How to Survive Being the Black Sheep of the Family

After reading the headline you are probably thinking one of two things.

Bob (substitute name of family member here) is the black sheep of the family.

Or crap, that would be me.

I fall into the second category.

Here is a list of attributes that give me this distinction.

  • I am not married (enough by itself to make you different in some families)
  • Don’t have children and don’t want any
  • Don’t own a car
  • Working from home on my own business (which means I don’t have a ‘job’)
  • I am a vegetarian (this one is fairly recent and causing quite a stir).

These are the highlights, though I could have written quite a long list.  I realise this is hardly a radical lifestyle.  My family however are quite conservative.

In an earlier post, I discussed why it’s okay to be different.

Here are my tips on coping if you are the odd one out in your family.

Don’t explain your choices

I have fallen into this trap recently. You find yourself constantly having to explain or justify your lifestyle or choices, even the most basic ones.

To be completely honest, it’s exhausting.

Unless you are hurting members of your family, you shouldn’t have to constantly explain yourself.

Break the explaining habit.

Don’t try to change anyone

As it turns out this acceptance stuff is a two-way street.

While you don’t need to explain your choices, neither should you be condemning everyone else for theirs. Appreciate that other people also have the right to go about their lives as they see fit.

As much as I have embraced being a vegetarian, I am not trying to shove tofu down anyone else’s throat. My family is free to eat whatever they want, just as I should be.

Understand they may be trying to help

A lot of the time family members are just trying to help, they might not necessarily be going about it the right way.  Whilst they see it as helping and offering advice; on your side of the fence it feels like criticism.

In this situation, it is important to recognise when family are trying to help you.  If you need their help by all means take it and thank them.  Appreciate the fact that they offered their time and energy to assist you.  Express your gratitude.

If you don’t need their help, politely thank them for offering, decline and move on.

Don’t tolerate being treated badly

If people start to criticise or make snide comments in your direction, politely nip it in the bud.

Doesn’t that sound easy when you say it like that?  In reality standing up for yourself can be difficult in certain family situations. Being outnumbered doesn’t make it any easier.

The trick of course is using an assertive manner and not a passive aggressive one.  I went the passive aggressive approach recently and I would not recommend it.

Timing is also a key component.  Do you say something in the thick of a discussion or later when everything has calmed down? Both have their merit and both can cause issues if not used wisely or handled correctly.

I have found the most useful tool is consistency.  Every time someone says something that puts you down or criticises you, politely tell them their behaviour is not acceptable.  Obviously you briefly mention what that behaviour is.  Make sure you don’t ramble, be brief and to the point. No name calling or being nasty.

You need to do this each and every time they try to put you down.  Eventually they will stop or decrease this sort of inappropriate behaviour.

Have a support network (outside of your family)

If you are the black sheep of the family and struggle to fit in, you need to make sure you have a wonderful group of people where you do fit in.

I would be lost without my girlfriends who ‘get me’. As much as family loves us (and we love them), they can sometimes be more on the ‘change’ or ‘fix’ bandwagon, than the ‘live and let live’ one.

Make sure you have a strong group of friends who love you just the way you are.

Love yourself just the way you are

Your biggest supporter should be you.

It can be difficult to hold your ground and stick to what you believe in when you are bombarded by criticism and ridicule from people you love. From strangers criticism can be easily disregarded.  From family members it can really hurt.

Constant criticism can have you doubting yourself if you are not careful. Don’t let this happen. It can be very harmful to your self esteem and confidence.

Take a deep breath; remember who you are and what you believe in.

Remember no one is better than anyone else

People with different lifestyles often want to convert you around to their way of thinking. For whatever reason, they think their way of life is better.

A classic example of this is being married with kids.  A lot of married people can’t imagine how you could possibly be happy single and without children, so they try to bring you around to their way of thinking, often by trying to discredit your way of life.

Sometimes we need to be crystal clear with people about what it is we want and what makes us happy.  Let people know that you are happy with your life.

