it. (I call this the spin, and abusers/controllers and manipulators NEED to keep victims in that spin to keep the focus OFF the abusers themselves.)  Naturally, in this spin my conclusion was that I am the common denominator is everyone’s story and ‘the problem’ at the bottom of every family issue. We live in a society where “majority rules”; it is commonly accepted that if the majority agree that the abuse and dysfunction never happened but was in fact “all in the victims’ warped mind” through that grid of understanding, the majority in a dysfunctional family system is conveniently right.

There is a twofold result when this happens; I questioned my own memories and therefore I questioned the truth itself. I had been taught to question myself and the rest of the world has been warned that I don’t properly present “the truth” so that if I ever TELL the whole story, it will be easily dismissed by those hearing it. I have been labeled all my life as a story teller and an exaggerator so that is how people have come to regard me. This definition of me will protect the perpetrators of abuse from having the spotlight of truth shone on them.  When I looked at it through this grid of understanding, it’s easy to conclude that not only is there a twofold result when this happens but there there is also a twofold motive in conditioning and defining a child in this way. It is very similar to “being framed”.

Seeing the whole thing through that grid of  both WHY and HOW children are used as scapegoats, labeled as “the problem” and defined as depressed, story tellers, in need of medication, difficult and “always that way” made it easier for me to understand how I willingly stopped fighting their warped definition of me and accepted it for all those years.   

Another most unfortunate result of this kind of conditioning is that it sends a message to other perpetrators that this child is not believable, leaving that child vulnerable to other predators as well.

Please share your thoughts about how a child becomes known as the black sheep and how this in fact serves the ultimate purpose of the abuser or any other thoughts you wish to share here.  Remember that you may use whatever name you wish to use on this site. Your identity is safe unless you reveal it yourself in the comment form.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here in the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

Related Posts ~ The conversation about the black sheep concept started in the comments of “the deception of an emotionally unavailable father”.

Facebook Parenting for the Troubled Teenager ~ How kids are devalued

428 response to "How Children Become the Black Sheep of the Family"

  1. By: Anonymous Posted: 7th February

    I don’t want to play the victim. Every time something happen I’d sideways question myself if I was playing victim or was the victim and was not being taken seriously. I was always belived to be a liar and story teller so that’s what I became. In my eyes I thought I was the mistreated hero but in there In was a villainous brat. I’m never sure which I am. Sometimes I feel like both. Am I the problem or am I not? I don’t know anymore and it drives me crazy. I might be the black sheep and hate it but at the same time I’m glad because I’m not put into the same box as the rest.

  2. By: Melinda Posted: 14th May

    Also, being the “black sheep” makes us realize that we aren’t seen as being worthy of support or kindness. My cousin, the golden child (who is herself the product of a narcissistic mother) is loved and supported by our family, including friends of the family. She is seen as being beautiful (despite a weight problem) and I’ve always been portrayed as the ugly, jealous, bitter one. My feelings/experiences are dismissed and ignored while hers are validated.

    Oh, I was raped and molested? No one believes me. Oh, I was bullied? Who cares? I am always at fault, always to blame, no matter what. I learned to hide my emotions because my mother would say: “I’ll give you something to cry about”.
    My feelings were considered as me being bitchy, having an attitude, being disrespectful.

    Being the black sheep hurts, but I’ve come to accept that it will never change.
    All I can do is try to work on healing my damaged soul and to understand that I am worthy of love and happiness…we all are.
    No one has the right to convince us otherwise.

  3. By: Melinda Posted: 14th May

    THIS part of what Darlene said really stood out: “I was defined from a young age as dramatic, an exaggerator and story teller so much that I accepted that definition of myself”.
    This was the case with me, too. Somehow I was labeled as a manipulative, dishonest child when there was never any evidence to support that.

    Also this part: “I was groomed to believe that the problem WAS me; because no one validated me in any of my distress, I continued to beat myself up for not getting over it”.
    This is exactly what I’m feeling in my own situation. Can’t move forward and shake off the past because of what I was trained to believe about myself. And there was NO validation of my feelings or experiences. I was called a liar, manipulative, and there was no accountability from anyone.
    No apology for the way I was treated, no validation of anything.

    Darlene also said this: “I questioned my own memories and therefore I questioned the truth itself”.
    Agreed…you come to doubt yourself and feel unsure about things all the time because you’ve been conditioned to accept lies as truth, and truth as lies.
    Certain people have always tried to keep me in a cycle of self-hate and self-doubt, the “spin” you speak of. A lot of it is gaslighting…denial of things that you KNOW happened, but they try to convince you otherwise.

    I have relatives on my mother’s side of the family who insist that I grew up privileged and had a loving father. Bullshit…I was far from privileged, and my real father was never really a part of my life.
    I did, however, have a stepfather who abused me until I was able to marry and move out.

    There have been times when I’ve wondered if maybe they were right…maybe I WAS the problem?
    But I know in my heart that this is not true. I am NOT what certain people (with their own agendas) have made me out to be.
    Part of being the black sheep/scapegoat is constantly being maligned and having your character assassinated. I believe that sometimes we become the “black sheep” because something about us threatens certain people, so they work hard to convince us of things that aren’t true.

