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Not Easy to Escape the Scapegoating Nightmare

Hi there fellow Scapegoatees, all I can say is I'm herein' ya!

I think my scapegoating started when I became depressed at age 18, I'm now 35 and probably stuggling more now than then, because I've only just started dealing with lots of stuff, including my family history.

Depression itself is enough for you to become the scapegoat believe me, because your parents feel guilty and don't know how to deal with it, so they project absolutely everything that goes wrong, onto you, (and this pattern is picked up by your siblings) even if it has absolutely nothing to do with you, and often, when you aren't even there!

It's also easy to use someone with a mental illness as a scapegoat because they are seen as 'weak', 'dramatic', overly emotional and are completely dismissed as being neither normal, talented and logical people who despite their illness are often extremely intuitive and observant people. (on top of that, I have always had a very 'different', 'quirky' personality that made the scapegoating even easier.

So I have had some absolutely horrific experiences and situations with my entire family (bar my younger sister, bless her soul), to the point where my friends are horrified and think they are demented and strange and psycologically very sick, even strangers are horrified and my psychiatrist cannot stand them - (they actually abused me in his office, when they flew interstate because I had just come out of hospital for serious depression). Just come out of hospital!!!

Just to give you some idea, I went to stay with my sister, her sons, and her abusive boyfriend recently. Whilst I was there, the boyfriend came home drunk and became extremely aggressive, bordering on violent, yelling at the top of his lungs at my sister, banging his fist on the table, telling her to give up her job, all in front of the kids who were crying, I was terrified, tried to protect my sister and then he had a go at me. He then rang my parents because he knew he did the wrong thing and proceeded to blame ME for what happened, and I wasn't even there for most of it!

So................my parents believed him!!! The abusive boyfriend!!! When my sister went to speak to them about it, the first thing she said before she even sat down was 'before you say anything, it was not lennie's fault' - and they still tried to blame me even though they weren't there!!!

Then she met with my brother (who I had contacted because I was so concerned, that's how he knew, oh incidentally I was the one that contacted my parents also, that is how they found out) and the first thing he did was to blame me!!!! Again!! And he wasn't even there.

My younger sister and I to this day, believe that neither my parents nor my brother still believe that it wasn't my fault, and never will. We concluded that this experience with us two was actually quite fortuitous because, she said, 'now someone else has witnessed my abusive partner in action', and she said, (paraphrasing) 'now I know what you are talking about with the way our parents have been treating you, and why you have been so upset about them all the time'.

That's just one of many huge scapegoat situations I have found myself in within only the last couple of months with my family.

My parents went on a cruise for 10 weeks recently and even managed to have a good go out me whilst on holiday! They just couldn't help themselves. There is something about me, that most members of my family cannot deal with. I think it is my effort to do things on my own, in a different state, they feel guilty because I have struggled emotionally and financially and have not been there for me because it is too hard, so they support me by abusing me and blaming me for everything. I'm starting to think that it's funny now actually.

So there you have it! My advice for any scapegoatee out there, is, I've only just had this epiphany recently with so many out of control scapegoating situations I have experienced within a very very short space of time: If the abuse and blame is consistent, you need to distance yourself as soon as possible from the people that are displaying this behaviour, this means that you are now controlling how often you have contact with, how you have contact with, and when you have contact with these people. It is very empowering. What happens after a while is that people start expecting less and less of you, because you have distanced yourself from them, they no longer have power over you, so you feel liberated and free to deal with them as much or as little as you want.

But, be prepared: Some people will not deal with not having power over you so well. They will try and bait you, seek contact from you, still attempt to abuse you through messages, phone calls, any way they can get to your because they will not cope with the fact that you are doing things on your own terms now. And as my friend so eloquently put it, in my mothers case 'she loves the drama!!' Often scapegoating is about creating drama.

Be strong!! I'm already reaping the benefits of distancing myself from my parents and some of my siblings. And you know what, I know that whilst I'm doing this, that each one of them in their own way will be very much thinking about his or her own behaviour, because I do actually know that they love me deep down, and they know that they will have to confront this stuff before I come back to them. They may never tell me about it, but by then, I will have resolved all of my own issues in therapy and know how to deal with them skillfully and with self empowerment. By then it won't matter!

Good luck fellow scapegoatees!!!

 

 

lennie1 lennie1 31-35 29 Responses Nov 2, 2008

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I found out about scapegoating 6 months ago, it explains why I was so depressed and anxious as a kid.

I only realised I was a scapegoat (took me months plus a breakdown and hospital visit) when my brothers wife made false allegations of me being physically abusive towards her and they took her side! Everyone in my family has been physically abusive towards me (I have never punched, choked, or hit any of my family members) they all have done these things to me. Anyway they believed her! I have PTSD now as my brother who I was in business with threw me out because "he could not believe I would do this to his wife!" yet he bashed, me weekly and I still apologised.