Embrace being different

I like who I am.  Whilst my family might feel more comfortable if my lifestyle was more aligned to theirs, it wouldn’t make me happy.  I would be unhappy living their lifestyle, just as they would be unhappy living mine.

Celebrate what makes you different.  Your differences make you open to amazing opportunities.  Look upon being the black sheep as an advantage not a disability.

You are a unique individual.  We all are.

If you enjoyed this post, please forward it onto your friends.  I welcome your feedback in the comments section below.

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Comments

  1. says

    I love this post! I am and have always been the black sheep of my family. Like you, I am self-employed (so,yeah, I don’t do anything all day either) and my family had the toughest time accepting my choices.
    At the beginning it was hard for me to accept their criticism, but I have surrounded myself with people who love me for exactly the person I am and that has helped me be confident!

    • says

      Hi Anne-Sophie
      Thank you so much for commenting. Great to see you here! From one black sheep to another, welcome!!
      The criticism can be really hard but you are right surrounding yourself with people who love you for exactly who you are makes all the difference.
      The interesting thing is I might do something my family thinks is a bit out there, yet when my brother does a similar thing they find it more acceptable. I think it’s because he is married with children. They see him as settled and therefore more stable. Being single, not so much. Definitely not whining about my brother here, we get on really well and have a good relationship.
      Family dynamics, got to love them.
      Again thanks so much for your comment. Loved the bit about you not doing anything all day! I can so relate.
      Cheers
      Thea

  2. Marcie says

    I’m not the black sheep of the family, in fact I don’t think we have any black sheep in our immediate circle – but anyway, what you say is true. Even if people aren’t the black sheep they may have little quirks that don’t quite fit the round peg hole. Liking and Loving yourself is the key. Thanks again for the words of wisdom!

    • says

      Hi Marcie
      Great to see you here again, always a delight.
      Thank you so much for commenting. Glad you enjoyed the post.
      Cheers
      Thea

  3. says

    Thank you for this.

    I’m the black sheep in so, so many ways. I have tattoos. I have a ring through my nose. I listen to heavy metal and loathe country music. I’m working a part-time job that is beneath my education level. I’ve recently started pursuing my career as a writer. I stand out like a pencil in a cup of pens.

    I recently stopped explaining myself, and it feels amazing. It was to the point where I was questioning myself and my choices, and I realized that I need to believe in myself and move on from the negativity.

    I’ve embraced being the black sheep.

    • says

      Hi Liz
      Great to see you here again. Thanks for the great comment. Glad you enjoyed the post.
      I am so glad to hear you have embraced your black sheep. Good on you! I love the pencil in a cup of pens statement. That is me too. I saw your post about no longer explaining yourself. I loved it. I realised recently I have been doing the same thing with friends and family and decided to stop explaining myself as well. Now when someone asks me Why did you do such and such? Why are you? etc etc I simply answer ‘because I want to’ or “I like it’ or something similar. I don’t go into a long explanation as to why. I have also tried to do the same for other people. I don’t want people explaining their actions to me either. It does feel amazing. It is very liberating not having to explain yourself all of the time.
      Thank you so much for allowing me to appear on your blog recently. It was a pleasure to guest post for you. Thank you again for the opportunity.
      Look forward to seeing you here again soon. I will definitely pop over and check out your latest posts as well. :)
      Cheers
      Thea

      • says

        It really is liberating! I still struggle with it occasionally but I’ve been making a conscious effort to not explain myself unless I want to. No one should feel like they have to explain themselves.

        Thank you for guest posting! I want to do another series in the future, and will definitely let you know. I’d love to have you on again!

  4. Rebecca says

    Thank you for your words of wisdom that don’t go back to that old adage of “sticks and stones.” I am the black sheep in my family, but worse than that I became the victim of a family of bullies. And while I can certainly whine with the best of them that my aunts, uncles, and cousins are wrong and out dated with their thinking, I have to accept responsibility that I have not handled the situation correctly.

