Definitely the Black Sheep

I grew up in a family in which the paternal side was full of high achievers.  I'm close with my mom and dad, and for a long time with my oldest brother, but our closeness came to an end a long time ago when he got married.  My other brother and I were never close but we tolerated each other, and oddly enough, we seem to be communicating more.  The rest of my family, cousins and such, all did what was expected of them and have good careers with good pay and good family values with a house, 2.3 kids and a dog.  It's the all American family and I just don't fit in. 

I went to college but was unable to finish due to financial aid problems.  I have jobs, not a career, and despite my trying to having a child, that dream was taken away from me for whatever reason God had.  At family functions, I feel alone.  I hate knowing that at some point, one of my cousins, or aunts or uncles, is going to ask me what I'm doing now.  My answer is never good enough and often the butt of many jokes.

One of the reasons I was so anxious to move away from my family, to a whole new state, was so I could not be anywhere in the radar.  Nobody would know anything about my life other than what I tell them.  I miss my family, but I like my independence and my self-esteem better.

vampireheart vampireheart
31-35, T
53 Responses Jul 16, 2008

Aw.. Try to consider that those who fret because they see you as better than they see themselves probably don't have the healthiest self-esteems, and those who think they are better than you obviously have their own issues..

Go for it

I'm thinking about moving away. Only about an hour & 1/2 away, but still enough not to be expected to attend every little function. I feel like I do better when we have more space. But still, I'm considered the black sheep. Pretty much from birth (my parents had me at 19 & had a shotgun wedding) other family members had it out for me. It still hurts. Hard to let go of family, the ones who are suppose to be there for you....

i'm also the black sheep of our family... I've got different religion, views, etc. My mom and I always fight for a nonsense thing.. I know how it feels to be different... but being ME is the best thing i had!!! I like the way I am...

i'm also the black sheep of our family... I've got different religion, views, etc. My mom and I always fight for a nonsense thing.. I know how it feels to be different... but being ME is the best thing i had!!! I like the way I am...

Wow, your story is so similar to mine! I too, come from a family of high achievers. I'm not one of them though...all my cousins are, and my grandfather was constantly throwing it in my face that they're everything I'm not. It made me feel so crappy. Sooo "not good enough." It's definitely taken a toll on my self-esteem.

**** facebook i love this site

I feel very much the same way you do but different. I grew up in very Greek orthodox religious house hold. I believe in god but went through a long phase of not believing in him. I got married into a family who doesn't communicate with each other at all.I was already kind of used to this because my dad's side of the family doesn't communicate with anyone unless they are high achieving. But I feel the same you are not alone. this makes me feel alot better about my life and that its not weird to have a family like this. when all other family's seem to always be together u know?

I reside in Carolina and am thinking of moving to paris or france

I thought i was alone in this..but after reading a few stoires in this group I don't feel so alone..thank you for sharing

What If The Problem Is .., <br />
You Are Very Close To Your Family And Other Relatives<br />
(Like To The Cousins Of Your Mother,Your Cousins,Aunts,Uncles And Especially To Your Grandmother) <br />
<br />
Then After That..,Suddenly,You Feel Like They Don't Like You And You Feel That They Have Ill Feelings To You .., What Will You Do.?<br />
'Cos I Feel This Every time We're Together Like, We're Having An Occasion. :(<br />
Sometimes I Feel Guilty About That .., 'Cos I Think That I Did Something Wrong. :(<br />
<br />
Can Somebody Answer My Question Pls .. :(<br />
Thank You ..

I can relate to your story... <br />
<br />
But there is an old saying ... "where ever you go, there you are".<br />
love<br />

hey , i can relate to your story i am not very close to my family at all i talk to my parents here an there i have two brothers my oldest and i were close until he got married heck i don't even get a chance to see my niece and nephews and my youngest brother we never got along i hated him he has a child that i haven't even seen this all started when i married a guy my whole family did not like at all everybody just washed their hands with me well it's been 6yrs now i have learned to live and let go .

Vampireheart, that is Very kind! This shows that Your Mother Honestly 'Loves' You,and although there is 'frustration' in Your family, She in some way 'accepts' You for Being You.