I always thought I was the problem, even when my friend said " I think you might be in an abusive relationship" I did not believe her.

I was a very kind, sensitive. considerate kid. Very motivated pretty smart, good at sport, and gave everything I had to what I was doing, who started to feel like there was something wrong with them and by high school i was bullied extremely bad.

It's horrible being the scapegoat, not being believed by my family. I feel alone, I think my Dad picked me out as the scapegoat he has severe issues and projected his pain onto me (he gets angry when I'm happy and smiles when I'm upset). It scary when your reality changes so much in only six months.

Add a response...Hello all, I am 55 and since my Mother died last year, it's the first time that I am realizing that I am the scapegoat. I have three sisters and a brother and I think it started when I was very young. I was told if any of us make trouble I was going to get it, meaning I would get the blame no matter who in the family did it... this could have been for something so simple as laughing. For the first time I am in counseling. I have had to see the mental Docs on many occasion but all they did was give me meds. For the first time in my life, I am trying to get my head around...it is not my fault. As you all can imagine, 55 years of stories will take forever and I keep promising myself I should write a book. I am so grateful to you all for sharing your stories, it has helped me to understand I am not a freak. I will quickly tell you a couple if I may. My Mam, died a year and a half ago, she was very ill for a long time. We all had to do turns at the hospital so somebody would be there 24/7. A lot of ugly stuff happened at this time...I prayed to my angles to comfort my Mam and try ease her pain and to look after her when I was going home to grab 4 hours sleep before going back to the hospital. One of these days on my return one of my sisters announced that my Mam had a visitor and he was my friend but we could not see him. I might add that the same sister every day for over four months asked my Mother who her favorite children are...I was the only one out of five that was not. When we spoke of 'My Friend' I was told I brought the Grimm Reaper. There is a lot more to this story that my siblings said to me and are to horrifying to say which is the reason I ended up at the Mental Docs again. I am devastated at the treatment that my family in MY hour of need thought I was to blame...for something...anything they could think of including accusing me of something I did not do. When I tried to fight back they all gang up on me including my Father. They even got rid of the plants I put on my Mother's grave and said the wind blew them away twice...It's about control and I'm trying to get mine back by staying away from them as much as possible. It's only when I started to read about the scapegoat did I realize what was happening...I was told all my life that the reason I am treated like this is because I am the mad one in the family the dunce, that I deserve everything I get. Turns out my IQ is high I am dyslexic so this was used a lot of times, like taking me out of school at age 13 and told I would not amount to much so there was no point. Since then I am a forever student and got a cap and gown at UCD Uni Dublin. When I invited my parents to the ceremony, I was told it was not there thing. When I was diagnosed with bowel cancer, my Mother said, it was harder for her than me because she was my Mother. Then when she was diagnosed with her illness, she told every body she met that it was my fault because of the worry she went through when I had cancer....I have a thousand stories to tell and like so many of you it's very hard to deal with it. I wish you all well and stay strong and get your control back...Love and Light to all...Ant

Oh my gosh. I feel like I'm talking to myself...who would have thunk it? One factor that seems to be the impeding circumstance here (as with mine) is that we fail to MOVE on with our lives and continually refer to our parents as though we live in their house...sort of represents the way we can become "stuck" in our roles. Yet, I'm confused....if I'm playing this "role" for the beneficent of my entire family, why am I not getting paid? Should I sue? Could I sue? Since the issue becomes debilitating for seemingly only me, and I have suffered through so much shyte, must I continue to "grow up" from this point on? I am too, 35, and I should be somewhat settled in my life. To some extent I am, but to most (in my family) I am still a kid who needs a good spanking...And, family members still treat me like a little person in the sense of disregard...if only they still made my plates of food on the special occasions due to my incompetencies, I would have no complaints : ))

Honestly, I attempted to post my own story earlier in the evening, but then I understood the complications associated with the intricacies of my story. It became more of a novel than a short discussion. However, if you want to compare feed in the realms of horror stories or roles within the constellation of familial roles and/or relations, let me know. I'd be more than happy to hear yours...Blessings to you, friend. Mandy J

I just read this post and could relate to everything you said. It was enough to make my eyes well up, the emotion of it, just knowing someone else is going through this. I came to a similar conclusion to distance myself but they are making things so difficult (plus I have a toddler and they are playing the "you can damage your daughter if she does not see us" card. Obviously it has to be on their terms, when they are sober enough to actually get up and feel the want to see her. My grandparents, parents, golden child sibling are all the same. They may never realise that getting on with people is better all round. I can do things on my own - like i always have done. My daughter will never have to go through what I went through- I will make sure of that. They must feel insecure and jealous of you to behave in such an ilogical and repulsive way. Happy people just don't do that. I switch off in their poisonous presence, save my energy for those who love me - my husband and daughter. I could sit and mope and be unhappy - I don't think so! They would win then.

