A system or systems need black sheeps

A system – these are, for example, families, departments, companies. The people in them – with their own history – shape “the system” with their own values, rules and habits.

Most of the clients I accompany are “escapees”. They repeatedly tell me this one perception: they were and are the “black sheep” in their family and/or environment.

Black sheep?

Among all the white sheep who feel they “conform” to the prevailing opinion in the (family) system, with its rituals (breakfast at 8am, church on Sundays…) and customs. The so-called “white sheep” are the ones who never stand out.

The “black sheep” is the system rebel

The Black Sheep is first and foremost one thing: DIFFERENT.

Different from everyone else in the family. Or their colleagues. Usually both.

Often highly sensitive, empathetic, self-thinking, deeply feeling – this person takes in everything that happens around them and decides for themselves: I don’t want it like this. Not because he is generally rebellious, but because he perceives the world differently and decides what FEELS right for him. The black sheep has what the other members of a system have often already repressed and suppressed: Feeling. Intuition. Someone like this perceives the world in a healthy way: as a human being, feeling (not rational and adapted to a system).

Black Sheep is the system rebel in unhealthy environments

Projection surface for the others

Everything that is “different” from ourselves is initially perceived as a threat. This happens quite automatically, firmly anchored in our oldest part of the brain (reptilian brain). The greater the “threat”, i.e. being different, the more anxiety this causes in the other members of a group.

Everyone wants to be different at some point, but woe betide them if they become different from what others like.

Martin Gerhard Reisenberg

This means that all the fears of others and also the collective fears of a system and also the transgenerational fears of our ancestors are projected onto “the different person”. From a psychological point of view, this is initially “good” for the members of a group, as they externalise their own fears (onto the so-called different person) and therefore do not have to look at themselves. This is a 90% unconscious process.

The projection surface is fought by proxy

That is the crux of the matter: instead of looking at our own fears, becoming aware of them and changing them, we are now – by proxy – fighting the projection surface “the black sheep”.

In this way, however, we find ourselves in a perpetual motion machine: what we don’t want to see is shifted to the outside and demonised there. But inside, where it belongs, there is no change whatsoever. Until the next “black sheep”.

Rule breaker of the system

The black sheep thus fulfils a very important systemic task: it breaks through a sick system – and forces other people to think. Often, in very rigid systems, people turn away completely and the (already ailing) connection breaks down. In more open systems, there can be dialogue and, at best, understanding.

Black sheep as a rulebraker of systems

It’s not for nothing that I say:

Either there will be a complete break-off or the former “black sheep” will, for fear of losing the connection, go back into the herd and become white-grey – no longer at peace with itself “for the sake of peace” OR there will be discussions and respectful approaches to different ways of living and seeing things: You decide!

The path of the black sheep is usually lonely

Because it is not a pleasant path, not one that you want for yourself. We all want to experience love and affection and recognition. However, this is out of the question for the time being. Instead, it is the path of one’s own life. Your own convictions. A “standing up for yourself”. It is ultimately the healthy path of human existence. As long as a system (or the people in a family system, for example) insist that everything must be exactly as it was 100, 200 years ago and always according to the rules of this system, people will be forced into a box.

Living beings have no air to breathe in a box

Because living beings are individual.

But we all sit in a big box and then in various smaller boxes. And we don’t even realise it. This is known as the “board in front of the head principle”. But when the impulse to “break out” comes, whether it’s just not having breakfast with the family at 8 o’clock or going vegan from today, then this is an opportunity: for the person who breaks out AND for the entire family system.

However, breaking out of a system is only one way – albeit THE way – to live differently from “the given system”. Real change – and the “black sheep” ultimately provides the impetus for this – begins on the inside.

Change – Out of the Box – begins INSIDE

Black sheep are not rebels per se. They don’t want to overturn everything per se. They simply go their own way. Intuitively, beyond the so-called “rules”. That is all.

Listening to them is an opportunity – integrating them instead of excluding them – a game changer.

Black sheep, anyone? I invite you to have a personal conversation with me. About your challenges, the lonely path full of stones and your vision.

I look forward to hearing from you.