Encouragement For Scapegoats

Growing up a scapegoat is a nightmare.  You can do absolutely nothing right.  Any & all family problems are blamed on you, whether or not you actually had any responsibility in them.  Doing this allows the abusive family members to maintain their illusion of normalcy because in their eyes, clearly you are the problem.  Your family lies to & about you constantly, causing you to have no decent relationships, especially within your own family.  You’re on the receiving end of all of your family’s scorn & abuse, yet if you say anything about this, it only gets worse for you.

You hope that once you turn 18 or move out, things will get better.  You aren’t living under the same roof as your dysfunctional family or at least you’re able to escape home which is helpful in minimizing exposure to these awful people.  That is all it does though, minimize exposure.  They still abuse you.

Being a scapegoat can feel like you are in the worst position in the world with no hope of ever experiencing freedom, but believe it or not, there is some good that comes with a scapegoat.

Scapegoats are known for being the black sheep of their family.  They’re different in that they want to learn & grow.  They don’t want to continue the pattern of dysfunction that runs in their family.  Standing out from this crowd is a good thing!

Scapegoats are also known as truth tellers.  They are usually the only ones in dysfunctional families who aren’t concerned with their family’s reputation.  They are more concerned with the truth.  They are incredibly brave, because telling the truth about your dysfunctional family is so hard.  Dysfunctional families can’t handle people knowing the truth about them, so if one of them divulges it, that one must be punished.  They will attack this person & smear their good name.  They will treat the person as if they’re crazy, & none of what they claim happened actually happened.  They will abandon the truth teller when they need love & support the most.  They do all of this because protecting their family’s reputation & their delusions of having a big, happy family are more important than the scapegoat’s mental health.

Interestingly, the rejection of the scapegoat by his or her family can make the scapegoat intensely appreciative of good relationships.  They highly value their friends & romantic partners who aren’t abusive, & don’t hesitate to let them know how loved & appreciated they are.  This makes them fantastic friends & spouses.

Due to their experiences, scapegoats also have great empathy.  Having known intense suffering, they truly understand what it’s like to suffer, & don’t want others to feel as they have.  They want to help others too because they know what it’s like not to have help when in need.  They are often some of the kindest people you can meet.

Also due to their experiences, scapegoats often think differently than most people.  Their different perspective can be very helpful for them as well as other people.  They give unique & often very helpful advice or simply offer a perspective that someone never considered.

As adults, scapegoats also often become advocates for victims of all kinds of abuse.  They help to raise awareness, to educate & even offer comfort to other victims.

In telling you these things, I’m not saying that if you were the scapegoat in your family, you should be grateful.  I really am not sure such a perspective is healthy.  That being said, I do hope that you recognize yourself in these good qualities.  You should be proud of the person you’ve become!  All of that abuse was meant to destroy you, yet it did nothing of the sort.  Instead, you became the wonderful person you are today.  Be proud of your strength, courage & wonderfulness!


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

24 responses to “Encouragement For Scapegoats

  1. “All of that abuse was meant to destroy you, yet it did nothing of the sort.” Praise!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. annealcroft

    Cynthia writes: “Scapegoats are also known as truth tellers. They are usually the only ones in dysfunctional families who aren’t concerned with their family’s reputation. They are more concerned with the truth. They are incredibly brave, because telling the truth about your dysfunctional family is so hard. Dysfunctional families can’t handle people knowing the truth about them, so if one of them divulges it, that one must be punished. They will attack this person & smear their good name. They will treat the person as if they’re crazy, & none of what they claim happened actually happened. They will abandon the truth teller when they need love & support the most. They do all of this because protecting their family’s reputation & their delusions of having a big, happy family are more important than the scapegoat’s mental health.”

    This is a mouthful that couldn’t be more timely. Over the past few days, I’ve been in the throes of another episode with my father who is 89 years old.

    Recently he admitted to embezzling my inheritance and now says it is all spent. Not only did he hold money that did not belong to him claiming to “administer” a “trust” to me that he refused to disclose details of, so he was also going around telling people that he had to “support” me. His evil is unconscionable and my older sister has been his accomplice.

    I responded to his slick emails with succinct, forthright, honest questions and answers highlighted below each of his deceitful comments. I couldn’t have been more open and honest with him if I had to have been. The narcissist does not like to be held accountable. Though it is their game to back us into a corner, look out when we manage to turn the tables on them!

    Meanwhile, for the past several years my father has been having a little affair with a woman who was still married at the time this dalliance began. To top that, the affair began long before my mother died. My mother never stopped talking about this woman and even nicknamed her Fritzi Ritz after the comic strip character who dyed her hair black and threw herself at rich and handsome men. My mother would say just enough so for years I wondered why my mother always talked about this woman. Then something odd happened.

