Tag Archives: scapegoat
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!
Being the scapegoat child raised by a narcissistic parent is a terrible thing. Not only do you have an abusive parent, but other members of the family feel it is their right to abuse you as well. Maybe they believe the lies of the narcissistic parent about what a terrible person the victim is. Maybe they assume because a parent is abusive to the child, it’s ok to abuse this person. Or, maybe they are so blinded by the narcissist’s false persona that they will protect their delusions of this person at all costs, including abusing the victim in an attempt to keep this person from divulging the truth about the narcissist.
In any case, chances are good that the scapegoated child will become fed up & walk away. Setting healthy boundaries didn’t work. Confrontation didn’t work. In fact, most likely such actions only made things worse. Deciding to walk away is the only thing left to do.
What is truly the saddest part of this scenario is the scapegoat is abandoned by their family when they need love & support the most. Rather than receive kindness, most scapegoats only receive tormenting, a vicious smear campaign & abandonment. Some will reach out to the victim only to tell them that they shouldn’t abandon their narcissistic parent because “your parents are getting older..” or “you only get one mother/father”. Some folks also claim the victim needs to fix this or isn’t a good Christian because they aren’t “honoring” their parent. Meanwhile, their narcissistic parent receives kindness, understanding & compassion.
As the scapegoat, you can survive this terrible situation! I know it seems impossible, but it is possible to survive & even with your dignity in tact.
One fantastic way to start is by staying close to God. Psalm 68:5 says, “A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.” (AMP) He will be there for you, to comfort & protect you, & you will need that at this time.
Also, as painful as it is when your family turns against you, try to think of it this way. You aren’t losing good, loving people. If they truly were good or loving, they wouldn’t blindly believe the lies of the narcissist, nor would they try to encourage you to stay in an abusive relationship. Talking about your experiences with a narcissistic parent is a very effective way to find out who your true friends are!
Don’t defend yourself against the smear campaign. I know this is hard! I’ve been there, & I so wanted to tell people off for the cruel things they said. However, doing so only throws gas on that fire. They will think what you say only proves the narcissist is right & you are crazy, angry, abusive, & they will behave even worse towards you. Don’t defend yourself. Let them think whatever they want. Their opinion isn’t important anyway.
Some flying monkeys harass & stalk the scapegoat after going no contact to punish him or her or to try to bully the scapegoat into returning to the relationship. Block every means of contact these people have with you. Block phone numbers, emails, social media accounts. If you are in a situation where you can’t do this, refuse to discuss the narcissist with them. Tell them you have nothing to say on the matter, then change the subject. Do it repeatedly. Be rude about it if you must. But do NOT discuss the narcissist with this person! It only will hurt you to do so!
If someone is stalking or harassing you, they may change their email or call from a number you don’t recognize as ways to try to force you to talk to them. If this happens, block that access too. You do NOT have to talk to anyone who wants to force you back into an abusive relationship.
And, document everything! This information may be useful at some point, especially if you need to get the law involved, so save every single thing you can. Voicemail messages, texts, emails, etc. Save everything either on cloud storage or email it to yourself so even if your phone or computer crashes, you won’t lose your documentation.
There are some things you can expect to happen after going no contact that you need to be prepared to face.
While no contact is incredibly helpful, it doesn’t fix everything. After functioning in survival mode for so long, you will have to adjust to life not in survival mode. It can be difficult. As you feel safer, your mind seems to think now is the time to start dealing with things you couldn’t deal with while trying to survive the abuse. You may find yourself having more nightmares &/or flashbacks. You might be very sensitive & moody, crying or getting angry easier than usual. This is a normal part of the healing process. You aren’t going crazy, even though you probably feel that way at this point. Try to use these things in your favor. Figure out the root of the behavior, nightmare or flashback, & deal with that however works best for you.
You’ll start to question things. Years of gaslighting take a toll on a person! No one can undo that damage & the warped beliefs over night. It takes time & lots of questioning yourself. Get in the habit of asking yourself “Why do I think that way? What evidence is there that this is right?” when you realize dysfunctional beliefs & thoughts are coming to mind.
Along those lines.. most people have a last straw moment that makes them decide no contact is their best option. For many of us, that last straw moment isn’t even the worst thing that the narcissistic parent ever has done. It’s just their average abusive, hateful behavior. For some reason though, something in us snaps & we are done. That can make a person wonder why was this the last straw when so many other things were worse? Well, maybe it wasn’t the worst thing ever done, but after a lifetime of so many bad things, enough was enough. This just happened to be the thing that told you now is the time for no contact.