When I was living at my other house I became the scapegoat and Thomas is to blame.

I would just like to thank everyone who has posted their experiences on here. I have just come to realise that I too am the scapegoat of the family. <br />
How do you cut all ties from them though? I am getting married soon and they are doing everything in their power to make it as painful a process as possible.<br />
I don't even want them to come to my wedding anymore because I know they will create drama on the day and spoil it for me, they have already tried that by saying they won't come, but keep changing their minds!<br />
I am very lucky to have a wonderful fiancé and lovely friends (which I might add they family dislike). I think I am still in the early stages of gaining control as just writing this on here makes me feel immensely guilty.

I'm so sorry, I feel your pain. The hardest part is yet to come and I don't really know if it is 100% possible. But at some point, you will have to accept your parents are not going to change (trust me, more experience on that one!) especially since they don't think they have any problems. I think every child whether a wee one or adult wants unconditional love and support from their parents. Unfortunately, some people should never have been parents. They are stuck in their own emotional stunted growth. It is NOT you. Be grateful you have a good relationship with your sister, but she needs you. The fact she remains in an unhealthly abusive relationship indicates her self esteem is not any better. She too, sufferred the wrath of your parents' emotional abuse, perhaps in a different way than you. <br />
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If it is possible, I would suggest you cut all ties with your parents until you are strong enough to demand the respect and support you deserve.

THE MOTHER STARTS IT,SHE CAN STOP IT,SHE SPREDS IT AND US GOATS OUR STORY IS THE SAME.DID NOT KNOW THERE WERE OTHERS,THOUGHT IT WAS JUST ME.

I was relieved that it took ~5 minutes to pick a user name that wasn't reserved. People names, pet names, occupations... already taken. We are not alone.

Best wishes.

yes,the more we distanc,thet will try and pull us back in as they some one to badger,so we need to get the upper hand and embarass them first.i have chickens and observed for years and there is onestarting as a chick that is pecked on,don't see any thing different,but once the others put the stink eye on that one it stays,i have to pen that one,the others won't let it eat.what is others see in us?is it our dignity and sense of self was robbed and others see it?i'm the nice one and trust me people then take kindneaa for weakness,who am i and why me????

Sounds like "wounding" in the animal world, i.e. nurture, not nature. My father grew up on a farm and may have observed the same phenomenon. Funny how I've often equated his behavior to bad pet owners who keep pets solely for abuse.

As I went through all the comments, I realized that we are the same herd of black sheeps. My story isn't so different from anyone of you, so I bother not to go through it. We have been constantly attacked by people is because we different from the society. We are stronger, they attack us because they know we can take it as it comes. As a lone wolf will get cast out, condemned, and attacked by his fellow pack. <br />
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But that doesn't mean it's the end of the world, if you thought that nobody cares in this world, and that everyone just want you dead. You're wrong, I care, we care. Because we all have been through the same pain, we understand, we felt. The only way to get away from a wrong herd is NEVER go back there, ever. You do not belong there, you are a black sheep, just like the rest of us. But even if you are, that doesn't make you a disgrace. You're something else outside the norm doesn't mean you are lower.<br />
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People like us should decide our own destiny, pursue our own happiness and freedom. Because we are capable of making miracles that fate never gave us, we are stronger, smarter. We are different. So promise me and yourself, that you will make it there one day, our own paradise. I am a 22 year-old undergraduate, my dream is to go on a motorcycle travel on my own. One man, one bike, one long journey. I hope to see you all too in the enlightenment of your lives. Even the ugly duckling will become a swan someday, I hope to see you all in the promised land.