    It was my grandmother’s 100th birthday. My aunt who lives 3000 miles away who I talked with on the phone now and then asked me to suggest to my father to have the birthday party at the town congregational church. Immediately that struck me as odd, so when I didn’t say anything my aunt said, “well, it would be close so she wouldn’t have to travel far.” That didn’t really bode all that well with me because I wasn’t aware that my grandmother who was really good for her age had any difficulty travelling a few miles especially when there was a restaurant right in town she really liked. And then my aunt said, “If I suggest it, it will never fly.” I thought that was odd, too, but silly me, what do I know?

    Well, anyway, to try to make a long story short here, I made the suggestion to my father who was thrilled to act upon it. Little did I know that Fritzi Ritz was the church secretary. If I had known, never in a million years would I have ever gone along with my aunt’s ruse. And not long after, in another phone conversation with this aunt, she let the cat out of the bag when out of the blue she started talking about my father and Fritzi Ritz and in the same breath said, “I assure you your father was never unfaithful to your mother.” Well, what ever made her think I thought that? That was like going through customs on the Canadian border with a friend years ago who hid fireworks in the car door. When the customs agent started to search the car my friend got nervous and said, “We don’t have any fireworks!”

    Right after the birthday party, my father and Fritzi Ritz were on their “honeymoon” though Fritzi Ritz was still married! But now, when I confront him, my father insists she wasn’t married, though she herself admits she was. Oh, no, wait, my father now insists it was a “civil union” so that means she wasn’t married. Well, the truth is, she divorced and remarried her husband because she says she needed health insurance. So her husband dies the same day my grandmother does and his obituary appears on the same page as my grandmother’s citing Fritzi (not her real name) as his WIFE. But my father denies that, too. Talk about a mockery of the institution of marriage for someone who is a church secretary! And still married is still married and last I knew, an extramarital affair outside of marriage is adultery! But my father INSISTS it is not! And then he tries to make me believe that I am making up lies. And if I hold my ground, then he screams elder abuse. But in his eyes there is nothing abusive about embezzling his daughter’s inheritance.

    So over the past few days, when my father the cowardly lion didn’t know how to respond to his own daughter’s rebukes, what does he do but sig Fritzi Ritz on me! Last night I got an email from her (how did she get my email address) with a missive of her lies about just meeting my father at the birthday party. Right. I vividly remember when she met my father at my sister’s 8th grade graduation. But that’s all water under the bridge. My father insists he didn’t give her my email address.

    What’s creepy about it is that this is a continuation of emotional incest that my father has inflicted upon me and my older sister for decades. I told him in no uncertain terms that if Fritzi Ritz continues to email me I will issue a Harassment Protection Order. This woman is diabolical and has turned my father, narcissist that he already was, into a dark shadow of himself.

    He embezzles his daughter’s inheritance. He’s unfaithful to his wife. He commits adultery. He cheats his siblings when he settles his own mother’s estate. He thinks nothing of lying, cheating, stealing, abusing, and smearing the good name of others. So I asked him point blank, if he had an hour of life left, how would he feel? He said he thinks about that often and has no remorse or regrets.

    There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.” I realized when he said this that this is a man who has made no attempt whatsoever to know God. He has a heart made of stone. The cruelty is astonishing, yet he is a coward. The narcissist can give it but he can’t take it. What is double indemnity is to realize that not only is my father a malignant narcissist, but his Fritzi Ritz is too.

    I have no choice but to go no contact, to completely disengage. The conversation I just had with my father proved to me how completely nuts he truly is. The gaslighting is astonishing and he actually believes everything he says while trying to make me feel as though I’m the one who’s crazy.

    Narcissism is undoubtedly demonic possession and can be high voltage. Many years ago I read a book titled “People Of The Lie” by M. Scott Peck, who also wrote “The Road Less Travelled.” In that book Dr. Peck talks about demonic possession, exorcisms, and how we can protect ourselves while trying to deal with these people. If we were to try to point out to them that they are in fact possessed, well, your guess is as good as mine what the reaction would be. Of course, we would be the ones……

    The frightening thing is, I’m certain that if my father could kill me in cold blood and know he’d get away with it, he wouldn’t hesitate.

    Thank you so much Cynthia. This is a wonderful article and a huge comfort.

    O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You. Amen.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Your story gets more & more incredible every time you share some! My word!! Your father sounds absolutely terrible. What you said about believing if he knew he could kill you & get away with it he would especially disturbs me. I believe it too from all you said. (((hugs)))

      Liked by 2 people

      • annealcroft

        Cynthia, (((hugs))) to you too. I’m so grateful for all you do and that I was guided to your website and writings. By far the very best source for working out our understanding of narcissism on the web. By far.

