I’m the black sheep in my family. There, I said it. Although, in my case, this isn’t something negative, many other black sheep face dire consequences for being different.
They’re often the scapegoat for everything wrong happening to the family, or they treat them poorly.
Ultimately, there are many signs you’re the black sheep in your family. Here are some of the more interesting ones.
1) Different interests
Black sheep have different interests and hobbies that set them apart from other members of the family.
For example, while your family enjoys sports, you’re more into art, technology, or perhaps niche hobbies like collecting Pokémon cards or exploring astrophysics.
It’s only natural you’re into different things than your much older parents or your brother or sister, who are of the opposite gender.
But in some cases, they will think of you as an odd one out.
2) Political leanings
But simply having different interests isn’t enough to be considered a black sheep or an outcast.
The reasons are often a little deeper. For instance, you have different political views that are radically different than your family’s.
This could mean supporting different parties or advocating for social and political causes that challenge your family’s ideals.
Many people severed connections to family members simply because they were staunch supporters of Biden or Trump.
Then there are countless QAnon followers who are also black sheep in their family because people don’t understand how they can believe such nonsense.
But these things aren’t exclusive to the US anymore. It’s worldwide now, and families are being torn apart because of hardline political views.
3) Non-conformist values
Another good sign is if your values and principles split from your family’s traditional or conservative views.
You prioritize environmentalism, social justice, or other progressive causes that your family doesn’t understand, condone, or embrace.
Or you might be a vegan, vegetarian, or follow a specialized diet that contrasts with their traditions.
That was the case with me and my family, who are weirdly conservative in many things while being open to other stuff.
When I told them I didn’t believe in God, they were shocked. Shocked, I tell you.
In fact, they still don’t believe me that that’s the case.
Not to mention how becoming vegetarian was also a massive punch in the gut for them. Yup, you guessed it, I’ve disappointed them countless times.
4) Rebel spirit
Some people simply have a rebel spirit, too. They have to question authority and challenge norms.
This naturally leads to friction with family members who are more inclined to conform to established rules and expectations.
For example, my friend’s rebellious spirit drove him to create a thriving tech startup, even though his family expected him to follow a more traditional career path.
Most families would cheer him on, but not his.
5) Champion of change
Clash of generations is a normal thing happening in almost every family. The old never understood the young, right?
The older family members also mostly love the status quo and don’t like stirring the pot. On the other side, being young is all about changing stuff.
When you’re the one in the family who advocates for change, pushes for progress, and challenges outdated traditions or norms, you’re often creating tension with family members who prefer things the way they are.
6) Unique style
I know a good few people around the world who are the black sheep in their family and a laughing stock simply because they like to dress differently than most other people.
Again, conservative families mostly won’t approve of you if your fashion choices and personal style are distinct and don’t follow the same trends as theirs.
But that’s the thing: some people love and prefer expressing their individuality through their clothing and appearance.
If that’s enough reason for them to mock you, the problem isn’t in you but in them.
7) Alternative beliefs
Are your spiritual or religious beliefs unconventional within your family? Are you following a different faith or even choosing a non-religious path in a religious family?
Then you know that it’s a Pandora’s box, and you’ll never be understood by them.
The same goes if you’re pursuing religion in a family of atheists.
8) Alternative career path
Some families have certain expectations of their family members and their careers. They’re expected to become soldiers, lawyers, doctors, or similar, just like their mom, dad, grandparents, etc.
In other words, it’s a family tradition, and your career choices don’t align with your family’s expectations.
Ultimately, you’re an outcast because, instead of pursuing a traditional profession, you’ve opted for something unconventional, like being an entrepreneur, artist, or digital nomad.
And so we come to this:
9) Lifestyle choices
Most of what I’ve already mentioned are basically lifestyle choices, aren’t they? We identify ourselves with certain causes or beliefs to the point that everyone sees us solely through that lens.
When you choose a lifestyle that’s out of the ordinary compared to your family’s preferences, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
For example, you chose minimalist living, living off the grid, or embracing a nomadic lifestyle instead of settling down.
Your passion for travel and adventure leads you to explore the world, opting for new experiences and adventures instead of sticking to a more routine lifestyle.
The same goes for not marrying or not having kids, etc.
10) Different relationships
When it comes to your choice of partners, you can also stray into the black sheep territory, at least until the family gets to know them better.
That’s because your choice of partner or spouse might be strange for them or not what your family anticipated.
This includes relationships across cultural or social boundaries or even non-traditional relationship structures.
I don’t think I need to include any examples here. You know what I mean.
11) Artistic expression
Believe it or not, being an artist can also make you “weird” and a black sheep.
You’re simply creatively inclined, pursuing art, music, writing, or other forms of artistic expression as a central part of your life.
On the other hand, your family has more conventional career expectations for you, and they don’t comprehend that that’s your job or career now.
They’re often also afraid you’ll be a starving artist.
12) Unconventional goals
And lastly, when and if your life goals and aspirations are different from what your family had in mind, you guessed it, they’ll see you as a black sheep.
For instance, you prioritize personal growth, adventure, or social impact over earning a stable paycheck, working nine to five, starting a family, and so on.
Being a black sheep in the family can be harmless, but it can also be soul-crushing. If they dislike your choices enough, they could turn you into a laughing stock, blame you for everything, disown you, or make your life a living hell.
It’s no wonder many fear sharing their interests, inclinations, and choices with their loved ones.
They don’t want to be seen as different because once the cat’s out of the bag, it’s game over.