You’re going to grieve, so accept that. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It means you’re a normal human being! Just because your parent was abusive doesn’t mean you don’t care about your parent. You’ll probably discover though that you aren’t missing your parent per se, but the parent you wish you could have had.
Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel without judgement. Losing a parent in any capacity isn’t easy, but in particular when that parent in question is a narcissist. You’ll feel all kinds of emotions. It’s ok & even normal. Allow yourself to feel all of those emotions without judging or criticizing the feelings or yourself.
If your narcissistic parent is elderly or frail, you are going to feel a tremendous amount of guilt for going no contact. It’s normal. I did the same thing. There is one thing that you need to consider though. People reap what they sow. A person who is kind & good to others won’t be abandoned in their time of need, because they sowed good seeds. The abusive person won’t experience that same harvest because they sowed bad seeds. Everyone has a limit on abuse, so it’s only natural that a victim will walk away at some point.
One beautiful thing you can expect is in time, the fog of abuse will lift, & you will see everything with so much more clarity! You’ll see why your narcissistic parent & other relatives were so cruel to you, & you’ll clearly see that they were wrong. You didn’t make them act that way. That was all on them, in spite of what they told you. You’ll see them as the pathetic & wicked people that they are. You’ll also see that you’re not whatever they said you were, but instead you’re a wonderfully made child of God, made in His image & to do great things in your life!
Most people who have learned at least a little about NPD & narcissistic abuse have heard of different types of children of narcissists: the golden child, the scapegoat & the forgotten child. Their roles are:
- Golden child: The extension of a narcissistic parent, this child can do no wrong. Praise & gifts are heaped upon him even into adulthood. The golden child is the one most likely to become a narcissist.
- Scapegoat: The exact opposite of the golden child, the scapegoat is the reason for everything that is wrong in the family, according to the narcissistic parent. Scapegoats are the children most likely to seek out the truth of the situation & escape.
- Forgotten Child: This child gets lost in the shuffle. Not good enough to be the golden child or bad enough to be the scapegoat, the forgotten child barely gets noticed. They try hard for their parents’ attention, even well into adulthood.
There is another child that I’ve never read about, but have seen. The family screw up.
The family screw up isn’t the same as the scapegoat, but there are some similarities. The screw up isn’t to blame for all of the problems in the family like the scapegoat is, but like the scapegoat, he can do nothing right. Growing up, he takes courses in school or college his parents disapprove of. He doesn’t participate in the right activities either. As an adult, he marries the wrong person, works the wrong career & does nothing worthy of his narcissistic parents’ approval. He is a constant disappointment to his parents.
When my husband & I first started dating, he told me he was the family screw up. It didn’t take long to see what exactly he meant, even though at the time I knew nothing of narcissism. I seemed to be his biggest mistake, at least according to his mother, but it also seemed very clear he could do nothing right according to his parents unless he was doing something for them. He was met with constant looks of disapproval from his parents, sometimes even followed by a grunt or sigh of disapproval. He was very accustomed to it, but it still hurt him deeply.
I have seen him find some ways to cope that have helped him greatly. If you too are the family screw up, I think this information may help you as well.
Giving up the hope of having parental approval. It’s hard to do at first, but any child of a narcissistic parent (or two) needs to accept the fact they will NOT get approval from their parent(s). The golden child may get it briefly sometimes, but even that is fleeting. No child of a narcissistic parent ever can have their parent’s approval for more than a brief moment, & even that is very rare. If you can accept that, & release the need for it, you will be much happier.
Decide to live in a way that pleases God & not your parents, or any person. 1 Thessalonians 4:1 states, “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” (KJV) People, especially narcissists are very hard to please. They often change what they want, so what may please them today won’t please them next week. God isn’t like that! He is constant, & He is not self-serving like people. Live to please Him instead of mankind- you will be much happier!
Choose what contact works best for you, & know it may be subject to change at anytime. Many people go from constantly talking with their narcissistic parents to lower & lower contact until they go no contact. They find as they get healthier, they can tolerate their narcissistic parents less & less. Some are able to maintain low contact. Every person & every situation is different- you need to pray & pray often about your individual situation & let God lead you to make the decision that will be best for you.