How Empaths Can Heal from Being the Black Sheep | Ep 77

with Kathi Hennessey LICSW

For centuries Empaths have felt shame and guilt for being different and “being too much”. But our guest today helps us dare to be different and embrace our uniqueness as a power not a curse.

“Family installs your trigger buttons. …I would rather have enjoyment than obligation.”

— Kathi Hennessey, LICSW @ Being The Black Sheep in Empath & the Narcissist Podcast Episode 77 (listen below)

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In the English language, black sheep is an idiom used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family.

For centuries Empaths have felt shame and guilt for being different and “being too much”. But our guest today helps us dare to be different and embrace our uniqueness as a power not a curse.

Today on the podcast, I share a conversation with Kathi Hennessy LICSW.

As a licensed social worker she has helped countless young teens, to adults with their emotional problems. But it wasn’t until Covid that she realized she had been hiding from her own suppressed stress from her family of origin. 

She suddenly enjoyed the excuse to not being around their rude, and toxic comments, their guilt and shame of how she was different. She started to look for a book that could help her with this new revelation. And she could not find one. So she is in the process of interviewing subjects and writing her own book to bring herself and others the healing she needs by unearthing this taboo topic of embracing yourself as the black sheep of the family. 

This is what I took away from our conversation…

Photo by Zoe on Unsplash


First off. The best place to start is to talk to a licensed professional about your hard emotions. No one wants to be ostracized from the family for being different. And no one should have to. However, not all families are inclusive and open minded. Therapy is a great place to understand your codependence to this family gaslighting relationships, and how to make healthy choices to protect yourself from it. 

Dare to be different and embrace that you are the unique (black) sheep of your family. Release the shame and guilt surrounding your difference.

Detach emotionally

It is so easy to get caught up and enmeshed in a family that you cannot see yourself having any value without them. If this is you, you may have been raised without freedom of autonomy. This leaves you no ability to grow up with your own identity, and you are emotionally enmeshed with your family unit. 

But what happens when you start to experiement? Shame and blame slap you back in line. 

What happens when you live a different lifestyle that does not align? You get forced to assimilate or else they disown you. 

What happens when you feel like saying no to a plan, but you say yes to coalesce? You betray your own self identity and needs. 

Sound familiar? These are all dynamics of the narcissist manipulation, and the empaths people pleasing. 

When you can detach from caring that you will be disowned or be “nothing” without them. Then you gain ultimate freedom to be uniquely you. 

Photo by stefan moertl on Unsplash

Speak up and do not let it fester

Just as you try to be “kind”, and “people please” to keep the peace, you are failing yourself. 

“ You wouldn’t put yourself in a physical, dangerous situation over and over. So why do it emotionally?” —Raven Scott

When an offense arises. Do not let it slide and then lament over it like a broken record ruining the rest of your day, night, and the next morning. Express your feelings or stance calmly and with firm love, so it is out of your body. And the response you get will be the litmus test for how much you invest in that relationship. 

If they make a scene and yell, you use the grey rock method. This is a technique used to divert a toxic person’s behavior by acting as unresponsive as possible when you’re interacting with them. For example, using the grey rock method involves deliberate actions like avoiding eye contact or not showing emotions during a conversation.

Limit your time with them

Invest in the relationship what they reciprocate. 

With enmeshed families this is hard. Because there are obligations, expectations, and horrible communication. What I have found is, you do not need to bend over backwards in effort for someone who does not do the same for you. Especially if you are doing it out of guilt because they are your parents of siblings. 

If you feel they shame you or do not understand you because you are different. Don’t feel bad that you are different from them, own and take pride that you are the pattern breaker of the generation. And limit your time with them for your own sanity. 

Photo by tabitha turner on Unsplash

Know you deserve pleasure

“ I would rather have enjoyment than obligation.” — Kathi Hennessey

You will get backlash and shame that you are limiting your time, or drawing boundaries. Just know, you deserve whatever you desire. And if you desire, enjoyment and drama free holiday. Then you get it! 

