The Black Sheep Syndrome

black sheep

At times, every one of us feels like we don’t fit in. Whether it be at work, in a social setting, or at a family gathering, feeling like an outsider can be painful, and worse, can cause us to just choose to avoid get-togethers or meetings altogether. Frank Schorpion takes a look at what it means to be the ‘black sheep’, and provides insight into why we feel the way we do. His message sets out to teach us that it is only when we accept we can’t all be alike that we can start nurturing our connections.


I recently did an event and started by asking “How many of you think of yourself as the black sheep of the family?” Not surprisingly, nearly everyone raised their hand. What was surprising, however, was that several members of the same family raised their hand, and each one was surprised that their siblings had their hand up as well. “You? I thought I was the black sheep! Not you!” was their response. Upon further inquiry each one felt that they somehow didn’t fit into the family dynamic. The result was a certain degree of disconnection. So the question is: Why do so many of us feel this way? Why is it that so many families can barely stand being together for more than a few days, even a few hours?

I have a friend who has very little contact with his family, has few friends, and spends most of his time with his dogs. He told me quite emphatically that he’d rather spend time with his dogs than with most people, family included. I asked him why. “They drive me nuts” he said. I asked again why. He thought about it for a while and said that he felt he could totally be himself with his dogs, he could say and do what he wanted with his dogs, whereas he felt he had to be someone other than who he truly was when he was with his family. I’ve come to realize that so many of us feel that way around our family. Walking on eggshells seems to be a way of being for so many of us. I believe what we crave more than anything is connection with someone, but that’s impossible if we’re walking on eggshells all the time. It creates inauthentic relationships. The sad part in this is that everyone in the family is feeling the same thing. Everyone is playing this game of who am I supposed to be when I’m with you and everyone is feeling the pain of disconnection. No wonder some of us would rather spend time with our animals. None of us are asking our dog or cat “Who am I supposed to be right now?” We have an authentic relationship with our animals. We don’t have to conform. We’re just ourselves. It’s just easy. What’s not easy in our human relationships is this: we have to summon up the courage to express what’s in our hearts, to be ourselves, and for most of us that’s a scary proposition. Instead we hide, we pretend, and we feel like we don’t really belong. No wonder we feel like the black sheep of the family.

Here’s the key I believe: only when we truly embrace what is different about who we are, can we feel like we belong. It’s not about conformity, it’s not about fitting in, we’re not clones. It’s about embracing what is different about us that allows us to connect. The black sheep syndrome is a number we do on ourselves by believing we are so different than everyone else, that we just can’t belong if we’re truly being ourselves. Here’s the bottom line: we’re all black sheep trying to be white sheep, trying to connect. Impossible.


Actor, teacher and wellbeing advocate Frank Schorpion is an expert in the power of connection. His presentations focus on improving mental health by changing our stories to create lives that we are passionate about living. Learn more about Frank and what he is passionate about, or contact us to book him for your next event.

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