Did you always think you were the black sheep? Maybe in reality you were the white sheep living within a family of black sheep.
If there are two or more children in a family, one of those children is often seen by the parents as ‘the golden child’ who can do no wrong. The parent sees this child as a reflection of themselves and places high expectations on this particular child to do well at school and to excel at sports and hobbies. The golden child often develops the same characteristics as their controlling parent. They may become egotistical, expect everything their way and have no regard for your feelings whatsoever.
Then we have the black sheep. This child is blamed for everything that goes wrong in the family and can find themselves being blamed for doing something well ( doing something well paints a different picture and shows you are not as bad as the narcissistic parent makes you out to be). They are the scapegoat, blamed by not just their parents but also by their siblings. As a young child, this is a really difficult place to be. You feel you can never do anything right no matter how hard you try. No one seems to care whether you do well at school or sports. In your mind, you don’t really matter, nobody cares. It is only once you become older that you realise being the black sheep really isn’t so bad after all. You are not locked in that narcissistic dance with a narcissistic parent. You are free to do what you want to do with your life. On the other hand, the golden child is taken by the hand and pushed in a particular direction always trying to please their narcissistic parent. They will never be free to choose as you are.
Jealousy between siblings is common in dysfunctional families. It is created by the controlling parent who knows that by treating their children differently, friction is likely to occur. Jealousy brings about division within the family with the golden child often bullying the scapegoat child.
We can’t change people and we can’t change how we are treated by our parents or siblings but we can choose whether or not we accept their behaviour. As adults we can choose to walk our own path and if that means distancing ourselves from certain people, maybe that’s the direction we will have to take for a peaceful and stress free life.
Written by Anne McCrea