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May 07, 2009

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Elphaba

I'm a caretaker and a scapegoat, are these two possible to overlap and enhance eachother?

They took me to see a therapist very early on with "unidentifyable" mental problems sharing symptoms with both ADHD and high functioning autism which are, as I found out in retrospect all symptoms found in emotionally abused children too. The therapist never noticed. (scapegoating in our family particulary revolves around being mentally retarded/having behavioural problems)

I was kicked out of the house into a mental institution and then they made my sis the scapegoat but she, always being out partying with friends anyway, left pretty soon after, leaving just my kid sis who is just starting middleschool now. I see history repeating and once again therapists do not notice and childprotection just contacts... those same therapists that are manipulated, directly as well as indirectly, by my mother.

I feel so guilty for not being able to do much about it except go back as often as I can, braving the abuse, to be there for my sis who hangs onto me as her rock.

Scapegoating is a pretty unknown thing, not even sure if it's recognised overhere, just googled across it at some point cause I habitually put my feelings between quotationmarks and google them, trying to make sense of what happens, usually in English cause it gives a wider searchresult.

Sorry for the babble but would you please share your opinion on this and what I should do please?
(am kinda lost asking a random person for help LoL)

Kellen

A caretaker and a scapegoat? Of course! You caretake in order to try to earn the love you weren't naturally given as a scapegoat? I see that a lot.

It's also interesting that your sister became the scapegoat when you were kicked out. The system (the family) needs a scapegoat and will produce another one if you leave the system. This is interesting because it proves that you were not the scapegoat because of anything wrong with you. You were the scapegoat because they needed one. It also shows how much pressure there is to find another one. This makes it hard to stop being the scapegoat. Everyone in the family seems to know instinctually that if you stop being the scapegoat someone else will have to become the scapegoat and no one wants the job handed to them!

It is also very common for scapegoated children to be taken to a therapist by the family to be "fixed". In the therapy field we call this child the "identified patient" because they are the person the family "identifies" as the patient. But a good therapist knows that one child cannot destroy a family. The family may identify this child as the source of all its troubles, but the actual "patient" is the family system itself. I'm so sorry the therapist with whom you engaged did not recognize the pattern. Do not let that stop you. You can help yourself. You're right, the information is hard to find, but you can find your way. I did. Keep fighting and looking for answers.

What can you do for your sister? I once worked with a psychologist who was one of my most important mentors. When talking about helping patients he asked me, "How do you save a drowning person?" He explained that you do not jump into the water with them. They are panicked and will pull you under with them. The only way to save them is to keep your own feet firmly planted on the shore, throw them a life raft, and pull them to you - to safe ground.

Do not go back and brave the abuse. That makes you a victim and reinforces your scapegoat role. Stand firmly on safe and solid ground where you are respected and be a safe shore on a dangerous river to which your sister can crawl when she is old enough. Model for her, with your own behavior and good self care, how to treat yourself with respect and how to expect respect from other people. Do not allow yourself to be abused. You only show her that this is acceptable. You show her how to be a victim.

Another important maxim I once heard is this, "We teach people how to treat us". Remember that. You can teach people how to treat you. Treat yourself with respect. Say "No" to people who mistreat and disparage you. If you can learn how to do this, you can show your sister.

I'll keep writing on this topic because it is an important one for me. If you need more information, please ask.


Nony

Aw I cried reading the space cadet. That's me. Kellen I really want to thank you for writing this blog. You have renewed my hope that therapists can both be licensed and still use their own critical thinking skills to look for the truth beyond what they may have been taught. Thank you for existing and sharing your journey with us.

Kellen

Well, I have a gift for making people cry. My office is full of tissue boxes. If I was able to contribute to your renewed hope in any way then my efforts were not wasted. Thank you for your kind words.

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=696570736

This information was extremely helpful. As a hero/caretaker I still can't find a "nice" way to quit my "job". What do you do when your family members need help but they won't help themselves? They just keep crying wolf to me, involving me in their drama, and then not taking my advice. My husband and I wonder if we are allowed, for lack of a better word, to say that we need to withdraw from the games. I don't want to alienate them for fear of how they will continue to emotionally harm themselves and their minor children, but I can't fix their problems anymore either.

Kellen

Of course you are allowed! It's called "boundaries". Just say "no thanks" and move to the bleachers to watch the game. That's what I do.

It's interesting, but I used to take on other people's battles as the Scapegoat in my family. Naturally, I replicated this pattern at work. I was in a staff meeting one day and decided not to pick up my sword and shield and fight the battle at hand. I waited, and waited, and waited. But not in vain. When I refused to pick up the fight, someone else finally piped up and took a stand. The wait may seem impossibly long, but if you wait long enough and refuse to do things for people, they will get up and do it themselves. But as long as you do it for them, why should they?

As for their minor children, what are you teaching them by rescuing their parents? That playing helpless works? That someone will always clean up their messes for them?

A mentor of mine once asked me how to save a drowning person. "Jump in after them", I answered. "No", he shook his head. "A drowning person is desperate. They will clutch onto you and take you under with them. The way to save a drowning person is to keep your feet firmly anchored on shore, throw them a life preserver, wait for them to catch it and pull them toward you."

If you want to save the children, be that safe haven in a chaotic world to which they can swim and catch a breath. Model healthy behavior for them. A picture is worth a thousand words. But staying locked in this unhealthy pattern only shows them how to replicate this unhealthy pattern. That's how you learned it. How will they learn to say "No" to this pattern if you can't? Someone has to show them how. If you can't say "No" to the games for your own sake, say it for theirs.


Sugar

once again VERY DEEP/REAL AND FUNNY BEING THE SCAPEGOAT AND THE PROBLEM CHILD..IS WU

THIS IS THE BEST SITE I CAME ACROSS FOR DYFUNCTIONAL FAMILY AND ABUSE...THANK YOU SO MUCH KELLY

I


You're very welcome!

C.C.

I am a Licensed Addiction Counselor and work with youth in a juvenile correctional facility. I want to tell you that this is by far one of the best articles I have ever read on this topic. Awesome work!!

Kellen

You're very welcome. Thank you for the feedback!

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