    Instead of assertively ending their critical and sometimes threatening remarks, I engaged in arguments that had no winners. Instead of appreciating what and who I was, I allowed their words to creep into my subconscious and undermine what self esteem I had left. I began to dread these family get together events to the point that I felt sick to my stomach if someone mentioned them.

    However, I am better now. Instead of sulking in a corner, I have stood up and said I am me. I’m not going to change for people. I am not going to listen to unsolicited advice and comments. I don’t attend family events because I have realized that I have my friends who are my family. I am a much happier person.

    • says

      Hi Rebecca
      Thank you so much for your heartfelt comment.
      I am so glad you enjoyed the post and got something useful from it. It can certainly be difficult when you have family members with such different values and as you mentioned outdated thinking (can so relate to you there), even more so when they seem adamant about forcing their value system and beliefs onto you. Family bullies, gosh sorry to hear that, that would be awful particularly the part where you mentioned their nasty words undermined your self-esteem. The threatening part sounds pretty horrid too.

      I am happy to hear that you are feeling better about it all now. Good on you for sticking up for yourself and standing your ground. Thank goodness for our friends, they are the wonderful, supportive and caring ‘family’ we choose for ourselves. :)

      Thanks again for commenting, it was really lovely to see you here and I hope to chat to you again soon.
      Cheers
      Thea

  5. a non says

    Really nice article. Live and let live. I suffer (Ed) a lot of abuse, was the scapegoat before even being born. Time to get on with it now. I’ve gone through the stages of grief and its time to move on. I like who I am. I am grateful for everything in my life. Its all ordained, planned for my good.

    • says

      Hi
      Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I am glad to hear that you are doing well now. Good on you!! You sound like you have overcome some tough times but moved through them with grace and dignity. It is a wonderful thing to be able to say you like who you are.
      Thank you again for sharing part of your story here. I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing you here again soon.
      Cheers
      Thea

  6. James says

    Thanks man this made me feel better about my brother and mother treating me like the blacksheep of the family …

    • says

      Hi Jennifer
      Thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the black sheep post. I hope to see you here again soon.
      Cheers
      Thea

  7. says

    Wow, this is so timely! I have been attending counselling due to long term estrangement/abuse from my family. I really do believe us ‘black sheep’ or ‘disowned’ can benefit from mutual support and fellowship. I have come to the conclusion in my own case that ‘I am OK’ which is so important to build on. I have a child to raise and so many good days ahead; what a shame those we love are missing out.
    Beware of feeling unworthy or entering toxic relationships of any kind, and build your strengths and esteem. Remember, the shame is not yours.
    Sunnie

  8. Lola Silva says

    I loved this blog! Thank you! My sister and I are the black sheep in our very religious uptight family. Our parents divorced when we were very young. We never were around my dad’s family. We were raised catholic but not strict. My dads family is evangelists. My husband is Jewish as is wonderful and has the best supportive family we have 2 sons. Own a home and are really happy. My sister is engaged to a wonderful man just bought her first home and has 2 children from a previous relationship. But she is very happy. However my dads family excludes us from everything. Weddings, they even through BBQ’s and never invite us. As much as we try to let it roll off our shoulder it hurts. It’s a very large family lots of cousins they get together and blast it on social media. My father is remarried with children now and because they are always around and are the same religion they refuse to acknowledge our kids. Fortunately for me I don’t live in the same town but my sister does and it’s so hard for her. They use mean girl tactics like purposely excluding us. I came to the conclusion that it is a control issue and this is a way of being part of something that they never had before. Because they all lived very sheltered lives. It’s not even just the female cousins the male ones act the same way. Like if your not married they are above you.

    • says

      Hi Lola

      Thank you so much for commenting. Before I start let me begin by apologizing for taking so long to write back. I remember reading your post and I thought I wrote back straight away but clearly I made a mistake there. Again sorry for the delay, I really did appreciate your heartfelt comment.

