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!!!