Scapegoats have only 1 choice: Do I let people try to destroy me OR do I save myself? SAVE YOURSELF!!!!!<br />
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DO NOT go back for more.... Do not think because you have gained insight that it will change THEM or THEIR behavior. Do not think because you have gotten therapy that it will change THEM or THEIR behavior. Do not delude yourself that if YOU make believe everything is alright, that if YOU are good and kind, that if YOU only communicate honestly, that if YOU do all the right things, it will change THEM or THEIR behavior.<br />
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The only thing you can change is YOU by making decisions that benefit you. Do not consider them, their feelings, their wants, their desires. They will never consider yours. <br />
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You need to decide to save yourself from further injury. <br />
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One of the hallmarks of a "scapegoating family" is that they cannot, MUST NOT, WILL NOT let their victim get away peacefully. The dysfunctional family NEEDS their scapegoat as they need the very air they breathe. They MUST have someone to destroy in order to feel better about themselves. They must have a scapegoat on whom to vent their murderous rage. <br />
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When you are blamed for everything that goes wrong, and your successes are ignored or denigrated... when you are discredited, gossiped about, demeaned... you are on the receiving end of evil. When your life turns out well and they only hate you more for it... when they must tear you down at all costs, you are on the receiving end of evil. When they must obliterate your happiness, your enthusiasm, your joy, you are on the receiving end of evil. When they take joy in injuring you, you are on the receiving end of evil. <br />
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Evil spelled backwards is “live” -- evil is the opposite of life. Evil seeks to destroy, to crush, to maim, to poison, to annihilate, to eradicate, to obliterate anything that is good, clean, healthy, positive, joyful, hopeful, successful. EVIL SEEKS TO KILL LIFE. Scapegoaters seek to “kill” the joy, happiness, hope, health and well being of their victims. Scapegoaters are pure evil. <br />
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Poison kills. Hate kills. Rage kills. Character assassination kills. Invalidation kills. False allegations kill. <br />
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Scapegoaters’ spew poison with their tongues … and if we keep breathing it in it will kill us. Period. As sad as it may be, there is only once choice – will we allow others to kill us or will we save ourselves? <br />
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Scapegoats need to reach a point where they become very clear on what is really happening. This is not about people being mean and hurtful. This is not about family “not approving of us” or “not caring about us.” This is about evil people trying to destroy us. Once we finally stop making excuses for what is really going on, once we admit the truth - we need to ask ourselves selves … why do I tolerate pure evil in my life? Why am I giving people a chance to destroy me? Could it be because we have been trained to be the recipient of the family’s murderous rage? That training will be the death of us. We need to reject it and reject those who would harm us. <br />
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One of the things I have learned along life’s journey is you can never stop the scapegoaters. You can never get them to admit they are doing anything wrong. You can never get them to change. You don’t have the power. If you did, you would have changed things long ago. The only thing you can change is YOU. Only YOU can save YOU and YOU need to decide that YOU are worth saving. If you choose to continue participating in the dysfunction, you are guilty of aiding and abetting, you are guilty of allowing yourself to be a victim, you are guilty of allowing your other family members (spouse, children) to be hurt by witnessing the scapegoating. YOU need to be the hero who saves the day. Change is in YOUR power, and YOUR POWER ALONE. <br />
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Many years ago, after a lifetime of being my family's scapegoat, I reached my breaking point. I had tried everything to change the dynamics, to stop the scapegoating, to help the perpetrators see what they were doing, all to no avail. I distanced myself for bits of time over the years, believing that if I did the right things, or provided some “space” all would turn out well, believing that if I stayed away for awhile the perpetrators would "see the light." Further contact only reinforced the cycle of dysfunction and engendered further scapegoating. After the death of a family member who was one of the "lead perpetrators" I had my “AHA” moment and I finally “got it.” She was gone and the scapegoating was continuing, in fact it was escalating. My epiphany was simple: the only way to make the scapegoating stop was for ME to remove myself from the situation. Completely. Permanently. <br />
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And so I did the hardest thing I ever had to do. First, I had to face the truth about what was really happening. I had to stop making excuses. I had to decide to save myself. I did not make any huge announcement, I did not make any proclamation about my intentions, I did not accuse or blame. I simply turned my back and walked away. And I have stayed away for over 6 years, and I will continue to stay away for the rest of my days. I do not answer phone calls (caller ID lets me know who is calling - and the calls continue to come), I do not answer letters (and the letters continue to come), I do not accept invitations to any event under any circumstances (and the invitations continue to come), I do not attend any family functions – NONE. I do not respond to any contact from any of them. <br />
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I decided to save myself ... to finally, finally love myself enough to say "no more." And “no more” means NO MORE! I am the person who is in charge of my happiness, and I choose life and happiness over their need to harm and injure. <br />
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Did it hurt to walk away? Oh yes. Did I cry repeatedly because I had to let go of the dream that one day my family of origin would be kind and loving? Oh yes. Was my heart broken because I had to finally accept that my family of origin wanted to injure me and enjoyed causing me pain? Oh yes. It all hurt… for a very long time.<br />
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As my husband said, "They want you crushed. They want you crawling on your belly begging for crumbs of kindness. Every time you do something good, every time you are successful, they hate you all the more. They will never approve of you until you are groveling in the dirt. And they don't care if they hurt me or our children along the way, as long as they can hurt you." Ouch! BIG OUCH!!! But he was right. It just took me 50 years to wake up and realize that it was not them, but ME who needed to "see the light" and face reality. Even when that reality broke my heart. <br />
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The good news is time does heal… if I had stayed in the situation I would still be bleeding, crying, defending, pleading, being battered, being harmed. Being totally disconnected has allowed me to heal. And the healing journey, though initially filled with tears, sorrow and heartbreak, has led me down a path to happiness and peace.<br />
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6 years on, my marriage is strong and wonderful, my children are happy and joyful, my heart is full and carefree, and my life is lived “in the light.” <br />
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I walked away from the murderous rage, black hearts and poison tongues of scapegoaters. I chose life over evil, and it was the best decision I have ever made. I will never go back. I like the light…. <br />
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I choose life. I hope all my fellow scapegoats choose life too.

