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Hmm. I might have to check this out.

I wasn't scapegoated in my family, I was just the "crazy one", so I don't know how much I'll be able to get from this.

This blog is very interesting.

I got this book, it is excellent. Very detailed and very well written as well.

Both my husband and I come from dysfunctional family systems. I have been replicating my scapegoat role in his family, their scapegoat was his father until I came around and took over the role by asking about the pink elephant in his family which is his mother.

My husband is his mothers designated "caretaker" while his brother is the "hero"

My point is, I have just read chapter 2 and I can relate to how it formed the scapegoat role in my family, but I also see the patterns in my husbands family.

So in your opinion, are these patterns that create a scapegoat role similar to what creates other roles in the family as well.

I felt like Pillari was focused on scapegoating but what she was talking about also could be applied generally to creating dysfunctional roles in family systems in general.

I just bought this book off of Amazon a few days ago. I'm really enjoying your posts about the scapegoat role in families. There's not a lot written about the topic so keep up the good work.

Why is it nearly always the mother who starts the sacepgoating process turning all siblings against one. This happened to me. I am the artist in the family. the innocent child who asked why. That is all! I had daily extreme abuse, including violence from my beloved father every day of my life. Mother died when I was 10 but sisters continue the cycle of scapegoating me. No more physical violence, though, after dad died! Why do scapegoats always keep going back to the cruel siblings, hoping to change their minds? Why does one still love a family who treats one like this?

sorry, I mis-spelled a word, I meant 'scapegoating'! Okay, why I ask does the fear of rejection prevail with us black sheeps so intensely, especially in a new and very hopeful friendship or relationship which becomes so powerful in the end the more fond one feels towards the person so that one has to walk away from them? From what I have read of other peoples comments I know I am not alone in such experiences. Why is a prospect of our being successful in any venture in our lives such a potential threat to our sisters or brothers who have bullied us for so long (but denied what they are doing), who may often have encouraged us while behaving as if we are real rubbish? THIS IS A GREAT POST! Thank you so much for initiating it.

Hi Sandra,

We keep hoping for acceptance from our families. It's hard to realize they may not be able to give it. And it's hard to just walk away from the only family one has been given. To do so means you have no family at all and are possibly alone in the world. But some have to walk away if their families are simply too toxic and refuse to stop.

Fear of rejection comes quite naturally to someone who has been rejected by their entire family. If you can't trust your family to love you, who do you trust?

A scapegoat's success can be very threatening. It makes it harder for the family to scapegoat you. And if they can't scapegoat you, maybe the scapegoating will turn on them! So they may fight harder to keep you in that role.

I'm pleased you are enjoying the post. I hope it helps.

Wow. The above writings are so helpful, explain so much. I, too, have had to walk away from family because of scapegoating. Doing so lead to better emotional health. However, questions kept coming up for me -- why was my success so threatening for my sibling, why did I on one hand have to deal with that person's need to sabotage me emotionally when I did succeed, yet resent me when I failed? The above comments answered my question as to the motives of the other. But I have a question: Why does this keep coming up in other relationships I've had? Is there something about me that compels people to behave that way? If so, how can I change that? I've become better about establishing boundaries with people, and some have responded with respect, but there have been others who seemed determined to stick to their guns about their negative behaviour.

Hi Wondering,

The bad news is: Yes, you are doing something to replicate the Scapegoat role in your other relationships.

But this is also the good news because you have complete control over your own behavior, so it can be changed. And if you were strong enough and had enough insight to walk away from a family which scapegoated you, you can learn to handle relationships differently.

You may need a therapist to help you identify what is going on. The first step is to realize what you are doing. I can't tell you that from here, but start watching your patterns. You can also ask people who are close to you, people you can trust, to give you feedback about what you are doing.

Your last sentence intrigues me. It suggests that you expect others to change their "negative" behavior. Who deemed their behavior negative? What might be negative for you may be functional or advantageous for them. We also cannot change other people's behavior, only our own. Perhaps, instead of focusing on what they should do differently you could focus on how you could react differently to take care of yourself.

I hope this helps. Feel free to write back if you need more information or to let me know how you are doing.

About four years ago, Googling on "abuse by adult siblings", I discovered that my brother is a narcissist. I live 900 miles from my now deceased parents and sibs, so there was a period of calm as they took care of Mom after her paralyzing stroke. Then Mom died (things escalated), then my husband died suddenly (age 61), then Dad died a year ago -- all within 15 months of each other. Verbal and emotional abuse by my sibs has escalated as the 3 of us try to settle the estate -- all 3 are executors. I have now given them the authority to choose what I receive from the household items -- I just couldn't stay on the emotional roller coaster anymore -- and it is only "stuff".

Doing more research on narcissists about a month ago, I began to realize Mom was a narcissist and today researching Narcissist Moms and their daughters" came across "scapegoating". I had been wondering where I fit into the picture and immediately recognized my role and began reading about it and then trying to learn how to get out of that role in other relationships. For many years I have said that I was the black sheep of my family -- not that I really was a black sheep, but that no matter what decisions I made, my family criticized me for them (things like being the first to go to college! I was told I would just "go a year or 2 and get married and it would all be wasted"). Could never do anything right and was told many negative things about myself that I knew were not true, but that hurt deeply to hear.

I have drawn boundaries with brother and sister, but they hate it and treat me worse then ever. While we are settling the estate, I'm having minimal contact with them and once it is completed, I know that I will never see them or talk to them again. It is hard, because I suddenly seem devoid of family -- and at the same time, I never had healthy relationships with either of my sibs anyway -- so the loss is minimal -- and great -- all at the same time.

At this point in time, I'm actually building a new life for my self in just about every way outside of my relationship with my deceased husband and my "relationships" (not) with my Mom, brother and sister. I had become close to my Dad his last 4 years and I treasure that. I'm VERY grateful for your incite into scapegoats and how to stop being one. I'm grateful to understand clearly the areas of concern I need to address -- ways I can escape this role and enjoy more happiness and satisfaction. I am also concerned about the negative effects of my issues on my own 4 adult children. I wish I could have understood all this at a much younger age. Went through years of therapy and none of my therapists ever uttered the words "narcissism", "scapegoat", or helped me identify the roots of the problems. I'm going to buy the book you mention above if it is available. Thank you for helping me!! (Tears in my eyes)

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