  4. By: Melinda Posted: 14th May

    This was pretty much the story of my life when I was growing up.
    All I ever heard was that I was stubborn, spoiled, lazy, a liar, troublemaker, a slut, overly emotional, manipulative, dramatic, etc…I was the problem.

    No one ever took responsibility for anything. It was always about me and what I was supposedly doing wrong. I was definitely the black sheep in pretty much every situation. My cousin who is a year older was the “golden child” in comparison…she was constantly praised as smart, beautiful and perfect in every way.
    And she knew it. She was aware of the difference in how we were treated, yet she was fine with that.
    She enjoyed her status as the golden child because people adored her and treated me like shit.

    I am the black sheep because I am the only one to “rock the boat”.
    I shed light on issues that make people uncomfortable, things that need to be fixed.
    When my mother told one of my aunts about a rape/molestation that occurred when I was younger, my aunt told her that I must have been “dreaming”.
    That was a disgusting, hurtful thing to say in response to being told that a child was raped…but it is typical of the callous attitude many people have shown to me in general. They can’t simply accept what I say. I have to either be lying, crazy, delusional, manipulative, trying to gain sympathy or maybe there is “another side to the story” so they side with the abuser.

    Being the black sheep and the scapegoat hurts, but now I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s not my problem, it’s THEIRS.
    They are the ones who couldn’t love and accept me for who I am. Being the black sheep is hard, but it made me root for the underdog even more.

  5. By: Ryan Posted: 5th May

    My SO is just like everyone else here. You all have the same psychiatricly impared mother – it’s such a rigid paradigm that it’s almost unreal. But it is real.

    I want to know of all of the scapegoats/black sheep out there, how many of you are the second of three siblings? And the same sex as the oldest sibling?

    My mother is the second daughter born and it’s eerily clear that the initial reason she became the scapegoat was because she ruined her parent’s plan of having one boy and one girl. Both her older sister and younger brother both have narratives about what they would have been named had they been born the opposite sex. But not my SO. The reason I am certain is because her name was to be “Stephen” .. her younger brother’s name.

    It seems so stupid and ridiculous, but that’s what happened. As the shame shedding and refusal to take ownership of their shit grew they shifted the initial reason – because who is going to admit that? And it works. The whole thing works well. It even works when others in the family have such heavy and severe problems – she was recently blamed for such problems and what was done to us ruined us financially.

  6. By: RS Posted: 19th February

    I told my sister about a great restaurant to go to. She scoffed until my brother stepped in and said, “No it really is good.” She then stepped back and replied, “Oh, ok. I will have to check it out then.” As a previous career, I spent ten years working in many different restaurants in the front of the house and back of the house as both management, staff, and regular guest. When teaching his children, my brother regularly referred to mistakes I made a child as a learning tool for them to grow from. He never told them about himself or my sister. They too would behave disrespectfully toward me and never receive a correction. When meeting my in-laws the first time, my mother went on for 30 minutes to my mother-in-law about how rich my brother is and how proud she is of him. She never said a word of approval about me even though I am a CPA and high level finance professional for one of the most prominent healthcare corporations in the world. Relatives always tell me, “Oh the pain you caused your parents.” In my wedding video my godfather very rudely says, “I hope you finally appreciate what your parents did for you and I hope you have a child just…like…you.” I always knew something was wrong. I always knew that when I spoke to them I received eye rolls, scoffs, and blatant disrespect. I didn’t realize until my thirties that I am the black sheep of my family. I thought their behavior was normal. It was my normal.

    I became aware of the rejection when my wife and I were out with my parents. My mother always tells stories about how cute I was as a child, but became a terror at 2. I used to think they were funny and a gentle ribbing, but then something else was said. “You know, your brother always did his homework since first grade. You never wanted to study so we never made you.” I stopped and said, “You knew that I never did my homework from first grade on? I didn’t do homework until I went to college.” My mother then said, “Listen, we never made you do anything you didn’t want to. You are not like your brother.” I was taken back that my mother never taught me to do better as early as 1st grade. I questioned if it happened earlier too. I said to her, “You are telling me that in first grade you decided I was not into academics? Did you ever wonder if I avoided it because I just didn’t know how to and could have used help?” She grew very pointed and said, “Hey listen we did our best with you. You will see one day when you have kids and you have one just like you. You weren’t easy.” I wasn’t easy. I was the easiest kid they had. They did nothing with me. I just did not understand why. What did I do that made me become the black sheep? Where were they at in their lives that they never decided to know their youngest born the way they knew their other children?

