A friend of mine was labelled the scapegoat in her family. She was repeatedly told that she was too volatile and ‘crazy.’ She was scapegoated for everything, including things she had absolutely nothing to do with.
It took her two years of therapy to realise that she was not crazy and there was nothing inherently wrong with her. In fact, she is a caring, warm and loving person.
It is convenient for a family to have a scapegoat, as the other members don’t have to take as much personal responsibility. You might find, when you challenge other members of the family, they tell you their behaviour is totally acceptable (when it is not) and that yours is not. This is likely to happen when you try to a boundary in place. They don’t like it, so they push back commenting again on your ‘over sensitivity’.
This is a toxic environment. Often the scapegoat can thrive when they leave this environment and be seen for the person they truly are.
Let me know if this was part of your experience.
Reference: Gemmill, G. “The Dynamics of Scapegoating in Small Groups, Small Group Research (November, 1989), vol, 20 (4), pp. 406-418
I have been the family scapegoat since birth I believe. Then my boyfriend made me his scapegoat which ruined my entire life. Everything about me has been stolen…Every single person in my life has done me very wrong & many still are doing me wrong. They spread lies about me to other family members which has caused me to be alone most all my life, with no family whatsoever that will even speak with me. I am kept from my 7 grandchildren & even my own 3 adult children believe the lies that they hear about me & do not respond to any of my messages or phone calls. However, its all not true, Thank you for this website & information I am hoping to learn to care for myself & to not be their scapegoat any longer.
thank you for sharing, and your courage to heal, sending you love