      Firstly so glad to hear that both your sister and you are both happy and have loving supportive partners (and their families who support you as well). Sometimes our love and support comes from someone else’s family and that’s just fine too. Love is love after all!!

      Sorry to hear that your Dad’s family exclude you though, I know that even though we try to not let things affect us it can still hurt. I can only imagine how things can get more complicated when different religions gets thrown into the mix!

      It sounds like you and your sister have a strong bond and are there for each other so that’s fantastic! I say connect your two wonderful families as often as you can and have your own joyous events and family gatherings. The ones you aren’t getting invited to may be a real bore anyway!!

      Thanks again for your comment and I am really glad you enjoyed the post.

      Cheers
      Thea

    • says

      Hi Gaby

      I am so sorry to hear that your family is abusive towards you. No one deserves to be treated like that.

      Unfortunately I don’t know your situation as in your age or whether you are still living at home etc. If you are young and still living at home are there any other family members or friends that you can turn to? If you are at school are there any counselors or people you can talk to or go to for help?

      Do you have some good friends that you can talk to? Good friends can play an incredibly important role in our lives. When our family lets us down it can be our friends who are our greatest strength and support. In saying that don’t worry if you don’t have any close friends just at the moment, we make friends throughout our lives so you never know who will come into your life.

      If you are older and earning your own money can you perhaps move out with some trusted friends? If by chance you don’t live with your family at the moment, I would be staying clear of them (as in avoiding any social functions) and concentrate on getting any help and support that you need.

      Again I don’t know the specifics with your family but can you stand up to them more or try to set boundaries with them (by that I mean let them know that abusing you in any way is not acceptable). I realize this does depend on your unique situation and it is certainly not easy but something to perhaps think about?

      I understand you having dark thoughts but suicide is NEVER the answer. This may be a terrible time in your life but things change and get better all of the time. In no time your life could completely turn itself around for the better. I understand it may not feel that way at the moment but believe me it can happen. I have had friends who have felt exactly the same way you do and they are now living wonderful happy lives. One of my friends came from an incredibly abusive childhood and she is now an amazing friend and mother. Don’t deprive yourself of all the incredible things you are going to accomplish going forward in your life.

      You have to believe in yourself and know that how they are treating you is wrong. Unfortunately I am not a trained counselor so I can’t help you as much as I would like to. I really wish I should help you more. Finding a trained professional or counselor who can help you is important.

      No one deserves to be treated badly. You deserve to be treated with respect and love. You need to believe that!!

      I will definitely be thinking of you Gaby. I wish you all the best and hope things improve for you. I would love to hear back from you to see how you are going. I hope reading the blog in some ways helps as well. I hope it helps you to see that we all have our hard moments and battles to face but we can work through them and move onto bigger and better things.

      All the best and take care.
      Remember life is precious and there are so many great things you are yet to do!

      Thinking of you
      Thea

  9. tye johnson says

    Belive it or not the people in your family who are criticising you often are jealous and envious and secretly wish they posses some of your qualities.