    Now, everyone brags about their kid, but I really have a very calm, sweet, and happy 2 year old that is very interested in the world. I can tell him no without a temper tantrum. I can take him places and say, ok this is the last time we are doing x and he is ok with leaving. I have brought him to a fine dining French restaurant where he sat for hours and also tried everything on the chef’s tasting menu. We don’t have electronic toys or watch much television in my house. We don’t give him sugar or any foods that would cause him to act out. My sister has openly admitted that she does not have a handle on her children and is constantly in need of my mother’s help. My brother has a son that is the black sheep of his family as well. His son has developed such emotional problems from being unloved that he is suicidal at times. But, I got luck with my son, so my mother says. It is not the constant working with him, respecting him, loving him, teaching him, correcting him, and trust that we have built with this child. It is because my wife and I just had the stars align correctly. How else could I be blessed with such an easy child? Today I asked my mother to watch my son. I have only asked her to do this 2 other times in his first two years of life and both of those were at night around when he was ready for sleep. She accepted. I offered to drive her on my way to work and arrange a pickup from any museum, play place, etc. since it was cold and rainy. She said she was not doing that. I was disappointed, but still I made it easy for her. I made his breakfast, lunch and snack. She walked in my house, turned on my television, and tried to get my son to sit for a movie. This is something he has never done before; not even at daycare. The whole day she battled with him while he acted out of control. He was jumping off of things, climbing up steps, running back and forth while screaming. I called to check in and she reported this all to me while I heard it in the background. She wanted me to correct him over the phone. I told her I would but I didn’t think I would get through to a toddler over through a phone call. She had a miserable day and so did he.

    Why did my son, who is calm get so out of control? Why did he rebel within a few short hours? I could tell that she was going to report to my brother and sister what a miserable day she had and how out of control my child is. Like there was some sort of satisfaction of knowing that my son is just like me. The it hit me as clear as day. Everything just clicked. My mother has a very narrow view on how much effort is required. She is not going to adapt to the situation. Since my son could not go about his day with what she had in mind he was bad. We gave her great suggestions on how to occupy him but she was not interested. She did not want to put in the effort. I think that sums up my entire relationship with her. I have never felt so good about what caused the friction between me and my family. They are singing to my mother’s tune and I am not. I have never thought through this without feeling so happy…because none of them can sing.

  7. By: Annie Posted: 28th January

    I really struggle with my families dynamics. Despite all of us knowing what a psycho our mom is, my dad still protects her to keep the peace and my sisters still blame me for being a trouble maker. I thought as we got older things would change and we’d have more solidarity but all we have is more distance, it’s very sad.
    And now my nieces and nephew are being fed the same bs, aunt Annie is selfish, argumentative etc. I’m called on whenever they need a favor or an emotional sounding board but get criticised for things they do and routinely shunned – it’s exhausting. If it weren’t for the kids i’d consider just waving goodbye.
    I’d love some advice on how others have dealt with sibling relationships and the triangulation effect.

  8. By: Colleen Posted: 18th August

    I think families often need black sheep to make one or both parents feel good about themselves. They can be martyrs for putting up with such a difficult child, or in the case of my husband’s family, his terribly insecure father needed a son to bail out, a son who would never equal or surpass his accomplishments. The stories about him are about how angry he was as if it was intrinsic to his character with no recognition of WHY he was angry or the ways in which they pushed him to anger, often with seeming intentionality.

    • By: Tan tan Sri Posted: 4th September

      let me share with u what I’ve written to my family members.

      There are many types of abuse in this world. Research has found that emotional abuse is as horrible as physical pain, if not worse. How did I become an angry, angsty, fearful individual who sends out negative vibes?

      This has been taken away from me. For 20 years I don’t have a single memory of a family. All I remember is fear, how to react when I see them? What if I said something wrong? What if they don’t like me asking questions?
      Naturally, im a likeable person. My so called family has made me fearful and awkward and guess what? they give me nightmares everynight. Iwake up dreaming I finally had the chance to say what has been in my heart.
      Holidays? Nope. They go on cruises, and im never invited. even though it so happens my trip will also be within the few days, my brother has decided that its better if we dotn meet. Ive been on my own holidays for ages. The same during my childhood days. They say theres one in every family. A scapegoat; a poor child whom everyone dislikes, picks on and ostracises.
      Yet ironically im born in the image of my dad, who doesn’t really love me. A broken family, built of pretences, where no one really loves anyone else, dysfunctional on so many levels. For the many years as the bus goes into Singapore borders, my heart sinks. Today its still sinking.
      The whole psyche of family in my family is wrong. Rather than face the truth and resolve issues, they avoid and ignore, hoping tht the person they dislike will magically disappear from their lives, very much forgetting that she has their DNA as well.
      Every trip to Singapore is an unwelcomed one, never open arms, nor open doors least of all open hearts. Where other siblings can gather together and laugh and spend nights at each others houses, mine is marred by an unpleasant tension, without the freedom to express myself to say what I want to say, which in a real relationship, will be real acceptance despite the individuals character.
      Years of commuting back n forth to an island that only reeks of hatred; out of a family of 9 members, only the regular faithful of my mom has visited me all these 16 years, with occasionally my dad. Even my brother who has trips to KL, has decided to contact me only at his own conveniences, thinking that he doesn’t need me in his life because im a ‘burden’ to him, a burden just because he has to reply my texts, hence, convenient, shut her out of his life.
      In 16 years of being back and forth in SG, I have never heard, “how r u? what are u doing?” when can we visit you? NEVER the word I LOVE U has been uttered. Never a one to one meal together sharing lives as siblings are meant to. As though paying for a cheap meal for me will drive them broke.
      Never a lift from the bus stations from my sisters, of course, my brother has and my parents. As though cutting me out from their lives will make things better for them. One owuldl t
      Chinese new year 2017, wounds are still fresh. They expect me to be loving and cheerful, after 1 whole year of noncontact, then on Christmas eve 2016, where the whole world is celebrating, where at the next table people are singing Happy Birthday to their loved one… I was immediately expected to be cordial and jovial when inside me, emotions are tearing me apart. So my expression of pain wasn’t accepted and the whole cycle of rejection begins.
      All these years, I have NEVER received a phone call, and in those times I was in Sg, I tried to call several times, only to be rejected with short abrupt replies. Despite technology, they were adamant to cut off communication, yet blamed me when my reaction is negative? Blamed me for being hurtful all the time? Sad to say, even the spouses are the same.
      Who am I today? Am I the product of a cold, heartless, cruel family? One who is supposed to be there for me, cheering me on, present in every aspect of my life, in my happiness and sorrows? The answer, sadly, is a resounding NO. there was never a moment, when I could feel any love radiating from any source, only rejection and silence. I could never be myself in their presence, their hard, disdained looks only made me feel inferior to try to build up any communication.
      Ironically, all it takes is half an hour of communication to resolve whatever issues, yet in all these 16 years I was never given a chance. They are more than contented to have me out of their lives, blaming my behaviour, my character, yet sometimes I wonder if theres a curse hanging over the family, just like what had happened to my single aunties…and its generational. Can I blame them for their unkindness and cruelty? The sad thing is my heart still yearns for a normal family who can hang out together, look out for each other and can just call freely. Never happened in this family. But however they treat me….despite my pain and hurt, I wish them well.

