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Old 02-17-2019, 05:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I’m the Scapegoat


So I was researching the ACOA roles in the family and I am the scapegoat—middle child, first and only female. I am also an alcoholic. Sober for 47 days.

I have always felt like I was a victim of curcumstance my entire life!! Reading this definition of the role I played (and play) in my family dynamic is disturbing and enlightening.

I have 2 brothers who fit their roles as well. I still deal with an alcoholic father and a mother who favors the boys and makes excuses for my dad (my parents are divorced). I’ve tried NC with all of them at some point, but sooner or later their guilt trip is laid on me and they are back annoying me and blaming me for everything.

My post is for other Scapegoats—how do you accept your role and manage it in a healthy way? I’ve struggled my entire life with this, and just want to understand and move on to becoming the best version of me. We are the truth tellers and confident to speak up and out—I like that about me.

Share your experience, advice, wisdom. I am hoping to use responses as tools in my recovery.
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Suzieq17 View Post
My post is for other Scapegoats—how do you accept your role and manage it in a healthy way? .
First of all, congratulations on your sobriety!!!!
In answer to your question, I decided 2-1/2 years ago that I was DONE with that role. I went no contact with the two sisters I have left and moved on with life.
They have confirmed, in many ways since, that I made the correct decision.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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So I was researching the ACOA roles in the family and I am the scapegoat—middle child, first and only female. I am also an alcoholic. Sober for 47 days.
Former scapegoat here.

Congrats on your 47 days of sobriety.

Quote:
I have always felt like I was a victim of curcumstance my entire life!! Reading this definition of the role I played (and play) in my family dynamic is disturbing and enlightening.
I remember having the same reaction.

It was suggested to me by my therapist to not get caught up by this label. I suggest the same to you. Stop reading about it and remove the label. Put it in the past. You are an adult now, and no one can sh*t on you without your permission. Forgive the child who couldn't stick up for herself because of survival.

Quote:
I have 2 brothers who fit their roles as well.
My siblings had their roles, too. The rebellious (and manipulative) sibling, and the hero sibling. I used to think the hero sibling had a wonderful life until it was explained to me that her role came with a great deal of stress. It makes sense now. None of the roles in an alcoholic home are good. Children shouldn't have roles.

Quote:
I still deal with an alcoholic father and a mother who favors the boys and makes excuses for my dad (my parents are divorced).
They. Won't. Change.
But you can.
Just don't change for the goal and expectation of them changing. Do it for YOU.

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I’ve tried NC with all of them at some point, but sooner or later their guilt trip is laid on me and they are back annoying me and blaming me for everything.
These words are exactly my words. I experienced this. You are in control and have a choice if you allow them to guilt you back into the family. In my family it was their warped way of "love", but it was also because they f*cking needed their scapegoat back in order to function. Families get pissed when the scapegoat finds his or her backbone that was always there and leaves.

They will not change.

They will not change.

They will not change.

They will not change.

They will continue to put you into that Scapegoat box until the day you die. And you will remain in that Scapegoat box until after you die. Get the f*ck out of the box and kick it to the god damn curb.

Stop thinking they will. It'll ruin your life. It ruined mine. I will probably have to survive on rice & beans when I retire because of the amount of money I have spent in therapy, crying hysterically because of they continue to treat me the same ways, day in and day out, year in and year out. I couldn't see what I now see, until I did my step work in AA synergistically with my therapy.

They will likely continue to guilt, annoy, and blame you for everything until the day they die.

Unless they get years and years and years of therapy. Then there may be a chance they change. But probably not. One of my siblings was in therapy for a couple of years. I mistakenly thought she changed. But she went right back to her "I'm going to be sweet and friendly to PTF, and then I'll swoop her right up like a hawk catching its prey and pry out all of the private and personal information I want to get out of her and then be satisfied." It's sick. You're their drug. Take your f*cking power back, and never ever give it away again. Respect yourself because they don't respect you.

In hindsight I see how absolutely ludicrous it was for the things I got blamed for. People who are too f*cking weak to see their own mistakes, will project and blame the scapegoat. My mother blamed me for her rages. What type of sick parent blames a child on her inability to control her anger? Thank god my psychiatrist told me that adults are in control of their own emotions. I was blamed for everything little and everything big. If the waiter overcharged my parents, it was my fault. Sh*t like that. If my father had a medical issue, it was my fault. No one could ever look within and see their own faults.

Quote:
My post is for other Scapegoats—how do you accept your role and manage it in a healthy way?
How I accept my role? I don't accept it anymore.

How do I manage it in a healthy way? By setting boundaries/limitations, keeping relationships surface only, and by walking away if they continue to try to guilt me, blame me, or manipulate me any other way.

I manage it in a healthy way by not accepting blame for anything that I do not deserve.