I hear ya. I moved far away and am preparing to move even farther away to live closer to my fiancee. I don't "do" dysfunction. My dad's family is full of it. That's what happens when you refuse to get any kind of psychological counseling. I call when I must. I dread the holidays when for some stupid reason they expect me to to be enthusiastic about visiting. How funny is it that they make a big deal out of Christmas when they are proud atheists? I pray every day for their salvation and for God to remove my hatred for them from my heart, if for no other reason that it hampers my productivity to nurture any kind of hate. Hatred is most harmful to the hater, they say. Anyway, there is so much to be said for moving away from family. I think people develop problems and stunt their emotional development when they are around people who refuse to see them as they are, only as they remember (or want you to remember).

Typically, when a family member moves away under those circumstances, (most of) the other family members realize they wish to communicate with that person. <br />
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I suggest a telephone call to each member and an occasional visit back to your hometown thereafter to visit for just a day. You would need to tell the family member you wish to see that you plan a visit. Ask advice for a reasonably priced hotel nearby; almost always, if the person wishes to see you, he or she will insist on your staying with them.<br />
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In truth, no stable person (assuming your family members ARE stable) would judge you by what you do for a living. If you find any one of them does, then of course you would be perfectly correct in avoiding them in the future.

hey thanks for the story i don't get on with my family ether especially my mum dad and sister they are all into acting and i am into punk rock ,metal music and my guitar my sister is a overachiever and my parents love her for it she is really good at school and my parents are still having to pay through the nose for my dislexia lessons even though they sent me away to a special school for learning disabilitys i don't know what a sentence is and where to put my full stops and although i am not yet out of school i can understand why you want to get away from your family i mean i have booked six holidays with my school one of wich is for three weeks just to get away from them i can also understand what you mean about the family functions i get costantly questioned about the music i like why i like it and why i dress the way i do and by now they have stopped asking me about my school work because they feel embarrassed about how i think that fifty percent is a good mark in a test where as my sister gets A* in her exams some people say that with there family they feel like the black sheep I feel like a whole different spicies or the grass that the sheep feed on or something beneath them it is not that i wish that they worn't as clever or less of who they are but i just wish that i could relate to them and have the breins to be at the same level as them

I know what you mean, my family is full of people who have accomplished things. I admire them for it but it makes it hard to live up to. They expect everyone to be a prodigy or something.

hey,just bumped to this site by mistake,and am glad.honstly,you dnt have issues as bad as some do....story of my african,27,2 kids,no job,no1 to love,and from a amily of lawyers and doctors.i think you should thand god for health and a sound mind,and love yourself,coz out there someome will switch places with you in a jiffy....n throw in an organ or blessed and smile,at least you are alive.

I think allowing people to define who we are causes inner turmoil. <br />
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Find out what you want to do and do because it makes you happy !

The saying, "A friend is closer than a brother" is very true. I wish you the best of luck and happiness.

I can relate, but in a different way. <br />
My mum is amazing. she is always happy and she really cares about my brother and me. she wants the best for everyone, she put others first. <br />
My dad is less emotional. He is a great dad and funny, but schooling and jobs are more important. It makes me sad because my bf lives many many hours by plane away from me. And I am unhappy not being able to see him. I get easily annoyed at my parents. Scared of what they are gonna say, without having a reason for me to be afraid. I don't know... I love my parents, but I am also having this little feeling of being scared...

I left my home state 12 years ago to get away from my family. I never fit in but for different reasons. Was the black sheep as well. I still talk to my sister and occassionally my parents and with two kids now, I see my parents a couple times a year so they can know my kids and visa versa. However, I have nothing in common with them and after a few days I am a different person I do not like because I have been around them. They are toxic and it affects my whole family. I don't share much with them except stuff about the kids and I feel sad that I don't really have a family to BE there for me. Never have really. At 46 years of age, I have said goodbye to the mother and father I never really had in my head. I feel as though they have already passed and they are gone. They might as well be for as close as we are. It is a sadness that never will go away but you accept that it is your life, surround yourself with people that DO appreciate you for who you are and don't have unreasonable expectations of you. I am not saying that you shouldn't try to succeed in life but you need to decide what the definition of success is, not them. Your true friends will support you no matter what you decide to do with your life as long as it is positive. Everyday you will battle with the voices in your head and you need to tell them "NO!!", get up and get on with YOUR day. Accept that your family doesn't "get" you and live the life you were meant to live. Set your own standards and actively look for happiness. I know, easier said than done. To be honest, I have to struggle with my own advice every day and some days I shine, some days I don't. But as my husband always says, "You can't lose if you don't quit trying." I hope you find the key to your own happiness.