  9. By: Neel Posted: 1st June

    It’s feel so same and true …the problem was with me was that I was never able to speak when the times comes ..and says some shit and becomes the villian again …now I was blamed for everything …my parents listened to but never did anything cuz they think it’s the part of life you have go through this..I was always told not take things seriously…but should not I haven’t done anything wrong…at last due to anger some shits comes from me …I was said I am the lier ..because nobody gonna believe me…today also when the time comes ..I end up at ruin things for me….how much a person can listen ..I now think the attitude that I have is due to them ….everyone says lies for little things but this make them a lifelong lier… feels relief

  10. By: Leigh Posted: 14th April

    How surreal it was to read this…as if I had written it myself! It’s so comforting to know there are so many others who understand the struggle. Thank you!

    • By: Shelly Posted: 30th April

      If you feel this way don’t be hurt or ashamed! There is nothing wrong with you it’s them! They are afraid and intimidated by a smart independent thinker! They are scared of anything different from the norm. Be proud! That you think for yourself and don’t choose to put your head in the sand! Emotions are how people control other people. Noticing your different is a good thing! You choose your destiny and decide who is special enough to receive your emotions which are determined by logic which will bring you great happiness! Be true to your beliefs no matter how difficult it seems and your rewards will be true honest and everything you could ever wish for! People can lead or try to help, only you can choose something better! Black sheep are smart,caring,intelligent individualso! Be proud and own it!

  11. By: Batphink Posted: 8th January

    Great comment sounds like the story of my life.If I dared to disagree or offer a differing opinion and wouldn’t budge then the ‘Commander” my manipulator extrodinaire mother would gather anyone else in the room to gang up against me,usually my younger brother and Dad.Other times she would spread tales of how I exaggerate back home long distance on the phone to relative across the ocean.This has come back to haunt me many a time.She even kicked me out of the house twice in my younger years for a simple disagreement,then phoned everyone I know to find me. She has interfered in my romantic relationships gossiping about me to my past girlfriends or making me sound crazy suffice to say I am again single and on antidepressants. I wish I had the money to move away and divorce my family for the remainder of my life. I am going to try something different tomorrow…..

    • By: Judy Posted: 18th August

      Omg we had the same mom. I think something else that applies here too is when the rest of the family; the siblings etc. watch how badly you were treated they know which side to be on and no one comes to your rescue it’s easier to agree than someone else enduring black sheep status. The perpetrator uses you as an example and builds alliances with this ‘gang up on’ mentality. Even though my sisters and I had many times agreed on the craziness and the abuse that my mom only seem to focus to me; whenever I brought it up they always sided with her. I am so thankful for this book Emerging From Broken!!

  12. By: A Black Sheep Posted: 22nd November

    This sums up so much of how I’ve felt for so long. Thanks for sharing. I always ended up the ‘problem’ in my family, even from my siblings following suit as they got older. I’ve even been told that if anything black hearted or vindictive was going to happen in the family it was always from me. This made me wonder for so long if I was some sort of evil, even though looking back more clearly minded I can see how most things I’ve done have been either nothing or plain self defense. Sometimes they have tried to call me names and then act like nothing happened in five minutes, which truly confused me. I felt hurt and angry and no one else seemed to care, or blamed me for over-reacting. I appreciate this article, I bet it’ll help many people to come to terms with themselves versus other people’s paintings of themselves.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th November

      Hi “A Black Sheep”
      Welcome to EFB ~ So glad you are here. Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

      • By: Laurel Posted: 11th December

        Hi Darlene
        I have been wondering about how to deal with my siblings. My narcissistic mom and enabling dad and brother the golden child have done something worse than usual to me. My sister has tried to help me at times in the past. This time she even contributed to the event. She just wants everyone to get along. She wants everyone to like her. Maybe for self survival she went along. She choose to help my brother to cause me great harm.
        I have stopped all contact with both.
        I am confused about how to deal with my sister. She desires to keep a relationship with me but it seems dangerous. How do you have a relationship with a siblings. How can we keep a relationship if she is so afraid of going against the rest of the family. I am sure many others with narcissistic parents have sibling issues. It would be helpful to hear your thoughts on this. I love you whole site. You have been very helpful.

        • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th December

          Hi Laurel
          Welcome to EFB ~ there isn’t much you can do about the choices that your siblings make. If it is dangerous, then it is logical that you want to keep yourself safe. I had to make some really difficult choices to keep myself safe and to stand up to the dysfunctional way my family does relationship.
          Hugs, Darlene

          • By: Got out Posted: 11th December

            I have lost my entire family and wish I could keep a relationship with my sister. Are there any suggestions on how to keep it safe or even help her. She is hurting herself and her own family by protecting the disfunctional family of origin. It continues the cycle. I am the lucky one who got out.

          • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th December

            “Got Out”
            Unless she actually wants to see the truth or wants help, there isn’t much you can do. She has a choice in the relationships too. I totally understand that you want a relationship with your sister and I hope that she responds to your hope.
            Hugs, Darlene

    • By: Daniel P Posted: 7th January

      Wow reading this confirms I was not the crazy one I’ve known my family was messed up for years. They always tried to say I was. I have been the most sucssful out of my siblings and always got treated like the worst. I messed up doing drugs and lost my 16 year job making over $100,000 a year job then my mother finds out she has lung cancer. So my mother needed someone to care for her I moved in did everything right and got treated by my siblings like shit. The hardest part is knowing there actions towards me were mean and stories they would tell everyone I was a loser and a druggie freeloading on my mother. My mother new they were saying lies but would not defend me because if she did they would become nasty to her. I never got it till now they were week minded. Mom just passed and now my siblings have called the abuse hotline and cops trying to get me arrested. All because they were jealous at the fact they could have never done a better job. It’s embarsing how they all post hateful lies about me on Facebook. I just have to get my life back together now I beleave god had planned for me to get fired and be able to be there for her. I say that because if I did not go through it. I wouldent have realized it’s them that had problems not me. I was treated like crap ever since I was a kid from them. Now I’m going to piss them off even more because i will find a better paying job. I have learned it’s just words there saying and people for some reason feed on negative. The people that really know me know it’s lies. Thanks for letting me share this black sheep thing I have been battling it in my head forever now I must let it go.

  13. By: Black Sheep Posted: 23rd September

    Wow, I feel like I could have written this article. You’ve expressed what I’ve known all my life but could never express.

  14. By: lily Posted: 20th September

    I could go on for a month of Sundays over all the crap my family has done to me over the years, but I’m not going to. Instead I want to share some insight to what I’ve learned from it. People are born into the world narcissistic. They know no better, but as we grow and learn we replace narcissism with empathy. When people hurt us, especially the people who are suppose to love us, they do it because they never grew up. They cling to the self-centeredness of youth and therefore are incapable of truly loving anyone or anything that doesn’t reflex positively on them. That is why they may support the pregnancy of a unmarried friend while shunning you for your’s. The former makes them look good but the latter reflects badly on them to their mind. So when we fail to live up to their ideals of perfection we are shunned, attack, and even disowned. The reality of the situation is that it has nothing to do with our faults and everything to do with their’s. As difficult as it may be to deal with they are to be pitied. Their shortsightedness and self-centeredness will only ensure they are never capable of being truly happy in their own lives.

  15. By: Zumbeagle Posted: 22nd August

    I was a huge problem with a behavioural disorder (according to NM) since birth. I was showing signs from the instant I was born, NM claims.
    I have always been her scapegoat ever since I exist, and she justifies it qith her warped perception of me and denies that I ever was her scapegoat, claims that I have schizophrenia and make it all up, invent stories and exaggerate immensely. She says I’m telling fairytales. Truth is I am not schizophrenic – I have complex PTSD. I am not making anything up, my sympthoms are very real and so is my diagnosis, and so are also the reasons for my diagnosis and sympthoms. NM and her FMs are only ever gaslighting me and everybody else around, and slowly the truth is beginning to come out at long last. It’s taken ages for that to begin to happen but if gives me a sense of relief to know people are now beginning to see the real constilation, instead of swallowing lies blindly.

  16. By: Lyn Posted: 17th August

    I ask myself how can it be possible to get the “black sheep” label for the entire family. Not only the closest, like mother and father, but also cousins, aunts, close friends of family etc. They were adults then, how could they just “oversee” the fact that it can never be right to treat a child that way? Looking back, i think i was like a punching-ball. It was ok for everyone to put their aggressions or bad moods upon me.
    But sometimes i doubt myself and think maybe i am/was too sensitive, maybe i really was a difficult child, etc…
    I am in my 40ies now, i limited contact to an absolute minimum, but still: they love to tell the stories how bad i was as a child. How angry, how much i cried, how scared i was, etc.
    And in that exact moment i don’t have any chance to defend myself. It’s like my brain is empty. Any ideas what to do in such moment??