I also manage it in a healthy way by not wasting a second of energy trying to explain why something they think is my fault is not my fault. It's not my role to change their mind. They can continue to think in their insane warped ways.

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I’ve struggled my entire life with this, and just want to understand and move on to becoming the best version of me.
Don't try to understand it. You can't. It's really illogical and irrational. They probably love you but that's not the point. It's all f*cked up and warped and caused by their unresolved pain.

You can become the best version of yourself by just living your own life and do what makes you happy. Stop letting them guilt, blame, manipulate you. If something feels off, it likely is off. They'll try every which way to get you back into their dysfunctional drama and chaos filled tornado of a family system. Don't let them. Again, they probably do love you but that's so not the point.

Quote:
We are the truth tellers and confident to speak up and out—I like that about me.
I keep my truths to myself.

I will speak up if I'm around them and one of them is treating me sh*tty. Or I will calmly just end the interaction however I see fit.

I will observe their excuses, blaming me for misunderstanding or whatever excuse they make, and just listen watch.

These types of family systems hate it when the Scapegoat speaks up, because they cannot handle hearing the truth. So they get angry, rageful, manipulative, and vicious if you try to speak the truth. They will gaslight you to everyone else. I let them continue to live in their dysfunctional lies and just stay the f*ck out of it.

Quote:
Share your experience, advice, wisdom. I am hoping to use responses as tools in my recovery.
I hope this helped.

Warning: people in 12-step programs do not understand the role of the scapegoat. It gets really f*cked up because step work is supposed to see how WE harmed others. Step work doesn't really give a f*ck how others harmed US, especially if it's our own f*cking family.

I did a thorough 4th step. I didn't harm my family. I needed my therapist to drill that into my head, because it went against the cult of my AA group. No amends were necessary. The way I acted out as a kid/teen was for survival and in response to the scapegoat abuse. If you do step work I strongly encourage you to get yourself to a therapist who understands the role of the Scapegoat. And run the f*ck out if you're with a therapist who was from an alcoholic home and was another one of the roles, because they'll only see you as the way they saw their family scapegoat.

Find your inner strength. It's there. You're likely a lot stronger than you think you are. Your inner strength was what made you the Scapegoat. They couldn't control someone who was strong.

Do not talk with any family members about this scapegoat/ACOA family dynamics stuff you read about. It'll make them angry, which means they'll project more of that anger onto. They can't face up to anything. Everything small and big must be blamed on the Scapegoat.

Be very careful if one of your family members starts to treat you all nicey-nice. They likely want information out of you to figure out how to get you back into their sick and twisted family dynamics. They're pissed they can't treat you like a scapegoat anymore and dump on you. Then they'll use the info against you, and treat you just like they always treated you. A place to empty and project a dump truck of sh*t they can't and probably will never be able to face about themselves.

Advice: Think of something to tell friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. when they look at you puzzled as to why you're not spending Christmas with your family, inviting your family to your baby shower, etc. Society does not understand. And if you try to explain to people, they will just get more puzzled. Just smile and have a short sentence or two excuse and change the subject back to the person asking. Do not let anxiety take over. I ruined relationships with some of my spouse's family because of this mistake. True everyone has family sh*t, but no one understands the ACOA unless they are one, too, in the same role. And if they're way of handling being an ACOA was just to brush everything all under the rug, forget it. They won't understand. My therapist taught me I don't owe anyone an explanation about anything. It's no one's business. Be peacefully confident in your decisions and how you live your life.

Just live your life and be happy. It'll make me happy if you do this. It's basically too late for me. Their guilt, manipulation, abuse, rage and blame worked for too f*cking long. It took me too long to allow myself to see the TRUTH.
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Old 03-24-2019, 04:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm so sick of my family right now, esp my mother, I feel like getting in my car and driving as far away from all of them that I can get. My mother is NPD and B PD and she has and is an absolute nightmare. She tries to even get me to drink, when I've been sober for a year or more. She's so evil and my financial situation is keeping me with her. She may kick me out for all I care anymore. I hate my family and prayers go out to anyone experiencing anything remotely as painful.
I have forever been the scapegoat and identified patient in my family and I am growing very weary of it.
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm so sick of my family right now, esp my mother, I feel like getting in my car and driving as far away from all of them that I can get. My mother is NPD and B PD and she has and is an absolute nightmare. She tries to even get me to drink, when I've been sober for a year or more. She's so evil and my financial situation is keeping me with her. She may kick me out for all I care anymore. I hate my family and prayers go out to anyone experiencing anything remotely as painful.
I have forever been the scapegoat and identified patient in my family and I am growing very weary of it.
I hope you can move out soon and go on with your life. There is nothing to be gained here by staying and suffering in such a place.
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you. I am in a pretty bad situation right now and my health hasn't been good. I needed to vent and I am looking into some alternative way to live. You are right, it's not a healthy way to live.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Suzieq17, well done for your 47 days sober and thank you for starting this thread. My therapist has recently told me that I am the scapegoat in my relationship with my mother so it helped me to read your post and read the replies as I now know I'm not alone with this role. I don't know that I could say how I deal with this yet as it is a recent discovery. However I have moments when it has empowered me to think and speak differently with my mother. . Also I felt connected to people when I read this thread.
i am going through a difficult time in my relationship with my mother so I hope that knowing about this role will help me to look at our boundaries. I don't feel I can cut communication altogether but I hope that I can talk about the relationship with my mother to others who will have heard of this role now.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR Heather - you'll find a lot of support here

