Black Sheep of the Family

Black sheep is a very general term.  I am sure you have heard the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  I am here to tell you that saying does not have merit like it once did.  I have spoken with several people and they all agree that “names” may do more harm than the physical component.  Personally, I think it is individual from one case to the next.  My main point here is that there needs to be more influence given to the mental or “names” part, of this saying.




When you look at a family, it is very interesting that more times than not, a sibling seems to be labeled the “black sheep”.  It is not always a direct calling out of the black sheep either.  It can be direct, but many times the individual feels like they are the “black sheep” of their family.  Other siblings discuss this labeling and parents will even get in on the discussion.


The individual often exhibits symptomology of a mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.  I for one was exhibiting symptoms of bipolar disorder during my last couple years of high school.  However, no one in my family knew how to deal with it.  It was not until I got up to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, that I sought out resources which eventually led to the help I needed.  I eventually was given my diagnosis of bipolar disorder, type 1.  You can read more about the actual bipolar disorder diagnosis HERE.


I think it is so important not to toss a person’s potential aside because they are a supposed problem child or black sheep of the family.  Those labels do no one any good and can be detrimental if the label is attached to the individual early on in development.


My parents knew to follow this when I was a child.  In first grade, I was already labeled a child with behavioral problems.  Instead of keeping me in the school system and having that label follow me through school, they switched me to another school system.  It is interesting that I thrived in this new environment.




I know of no positive outcome by attaching the label black sheep or problem child to an individual.  You automatically get a label if you are diagnosed with a mental illness like depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.  Hopefully, you use the label to help yourself and proactively take care of yourself.


I use my bipolar disorder to fight stigma.  I also use bipolar disorder to give my Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner the right info to help fight my illness.


The only possible positive outcome I can see by attaching the term black sheep with an individual is to spur action.  Like I said, I was negatively labeled when I was younger.  This prompted my parents to make a change.  However, they would still have been pushed to make a change without resorting to name calling.  I guess it really comes down to a matter of perspective.


What do you think?  I would love to get your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.


I would love for you to signup and get my free eBook.  You can also order my favorite book about bipolar disorder.  I read it when I was first diagnosed.  You can click it directly below.


Until next time, take care of yourself. 😊


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4 comments on “Black Sheep of the Family

  1. John, I too was the black sheep of my family. It makes for a self esteem lower than dirt for the majority of life. My family was ashamed to have a person with a mental illness
    in their midst. They would not entertain the fact that they passed on the illness to me. My mother said I was suffering from PMS. Eventually, I was no longer welcome in their homes. Although it hurts, I’m better off.

    1. Colleen, being considered the black sheep creates a stigma of its own! Like you said, your self-esteem is basically non-existent. It makes me sad that your family treats you this way. I have some family members that are the same way as well. We definitely are better off without the negative influences!

  2. Hi John–liked your article. Hope you receive this. I was wondering–does religion, God fit into all this?? What do you think??

    God Bless, Love, Dad

    1. Hi, Dadio! I did receive your comment and I’m happy that you enjoyed my article. Everyone is so individual when it comes to religion and God. You know how I feel specifically about this subject because my episodes always seem to have a religious component to them. I could actually write an entire post just to answer your question. Be on the look out in the future!

      God bless and love ya tons,

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