    • By: Laurel Posted: 11th December

      Most Anuts cousins good friends are only seeing the surface. They do not see beneath. It is hard to see and believe even when it is happening to yourself. How can others believe it is even possible.

  17. By: Melissa Thompson Posted: 27th June

    My mother has been married 6 times, divorced 5, widowed once. Not to mention the numerous boyfriends. She once picked up a hitchhiker and he lived with us for several months. She has never said anything but nasty things about my bio dad. How he was lazy, abusive and he used to discipline my brother by making him stand naked in the corner, and she thinks molested him. (My brother flat out denies this) She told me she found a letter on their door saying come suck my dick for $25. My brother is.a rapist. He raped me, my sister, my stepsister, and 2 more girls I know. My mother walked in and caught him raping me. She told everyone she knew that I was lying and making the whole thing up. Her best friend even stopped speaking to her over this, and her lies. No matter what happens, it’s always my fault. I live in Arizona, they live in Illinois. Still my fault. My sister and I have no relationship because my mom is constantly playing me against them. She even had the audacity to get pissed at me for not letting my daughters spend the night with her. She lives with my brother, that would NEVER happen. When my stepdad passed away, they immediately cut off his VA pay, she was left with no money to pay the bills. My husband and I wrote her a check for $6000 that was supposed to be paid back by the life insurance, that was 12 years ago yesterday, and still have never seen a dime. This year we gave her $3000, to come to Arizona. We did not owe her a dime, this money was to pay for gas, hotel, food etc. When we told her we were giving her the money, she hounded me like a bill collector every day until she got the money. By the time she finally came out, she had less than $600 left. She apparently paid my brothers bills with the money, and yep we had to give her money to get home. My brother is a bipolar alcoholic rapist. My sister is an alcoholic. I rarely touch alcohol. I have cut off every member of my family because I am tired of being judged. I love my husband, my kids, God. I try to treat every one as kind as I can. I have a great heart, I’m extremely loyal (all of my friendships are atleast 10+ years, with my bf being 24 years). My husband and I have been married for 14 years. A month ago, shortly after her visit, my husband and I were going through a rough financial situation. I called my mom crying. Instead of listening or comforting me, she was having a conversation with ppl in the background. I hung up. She then went and told the family that I was “off my meds” (I take meds for PTSD- rape) and mad at her. I got a nasty email from my cousin using the word Ni€€er. My children are biracial and my mom refused to say anything to her. So when I called her out on it she sent me a text telling me “don’t ever contact me again and I hope your miserable for the rest of your fucking miserable life”. So I sit here wondering if anyone in Arizona needs a daughter, son in law, and 4 grandchildren? That could love a messed up abused woman like myself.

  18. By: Angelina Posted: 15th June

    Oh wow, this is awful. : ( Although no one wants to be the only one, it is mind numbing to hear that others have and still are going through this. I send my good thoughts to you in hopes that you can send it back to someone who also needs it. I grew up and still am the black sheep of the family, and I’m in my 40s for bloody hell. My parents and siblings are all sick with something, mean, manipulative, back-stabbing and untrust-worthy amoebas. They don’t even visit my family or invite us to Christmas or anything, no birthdays either. My kids have no family on my side because of me. And yet, and this is the kicker…they are religious…. HAHAHAHAHAHA I am sure there are religious people out there that are truly kind, from the soul, not from a I-am-because-I-want-something type. Honestly, it is so hard to be nice, kind, thoughtful, empathetic and caring. I now feel that most bitches and assholes out in the world are as a result of abusive and mean people cutting down nice people – family being the worst culprit. It’s the only way to survive in this world. Unfortunately, this abusive behavior has resulted in me not being highly confident (I quit many things in my life because I was told I wasn’t good enough or pretty and took the easy way out in life) in myself and have any meaningful relationship with a man that didn’t reflect my parents (ya, I married my mom in my exhusband – ugh smh). I have since cut myself off from any idea of being with anyone so I can lead a peaceful life with my family. I want nun of that – couldn’t resist. lol I know when my kids grow up they will ask me if I have family on my side and when I tell them yes, I will have to explain why they never got to meet them. I always wanted that loving and supportive family you see in tv shows and movies, but I am happy that I can at least give that to my kids and never let them live like I did. I am sending out good thoughts and hopes of happiness to everyone out in the world who need a little pick me up from these abusive (insert bad language here). Hang in there, get rid of dead weight in your life (including bad family) and focus on you being happy. This has been the only way I have survived this bs. lol