  10. SB says

    Thank you for this. I’ve always had a difficult time with this. For whatever reason, my mother’s family has always been ashamed of me. Since birth, as far as I can tell. I’m not sure what I ever did wrong, but whatever it is it’s enough to be dismissive, judgmental, and ugly towards me. I am 32 now with a beautiful, lovely and loving child and a wonderful, supportive husband. I’ve approached my mom about this in many different ways and many different times. She is resistant to hearing it and makes excuses for them. It upsets me, because I feel like she chooses her extended family over her own daughter. I can guarantee that would never happen with my son. She’s slowly getting better, but she very, very, very rarely stands up for me. She has recently acknowledged that I’m right, which is great progress, but she’s not changing her behavior when they’re around. She’s always more short with me when they’re around. My husband has seen it from the very first time he met my mom’s family. I have two older brothers and two younger female cousins. My brothers get passes for being male. My cousins are perfect in the eyes of everyone. They’ve never had a challenge or hardship in their lives. I get told to “get over it” all the time. It doesn’t matter if my boyfriend of 4 years died unexpectedly at 21 years old, that I have OCD and PTSD, or anything else. I know if I even shared the sexual abuse and rape I’ve suffered, I’d be told to “get over it” along with an eye roll and a story about how it’s all in my head. As an example as to the contrast here, my cousin who is in her late 20s finally got a job after finishing school. She works part time and is upset because she doesn’t get a lunch break. They are just up in arms over this. I mean really. They’re ready to protest on her behalf. By law, she’s not entitled to one. When I was 15, 16, 17, and 18 I worked 40 hours a week at a restaurant while I attended high school (complete with a full load of AP and Honors courses). I worked 6 days a week, with Wednesdays off. Saturdays and Sundays (and any school holiday) I worked split shifts. I never had a lunch break and I was sexually abused while I was there. Instead of any sort of sympathy, I was whined at and about for not being present on holidays because of my work schedule. My husband works 6 days a week out in the elements from 7AM until 6PM with no lunch break. No one says a word. This is just a very small example of the imbalance.

    I know the problem is that I’m very different from them. VERY. They tell me that I’m just like them, but only the bad stuff. Bossy, loud, chatterbox. I’m a chatterbox. I’m not loud and I’m certainly not bossy. My husband comes to my defense, but he gets shut down because “he’s only saying that so he doesn’t get in trouble”. It’s not true. In MY marriage, we are open and honest 100% of the time. That’s why our bond is so strong and why we are happy. I did everything wrong in life. I didn’t make straight As (b/c I was spending so much time working and dealing with being bullied), I have a few tattoos that aren’t visible unless I choose for them to be, I lived with my husband before we were married, I didn’t immediately go to college and graduate (despite the fact that I was responsible for paying for it unlike my cousins or the fact that only one person in that family has a degree), I don’t like to shop, I don’t go to church (I can’t find one that holds my values though I am a Christian), and I am very different from them on the political spectrum. Actually, I think it pisses them off more that I don’t have a political stance. I use my brain and good judgment rather than proclaiming a side. I find that silly. I’ve been told I wear too much makeup, that I look like a clown with white face paint (I have extremely pale skin – it’s not due to makeup), I wore clothing that was too provocative. And on the clothing thing, one of my cousins and I have large breasts. My cousin has taken to wearing things that show them off to a certain extent. She’s always told she looks beautiful. I was always told to cover up. When I broke up with my ex-fiance, a couple in Mom’s family got upset with me and started to treat me very rudely for it, despite the fact that I broke up with him when he raised his hand to hit me in public.

    In my defense, I am an incredibly empathetic person. I don’t know how I became this way unless it was through rebellion. It certainly wasn’t inherited, though I definitely got the pick of the litter when it comes to potential moms on that side of the family. I am charitable, I am an excellent mother, I’m the hardest worker you’ll ever find, I’m great at everything I do and am constantly striving to improve myself, I picked a wonderful spouse who everyone loves except for the fact that he’s attached to me, I have a solid and amazingly happy and healthy marriage, I take care of everyone and anyone, I’m there for my cousins, aunts, and grandparents anytime they need me, I’m my mom’s right-hand woman, I’m back in school going for a very difficult degree. As a child I was never out of line. I never spoke, because I was terrified of getting into trouble (can you blame me?), so I can’t see why I would have ever said anything that would upset anyone. I was always very well-behaved and polite. I didn’t cause any grief or embarrassment for my parents (unlike my brothers). I grew up with an alcoholic, permanently angry father. My brother demolished my self-esteem. Yet, I still have a great relationship with my brother (who was big enough to apologize for his behavior when he became an adult) and I have an OK one with my dad. In fact, my dad is damn lucky to have a relationship with me at all.

