With the presence of a designated scapegoat, there may be a lot of hidden dysfunction. It can be much easier to hide an abusive marriage with the presence of a child who has problems and is constantly misbehaving, etc.
No other family member is as ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’ as the scapegoat, which creates a kind of comfort for everyone else. As one of the other siblings, you might make a mistake, but it is not as bad as the scapegoat, so it will be essentially overlooked.
The person who suffers from this dynamic is the scapegoat.
If you know you were scapegoated as a child, know that MANY scapegoats go on to have fulfilling lives in new families. It can be difficult to shift the energy within the family of origin, but with therapy and focus it IS possible.
Did you ever feel like The Scapegoat in your family?
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Reference: Gemmill, G. “The Dynamics of Scapegoating in Small Groups, Small Group Research (November 1989), vol, 20 (4), pp. 406-418