By Lia Love,

“You did not invent these family habits. Your family is like mine; for thousands and thousands of years our families have embraced a dysfunctional lifestyle, passing these habits as gospel on to subsequent generations. This was not done out of malice, spite, or hate, but what they knew best.” ~ David W. Earle

As we heal our family-related aspects, our personal energy patterns and behaviors change. As we evolve, awaken and become more aware, our past participation in negative family patterns emerge, are magnified and become obvious. Our participation no longer appeals to or nurtures us. This can be especially so if trauma and drama are the norm within the family.

Because of the connectivity with our biological family, our healing impacts the family patterns. Our healing may be a premium invitation for the family to take a look at their own unhealed and active aspects, especially family-related ones. Yet there can be resistance to our change, and their healing, if established familial patterns continue to serve them. Families can become stuck in ruts, comfortable with the status quo and unwilling to make the herculean step of getting out of disfunction.

There can come a time when we are unable to endure negativity from loved ones, or maintain a worn-out dynamic around those who remain stagnant within it. It is okay to walk away from the family at that point. Walking away can benefit not only you, but also the entire family…

The Black Sheep Of The Family:

Generally there is a caretaker or holder of discharged family drama, and that person is known as a Black Sheep. That means the energy of family discord is absorbed by that one member, and as the discord accumulates, that person will become more and more erratic and unsettled within the family dynamic. Fundamentally different from the rest of the flock, a black sheep is nominated through unspoken agreement and morphs into the habitual go-to person for placing the blame card for whatever befalls the family, either as a whole or individually.

All of us inherit loads of dysfunction within the family timelines of our two biological parents, so the black sheep is not only hosting pre-existing chaotic entanglements (family timelines) but also excessive patterns of discharged drama. Anyone in that position will not be having many good days to say the very least.

While the black sheep is living life, experiencing their own challenges and acting out, the family becomes accustomed to attacking, judging and placing blame on that one for not only their own messes but also everything else that comes down the family pike. Even though the black sheep may not be responsible for specific events, somehow the family will create a scenario, in their minds, that will make that one culpable.

These habitual actions mutate into an ingrained behavioral blueprint where each piece fits perfectly within another.  A customary and solidified chain of reaction to any unpleasant family event funnels down to the black sheep. And as long as the reaction chain and concentrated focus remains on the black sheep, as long as the black sheep is deemed responsible for all ills that befall the family, there is very little impetus for other family members to look at their individual selves and disfunction. And that is not a good thing.

When The Black Sheep Exits…

The shit hits the fan: When a black sheep heals, exits and no longer participates in the disfunction, the family has nowhere to go with their trauma/drama/blame games and is thrown off balance, severely off balance. They do not and literally cannot, energetically or emotionally, release the reformed black sheep from blame or recognize the healing that has taken place.

The family structure must be maintained at all costs and when it can’t, a point of desperation arrives. The family blueprint enters into the throes of a death struggle. As long as there was a scapegoat to kick around and hold responsible for the family drama, they could turn a blind eye to their own behavior and contributions. When the healed black sheep has finally had it and exits the disfunctional web, the remaining family is sitting there with fresh platters of unhealed stuff and nowhere to serve it. The platters are hot and stinking, and they are now forced to hold them. The spinning and the upheaval in their lives begins unfolding in earnest. This is the moment that everyone has been, unconsciously of course, waiting for.

Now, finally, THEIR healing can begin. And this can produce all kinds of denial — denial that the black sheep has healed, denial of their own load of poo to resolve, denial that someone would actually walk away (imagine that) from them and stop sharing in the family dysfunction. This can initially be overwhelming.

Blame shifting: When the drama pressure again builds in the family and the customary place of blame (black sheep) is no longer available to absorb that pressure, another family member becomes the target. That is a family member who is still in the web and has never received extreme harsh behavior because the black sheep was always the targeted repository, and that repository has now disappeared.

The newbie on the receiving end of this first-time harshness and blame is shocked, has a significant reaction and spews. Everything goes downhill from there. Soon the entire family turns on each other because SOMEONE has to be the caretaker and holder of the family garbage, and no one wants to do it!

The previous caretaker and holder has long gone so that leaves a vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum. A family can really begin to implode when a working part of the machine has been removed, and the imploding and adjusting can go on for years if the family terminates the healing cycle that black sheep started.

Stay out of the ‘guilt zone’: There is absolutely nothing wrong or ‘sinful’ about walking away from a situation that is continually detrimental no matter who is involved. When we stay, we only hurt our selves and others. When we stay, we grant silent permission to prolong and feed negative agendas and remain fodder for target practice.

We actually do the family a disservice when we don’t move along. For them to get to a space of serious self-reflecting and awakening, our presence needs to be withdrawn otherwise they could experience arrested development for a very long time.

On the way out… When we let the door hit us on the butt on the way out, there can be all kinds of backlash — possibly in the form of name calling and emotional blackmail. The scene can get ugly and know that that is all part of the process. Bless the mess and withdraw.

In many cases, estrangement does not have to be a forever situation. People do heal and change. Change could take a little while or happen in the blink of an eye and, eventually, there could be an opportunity to rejoin the family or part of the family. Sometimes, though, change is not possible, and remaining at a distance is still ok.

If we decide to walk away from our blood family, we eventually join with other like-minded people and form our own families. And these relations can be even stronger than blood. There is an energetic and emotional strength and cohesion that supersedes any 3D bond.

