The Outsider Within Your Family

Mother in law, daughter in law, and son sitting on couch in an argument

By Leah Brignall

There is almost always a person in a family who seems to be an outsider. They never quite fit in. They are often blamed for problems. They are the black sheep of the family. Can you think of who this person is in your own family? Is it you?

Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar wrote two articles that might help to understand who the black sheep is, how that came to be, and what you can do about it. In part 1 she explains how “triangles” form within the family and how having a scapegoat can receive anxiety within the family. If you find that you are the black sheep, check out part 2. Here Gawne-Kelnar gives you some questions to consider and tips on how to get out of this role.

Next time you spend time with your family, see if you can figure out who the black sheep or the scapegoat is. Try to look for family dynamics that are mentioned in this article, and see if you can diffuse them. If you need help, find a counselor who is right for you! They might have some good tips to help you move forward. If you think the whole family should be involved, talk to them about seeing a family counselor. You never know, it could make the holidays a lot more cheerful!