Scapegoat Role Feed

The Advantages of Being the Scapegoat

Why would anyone want to be the scapegoat in their family?  Could being in the scapegoat role be a good thing?  Might the scapegoat of a family benefit from being scapegoated?

If you think about the purpose of scapegoating in the family system, it is the practice of piling the "sins" of the family on one person.  One person is sacrificed for the "good" of all.  And that is not good for anyone, but it can be really damaging for the scapegoat.  However, it may have one benefit.

The scapegoat is typically indoctrinated to believe there is something wrong with them.  If they are a child or teenager they may be dropped off at the therapist to be fixed, the "identified patient".  And this may be what saves them.

The rest of the family denies any wrong doing.  They have no problems, there is nothing wrong with them, they don't need treatment, they don't need to change - they tell themselves.  It's all the scapegoat.  So the scapegoat grows up believing there is something wrong with them and fighting to change it.  The family, by contrast, believes they have no problems and do not need to change.  So they don't.  

People who can't, or won't, change are locked into their behaviors.  Because they cannot change, they cannot heal, they cannot do anything different.  They are doomed to be just as they are.  If they are raging narcissists, they are doomed to die narcissists.  If they are alcoholics, they may die of liver disease.  Since they won't take responsibility for their behavior, they cannot change it, so they are doomed to keep repeating it.  

But the scapegoat can change.  They can heal.  They can move past it and learn a healthier way of being.   For that reason alone, being the scapegoat may make one stronger.  Because the scapegoat is willing, and able, to admit there is a problem - they have the power and the freedom to change it.  


Maintaining the Cycle of Abuse

People who were abused in their families of origin may practice the same abusive behavior towards themselves.  They may also pass it on to their children.  This creates a sick, and sometimes fatal, cycle of abuse that repeats itself generation after generation.

Continue reading "Maintaining the Cycle of Abuse" »