Family members are often subconsciously assigned roles for how they fit into their individual familial structures. And for some people, this role ends up being the black sheep. Or, according to the Family Systems Theory, the “identified patient.”
The black sheep is a family member who has been designated as the odd one out. The problem child. The rebel. Because of this, the black sheep often feels out of place and misunderstood within their family. Later on, this can lead to interpersonal problems in the black sheep’s non-familial relationships.
If you’re the black sheep of your own family, people may not understand some of your behaviors. As such, here are four things people don’t realize you’re doing because you’re the black sheep of your family.
1. You struggle with low self-worth.
If you are the black sheep of your family, you most likely have low self-esteem as well. This makes enough sense. After all, while you were growing up, you learned that who you were was not enough. You were often pushed away, teased, or left out by your family which led you to believe that there was something wrong with you. You still hold onto that belief today. It is an emotional scar, and one that runs deep.
2. You’re deeply sensitive to rejection.
Because you have been essentially outcasted by your family, the people who are supposed to know and love you the most, rejection is particularly difficult for you to navigate in other settings as well. You might even have rejection sensitivity dysphoria (RSD), or an extreme reaction to feelings of rejection.
Connection and positive interactions within close relationships are core human needs. And to have those needs be neglected by your own family members? Excruciating.
3. You have major trust issues.
Trust does not come easily to you. This leads you to feel alone, even when you’re surrounded by those who love you, because you have learned to associate intimacy with abandonment and pain. You expect everyone to leave you behind, so you prefer not to get too close to anyone. You keep others at an arm’s length as a means of self-preservation and self-protection.
4. You live in the past.
You just can’t seem to allow yourself to move on from your past. Instead, you ruminate on it. Live in it even. You constantly sift through your memories, reliving all of the painful moments that have brought you to where you are today.
You live in the past because you think if you revisit the hurt enough, you can resolve it. Find a different conclusion maybe. Fix it. But the truth of the matter is that you cannot change what has already happened. The past will always remain out of your reach. However, you can accept what happened. This is the first step to letting go and healing. This is how you break free.