        This morning your broadcast about gunny sacking set the pace for the entire day. The way the narcissist strips us of our dignity is what is infuriating and the worst of it is, as you say, the anger does not help us. It’s exhausting, really. My mother used to get so angry at my father because of his lies that she would tell me that her stomach felt just like a cement mixer. Funny, I find myself saying the same thing each time I have to deal with him.

        Seldom do I tell my story because it is so incredible. I find myself saying people wouldn’t believe me if I told them. I tell my truth exactly as I know it, straight from my heart. What I’ve shared here is only the beginning, it gets much better, believe me. It is so incredible that the very truth is, nobody could make this stuff up, not even Alfred Hitchcock!

        Today I thought of something Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that is another “bingo” in our understanding of the way narcissists operate. He said, to paraphrase, that ‘sin is not the worst thing in the world, but it is the DENIAL of sin that is the worst thing in the world.’ This denial of sin is what generates the pathological lying, and it is this lying that enables evil to spread. This is why our world is in the chaos it is in now.

        I just learned that this month was Human Trafficking Awareness Month. There’s an article online at the Washington Examiner titled “Cindy McCain admits ‘we all knew’ about Epstein.”

        So when we wonder how evil spreads, and the kind of lies that our leaders invent to cover their corruption, no wonder that we see so much chaos in our world! Though this is off topic, to me it is more evidence of the proliferation of evil; each time I go out I see more cellphone towers, antennas, windmills, and utility trucks everywhere. Our beautiful landscape is desecrated while more research reveals the hazards of microwave radiation from wireless technology. So getting back to narcissism and lies and how all of our lives are affected, this is really epidemic.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I just have to tell you, you made my day. Thank you so much!! Writing what I write about is tough & frankly, there are plenty of days I’d love to stop it & write just for my own entertainment like I did years ago. The occasional poem & such. I feel God wants me to write about narcissism though so I do, & when I get comments like yours it really helps me keep on keepin’ on. Thank you again! ❤

          Stomach feels like a cement mixer.. now that is a very good way to describe how it feels dealing with so many narcissists. I've always gotten stress headaches & my head felt much that way. Different body part but I relate!

          Have you ever written your story down? Whether you decide to publish it or not, writing your story I find is an important step in healing.

          I know what you mean, too, about it being so incredible no one would believe it. That's possibly the worst part of narcissistic abuse is it's so surreal, it's hard to believe, often even to those of us who have experienced it.

          YES! Sin is bad enough but the denial of it is even worse. Things that were once taboo & condemned even are now celebrated. Making the bad things "normal" or even worthy of celebration has skewed so much of people's thinking.

          Narcissism is truly an epidemic & people need to be aware of it. We all truly need to be "wise as serpents, harmless as doves."

          Liked by 2 people

          • annealcroft

            Cynthia, “backatchya!” You’ve just made my day too.

            God has brought you to this work because you have something the highly degreed specialists who take only the clinical approach to understanding and healing narcissism do not have, and that is LOVE.

            One of the most beautiful and remarkable of Biblical hymns is 1 Corinthians 13:

            1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)

            13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

            4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

            8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

            13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

            This is what makes your work authentic, not just superficial secular speculation with all kinds of clinical analysis that only sends people into another abyss of self-pity. Yes, it is important that we are able to look at our “scars” as you so aptly put it, because our scars, as Jesus shows us, are important to understanding the purpose of our suffering. But without love, we can not appreciate and embrace the beauty of realizing that our suffering has not been in vain. You help people who are victims of narcissistic abuse to realize that it is, in our secular world, not only safe but critical for us to realize that our suffering from the abuse of the narcissists has become for us the greatest blessing.

            For this reason it is invaluable, since so many of us now find ourselves living cloistered, isolated lives as a result of narcissistic abuse that we are finding our way out of, to be able to share our thoughts and have the kind of loving and compassionate feedback from you because you shepherd us by listening and responding to what we are saying. You understand, and this can only come from a heart full of love.

            When I am under narcissistic demonic attack, which I have absolutely no doubt about since they are out to destroy whoever stands in their way or challenges their lies, I have to constantly, relentlessly, pray without ceasing, for God’s protection to guard my heart. Saint Paul also tells us what our real war truly is: “12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” – Ephesians.

            It is critical for us to be able to guard our hearts and if we think we can do this all by ourselves without God’s help we’re mistaken!