You do not need to go along with their program if you wish to dance to the beat of your own drum. Start new traditions that feel more aligned with you. Do what brings you fulfillment, and meet up with your family for two hours, or none at all. 

Your journey is unique and you know what you need. But first you have to listen to your own heart. And have the courage to take it and own it. 

Embrace your difference

“ I toned down like a lot of things, even though that was what was attractive in the first place. But now being in a relationship where I am loved.

Specifically for all of those things that other people don’t like, is so freeing.” — Kathi Hennessey

That’s what I desire for all of you. To see that being the black sheep is not a dirty thing. There is nothing wrong with you. More than likely, there is something wrong with them. Change your narrative and embrace your uniqueness and own it like a sparkling rainbow unicorn instead of a black sheep. 

Photo by Paul Bill on Unsplash

You empath are highly sensitive. You see the flaws, you see the pain, and know how to fix it. You are the ancestral pattern breaker in a long line of toxic and unhealed ancestors. 

Own it! And don’t wait until you are too old to enjoy it! 

Shine your unique light bright into the world, unapologetically. No matter what “the church says”. No matter what “the vanilla flavor” opinion says. No matter what fundamental extremist say. They are a small, but loud part of the world. Don’t let a few bullies snuff your light. 

And do not ever let the narcissist smother your brilliance. 

Be a unicorn in a field full of horses. 

Photo by Joe Pilié on Unsplash

And remember. Always keep your unique light shining!

Share your thoughts, and follow @ravenscottshowowcottshowRaven Scott

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Raven Scott

Raven Scott is an Ambassador of gain your sparkle back after narcissist abuse and Coach helping empaths heal from their black sheep wound through her transformational program. 

As an international author, narcissist abuse recovering coach, Podcast host of Empath & Narcissist and creator of Embracing your Black Sheep Program she is dispelling  the  narcissist power one soul at a time. 

Raven Scott is providing women, who are feeling lost and alone in their journey, a community to kick ass as we become empowered together while healing from childhood trauma, abusive relationships, or plain old life, and awaken to rewrite our karmic story. Through astrology, self care, human design, & intuition.
We are energetically clearing ancestral patterns one step at a time to find our power and potential through healing so you can live empowered the unique loved individual you desire to be. Topics covered: Self development, Human design, Astrology, tarot, meditative thoughts, intuitive message from spirit, and expert guests sharing different spiritual healing modalities.

Published by Raven Scott Nguyen

Raven Scott Nguyen is a passionate advocate for self-empowerment and authentic living, dedicated to helping individuals break free from the chains of narcissistic abuse. With a profound understanding of the human psyche and a deep commitment to personal growth, Raven is the author of "Empath & The Narcissist: Overcoming Gaslighting and Manipulation." This groundbreaking book offers a transformative roadmap for survivors of narcissistic abuse, guiding them towards a life filled with happiness and authenticity healing PTSD, and Trauma from abuse. Drawing from extensive knowledge of Human Design, energy healing, and empathic abilities, Raven is also the author of "Empath's Guide to Rising Strong" a powerful guide that delves into the intricacies of Human Design to help empaths harness their unique energies for self-empowerment and healing. As an empath who has journeyed through the depths of narcissistic abuse, Raven is deeply committed to empowering fellow empaths on their healing journey. With a profound understanding of the emotional landscapes empaths navigate. Raven is the host and producer of "Empaths Rising: Healing with Human Design" This podcast serves as a beacon of hope and transformation, offering practical guidance and insights for those seeking to reclaim their lives and live authentically. Raven is a passionate advocate for shadow work, self-care Moon rituals, and Human Design, and is dedicated to guiding individuals towards a life of self-empowerment and inner peace. With a compassionate heart and a wealth of knowledge, Raven continues to inspire and uplift others on their path to healing and self-discovery through her blog at

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