    • By: Rod Posted: 16th October

      Thank you god bless , gave me some clarity ,

  19. By: Terri Posted: 12th April

    I have felt like the black sheep of the family my entire life. My parents divorced when I was 10. At that point, both my mother and stepmother (who I believe are narcissists) began scapegoating me for being outspoken about the dysfunction that surrounded me. My mom was abusive and neglectful and never showed me one ounce of love or nurturing. My dad was a good dad…very affectionate and was the only person who gave me the time of day. That all changed when he met my stepmother. My stepmother was jealous of my sisters and I and my dad never stood up for us. Her children were placed on a pedestal while we were ignored and neglected. Others also treated me the same way, including my sisters, stepsister, and stepbrother…as well as aunts and cousins. I failed in school, got into trouble, and ended up getting into an abusive relationship which I’m glad to say I didn’t stay in. As an adult, any time my mother and I had a disagreement, she would run to my aunts, cousins, etc. and start bashing me to every one. They’d always run to my mothers defense. I’d beg my mother many times to please stop doing this and she always disregarded my feelings. Not once in my entire life has my mother ever apologized for anything she’s ever said or done. She always plays the victim. She has still had her priorities mixed up. She never gives me credit for any of my accomplishments. Ive heard her say many times that SHE did a good job any time my sisters and I succeed. She honestly believes she was and still is mother of the year. I’ve never had an emotional connection with her and couldn’t understand why. I had always wondered why I was treated so differently by everyone. Why did everyone always find a way to blame me for things that weren’t my fault? And why are they all ganging up on me? I felt like there was something wrong with me, like I was going crazy. I have spent years in and out of therapy and suffering from anxiety and depression. Something wasn’t right but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I prayed and told God I was tired of feeling this way. What had I done to deserve this? I’m now approaching 40 and have moved away from home for the first time in my life. Since we live overseas, I’m far away from everyone. I recently had to make a trip home. My sister (who is my mother’s mini-me) and I were in a fight due to how she was mistreating my children. My husband wanted my children and myself to leave my mother’s house. While we were leaving, my mother was taunting me and acting as if she could care less we were leaving. The minute my aunt arrived, my mother completely changed her tone and started being extra nice to me. I was in town for 3 weeks before flying back to my house and not once did I hear from anyone within my family, other than my dad. Not one of my aunts or cousins offered their home for my children and I to stay with them. We stayed with my good friend. I was however, contacted by some family members via text, phone calls, and email in not so nice ways, mind you. It seems as though my mom is up to her old tricks again, playing the victim and has turned my entire family against me. I’ve realized it’s not worth explaining myself anymore. They will never believe a word I say. My mother is very good at making people feel sorry for her. Never mind the fact that her grandchildren were being treated like crap. I wrote my mother a letter and she received it before I flew out. Yet, I didn’t hear from her. Upon returning home, my mother has started contacting me via text and phone calls…pretending like none of this ever occurred and completely disregarding the letter I wrote her. I have yet to answer or respond to her. I was forced to face reality. I realized that I have been living my entire life in denial. My own family treats me like crap and even worse, they treat my children like crap. I’ve realized they are also scapegoating my children. These are not people who love and care about my family and I. I’ve comes to terms with the fact that I will most likely go no contact with my entire family. I’ve also realized that I’m not just imagining things. Within the past couple of months I’ve realized that im still suffering from the excessive amount of trauma I’ve experienced throughout my life, as well as the constant scapegoating. I’m now in therapy again to try to begin healing from years of this hell. Although I’m grieving the loss of my entire family, I’m also relieved to be free of them. I have peace of mind now because I know the truth.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th April

      Hi Terri
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken
      Thank you so much for sharing some of your story. It is amazing how many realizations we make when we start to ‘see’ the truth about it all.
      Hugs, Darlene

      • By: Madge Posted: 19th June

        So, Darlene I have a question, which you’ve probably already answered in your post about becoming a “Black Sheep”, but I might not have actually received the message correctly??

        My mother will turn 87 this year, and it took me until she was 83, or 84 to realize she is, and always has been a passive/aggressive personality.
        I guess when you live with it all the while you’re growing up, then marry and move away, only to see your parents every five years or so for short periods of time… It’s difficult to really see, and understand. I always knew growing up, that our family was “different”, and that I was different from my other siblings. There’s a weird age gap with the five of us, and in the “Birth Order Book”, I’m at first the baby of the family, then the middle child. There are five of us, but again we are oddly spaced.

        Anyway, I feel that my mom stirred the dysfunctional pot a lot of times between us siblings, without realizing what she was doing. I can’t imagine a mother who would intentionally stir the pot? My oldest sister, and the sibling right before me, (we are 4 years apart), has always disliked me, and has treated me badly from the day my parents brought me home. She has said in later years, that my parents should have stopped after her, and that she should have been an only child.

        My mom asked her once why she disliked me so, and her answer was… “I had to stay in the car while you and dad picked her up from the hospital”. Now, as a fifty something year old woman, why has she not been able to grow up, and realize that, that is a very poor excuse to treat someone so badly for her entire life? She had three grown children now herself, so surely she had to realize from that, that my parents really didn’t have a choice in the matter back in the day when I was born.

        However, this isn’t the only thing I have questions about… My sister seems to have had the power, or influence to not only treat me badly as a child, but also convince my younger siblings that I am somehow a “bad” person. I have a younger brother to speaks to me, and a younger sister, but I have one brother, who seems to think that my older sister is pretty right-on about me, even though none of my siblings have lived with me since I was 17. The youngest brother who seems so swayed by my sister, (and it’s within the past five years, ever since my mother’s Heath started to fail, that this has happened with him). He also has a very controlling wife, and she and my older sister have some very “like” personality traits, so it’s not surprising. I guess I’m wondering how one sibling can have such a dire affect on multiple family members? I’ve tried to reach out to get multiple times, and this last time I did, she finally came around for about a year. She was going thru a divorce, and I told her if she needed someone to talk to, she could call, text, or e-mail, and I’d listen.
        I knew what it was like to go they something so devastating, and gave very few people to confide in.