Sticking around anyway: And on the other side of the coin, there are some folk who experience deep levels of healing and remain in a dysfunctional family structure without being emotionally pulled down  – who can be in the midst of high drama, stay at zero point and sustain a calm, detached and helpful manner..

Being in the detachment field and energetically deflecting negative bombs takes a lot of skill and practice. Being able to deflect bombs, with ease and grace, is an exceedingly helpful attribute that serves all aspects of life. Learning this skill in a family setting may be the most rigorous training ground there is. However I do not recommend that setting if you are unable to hold your own.

This ability, being in detachment, is part of stepping into our mastery. This is a leading edge tool that we all must master before we can graduate to the next level. That is another story.

In the scheme of things, we are all going at our own pace and doing the best we can in any given moment even though it may not seem so to an outside observer. So do what you have to do and know that others do what they have to do. Everyone is perfectly perfect exactly where they are.

What To Do If You Are The Exiting The Family:

Stay gone until you are absolutely sure you can handle re-entry. Only you can know. Nobody but you is in charge of you. And you have the final say whether you re-enter or not.

You do not have to communicate. This means not returning phone calls, texts or any other form of reaching out, especially in the beginning stages of the walk out. It could get very ugly when the collapse begins because of the vacuum that your departure will create. Just say no to verbal or written exchanges.

Watch out for the guilt. You could have pre-existing guilt from family issues, and the added bonus of more from the walkout. Remember why you have walked out.

Break patterns. If there was a family activity or ritual that became a habit within the family, then stop doing that habit. Don’t take it with you. If you find you are automatically doing it, notice, stop and substitute that habit with something else. Create your own rituals and traditions. Now is your time to finally be authentic. When we break patterns, we change not only our world but the world around us.

Get help. If you are still spinning and can’t quite seem to get a grip, seek help. It can take a while to emotionally decompress from any kind of walkout. And sometimes a little help can make all the difference in the world.

YOU. HAVE. THE. POWER. You are the boss of you and from here on out, it’s up to you to determine exactly what you are willing or unwilling to accept within the family, if you decide to go back. The importance of this knowing cannot be emphasized enough before returning.

And, as always, remember — we have eternity to work it out!

In love with you,



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  1. Great article, thank you! I’ve noticed that some people tend to think that when one accepts to volunteer as a member of a family, and to accept responsibility for all events that happen in one’s life, that emotions and feelings related to the drama and trying times can be pushed aside and made irrelevant.

    As in “if it’s my choice to end up in a broken marriage, it’s my responsibility to accept all the mistakes I’ve made and wrong decisions. Therefore, I’m not supposed to cry and be depressed, shocked or numbed in terror. As in “no crying over spilt milk” or in “no need to cry when the grapes are sour that one reaps”.

    It’s my experience, that accepting responsibility for my actions and choices in life, also means accepting responsibility for my feelings and emotions caused/triggered by them.
    We’re not supposed to be rational automatons without compassion for ourselves, are we?

    • Devon I agree wholeheartedly and though its been along road there is very little I have not done that I wnated to do despite any years out of permanent workoonce I turned 40, mainly because I refused to cow tow to abusive management and staff who I relise now were threatened by me simply being myself and refusing to play the games so many waste their lives taking part in. Its a good article for anyone who thinks they are the Odd One Out 🙂

  2. Excellent! All relationships are ‘strickly voluntary’ anyway and when we ‘pull the plug on our part’ a new energy enters those willing to see the opportunity before them.

    Yes, we have all eternity to master ourselves and our relationship with others, but the Earth is graduating and those who want to graduate to a ‘higher school of learning’ will want to go with Her. And frankly, shame on those who continue to attempt to manipulate others. If there is but one sin it is ‘ absolute control of others – a single male energy in denial of the female energies within – the trap the dark forces have fallen into.’ Oh how they hate females because they see it as being weak, in spite of the fact that all cultures fail when they lose their balance (female/male energies within). And in spite of the fact that without female energies they would not have a physical body.

  3. Thank you. That’s a wonderful explanation of what goes on. I resigned my position as “family scapegoat” many years ago. There are so many cords and attachments with that and it’s not all that easy to eliminate them. If anyone tries to scapegoat me, they are removed from my life. It’s about taking care of ourselves and not thinking we deserve any of the garbage that went with it. I used to be the “dung heap.” No more. Thanks again.

  4. You have stated this absolutely superbly! It’s excellent. How to create a Right Relationship with family and also friends.

  5. Thank you, Lia, for this excellent article. I have read much about the black sheep who breaks away. This article was especially helpful, for me, with your sharing these words:
    “Stay out of the ‘guilt zone’: There is absolutely nothing wrong or ‘sinful’ about walking away from a situation that is continually detrimental no matter who is involved. When we stay, we only hurt ourselves and others. When we stay, we grant silent permission to prolong and feed negative agendas and remain fodder for target practice.
    We actually do the family a disservice when we don’t move along. For them to get to a space of serious self-reflecting and awakening, our presence needs to be withdrawn otherwise they could experience arrested development for a very long time.”
    For me, staying and being “fodder for target practice” was destroying my health. For me, your sharing your understanding of the black sheep is beautiful, the higher view, tough love, with giving opportunity for others to awaken and spiritually develop.


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