Thank you for this post. Coping with the exact same situation. Came to the understanding one year ago how narcissism and scapegoating works, and hoped that I could maintain a relationship with my family- I see now that the only way to heal is to have no contact. Many people think that this is awful to not have contact...only the victims of scapegoating can truly comprehend how damaging a continued relationship can be with narcissists- you are powerless.
I am blessed to have my own beautiful family - loving, supportive, and compassionate.
I am happy that I and we have the courage to break this cycle of abuse.
Stay strong everyone who is coping with a similar situation.

When i was born i didnt realize how diffrent i was to my family untill my mid child years 5 through 11 and into my teens and 20s i really knew i was diffrent then (for sure just in huge denial ). i used to have bad dreams waking up in tears becosue i lost my mother or father now today one of them could die. and i woudnt feel any pain nothing compares to the drama, trama, and hurt, i have felt like many above. i am guilty of some bad sins but i do belive i am forgiven. i felt controlled and i am angry at myself for doing those sins and bad deeds. today i only hope i can make up for them and also go no contact with those familes. whom treat me as the scapegaot. it has been a rough road indeed, im only 29 and i feel like im half my age in my 50s u know... stress, hurts,insecurites,invalidations, sucide attempts,any and all Hell in the family has done that to me. i wish i could take the pain away from all of you.... whom felt the same thing as i have.....I liked those others stories thoughts, words whom spoke to me in this webpage. and encouraged me let mine help you aswell !, this testiment to a scapegoats life is like yours. i am now starting to come out of my severe depression coma and there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel they took my dream jobs by having me commited once or twice for suicide they called me a crazy accused me of wanting to run them over with a car, a social path,a screwup dummy or dumbass, an idiot a *** accused me of having aids when i coudnt eat becosue of my sadness and rage they called me a discrace said i wasa drama queen called me useless and worthless. ---- I love all of you whom would understand this. thank you for Reading ,written in my true scapegoat testiment <br />
((((estranged inpeace 051882)))) <br />
Springdale,Arkansas.

I used to worry so much when my mum and dad were away, I would stress they would die in a car accident, plane crash anything, I loved them a lot, I thought the world of them but it was not true ( I was told I was selfish etc I have a million lines like this running through my head). When it came to the crunch they believed a pathological liar sister in law who the would of only met 40 times (they had known me for 35 years).
It is horrible, I used to think of there farm as a place of love but had a weird half dream half awake vision of a cold wind blowing through their house and garden with no one there. No laughing, no love it was cold and overcast. It was like I was in mourning.

Lennie and others like hope000 mentioned their step mother has Narcissistic Personality disorder all those who scapegoat blame the innocent ones have personality disorders whether that be Histrionic, Borderline, Narcissism, or Sociopath/psychopath. These people have no conscious. It is not anything we did or did not do why we are scapegoated. They project what they are onto us (scapegoat) and then mirror are sweetness, kindness, goodness, love, compassion, empathy etc. They are excellent at their lies and manipulation which makes them great actors and actresses. <br />
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In society to today depression is seen as a bad thing. Well those who have a conscious will get depressed if they are being abused and no one is hearing them out especially the one who is doing the abusing/bullying/blaming. In order to heal one needs validation for what they have experienced. Healing takes a very long time. That is ok. Don't let the professionals convince you that you are wrong for having normal emotions to abuse. Medication which is poison makes things worse in most situations.<br />
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Then to continue on your healing path one needs to go no contact. Read all you can about personality disorders. You can not reason with those with a personality disorder. It is like talking to a wall or talking till your face turns blue. They do know right from wrong but not having a conscious guilt feelings (yes, they can pretend empathy but it is not real) allows them to do the evil things they do to others without any remorse. They can not change so for one's one sanity and protection run as fast as you can from these kind of people. Remember wolves come in packs. They hang out with each other. <br />
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I have been there done that with so many Narcissists and sociopaths in my life that I use my experiences and what I learned to help others. The innocent ones. The ones who are naive and think that everyone in life is the same. The ones who believe their is good in everyone. The truth is that their are evil people in this world we live in. Just because someone does a kind deed does not make them a kind person. It looks like a kind deed but these kind of people do things for an ulterior motive. I had to learn this the hard way. <br />
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Do not repay evil for evil I never have. But there are those who do or think about it. Guess what if you do that it will backfire. I read stories where others have done so and it put them in a bigger mess. <br />
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I hope what I share helps and remember these people will never admit to anything they have done unless it is done to sucker you back in to their very evil cruel world.