aaaw ...I know the feeling

hmmm...that could be true. I'm the black sheep but I'm pretty damn sure my mom loves me best. I'm her favorite, I have to brothers are lame, I'm more fun and I keep her on her toes, lol. And she helps me most, maybe because I require more help, but still...she doesn't have to. I'm 32 years old, I shouldn't need the help I do but she still helps me, and even just does things because she can...even though I know she shouldn't.

hmmm...that could be true. I'm the black sheep but I'm pretty damn sure my mom loves me best. I'm her favorite, I have to brothers are lame, I'm more fun and I keep her on her toes, lol. And she helps me most, maybe because I require more help, but still...she doesn't have to. I'm 32 years old, I shouldn't need the help I do but she still helps me, and even just does things because she can...even though I know she shouldn't.

From one very proud black sheep to another. Our parents might not want to admit this to the "normal" ones in the family, but, they love us best because we dared to defy.

I can so relate. I live way to near most of my family and have dreamed about living somewhere further away. The only thing that keeps me around is my dad. It would kill him if I moved away ever since my mom died over 5 years ago. My sisters are my half sisters and as much as they love my dad he is not their real dad so I just don't feel that I can count on them to look after him since they have their own families. But if I could convince my dad to move with me I so would. I love my family and they have been there when I have needed them but I am also the butt of their many jokes and no matter what I do it is not good enough even though I have a better job and moved out on my own right after college, have a degree and a career in marketing which is way more than anybody else in our family actually. But still its not good enough. I would love to live far enough away to only see them on occassion and be able to start a new life somewhere else. You are lucky you got that opportunity! Don't feel bad because I think many of us feel this way towards our families. Just because we are related doesn't mean we have to like one another.

It's never too late to go back, my friend is going back to school next month and has a daughter in college- I'm totally rooting for her :)

My mom is obsessively neat as well...but, to a point, I am not so different than her. She gets frustrated way too easily and makes things incredibly tense for everyone around at that moment, never knowing what she is going to say or when her fuse is just going to blow. My dad doesn't say much at all, he's barely around, in fact. <br />
I'm home again, after a major heartbreak and another life failure...and find myself facing the same crap I've tried so hard to get away from and be different from. Despite their support, which is never ending, they treat me like I'm sixteen still whenever I'm here, and now that I'm living here, it's going to make my life issues even harder. My family and I are not close...and now we're close in miles again, which makes life more challenging for me, struggling with my own issues and trying to assert my own independence, whilst battling the remarks made by my brothers that I just can't get life together. The whole thing is completely unsatisfactory right down right F'n sucks.

It's hard when your family's priorities and values are different from your own! I moved out of the house 15 years ago, but I do consider myself close to my parents and talk to them often on the phone. Being around them, though, is really a challenge! I see them for about a month at a time every year and by the end of the second week I am usually either raging or crying, or both. My mum is a control freak as well as obsessively neat, and is very hard to please. She is also a home maker who does not understand my work and criticizes my lifestyle and personal habits because they aren't like hers... never mind the fact that I find her ways intolerably wasteful and inefficient as well. My dad is better, and we actually get along quite well, but every so often he'll throw out some completely uninformed comment which I really should learn to let go by now. The two of them can be so off-putting that the only solution is to disengage when I am around them... this is my problem. I have to learn how to just wait it out and ignore what I don't like because it will never change. But it's really, really hard!

I just found out a few weeks ago from my niece's fiance that I am the 'aunt we don't talk about'.<br />
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my moms family are a bit like this, but they're nice. but my dad's family... dang. they're some awful people. i have very few people i can even talk to in my family. much less count on.<br />
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but oh well. i'm going to be rich and famous and they're going to be in debt the rest of they're lives. ha. ha. ha.

Wow, that must be sad :( Me and my family are SO close.. I married a military man and HAD to move away, I have my privacy and such, but I miss them so much!! I think some people miss out on some stuff if they aren't close with their family. Some families are like that though... I just think it's sad.