            All of our stories are incredible. A while back you wrote about your mother deliberately handing you a pile of soiled clothes making you handle them and taking sadistic pleasure from that. That is pretty incredible, only for people who do not understand how narcissists operate. They indeed can and DO take sadistic pleasure from this kind of evil, which is why I am finding it so compelling to understand how to guard my heart while navigating the “principalities” as Saint Paul says, and the powers of this dark world.

            Wow, Cynthia, thanks for your thought provoking comment, as always!

            Have a truly blessed day!


            Liked by 1 person

            • I really can’t thank you enough for all you said.. thank you again, even though it doesn’t seem sufficient! lol

              It’s funny in a way you said all you did about having a loving heart. It reminded me of when I was in my late teens, & my mother yelled at me for “always supporting the underdog.” As if that was a bad thing somehow. It made me think something was wrong with me & I did learn to ignore my natural empathy to a degree because of that. Turning to Jesus in 1996 changed it back though. He helped me to be loving, as He made me to be.

              Also interesting you mentioned the verse from Paul about we war not against flesh & blood, but against principalities & powers of darkness. That Scripture keeps coming to my attention lately & I believe it’s so valuable to be aware of that fact! It’s enabled me to pray for some people I’d rather never have prayed for, because I know it’s not them.. it’s them under a terrible influence.

              Ugh.. yes, that story of my mother handing me her soiled clothes. I have way too many stories like that. It’s astounding anyone can enjoy torturing another human being so much isn’t it? But, then again it’s not a person per se.. it’s the evil influence & Satan has no boundaries.

              Have a truly blessed day too! ❤

              Liked by 2 people

          • annealcroft


            Cynthia says: “Narcissism is truly an epidemic & people need to be aware of it. We all truly need to be “wise as serpents, harmless as doves.””

            And another BINGO!

            That is exactly how to guard our hearts. Oh, my! We constantly need to be reminded of that beautiful, simple but not easy, truth!

            Liked by 2 people

            • We really do. I hate that the word “narcissism” has become so watered down, as if a selfish act makes a person a narcissist. Nothing could be further from the truth! Narcissism is a horrific, evil, potentially deadly thing & people need to know that

              Liked by 1 person

  3. “Your family lies to & about you constantly, causing you to have no decent relationships, especially within your own family.” ~ Story of my life.

    “Scapegoats are also known as truth tellers. They are usually the only ones in dysfunctional families who aren’t concerned with their family’s reputation. They are more concerned with the truth.” ~ That’s me!

    “Due to their experiences, scapegoats also have great empathy. Having known intense suffering, they truly understand what it’s like to suffer, & don’t want others to feel as they have. They want to help others too because they know what it’s like not to have help when in need.” ~ If the only way to have deep empathy is to suffer greatly, then for me, the suffering was worth it. People who lack empathy scare me. I don’t want to be like them!

    That’s what I love about you, Cynthia. You are overflowing in empathy.

    Liked by 4 people

    • annealcroft

      “If the only way to have deep empathy is to suffer greatly, then for me, the suffering was worth it. People who lack empathy scare me. I don’t want to be like them!”

      This is another good mouthful! So very true, the value of suffering. It could be that so many people are narcissists because they have never truly known what it is to suffer or else, when we suffer, we are offered a choice of either turning to God or Satan. Perhaps the narcissist has suffered and has chosen to turn to Satan instead of God because they are seduced by all things worldly.

      It is important to have empathy with discernment because there is many a narcissist who knows just how to appeal to our empathy so they can exploit us. This is like the Trojan Horse that we can not afford to allow the enemy in. That’s just wisdom, really!

      Discernment comes only by always putting God first.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Indeed. Narcissists just love to stir up your empathy — for them. But people who have no empathy for others, don’t deserve empathy for themselves.

        Liked by 3 people

        • annealcroft

          Bingo! They are conceited, arrogant, self-righteous, never wrong, and somehow think they’re the anointed ones that can do no wrong. They’ll lie right to your face, they create lies on the spot to cover their filth, and everybody is supposed to believe them because they say so. These people are evil beyond our comprehension.

          I guess I get really angry because of how much these people take from the lives of those who care about them. Yes, the empaths, we are the empaths.

          But I’ve reached the point that when I sense one of these smarmy narcissists with their syrupy, contrived, eloquent, oh-so-politically correct drivel, my hackles are raised and it is very difficult to cut them any slack at all. I just can’t make nicey nice to these people no matter how hard I try.

          It’s true we should be really careful around these people because they are out to destroy us. But sometimes we need a good fight and one thing I’m finding with my narcissist father is that it’s like wrestling with him. Though it takes a lot out of me (the suffering) there’s great satisfaction in leaving him speechless which. The grace of God comes through for us, always.

