Tag Archives: scape goat

When People Minimize Or Dismiss Good Things About Scapegoats

Most of us who have experienced narcissistic abuse know about the scapegoat.  Scapegoats are often labeled the problem child, spoiled, selfish, disrespectful, rebellious, trouble maker, outcast & more.  They are blamed for all problems in the family, even when they have nothing to do with those problems. 

One other very common way scapegoats are abused is by minimizing or dismissing anything good about the scapegoat.  If you’re the scapegoat, no doubt you have been in this situation.  You were excited about getting a promotion at work, winning a contest, or even getting pregnant.  In the joy of the moment, you told someone in your family who immediately changed the subject, totally ignored you or compared your situation unfavorably to someone else in a similar one.

Here is one example from my life.  Before becoming an author, I did some editing work.  I got a job for a local author & was excited.  Foolishly, I mentioned the new job to my mother since I didn’t know about narcissism at this time.  She changed the subject quickly.  A short time later when we were talking she said she was thinking of getting into editing.  After all, it’s easy work.  Obviously anyone can do it. 

It isn’t only accomplishments that are minimized or dismissed.  It also can be a talent.  If the family scapegoat is a talented cook, others will not praise any food he or she makes, offer suggestions they can do to make the dish better next time or compare the dish unfavorably to someone else’s version of the same dish. 

Appearance is another sore spot for those who abuse the family scapegoat.  If that scapegoat is attractive in any way, the family will be sure to let that person know how ugly they think the scapegoat is.  They will criticize anything & everything about the person’s appearance.  If the scapegoat is sensitive about something, that something will be the main source of the family’s criticism.  I’ve noticed when the scapegoat is female, weight is often the main source of criticism, no matter the actual figure of the scapegoat.

Along these lines, scapegoating family members also can’t handle when the scapegoat is praised or complemented in their presence.  If this happens, the scapegoat WILL be treated especially poorly for quite some time after the complement.  I went through this with my mother & her mother, my grandmother.  Any time I received a complement in their presence, I cringed because I knew for the remainder of that visit at the very least, they were going to say the most hurtful things they could think of to say to me.

The reasons that scapegoating family members are this way depend on the individuals.  Obviously they could be narcissists.  Narcissists can’t handle anyone appearing better than them in any way, but especially someone they have deemed so unworthy as the lowly scapegoat.

Another possible reason is any person who engages in scapegoating behavior has absolutely no healthy coping skills.  This is why they have a scapegoat in the first place.  They refuse to face the truth.  They prefer to blame all problems on one convenient target instead.  That way, they can be angry at the scapegoat instead of doing the much harder work of handling things in a healthy way.

To make blaming the scapegoat acceptable, they must have a specific image of the scapegoat in mind.  It is perfectly acceptable in their minds to scapegoat someone they believe is stupid, a bad person, incompetent & even ugly.  To keep that narrative alive, they reject anything good about the scapegoat.  As an added bonus, doing so also damages the scapegoat’s self-esteem, which makes him or hear easier to control.

If you’re in this position, please recognize what is going on.  What these people are saying or how they are treating you has nothing to do with you.  They are trying to make you feel badly so they can make themselves feel better either by gaining narcissistic supply or proving to themselves that you deserve anything said or done to you.  They clearly have problems & that is no reflection on you!

1 Comment

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

Escaping The Scapegoat Role

When you’re the family scapegoat, not only do your narcissistic parents abuse you, but other relatives as well.  It seems that people think if your own parents abuse you, doing so much be acceptable behavior.  It’s a miserable life!  It doesn’t have to stay that way though!  You can break out of the scapegoat role!

To start, you’re going to need to get to know yourself so you know what you will & won’t tolerate. Pay attention to how you really feel about everything.  Question yourself.  Do you like or dislike things because that is genuinely your taste or because your parent told you to?  Writing things down may be a big help to you.

Look at yourself objectively, & recognize the truth about yourself.  The more you do this, the more you’ll learn to reject the terrible things your abusers have told you about yourself & the healthier your self esteem will become.  If it helps, write things down.  Maybe write down what they have said about you, & what you observed about yourself.

Learn to stop explaining yourself.  Your abusers don’t deserve to know why you do or don’t do things.  It isn’t their business.  If you feel you must offer an explanation, keep the explanation to a minimum, such as comments like, “I already have plans.”  The less information narcissists have, the less they can use to hurt or control you.

Learn about boundaries.  When you grow up with narcissistic parents, you have absolutely no concept of boundaries.  Narcissistic parents & their children often blur together.  Their children are merely extensions of their parents.  That is terribly unhealthy!  Make healthy changes & learn about boundaries.  Learn where you end & other’s begin, & what is & is not your responsibility.  Narcissists hate boundaries because they make a person much harder to control, so at first the narcissist in your life may fight your new boundaries.  Keep learning & growing though!  Your mental health will appreciate it!

Learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  You can’t possibly fully understand it, I don’t think anyone can.  You can get a decent grasp as to what motivates narcissists & what they do, however, which will help you to cope with them.  You will learn what to expect from them which will help you to figure out ways to deal with the behavior when it happens.  And, when you get a revelation on the fact that they have some serious problems, you won’t take their abusive behavior as personally.  You will recognize that they act as they do because they have issues.  This makes their behavior hurt less, & makes you less easily manipulated.

As a bonus, learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder also helps you when it comes to the narcissist’s flying monkeys.  I firmly believe many flying monkeys are narcissists since they display so many narcissistic behaviors.  Plus, whether or not they are, when you realize that people are blindly supporting someone as wicked as a narcissist, that also gives you a new perspective on them.  You realize their opinions on your life are worthless because anyone who would want you to maintain such a horrible, destructive & dysfunctional relationship clearly doesn’t care about you.

Breaking free of the family scapegoat role can be intimidating at first, but I promise you, it is well worth the effort you put into it!  You can’t help abusive people live their lives in a healthy way, but at least you can prevent them from putting their dysfunction & abuse on you!

2 Comments

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