#ThrowbackThursday #TBT: A Black Sheep is the Manifestation of A Family’s Tensions Embodied Within One Person: Gaining Insight to My New Role

Laurean D. Robinson, MA

Founder, Editor, Writer of “The Student Becomes The Teacher”

So forgive me for not writing sooner. This week was exceptionally difficult and I was running on very little sleep all week (NOT a good thing).

But in welcoming the weekend, a 70-ish degree spring day (THANK GOD), and my first paycheck at my new college, I am able to get the peace of mind and clarity I need to see my experience as a journey. It also helped to see Friday’s Oprah Winfrey Show.

Today’s show was about a mother who was dealing with a young son who flew in the fits of unprovoked rage, injuring himself and creating terror within his own parents and little sister within their own home. Later, it was discovered that he was suffering from mental illness and was sent to a mental institution that specializes in his condition.


What was truly insightful for me was the mother’s explanation of a “black sheep.” She explained that a black sheep in a family is only the manifestation of a family’s tensions/sins/ugly problems embodied with a real person. She said that her son was a “black sheep” based on this definition. That was why it was so important to discuss family issues/secrets/uncomfortable topics.


While I don’t believe that my roommate is mentally ill, I do believe that the frustration he feels is real and needs to be addressed. I also understand that he needs to be embraced and his issues need to be addressed. That will come in the form of joint counseling once a week. That way he has a “safe space” where we can tackle the complicated history that we both share.

Sometimes, we can act out as a call for help. We all want to be “saved” even if we don’t say it directly. I am here for a reason – to help my roommate get through this rough patch and be the support he has lacked. For me, this is a live test, challenging my patience and tolerance – all the areas that I prayed to God for more of. Now I have a reason to fortify these qualities. So just as I am helping him, he is helping me. What a blessing!

Starring Janet Jackson & the late Tupac Shakur

Starring Janet Jackson & the late Tupac Shakur

So as I watch the latest developments of the Santa Barbara massacre involving the 22-year-old college student Elliot Rodger, I reflect back on that show. It makes me wonder what secrets had been hidden in that family household and were swept under the rug for years. Did Elliot REALLY have the help he needed? Did his parents REALLY do all they could do for their child? Did the mental health professionals REALLY do all they could do for their client? These are questions I hope get answered soon so that this tragedy stops repeating itself over and over again.

7 thoughts on “#ThrowbackThursday #TBT: A Black Sheep is the Manifestation of A Family’s Tensions Embodied Within One Person: Gaining Insight to My New Role

  1. I would not consider myself as the black sheep of my family. Maybe I just don’t like the title. However, I can say that I definitely relate to being a manifestation of my family’s issues. I had a problem with acting out and there was a deep connection to what was going on in my household. Once everything calmed down and returned to a peaceful state, I stopped rebelling, and all was okay at least in my world.

  2. deahnnate says:

    The term “black sheep” is such a hard expression, but I think most people know of someone they would consider the “black sheep.” It is highly commendable when a person reaches out to a struggling individual. Whatever the circumstances may be, everyone needs help at some point in their life. Whether they need just someone to listen or some other form of support. We as God’s children need to remember that we all struggle and it is our responsibility to provide our services any way we can.

  3. When a black sheep embodies a destructive truth, they must be helped. They need guidance to keep them from causing serious damage, figurative or otherwise. But what can be done when our sheep refuses to acknowledge a problem and denies himself the help he needs? What can be done when our sheep has burned so many bridges and pushed those that love him to anger and indifference? How do we know if our sheep is beyond saving? When is it time to save ourselves?

  4. williamjenkins2010 says:

    Being the black sheep can be very stressful. Usually they won’t directly address their problem and sometimes they don’t even know why they feel the way they do. It is great that your roommate has someone to help him because it is hard to deal with alone.

  5. I think this is very true in many ways. I am definitely the black sheep in my family and in many ways I am sure I will be the scapegoat for all of the family’s issues for quite some time to come. Acceptance was the only way to cope. It took me quite some time to learn that I have not done anything wrong but exist in the midst of a multitude of other circumstances that I have no control over.

  6. commonafrican says:

    That’s great how you’re helping your roommate with his problems and great that you understand how much patience it takes to truly help someone. A “black sheep” in the family, i think, is a little more broad than the lady on Oprah’s was. It usually does spawn from those thinks she spoke of, but also no connectivity to those that are suppose to be the closest to you, your family.

  7. I too raised a child with violent rage. I noticed his rage when he was quite young. He is the middle child and after years of dealing his rages and hurting himself, multitude of doctors, and many books, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Once on the medication, his rages subsided but he still had out bursts. Years of counseling along with the medication aided him in dealing with his disease and gave some peace of mind to me and my husband. It is very trying to an entire family when one child can cause so much disruption. I still wouldn’t trade him for the world.

Very Interesting.

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