"In order to heal one needs validation for what they have experienced."

I used to mitigate the present stress and depression by litigating the past. Whenever I'd lash out at my abuser, I'd remind her of her legacy as an abuser.

I'm not compelled to litigate, I only sought to validate my concerns.

It doesn't work and all I got was a hyper-sensitive version of the abuser. You'll read these folks have no empathy but this one has no attenuator. She'll react melodramatically empathetic over superficial stuff yet unfeeling toward legitimate dysfunction.

I've considered retribution but so far have resisted the impulse. When I'm forced to see her due to funerals or events I can't blow off, I privately revel in her social dysfunctions. It has a surprisingly calming effect.

I failed to mention I had to self-validate and it's through posts like yours that helped show the way. I no longer think the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train. Best wishes.

I have felt like the scapegoat many times, and I guess some people just have issues within themselves that cause them to BLAME others. I am not perfect but I do try hard and sometimes feel that maybe the insecurities of others are part of why I am a person they dislike. I don't know if it is Jealousy, depression insecurites or just that I am in a position they don't want me in (StepMother).<br />
I recently heard my husband tell me during a discussion that his children do not come over very often because of their DISLIKE to me. I have known that at times I am disliked, but that is a pretty powerful statement. I told him let me know when they are stopping by and I will leave.

You sound so strong and positive and focused in the right direction... having also had the truth twisted and bizarre stories made up, or my mother believing someone she barely knew over me numerous times... you really do start to wonder if you're losing it sometimes. I've been there time and time again. I also married a man who made me into the scapegoat in OUR immediate family of 4. His mother is bipolar and I believe that he is/was the scapegoat in his family, so that's how he reclaimed his power I guess- by doing it to someone else. He also did a lot of other abusive things, but it is an example of how the scapegoat "role" we are thrust into becomes learned for us and then we unknowingly invite others to treat us that way. It has happened to me in jobs, it has happened to me when I was the boss- I've actually had numerous employee "mutinies"! It's happened to me so many times that I really started to believe i was a terrible person who was going to just ruin other people's lives, my young son's included. Realizing that I am not the whole problem and just a part of it (MY PART) is such a relief... I hope to start therapy again, but since I am unemployed right now (temporarily, I hope) and have no insurance, I am waiting for the clinic to call me and get me in... I am going to try very hard to start the healing process and reclaim my life, my power, and my TRUE identity... THank you for your inspiring story!

We are not the problem. Their lack of love is.

I am so glad I discovered this site. I am the family scapegoat as Ive felt tortured for years and couldn't understand why everything seemed to be my fault even if I wasn't there. My mother like many others on the site started it.<br />
im sure my depression and illness at being a scapegoat helped end my marriage as i continually tried to please my mother and family, instead of my husband.<br />
throughout the years it has got worse as my siblings all younger are being sucked into it and believe i am somehow bitchy. If i got on well with any family memember my mum destroyed it by being fantastic to them and doing lots for them while leaving me without help or support.<br />
I have felt suicidal may times I am the oldest in a family of 8 each member has a partner so they get sucked in to. sometimes its subtle the emotional abuse. what hurts the most is why ? why ? i have a therapist but it has not helped me resolve anything. the advice was mainly understanding from therapist and distancing myself from the ones that are the worst. my dad and i get on ok ...he cant see whats going on. he knows my mum is not normal & difficult to please as he says.. but cant and wont do anything about it. <br />
my daughter got engaged and is getting married this is posing a difficult senario as i feel and my daughter feels we need to invite them to the engaement party next month & wedding next year.<br />
I was a fairly strong person when younger but im now a crumbiling wreck. i also have epilepsy and now under active thyroid. have been for 4 operations in the past for years but got blamed as faking illness before my diagnosis. my mum wanted to believe i wasnt unwell and kept calling me paranoid a word she has used since as far back as i remember. i was so young i had to look up the meaning. my therapist thinks my mum has a personality disorder.. i still dont know how to deal with all this and all of lifes other usual problems . im ranting here because im so upset, i try to stay positive but its so difficult. even my siblings tell their friends that im somehow different so thats a lot of people . i just cant enjoy life . please can someone help me through this..? with some advice and or support. i have stopped going to family parties as i feel i am part of the furniture when im there. if i dont go im being difficult. Help plz x

I understand what you mean about depression. I'm beginning to understand that all my years of depression may have been linked to family dysfunction and my role in the family. Thanks to therapy, distance from my family, learning how NOT to react to the button-pushing, but rather pausing and witnessing, that I am no longer prone to depression, only sadness at the fact that my relationship with my family of origin will be limited. I'm finally free to be myself in the truest, deepest sense, and that is an amazing thing. Everything changes once you really have a hold of yourself. I am 45 years old. It's never too late :-)

I would just like to say how helpfull the above people have been re: scapegoating advice.<br />
please keep on helping each other. I do no feel like the only one.