I'm in awe that so many people, all share the feelings.... That all of us have been so greatly affected by judgment, that it's been ingrained into us to the point where we judge ourselves, in our families absence.<br />
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It's something that's ruled my life for a long time, something that I always had some awareness of, but not clarity of, until recently. <br />
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I'm in the beginning stages of a kind of Cognitive Therapy (with my psychologist), where I'm learning to make my own belief's about what I think is right, versus, following what my family thinks should be my beliefs. It's surprisingly really difficult, not in a painful way, but in a 'blocked' way - like I'm struggling to untie a million knots, to find the release.... but I can see the light of the release for the first time in my life! And that's an amazing thing!<br />
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It's worth everything, to be able to shut those judgments out, by just not believing them anymore.... sounds like a dream, I know, but I'm on my way to making it reality.<br />
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I wish everyone the best.<br />
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Have you tried to take some courses that are available free of charge. I am sure there are some that would help you and you may find some friends as well. Maybe the best would be just move out of city, cause city has negative influence on people like us. Own house with vegi garden some pets as well. Live from the land as they say. But has something in it.I am now maybe way off but just concern about you and would love to see you happy again.

i moved too.. perpective is a great healer. I am at uni at 50.. living the dream... I often say that i think God has a wicked sense of humor.. OR (not mine) It is not the meaning of life.. it is the meaning we put into our lives. We might be Spiritual beings (with eternal life) but we only get THIS life once.. Be Happy ...its contagious. now i am off to see the family.... : )

Hi, I i did that several times and am in a similar situation to you. For me life is not about 6 figures unless it matches what I want to do. Working in coorporations takes too much energy out of me, otherwise. I've tried but that's just the way it is. I know my mom was proud of me when I was and now she is not and it's apparant. I think I embarrass her. I think I always have and that lifelong critical voice is impossible to turn off in my head as well. I am still working on it but my hope is not particularly high anymore that I can overcome this. It just creeps in and then suddenly I notice how I am talking to myself in my head. Disparaging, critical, judgemental, mean. Does anyone have any tips for stopping?

I feel exactly the same way. I was always the "dreamer" of the family. When my Father died I no longer had the security of that big happy family I grew up with. When I found out I couldn't have kids, everybody walked on eggshells around me. At family functions everyone talks in groups and when I try to join they just sort of dissipate. My husband and I have decided to turn things around. We no longer go to big family functions. We hold our own and invite the people we feel are family, whether they are related or friends. We have such a good time and everyone comes together for the right reasons. We all truly enjoy each other's company and nobody feels left out. I make sure of that.

I know how you feel. After living on my own for a while, my family convinced me to move to the city they currently live in a few years ago. Which means I'm now obligated to go to all the family functions. Everyone in my family is an overachiever who makes 6 figures, so naturally nothing I do is good enough for them. It doesn't matter that I was happy when I was only making $30,000 a year. I'm not the but of their jokes because I don't make as much as them, but they do all constantly try to tell me what I should do with my life and what I'm doing now is not good enough. They want me to get a house and have a family, even though obviously if that's what I wanted, that's what I'd be doing. I've been thinking about moving out of the country so I don't have to deal with them constantly depressing me.

I find that when we stop living for others and start living for ourselves it starts to dawn on us that no matter what our family situation is we learn to love ourselves for who we are....and not for living up to or failing someone elses expectations.

yes, you are smart...definitely some of the wisest words I've read in a while. Thank you for sharing

Well here is my report on the same condition.<br />
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I have almost always been the misfit no matter who I was around. And it has been so since I was a child.<br />
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My parents immigrated to the U.S. and so I have no chance of ever totally fitting into either culture. If I was in Mexico, i was always seen to be an outsider because they thought I was better than the them. Here in the U.S., I have never felt at home because I am seen to be less than the rest.<br />
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I am blessed by God in many ways and so people envy me for my abilities, or my looks, or for whatever imagined advantage they believe I have. SO I have never been very social because I always get attacked. I avoid partys and dread all social events.<br />
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In my family, i am the devil incarnate because I dont follow the "party line" when it comes to religious matters. I am 34 and do not have kids or date much so that is always a subj of "concern". <br />
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I chose the path of the artist and so I have had to live with all kinds of silly prejudices attached to that way of life.<br />
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I happen to enjoy telling the truth about how I feel about various issues and so I may as well be radioactive if they see me as "wrong".<br />
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In highschool, i was "too nerdy" for the majority of the student population, and when i was placed in Advanced courses, the nerd mafia excluded me because I wasnt smart enough for THEM!<br />
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No matter what I have that is a blessing, someone always trys to take it, blunt it, or dis it. <br />
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The bright side is this: God has created compassion within me. And I think i have a better heart for my troubles. I associate with other cast-outs and have found my peace in them. I can look for the truth of people's character and tolerate people that others cannot.<br />
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In the end, people like us serve to teach by example. We expand the meaning of human life and I believe we are crucial to its survival because we are the instruments of change whether we come to destroy or preserve. It is a hard way to live but we are harder for it and when life smashes others down, it is we who pick them back up.'ve all shared an incredible amount of insight, advice, support, and your own stories. Thank you all so much. I'm doing the best I can, and I agree, now I'm a victim of my own self-criticism...mostly because I want to go back and be better than what they think I'm even capable of. But I'll work it out...