    Our son is 5 and he’s the apple of everyone’s eye. I don’t know how I was able to produce a child that can be so well loved by these people who hate his mother so much. He is most certainly a wonderful child deserving of all of this love. He is incredibly sweet, lovable, polite, thoughtful, intelligent, well-behaved. I keep wondering how they can hate me so much and be so disappointed in me only to love someone who is a reflection of me. I have to think that it’s his gender. I refuse to see them just so they can see my son. That’s how I’m treated and have been since his birth. To me, to fully love my son you should fully love the person who he loves the most (and who loves him the most). I also don’t ever want to find out they’ve treated him in any way they’ve treated me. I have never stood up for myself, but I will stand up for him. I know their love for him in incomplete. For example, I know that if it turns out he’s gay, they’ll hate him. They’ll call him an f-word. They’ll try to turn him. They’ll exclude him from the family. To me, that is proof that the love is incomplete.

    Facebook makes this more apparent. I take notice. My aunts only “like” pictures of my son or my dog. If I post anything of good news, like my major promotion, they ignore it. My uncle will respond to those with something to degrade it, like “Don’t break your arm” meaning “don’t pat yourself on the back too hard”. No “like”, no “congratulations”, no “good job”. Nothing. Not a word. A picture is posted of one of my little cousins and there are at minimum 4 separate comments from my aunt (our childless aunt) about how beautiful, smart, sweet, perfect they are. If they post something, she’ll always respond positively several times. It seems petty, but it confirms what I’ve always believed. For some reason, they refuse to be happy for me or see me as worthy of anything at all other than an emotional backhand to the face. My other aunt and my cousins have even expressed that they’re tired of our aunt constantly overly-praising them. Can you imagine how bad it must be for even their mom to want it to stop?? And they wonder why I have such terrible self-esteem. Why I suffered through clinical depression and attempted suicide. They honestly have wondered! It’s amazing how short-sighted and self-absorbed people can truly be.

    I sincerely apologize for writing so much and just spilling it all out. This is just something I’ve needed to say for a very long time and with Christmas coming up so quickly, I know I’m walking into the annual feeding at the lions’ den. My counselor always pushes for me to distance myself from my mom’s family. He’s been right, but you can’t avoid everything, especially a holiday with your parents who don’t deserve to be cut off. He also keeps reminding me I’ll never get them to like me or value me. He’s right on that, too. But, I don’t know if it will ever stop hurting. Maybe it would be easier if they weren’t so vocal about it and just ignored me instead.

    I love your ideas for standing up for yourself. I always try to take the “high road” by not responding and letting it turn into an issue or argument. It will be an argument, because that’s how they are. They are bullies, plain and simple. I have taken strides in distancing myself from them, but the guilt trips laid upon me are great. It also removes special time with my own mother. I feel that, with your excellent advise, if I were to just respond with “that’s not appropriate” or “that’s uncalled for” would be enough.

  11. Jackie says

    Hi. I’m a teenage girl who has ALWAYS been the black sheep. I never get any credit for anything. Everyone in my family is so supportive of my cousins and siblings. I can’t stand it. I also get very depressed during my “time of the month”, making me just want to end all the pain…… I just can’t take this anymore. Any tips on how to handle this situation will be very helpful. Thanks.

  12. says

    I’m the black sheep of my family too, and have been since I was at least 12 years old. (Turned 31 last week.) At this point, I’ve embraced it. No point in worrying about things that are beyond my control. You can’t change or control your family. If they’re the cold, judgmental, holier-than-thou type (like my family is), they’ll likely ALWAYS be that way. You just have to learn to accept it and move on – even if “moving on” means moving on without ’em. It’s been my norm for so long, it rarely affects me anymore. I have become more or less indifferent to it. And why not? Life’s too short.

  13. Anne says

    I am a black sheep of my family. Unfortunately no one in my family talks to me except my dying mother. I was always way tooooo passive handling the bad situations with my two older sisters and let eveyone in my life walk over me. I wish i had read this article in the past. It may have really saved some heatache.