        She wrote me back, never apologized for all the years she drove stakes in our family, but said things like: “I thought you were always so material, and self centered”, you wore makeup and were concerned about your looks”, (meanwhile she had put on over 60 lbs., stopped doing anything to her hair, didn’t wear makeup, and dressed like she didn’t care about how she looked. I addressed her comments by saying: “I was a hairdresser, and my job really depended a lot on how I presented myself to the public”. “How many times have you walked into a salon and looked for the worst dressed stylist, with the rattiest hair, and looking like he/she just woke up”? “Is that who you want to do your hair”? “As far as being materialistic is concerned, you haven’t lived with me since I was 17 years old, so how can you possibly know if I’m materialistic or not”? “Yes, my husband and I built a nice home, but we’ve both worked very hard to do so, and you haven’t had to work, due to your husband’s income, so why does that make me a bad person to you”? Well, don’t you know the minuet she was divorced, she was constantly calling or e-mailing to find out how I thought she should wear her hair. She wanted to know what makeup I wore, and how I had my hair hi-lighted. She asked about my exercise routine, and what she should do to lose her last 10 lbs? I mean, all of a sudden, it was ok for her to spend money on her nail, hair, clothes, and hire a personal trainer.
        I on the other hand, had done my own hair for years, never had my nails done, and used at home gym equipment. I ate a very clean and healthy diet, and took good care of my temple.

        Long story short, we only spoke to each other this lady time for a year, before she was bringing up things that had happened 30+ years before, and she wasn’t even around to see, or know the whole story. This is where my mom the passive aggressive comes in. She will bring something or someone up in conversation, and then not want to talk about it when you ask questions, or will only tell you a portion of the story. And, my sister attacked me with all this stuff away from anyone else, so no one heard the verbal assault she threw up all over me.

        Of course there’s so much more to all of our stories than there is time or space to write it, but I wanted to tell you, that like you, I finally started to question how my family of origin was acting, and how each of their personalities seemed so different from mine. How, like you, I was slowly beaten down to think I was the one with the problem, that I was the dumb one, and that everyone else was so much better.

        It’s very funny, but this sister had two daughters and one son. The son married a girl who wears more makeup than I ever have, has her hair just so, and exercises too. She has a daughter that works out like it’s an addiction, wears more mask rip than I’ve ever owned, and plasters selfies on FB, like they’re entries to the worlds biggest lottery pot. The other daughter was working out a lot, before she married, and just had her first baby.
        While I see nothing wrong with any of their choices, I do get confused as to how she can look at them, and think they’re ok to do as they do, but think of me, as a monster?

        Darlene, thank you for this awesome article, and for helping those of us caught also in a terrible web of dysfunction and family discord. I felt immediately relieved after reading many of your posts! I can’t wait to get your book. I have taken my sister off FB, (a while ago now), and I won’t let her hurt me any more. I’m a good person, who deserves to be treated just as well as anyone else, and just because she’s blood, doesn’t men I have to let her in my life. Oh, and my children and spouse, as well as her ex husband, have all seen the way she treated me, and how she would never speak or acknowledge any of them, if we were all home at the same time. They agree with me, that I’ve made a good decision to not let her in my life anymore. It’s sad, but it’s true.

        Thank you again for making me “feel” like a normal, good person, and a good Black Sheep!!!


        • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th June

          Hi Madge,
          Welcome to EFB ~ I am glad you are here and thank you for sharing.
          The questions that you ask don’t have simple or quick answers but I am sure that you will find some insight as you read some of the other posts and comments. You are certainly not alone!! (for more current conversations see the home page)
          Hugs, Darlene

  20. By: Sheena C. Posted: 15th February

    Yes this exactly what I have been through with my emotionally abusive father who is still trying to mess with me to this day but I finally put me foot down but only to him retaliating and doing the most horrid thing to me again.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th February

      Hi Sheena
      You are not alone. Sometimes they refuse to accept or respect our boundaries and for me that’s when I had to make a new decision.
      Hugs, Darlene

  21. By: Branwen Posted: 29th January

    Oh Chad, I hear you. Your Dad sounds like a nightmare. And now he has cancer… so you are stuck, yet again, with the emotional consequences of his life. You used the word “paranoid” in relation to your Dad. Mine was pretty paranoid too, and a womanizer all his life, till he died, alone, in a squalid apartment, with none of his seven adult children from two marriages in contact with him. I was his “favorite”, which meant he hired private detectives to follow me for years, then did it himself when he ran out of money. I tried to get through to him all my life and failed. Because Im the scapegoat, I thought it was my job to contain his behaviour and to try to be a good daughter, and it nearly finished me off. I think you will find a lot of help here in sorting out what and who you are really responsible for, and getting support for the horrible feelings all this brings up. I once dragged my Dad to my psychiatrist a few years before his death, when ai found out he’d been stalking me. My psychiatrist interviewed him and told me that he was pretty much beyond help, arrogant, paranoid, and entitled. That’s when I found the courage to break all contact. And I didn’t go to his funeral. I really wish you strength and hope, and can only say that thanks to Darlene and this site, Ive found real help and real answers. I wish the same for you. Branwen

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