HI, <br />
I read your story.<br />
All I can say is that you should never let anyone else define who you are. You are alive, you have a job and you have a life.<br />
There are people in this world that love you very much. Just because your life doesn't fit someone elses expectations, that does not define who you are. Continue to seek fulfillment in the things that truly make you happy. Find your passions in life and move forward.<br />
Get up and go.

I'm very much like you. I think I realized it very early on in life, and embraced and nurtured my uniqueness. For one thing, I never *wanted* to have kids - knew from the time I was two, and never liked dolls. For years I had to endure people, especially older women saying "you'll see, when you meet the right guy." And I always thought, no, YOU'LL see. But it irritated me that people said things like that. What business was it of theirs, and WHY should they care?<br />
I sometimes got grief from my family but I learned to throw it back in their faces. I have always been proud of myself - that I stuck to my guns and "did it MY way" as Sinatra said. There's nothing wrong with being a non-conformist - "sheeple" rarely make a mark in the world. No one knows better than YOU what will make you happy. Like you, I knew that a traditional family would never make me happy and would keep me from being who I was. Yes, we are different, but so was Einstein. So was DaVinci. So was Mozart. Embrace your differentness, be proud you stood up to your family and society and proclaimed "This is ME!", and have a good laugh at all the people who blindly fell into lock-step with what society expects and are in miserable marriages or careers.<br />
You are not a 'black sheep', because a sheep is still a sheep. I tend to think of myself more as a wild animal who has never been domesticated, and never will be. Bravo for you!!!

Thought provoking, stimulating introspection and inspiration...You are obviously bright, experienced and have experienced the "ashes," a la Robert Bly..

you are welcome! <br />
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i think it's great that we both recognize how our voices pick up where theirs left off. that is the first step to changing the reaction patterns, don't you think? i'm still working on that.<br />
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btw i cannot always watch it like a movie, or disconnect to that extent. what i can do, though, is go there, see the show, then dash off somewhere to a planned refuge and come back when i have gathered energy to continue....

I'm in the process of dealing with the same thing... your voice just takes over where theirs' left off!<br><br />
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I'm glad for you that you've left so much of it behind, to the point where you can almost disconnect, when faced with them. It goves me hope for myself.<br><br />
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Thanks, errantmisfit. :)

i moved away, as i mentioned....far away. i found that the judgment and criticism followed me, though....only here, i did it to myself, with patterns of behavior that brought on the same thing as before. had to fight that. am still fighting. <br />
coming home is fun now, though. it's fun to get perspective and then go back for a bit. nothing has changed, of course. unless i agree completely with what everyone says (pretending, of course), i get judged. so sometimes i just sit back and watch it all happen like it's a bad movie. oughta buy popcorn for those occasions...

Terrible that we have to move away, to be able to live a life without constant judgments and criticisms, but so freeing once the move is made.<br />
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One gets a chance to take a breath!

I have moved away. They live a thousand miles from me now. And I have moved away from them a few other times as well. It's a double-edged sword. Love being away, but hate missing my mom and dad.

Funny thing happens when you have moved away. I moved 2,000 miles away. Only talk to a few ...father... step brother and step sister once in a while. a niece.. and that covers it! giggles Stories still fly about what I am doing. cuz no one knows. I never tell it all. it's much more fun to let them come up with stuff all their own. Makes me look like I have far more fun than I really have!! giggles Move away... and enjoy life!!

I'm still working on independence and self-esteem as well, it's a constant project, it seems. Keep it up though, hopefully in the end of it all, we'll thank ourselves.

i can relate, if that helps. I finally moved to another country before i felt far enough away. most of my relatives are Mormons, and i definitely don't fit in. truth is, though, i'm really glad i don't. independence and self-esteem are payoffs, i guess. i don't have enough of either, but i'm working on that. anyway, thanks for your story...