          But it is also heartbreaking to feel as though you’ve gotten caught up in the spin and pulled away from God in the anxiety and foolishness of all of this. Feeling as though we can tackle and change the situation we find ourselves in because of the abuses these people are capable of is all our responsibility is what begins to tear us down because we don’t leave room for God to step in.

          The narcissist actually TRIES to brainwash us and seize complete control of our thoughts which is why it is so exhausting to deal with all of this. They are capable of bone rattling evil. Sometimes it can take a whole day to recuperate.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. Marilyn

    Great article, I am grateful to God, for leading me to your book, Cynthia. “Its all about me” explains my mother to a T. It brought me great comfort. God Bless you


  5. esm80

    Your article describes the situation so well. As much as I resent the unfairness I faced, I often know I am better off for being hated by my parents when I see the Golden Child have regular meltdowns over minor frustrations and daily tasks. I know that when she talks about unrealisitc revenge schemes or says she wants a gun to shoot people, it’s because her position in the real world makes her feel small and helpless compared to the expectations created by narcissitic parents. So if I am feeling bad that she has tantrums and slanders me, I guess the person doing the screaming probably feels worse and will have to keep living with who they are.


    • That could be very true. Or, it could be too she feels badly about such things but rather than deal with the feelings, she ignores them & just takes out her frustration on those around her while remaining disconnected from the source of the frustration, like you. It’s hard to say what exactly goes on in the mind of a golden child!


    • annealcroft

      esm80, what you describe of your Golden Child sister’s tantrums are typical. The Golden Child loses all sense of reason when things either don’t go their way or they are faced with their own iniquities.

      I once witnessed my Golden Child sister actually throw her cellphone out the car window on the highway because she couldn’t get reception. It was unreal.

      Another time, I was having dinner with her at a restaurant where our outdoor table overlooked a water fall. It was lovely though her unpredictable behavior darkened every outing we had together. I never knew what she was going to do next no matter how correct and well-behaved I tried to be around her. It started to become exhausting. If I wasn’t completely focused on her while having dinner, she’d get angry with me and ask what I was looking at, even if I glanced at something other than her. I had some nice shrimp that were so delicious I took one on a clean spoon to put on her plate to offer it to her. She took the shrimp and threw it in the water just because she was mad at me for looking around at the scenery instead of staying focused on her. It was weird. Everything I did I felt like a cat on a hot tin roof around her. So there’s something about us that triggers them. We’re the truthsayers. Maybe that’s it. Dunno.

      Thank you so much, Cynthia, for this important reminder of what life as a scapegoat is truly about!

      Thing is, as long as we’re in contact with the narcissist in our life, we will always be their scapegoat because that is how they branded us to suit themselves from the day we were born. Maybe even before that day!

      The damage these people do to the lives of others is really incomprehensible, but truth is, the more aware they are of how harmful their behavior is to others, the more it fuels their reason to live. That’s how the devil keeps them here!

      Their plight is to have absolute domination over the life of their scapegoat victim, disempowering their scapegoat at every opportunity, and if there isn’t one readily available, they find a way to create one. It is absolutely suffocating and smothering. They never, ever stop.

      It is all so incredibly crazy-making and exhausting. They are miserable people and misery loves company. Even when they appear to be having a good time (notice how they love parties and any form of entertainment) they are always looking for mischief, a way to indict someone so they can feel empowered. Or, they are always looking for praise and to be worshiped, to be venerated, vindicated, to make their scapegoat look even worse than they hope they already have made them look. Why? Pitiful. But they are so destructive and damaging.

      Liked by 1 person

      • esm80

        Thanks for sharing annealcroft. Your cell phone story reminds me of the time my narcissitic parent (stepfather) borrowed my favorite mechanical pencil and then swore and flung it in the trash because he wasn’t able to use mechanical pencils. I can laugh at that now because he was so dumb that it’s funny when he’s no longer in my life.

        I didn’t have the heart to go no contact with my sister when I was younger so she has wreaked havoc on my life that I am trying to get out of now. After she learned to drive and I have no one else to take me to school, she would drive off while I was getting out of the car so the car would hit me. I had to get very angry many times before she stopped doing this and she feels like a victim because I “mistreated he.” I was completely blind to how her actions really showed her character. It’s partly because she has has an air of ignorance that I beleive is ADHD. After years of setting boundaries and demanding that she stop dangerous behaviors, she said this week that I am selfish and that because she hasn’t killed me yet I am wrong to cal! Her behaviors dangerous.

        I’m sorry you also had an awful sister, but at the same time it’s a relief to find people who had similar experiences and don’t think I’m crazy. Thanks.


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