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I've come across this blog in my research on dealing with my family's efforts to get me back into the scapegoat role. I was the scapegoat in a family ruled by a tyrant who was a violent emotional and physical abuser. Over the years and through therapy its come clear to me that my father was a classic narcissist.

I was thrown out of the family years ago as the spoiled one, the degraded and hated one whose existence caused unbearable shame and turmoil for the rest of the family.

My crimes? Being a shy, quiet and retiring child who also had trauma from a very dramatic and turbulent divorce that resulted in my father "rescuing" us from our mother that he had abused during their marriage -- and who had the temerity to leave him. He used his superior financial position and social authority to commit the ultimate damage to her -- take her own children away and have her marked as an "unfit mother". Classic use of the court system to further abuse.

Anyway, as a teenager I left home at the urging of a counselor that my father was mandated to send me to after I reported his abuse (I was by now about 17). He said there was no alternative but for me to leave as my mental health was in serious jeopardy.

Let me tell all you therapists as an aside -- you may not see the effects of your words or your work, but I for one can testify that they have their effect. It just may take years. The words of my therapist at that time stuck with me through a long and painful journey to adulthood. Abusive relationships (emotionally, I would never tolerate physical abuse). So through years of self denial, replication of the scapegoating pattern and three children later (and much, much therapy to learn how to parent and to begin healing) I have finally healed.

I never asked a dime from my father except when there was a real danger that my ex husband would win custody if I did not have financial help to hire a lawyer to defend my position as parent. Money is a powerful tool in my family of origin and any cent spent on my welfare was upheld as a debt I should never forget.

Anyway, for the last few years, after laying down the law repeatedly as to what treatment I will tolerate and my father having a life changing heart-attack, I have made some tenuous peace with my father and his wife. I actually now can enjoy their presence and visit them at least once a year.

In rolls my brother, the designated 'hero' of the family dynamic who has enjoyed full attention from our narcissistic father in the only way possible -- by participating in blaming me and assuring my father that he has no blame for his past behavior and was not abusive in the past.

A few years ago I asked that my brother not be present when I visit. It seemed his habit to rush up from his home three or four hours away to 'visit' me when I would fly in. This was very traumatic and triggering for me as he would disrupt the tender peace with rude comments, interruptions in my talking, invalidation of every thing I said and also grandiose statements about "you and I were the same and look how we turned out --" or "just take responsibility for yourself why don't you?" or comments like, "excuse me, we don't care what you think" to even the most trivial commentary (the weather, home repair, cars, you name it).

Of course my father would sit silent and if I would speak up against such treatment a small reprimand to me would ensure, "Oh stop it will you?" or "Do you two have to fight and bicker all the time?" with no acknowledgment of the actual exchange or its context.

So now things have taken a new turn. I had finally come to terms with the fact that I will have my family only on certain conditions and that I won't have a relationship with my brother.

Now that I have finally found a good partner to marry (this is a milestone for me) and brought him to both my parents, my father says he wants us all to come together on Easter as a Big Happy Family once again.

Well first off, the Big Happy Family never existed in my world and certainly I was told that I destroyed the dream. (as my counselor had warned me though, life would be no picnic after I left -- I have learned it really fell apart instead).

But they want conditions -- that I "apologize" for some imagined offense I committed that caused my brother and I to break contact. My offense? Calling my brother on his behavior.

I won't and I am working hard on a letter to my father letting him know that I will not accept these terms and will not accept responsibility for putting the family back together. I never broke it, it was broken already and everyone has a duty to participate in healing.

Of course I know this won't happen so I'm gearing myself for accepting (once again) that my family of origin is not a safe place for me. This is the hardest challenge I think I have ever faced. I already lived my life as an orphan at sea so to speak, but looking back, maybe that was the best -- and the worst time -- but one where I learned what healthy relationships are and that its really not all my fault.

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