  14. Paige says

    I have been searching not only for the words of encouragement in this 2-year-old blog post, but also for the feeling of relief I got after reading it. It is amazing how after several years of arguing, misunderstanding, and confusion with your mother (and the rest of the family) that you can just roll over one morning and think to yourself:

    “Hey, I am who I am, I am not hurting anyone that I care about, and it is OKAY to be different. The negativity and close-mindedness my family is made up of due to their own insecurities is not going to effect the way I live anymore! I love them but I love myself more!”

    Thea, many black sheep have probably taken a deep breath of fresh air after reading this!

    Thank you. I would love any recommendations for similar blog posts of books that relate to this post.

    • Sunnie says

      I hear you, it does leave a void.
      Try to remember there are others who are just like you, and now and in the future you will meet people who love and care for you just as you are.
      Hugs,
      Sunnie

      • says

        Hi Sonia

        So lovely to have you here on the blog. Thank you very much for your heartfelt comment. Very true. We all need to find those people who will love and care for us just as we are. Sometimes it might take a little longer to meet them but our lives are so much richer for it.
        I hope to see you here again soon.
        Take care
        Thea

    • says

      Hi Blacksheep
      Sorry to hear that you feel lonely being the black sheep. I know it can be hard being different. Sonia was spot on with her earlier comment though, you will find kindred spirits and that loneliness will lift. You will find wonderful loving people who care about you.
      Stay strong, live your life and reach out to friends. Be open to meeting new people who will be supportive. Find people you have something in common with and build on those connections.
      I wish you every happiness.
      Cheers
      Thea

  15. BlahBlah says

    I hate this feeling of being the black sheep especially when the white sheep are superficial gits. I got to know my father only later in life and have tried my hardest to get along with his side of the family. I even made two aunts who’d been feuding for years patch up by throwing my birthday party in one’s house and inviting the other there. I did all the work. Was on my toes throughout the party and made sure every one was having a good time. But no matter the good I do, no matter the effort I make, no matter how many times I bite my tongue and stay quiet, I just can’t seem to get their approval.
    It seems they’re only ready to like me if i behave exactly as they want. One step out of line and I’m immediately treated like I don’t exist. Today I got to know that an uncle blocked me on Facebook because the top of my shoulder showed in my profile picture. I’m wearing a thin strapped top so it’s not like a naked shoulder or something. Even if he is that big a prude, he could have talked to me about it instead of blocking me. His wife ignores me completely if we’re alone but is all smiles on company. I don’t know what I’ve done to upset these people.
    Another aunt got upset with me for being angry with my dad after he refused to get my medicines. He’s done this twice before so I was considerably angry with him. When she asked me what was going on, I told her. She said that my dad was like that and I should never be angry with him. Didn’t want to hear any further. None of them seem to realise the effort it takes to forgive an absentee father and be willing to take care of him in old age when he’s never done anything for you.
    Considering that they’re my family and yet it was only me that made the effort to get to know them after meeting my dad, I’m sitting here wondering if I should even let this lot affect me to this degree. They’ve never been there for me and probably never will be. My father is a selfish man but he’s my father so I can stand his behavior to a certain extent but not the extended lot. I’ve decided I’ll keep my distance from them. This way they’ll have the best reason to dislike me.

  16. cassey says

    I have been the black sheep ever since i can remember and have died inside 100 times and more
    I have been abused bullied by all family members and now 53 i still feel the hate they have for me
    My dream younger was to be a fashion designer and make up artist to the stars something they but down and in the end it bet me
    Iv never been happy..
    I took my anger out on my eldest.. and i feel crap in many ways
    I married a man that abused me in every way and the family even today love him more than me and that was was 28 years ago i really hate my life im sad lonely and hate waking up to pain every day

    • says

      Hi Casssey

      I am so sorry to hear that you are so unhappy. I apologise for the delay in getting back to you but I wanted to make sure I spent some time on this email.