Hi everyone, it's been a while.<br />
<br />
Just wanted to update you guys on what's been going on.<br />
<br />
I recently did therapy to improve my relationships and attempted to sort out the family thing. It actually went really well for a while - until about a month ago.<br />
<br />
I had a car accident (relatively minor) but developed some pain and stuff and needed help with the groceries and stuff because I couldn't do everything properly.<br />
<br />
I work part time so decided that I should concentrate on getting to work, so help may be a good idea.<br />
<br />
My therapists also told me to get in the habit of asking for help before things get bad.<br />
<br />
So I did.<br />
<br />
I had a conversation with my mother in tears about it, and told my mother I needed help with groceries and simple things because of the pain and that sometimes you just can't do it on your own.<br />
<br />
My mother's response was 'that is your life, you are singe' and did not help me.<br />
<br />
I then sought help from other avenues.<br />
<br />
She randomly decided to turn up onto my doorstep with my nice sister on the one day I had a friend and others coming to help for that very situation.<br />
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When she saw that others were helping me she felt guilty but had a weird way of showing it.<br />
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She proceeded to interrogate me like she didn't believe me under the guise that she was supporting me because she was 'there'. It made me really uncomfortable and there was no empathy, care or affection.<br />
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She then went behind my back and told my brother and his wife that she didn't believe me, that I was being a drama queen and then proceeded to 'assume' what she believed I was going to say about the whole thing to medical professionals.<br />
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She didn't have the car accident and doesn't have my body so cannot make a judgement about my pain!<br />
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She told my brother that she belived that I was going around saying I have no support at all. A lie.<br />
<br />
This angered my brother, who had been supporting me so I start getting attacked by him and he said that because of information he received from my mother (who he knows lies) our relationship may be sabotaged - because my mother is now lying and twisting the situation to hurt herself.<br />
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I freaked out and appealed to my brother and asked him to think carefully ba<x>sed on what he knows about my mother and we worked it out -so I thought.<br />
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Meanwhile my pain is still there, having trouble sleeping and doing everything, have to work and depression is setting in.<br />
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Thank god my sister and friend both helped me get groceries and stuff.<br />
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I then decided given my new found 'communication' with my parents I would try to address this problem appealing to their better nature with my mother and father (they wanted to come over to try and talk to me).<br />
<br />
So I did a chain analysis and tried to explain to my parents how confused I was that my mother was doing this.<br />
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I explained that I was trying to understand why I even got attacked by my brother but how, he actually took responsibility for his part in it.<br />
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I pleaded with them to take responsibility just like my brother did, and how I was prepared to also if I had any responsibility.<br />
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I addressed that my mother didn't believe me and interrogated me about the accident and my pain and my mother declared 'any doctor or nurse would ask you the same thing' to which I replied 'but you are my mother'.<br />
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The more it became apparent that what I was saying was true, logical and happened, the more angry my father got until he stood up.<br />
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He yelled at me very loudly in my own home, stated 'no-one attacks my wife' and walked out yelling at me all the way.<br />
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I was very angry and hurt so I yelled out to them that they refuse to take responsibility for their actions and told them to go away.<br />
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Since then the relationship I had built up with my brother has been ruined because I felt so hurt I sought his advice about my father's birthday and how to deal with it and he told me I shouldn't go (that I would make everyone feel uncomfortable) even though I was the scapegoat - again.<br />
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No support there.<br />
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The result is that my brother got drawn in by my parents, or over the whole thing - the result is he has blamed me and basically rejected our good relationship.<br />
<br />
I called my parents a couple of times and tried to be nice like 'nothing happened' but feel sick and horrible about it so I feel like I have to get away from them.<br />
<br />
My family is in disarray again - everyone is blaming me and it is because my mother refused to help me when I had a car accident and was in pain, I had to go elsewhere so she lied and twisted the truth, went behind my back and caused trouble to justify herself.<br />
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The fact is my family is NEVER going to change and I stupidly thought they would.<br />
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I even moved back to the same town because I was told by my brother and father 'we want to be there for you'.<br />
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My brother recently said 'I didn't commit to 10/20 years of supporting you (it's barely been 1 year) and then said 'when are you going to stand on your own to feet'. I am the only person in my family who has not relied on a relationship, alchohol, drugs or workaholism to stand on my own two feet. I have faced my demons and done alot of therapy - the only person in my family.<br />
<br />
And they have abandoned me, and scapegoated me, once again.<br />
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The problem is these things often go on to affect your whole life.<br />
<br />
Eg I'm having problems in my job and being emotional at the moment because I am so hurt, and it is making me get very very sensitive at work. My job is not permanent and my contract is about to end , so I am in grave danger of losing my contract because I am getting affected by my family.<br />
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I am letting it ruin my life and it happens every time.<br />
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My life is not moving forward -again and I have an excellent writing job.<br />
<br />
DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.<br />
<br />
Take from my experience and do not ever try and reason or create relationships with people who have a history of scapegoating you. It was an interesting experiment but clearly these people are never going to change and I have to adapt accordingly.<br />
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I hope all you scapegoatees out there are having better luck.<br />
<br />
:)

