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« Dueling Divorcees and Christmas Cheer | Main | "Do You Know What I Mean?" »

December 29, 2009


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spot on, neon tango

Hi Ms T,

Most Scapegoats care about the truth because they grew up in a family which lived a lie. Whether the family covered up domestic violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse or some other form of dysfunction, there is usually a family "secret". Though the Scapegoat refuses to participate in the hypocrisy - and this can be what saves them - they can also get caught up in their own self righteousness. And this can be what causes them problems as an adult.

Ahh.......perhaps freedom is just around the corner.

The truth will set us free, or at least that's what I thought. Unfortunately, as the scapegoat, telling the truth puts the burden of responsibility back onto it's rightful owner.

I'm one of two scapegoats in my family, me being the quiet (different) one and my sister being the one who's acted out. These articles have made me cry thinking about the two little girls who bore the brunt of all the shame in our alcoholic family. As middle-aged women we're now becoming aware at the effects of this mistreatment in our own lives.

I don't know as I'm ready to divorce the family. After a 20 year hiatus living 1,000 miles away, I've moved back to join in the insanity. The purpose of the move was to care for aged in-laws and I have no regrets.

I have been a champion for the truth - and consequently, still on the 'bad guy' list. It matters not what I do or how 'good' I am. My sadness today comes from a loss of creativity or really feeling as though I have a purpose. I care for many people, but know not myself.

My current plan is a sort of stonewalling technique with my family. Be kind, be respectful, even listen to glowing reports of the sister who has slandered me for years........and, don't respond. Force a smile and change the subject. I will also be much more selective on how much of myself I will share. Talk of events, but not my feelings. The friends that I've been blessed with, the ones who truly know and love me are more than enough to be my confidantes though I do not wish to overly burden these wonderful woman. I need not be so vulnerable to to the abuse of an unloving family of origin.

Hi Laura,

I hope you find that freedom, and in it, come to know yourself. I wish you all the best.

Thanks Kellen. Now I'm reading and crying again. Freedom will come when I accept that I am not perfect and matters not if I was - some will just not like me. It's my job, however, to continue to love myself and not be intimidated by their kangaroo court or the gossip surrounding me. And, this will require less family interaction. Maybe time for a little therapy. I'm wary, however, of focusing too much on the problem instead of just receiving the solution. I'm so tired of feeling like a victim.

I think this came just in the nick of time. I left my physically and verbally/emotionally/psychologically/abusive husband (who also abuses me by proxy including through his two teenage sisters) and moved in with my mom who has become verbally abusive to me. Another friend of mine was being toxic. I found myself asking my one remaining friend what it was about me that made people want to stomp on me. She says I'm too emotional/trusting/naive etc.

Its true! I always feel the need to tell the truth. And I realise I make new contacts uncomfortable by sharing TMI too soon. So, I want to practice what Kellen said. Force a smile and change the topic away from me to a happier general topic. And I'll stop burdening my friend who I know feels my pain too much for her good. There are no therapists here so I'll keep it all in. Smile and wave!

I'd really appreciate it if you can suggest online resources to help change my victim-consciousness and start being stronger and positive. Because I've two kids and don't want to transfer this disease to them.

I just resigned from my job -- new crew came in, one crew after another actually, and I was the scapegoat for every problem with this new group. It was like there was a high school clique & they were just being mean girls. So mean. I always blame myself for problems, because I hate being the scapegoat so I will not do it to others. So whenever there are confrontations in my life, I just take the blame, even when it is not mine to take. Growing up, I was the "problem child" My mom even said "I raised you all the same -- the other two girls aren't like this" There were 3 girls in the family. My mom wanted to get counseling for me but would not go back because the counselor made her feel "like it was all her fault" -- I actually heard that later from my older sister. My mother discusses all my problems with my older sister. Then my sister calls me with patronizing type of kindness, wanting to help. I think she resents having to help -- I can tell my mother called her. My dad was an alcoholic -- I didn't know this until I was in my 30's, when my older sister said something about it and couldn't believe that I didn't know. I am the youngest. My sister in the middle is very nice, quiet, good, non-emotional. My oldest sister has to look like she has it all together and will help fix me. Just like my mother needs to fix everyone -- the perfect co-dependent. My children are now even the problem grandchildren, even though they are not problems. No drugs, no drinking, not in trouble with the law, pretty decent kids -- better than I was. But they are not perfect and my mother has to point this out to me all the time -- all my children's faults. There are many good traits in my children that need to be nurtured. I'm just tired of this mess. One time I told my husband "you make me feel bad" He said, "No, you do that all by yourself" which is true. I blame myself for everything. This has turned into depression & anxiety and having a difficult time just functioning in life. On antidepressants and xanax, which I hate. Zap the life out of me but I have to function. Now this work situation for 3 yrs. was just awful. Never have I been treated so badly at work in my life. I don't want to be the victim but it seems pretty much impossible for me to ever stand up for myself or be assertive. I always try to see other people's viewpoints and try to be kind and work together. I'm totally taken back when people are mean and rude and tear me down to build themselves up in front of the boss. I am afraid to work again. My current work asked me to stay on per diem and work in a different office. I hope it works out better. Living like this is so depressing.


Please get help. I believe it's the only way out of this cycle. The Scapegoat pattern is handed down, generation to generation. Get the counseling for yourself that your mother refused to get for herself - so you don't pass this down to your children.

I find one of your statements very interesting. In reference to your children you say they "are not perfect". Who expects them to be? It doesn't sound like you do, but perhaps your mother? Are these the choices in your family? Complete perfection or complete failure? Perfection is not humanly possible!
If this is the standard you are trying to meet, no wonder you are depressed and anxious.

I'm not surprised you have replicated the role at work. That is very normal. It may also exist with your husband to some degree. Most people replicate their family role in all of their other relationships.

I hope you get help, for yourself and your children, so this toxic pattern won't be passed down. Even if your children are grown, the pattern can still be halted - by you.

Your article and comments are helpful! Loved those questions in the article, those could really keep me on track. That being said I think, as scapegoats, we can look at societies scapegoats too. These are the people that get wrongly put on the DOJ 'EDP' list, then a eshcelon no-hire list. There are even SIGs like the ADL and KKK that get people they don't like on this list! And how do you get off the list- you don't. You end up getting scapegoated for the rest of your life. This is something to tell the truth about.

After more than ten years of no contact, I reconnected with my crazy mom, well, guilt caused me to call her after she was bugging other family members about wanting to talk to me. I was a scapegoat, just about had another breakdown this last month just from a few phone "conversations", but I did tell the truth, she asked in a voicemail what I might be mad about, so I told her, lying and manipulating STILL trying to get something out of me, and the pretending that the last mess of about ten years ago than involved family, lawyers, cops, moving across country, and a breakdown for me, was NOT all her doing, that our last interaction was that mess, and she screamed "stop it stop it........", and damn, I think she hung up on me!! YEAH, I was calm, I was to the point, I only brought up the now and the most recent messes, felt a little guilty and afraid that she would spin this and I would get harassed by one of her minions, but a day later I realize that it was me putting the last nails into the coffin of our relationship, and my migraine went away, my back quit hurting, I was able to concentrate on what I needed to do today, I actually found myself NOT being miserable. Wow, a month revisiting hell, and I am free!!! Thanks to all the great people online that post helpful things!

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