Counselling,  Psychotherapy,  Uncategorized

Being the black sheep of the family, blessing or a curse?

I often sit with people who are struggling with being the black sheep of their family.
We are wired to attach. We need to know we belong, that we are part of a tribe. This will ensure our survival individually and also as a species. But what happens when you think differently to the other members of your family? What if your value systems are misaligned?
Most of us are born into a group, whether it is a group of two (your parents) or with an array of siblings, we are born into an established system with its own nuances and dynamics. We need to fit in.
A couple brings their individual model of what and how a relationship and family should and could work. This in itself can take a significant amount of time, tantrums and tears to find a settling point. We all do our best. This I truly believe. Our best however does not necessarily guarantee happiness.
Anyone who has lived in a family will testify what diverse personalities can be made from mixing just two gene pools. I’ve often reflected that if my siblings and I were not related and we met randomly, I doubt any of us would strike up a conversation with each other! We think so differently. We have little in common. Our view of the world could not be any more vast. However, I love these people in my bones. Blood is thick! Does love mean having to be the same?
Being the black sheep can herald a life of feeling like you don’t belong and longing to be a part of the family. This may mean wanting to share the same worldview or code of behaviour. Yet this is often the exact things that make us feel like the outcast in the first place! And the conundrum gets even more complicated, because when we look at this a bit closer; the desire to fit in and belong is not with the family that you have, but with the desired image of how the family could be if only they would change and be the better version of themselves, according to you! Herein lies the illusion and also the judgement.
We desperately want to be accepted for who we are, yet we are unwilling to accept our family for who they are. Accepting someone for who they are does not have to go hand in hand with agreeing with them. Difference is ok. It is the illusion of how a family should be and how they should relate that plays the most havoc with our journey to acceptance.
Our families may never give us all that we need. In fact they are not meant to. We are meant to come of age and venture out into the world. It is out in the world that we may even find our tribe.

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