      You mentioned in your email about your family members. I was wondering if you would mind me asking – are you still in touch with them? I am hoping for your sake that the answer is no. A lot of people try to spend time with their families despite the fact that they are completely toxic relationships. Naturally I don’t know your whole story but it seems that if these people are making you so unhappy your should stay away from them. It’s not just about not seeing them either, you need to ‘let them go’ from your thoughts as well. Clearly this doesn’t happen overnight but there are ways we can train our minds to think and act differently.

      I am sorry that you feel that they hate you, that’s never a nice feeling but if that is the way you feel than you should be focussed on spending your time being with and thinking about people who do like you.

      You mentioned being married. You mention that your family like him despite everthing he has done. I’m going to be a bit tough on you here and ask why do you care so much what they think? They don’t sound very nice and he sounds horrible. Why do you care what all of these not nice people think??? I know this is hard to do but there opinion should not matter. The only opinion that matters is yours.

      You mentioned that you took it out on your eldest. Are you two still in touch? I can tell you one thing it is NEVER to late to say sorry and yes you may have to say it a lot to make the impact you want (depending how close/distant) the relationship is. If you genuinely apologise and it has to be genuine that will hopefully help. Again I don’t know the whole story but I do know that heartfelt apologies are never a bad thing. One thing to avoid though is blaming someone else like your partner for your behavior. Despite what a nightmare he may have been, blaming his won’t build bridges between you and your eldest. You need to take your husband of the equation all together and own up to any mistakes you might have made (despite the reason you made them).

      Now onto you. You mentioned wanting to be a fashion designer. It’s never too late to be creative. Okay you might not turn it into a job but that’s okay. It’s about being creative, expressing yourself and getting back to a passion you used to have. Grab a cheap sketch pad and some pencils and start sketching. Honestly it doesn’t matter if they are crap to start off with its not about it being perfect or amazing, it’s about it making you feel good. It about getting back to the core of who you are.

      By the sounds of it, you need a big dose of self-esteem and confidence. You need to start belieing in your own self worth and self- worth doesn’t come with an expiry date so you don’t get off the hook for being over 50. I am about to turn 50 myself so I can relate.

      So the big question is what can you do to make yourself feel better? Do you have friends that you can spend time with? Do you need to make an effort and reach out to an old friend? What do you enjoy doing? What makes you laugh? What can you do to help others (its amazing how much we stop thinking about our own woes when we are trying to help other people)? Do you have hobbies? What do you do for work? Do you like reading? It sounds like its time for you to focus on what you like doing and let go off all the other crap.

      If you don’t have many friends or go out much now is the time to do something about that. It might be scary at first but the more confidence your have over time the easier it will get. It might take a little time but that is okay. You need to make up a plan. Forget the family and the ex and work out what YOU want!!!!

      More than anything you have to work on liking yourself. Start writing a list of things you like about yourself. I know it’s hard but start small and move up. There is always something. You need to remember who you were and who you really are.

      Instead of waking up in pain every day, find one thing every morning to be grateful for. It may be something as small as ‘I feel a little bit better than yesterday”. But find something every day. Work up to a couple a day.

      You have got a lot of great days ahead of you, you just have believe in that and most of all in yourself.

      It’s important to point out, I am not a trained counsellor or therapist. I don’t have initials after my name. Perhaps seeing a councellor might help though. Maybe you need someone to talk things through with and someone who can teach you some techniques on letting go of the past and again more importantly learning to like yourself.

      I wish you all the best and I hope that you take the time to read through some of the other posts on this blog. I think most of us go through times (and yes sometimes it can be years) of low self-esteem but there is always hope and room for growth and love. Always!!

      I hope to hear how you are going. You have undoubtedly been through some incredibly tough times but you are a strong, amazing, beautiful woman and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

      All the best Cassey.

      Cheers
      Thea

  17. Janice says

    I am also the black sheep of the family, considered very eccentric. This is a strong stressor in my life and am sure it has caused me a lot of mental damage over time.
    Two points; you pick and choose your friends, family is just a matter of coincidence you have no choice about.
    I may be the black sheep of the family, but some of the other sheep are not as lily white as they’d have you believe.

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