Fellow scapegoatees: hang in there. The one surefire way to heal is to cut all ties with the source of the pain and malevolence. It hurts at first, but the healing begins. . . Love yourself enough to protect yourself. There are legions of us and we need to accept that WE are not the problem. The perpetrators of scapegoating are.<br />
<br />
Be well. Hang in there.

When I was the family scapegoat (I have escaped by the way) it was incredibly painful, it was a complete mind f*** so much so I had to write poetry to be able to stay sane and even then I felt madder than mad with such an uncontrollable state of affairs. I am wondering how many families have a scapegoat in them I wonder how common this is? You know kind of like the clever child, the clumsy child, the pretty child and the scapegoat child. Only....most of my scapegoating experiences were the worst as an adult with a husband and three kids I was the proverbial kick the dog person for everything going wrong in the family.<br />
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I also suffered depression and when things went wrong as they invariably do with others in the family guess who got the blame yep me somehow it was my fault. I am going to try and find one of the poems I wrote and share it with the fellow scapegoats here. Until then hang in there (not literally) my period of being a scapegoat did get better although I still think I am a sort of scapegoat to a degree so I am ticking the box and joining this group.

My mother is the main person scapegoating too, but she has a kind of alliance with my sister. I'm in very deep trouble because for economic reasons I was forced to move back to live with her and somehow,,, I applied to a course which is my dream career nearby, so it's really hard to give up and go away. But I don't want to stay. The thing I'm most afraid of is to be imprisoned to a job I don't like or with no job at all and living in very very poor conditions. I don't live in the States, but in a poor country of Europe. Things are really bad, my self-esteem is clearly affected. Something I feel very often is different from other people and ashamed.

This is in response to your comments, Sarara, I have never drawn the comparison between the gifted child/adult and being a scapegoat. It makes complete sense to me now.<br />
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I've always felt that I have so much more insight and a very astute intelligence compared to most people I know and have difficulty relating to people for this reason.<br />
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My problem is that my emotional intelligence hasn't quite caught up due to years of depression, so I am a gifted adult with lots of ideas and talents and a bad way of relating to people - so most of my relationships are generally then, also, pretty bad.<br />
<br />
They mention also a lack of self-esteem with many gifted adults and a sense of not belonging and being different their whole lives. How true that is too.<br />
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In fact my life is paralysed by a lack of self-love and self respect. So with all my abilities and intelligence, due to my crippling bad self-esteem, I have achieved absolutely nothing. Nobody, including myself, can understand how my life could have ended up like this.<br />
<br />
But I am doing something about it now.<br />
<br />
Suddenly many things have become clear, thanks for pointing that out.

WOW, you sound so familiar like you are writing my story.

But I haven't reached that 'doing something about it now' part. Please share your secret.

Agree there.

Good luck with your family. This site is good because you realise that there are other people experiencing the same things.

Thanks for your story and advise. I have given up trying to communicate in a meaningful manner with my mother as I understand now there is no hope she will come out of the space she is in.

It's funny that you should mention your mother too, because SHE is the main person I am talking about in my story with the blame and destructive behaviour. She is extremely jealous of me and and extremely dysfunctional and destructive person in general.<br />
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I wouldn't try reasoning with your mother anymore - that is another epiphany I have had.<br />
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My mother is now in her '60's and I think she's losing it a bit. A conversation to point out her inconsistencies goes around in circles and she has absolutely no insight into herself or her affect on others. She is extremely defensive and does not understand that she is imperfect or has the power to hurt people.<br />
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I have resigned myself that I will never have a true deep relationship with my mother, or my father for that matter, and the challenge is now to deal with it by myself and seek to make myself happy. And it has been extremely difficult but I'm getting there.<br />
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At the moment all I can do is stay away from them to minimise the hurt that they inflict.

I understand your story as I came from a dysfunctional family and very similar things happened in my family. The best thing to do is to remove yourself from such people. <br />
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The drama thing is also something my mother is into. I have no idea how to deal with it except keep pointing out her inconsistencies in her stories, telling her straight she is dramatising things and changing the subject as soon as the drama story telling starts. The problem is I still can not have a satisfactory relationship with my mother.