Do you know of someone who has been rejected by their family? In most cases, the Black Sheep of the family is usually blackballed from all family social gatherings — not invited to family functions, birthdays, weddings, or holiday celebrations. These less fortunate individuals are totally ignored, harassed, ridiculed, and put down by his or her family.
Some people benefit by having been raised in a loyal, loving, and predominately sane family. It’s a real blessing if these lucky people can maintain those favorable and close connections.
A Black Sheep Can’t Go Home
If home is an unsafe place, it’s better for a person to leave if misunderstanding, sadism, or maltreatment supersedes compassion, tenderness, or kindness in the family.
Carrie Barron, M.D., Director of the Creativity for Resilience Program at Dell Medical School in Austin, Texas offers this sound advice.
“Some families score high on the hostility scale. Whether this is expressed through passive-aggressive action or outward insult, it can decimate a growing self. Little injuries accumulated over time or a few big assaults flatten self-esteem, sap confidence, and compromise the ability to trust.”
For severely afflicted families, talking will not cure the problem. Dialogue does nothing and can even spiral the anguish.
Dr. Barron adds.
“Some people are too regressed to contain their meanness. If a couple of members are irrational, cruel, thrive on conflict or love a cat-fight, forget it. Combine this with no capacity for insight or self-reflection (some people just can’t look at themselves and see what they’ve done) it is a recipe for the destruction of souls.”
Don’t Be Fooled!
It’s upsetting to hear people say, “Oh, it’s all just being part of a family.” They might think their being helpful, but they may not know any better. Only the black sheep – the target of hidden harassment knows.
It’s exceptionally painful to walk away from a family because one doesn’t want to accept the truth that given the unbending, denying personalities, the circumstances will never improve. An individual has the tendency to cling to family – hoping for different circumstances.
According to Dr. Barron, it’s up to you to know what to do.
“We think if we keep trying, if only we change our own behavior or explain things better, we can stop the madness. We hope, wish, believe that the supposed loved ones will see what they do and stop doing it. We twist the truth to give them higher status as a benevolent being but this is a trap. The knowledge that you cannot do anything about what they do may save your life.”
It’s Time to Move On
Much as a black sheep of the family wants things to work out — and after he or she has tried every way of communicating — in so many cases, it’s time to cut loose and move on.
There’s an intrinsic need to belong to a family and it is counter-intuitive to cut it off. It takes great courage, enormous independence, and the ability to tolerate being alone. Nevertheless, when there’s no other choice, then there’s no other choice.
If an abused, neglected, and shunned person chooses to leave, he or she needs encouragement and support. It’s absurd and unwise to have been tortured and then be expected to brush it off.
Dr. Barron elaborates.
“One cannot violate one’s own truth. We maintain self-respect by holding our ground on the way we need to be treated. This is not about righteously claiming victim status but rather acknowledging a painful reality and dealing with it appropriately. Some people never change. If this is the case, self-protection means shutting the door forever.”
It’s true. All families have issues. People bicker, they compete with one another. They want what the other has, or they may feel less loved, and feel left out.
However, a good family stands behind you — is there for you — and wants to know what you went through. They care.
If you’re the black sheep in the family, the good news is when you’re free of the toxicity; you’re more open to loving others – like a family of friends, or co-workers, or classmates and teachers.
You can create a life from your own value system. Accept that you were never similar in the character, attitudes, or behavior of your family, even if it takes until you’re older to figure it out. The good years are ahead.
Dr. Baron suggests the following.
“Establish a new clan by reaching out, sharing, asking about the other, being a friend. Build new relationships. In the flesh meetings or quick, ‘how are you’ texts keep relationships going. If it’s awkward at first, it will get better. Better than what you came from.”
Not every family loves.
Throughout history, those with early injuries develop an unusual strength in later life. The wounds guide us to generous — sometimes grand actions. Suffering leads to strong character, useful success, and sensitivity to others.