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Old 05-15-2019, 03:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you Dee :-)
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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HI Susieq17,
Scapegoat and middle child here as well.

And I agree, I like this about me too: confidence to speak out and truth tell

I did the No Contact thing for years...and then was scapegoated for that as well

But, seriously, I'm in my mid-50's now and I can honestly say that it has DEFINITELY gotten better. And I attribute this to the following:

1. Dysfunction catches up with people. And it caught up with members of my immediate family. Now most of them are stressed and depressed and cannot deal with their own lives - all because they refused to acknowledge the dysfunction that existed in their lives from our FOO. For all the crap I took my entire adult life from them for being in therapy and not 'being strong enough to maintain a relationship' with members of my family (or so I was accused of), I can say my work in therapy has really paid off.

2. A few years ago my mother was confronting her own mortality and I think this inspired her to want to make amends with me (from her own guilt perhaps?) as best she could. And that helped.

3. I practiced serious generosity with them for many years hoping it would make them ease up on the scapegoating. It didn't necessarily do that, but it did give me something to hang over their heads when I needed to - as manipulative as that sounds - I'm pleading guilty to that.

I honestly believe that if you keep your "eye on the prize", so to speak, and be laser-like focused on what your life goals are and keep yourself on that path, it will work itself out in the end.

...or outlive them and get the last word...

Best of luck. I'm interested in knowing how your journey on this goes!
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Old 08-04-2019, 12:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Stella, thank you for the wonderful, honest post.
I got so much out of your words.
You are truly one of my most admired people and have so much wisdom.
I am so glad you are my friend and have moved through such hardship with a great deal of grace and class. You have helped me more than you know. ♥♥♥
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I have 2 brothers who fit their roles as well. I still deal with an alcoholic father and a mother who favors the boys and makes excuses for my dad (my parents are divorced). I’ve tried NC with all of them at some point, but sooner or later their guilt trip is laid on me and they are back annoying me and blaming me for everything.

My post is for other Scapegoats—how do you accept your role and manage it in a healthy way? I’ve struggled my entire life with this, and just want to understand and move on to becoming the best version of me. We are the truth tellers and confident to speak up and out—I like that about me. .
I have only sisters but apparently I'm the only one who ever told the truth in our family and yes, it got me where I am. Too bad. I'll continue to tell the truth.

It's been around ten years since I've had any real contact with them. I don't buy into their guilt tripping because I've learned that every time I forgive and go back and think they've changed...they haven't.

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Stop reading about it and remove the label. Put it in the past. You are an adult now, and no one can sh*t on you without your permission.
Unfortunately, they can. I've long since gone NC. But they rope my kids in and I hear this garbage sometimes from my kids. Sure I don't give my permission, but they're still infecting my children (grown, btw, so no, I cannot tell them they're not allowed to spend time with these vampires.)

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Originally Posted by Pathwaytofree View Post
My siblings had their roles, too. The rebellious (and manipulative) sibling, and the hero sibling. I used to think the hero sibling had a wonderful life until it was explained to me that her role came with a great deal of stress. It makes sense now. None of the roles in an alcoholic home are good. Children shouldn't have roles.
I also realized this. The Golden Child should be happy. She can do no wrong. But she's not. She's missing a sister and is so brainwashed that she can't figure out why I want nothing to do with them even as she spits in my eye again. Yeah, it's insane, but she IS hurting.


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They will continue to put you into that Scapegoat box until the day you die. And you will remain in that Scapegoat box until after you die. Get the f*ck out of the box and kick it to the god damn curb.
How do you suggest someone get out of the box? If I had no kids, no problem. I'd have just walked away. But they're drawing my kids in who are at least half believing the garbage they hear and it gets thrown back in my face. Some of my kids are adults and my XH takes the younger ones to family functions on his days with them. I can't stop their interaction with these people.

No, I don't 'accept' it. But I'm saying we don't always have such complete control over the ramifications of what the alcoholics do. It stinks, but they ARE able to pull people in against us.

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Stop thinking they will. It'll ruin your life. It ruined mine. I will probably have to survive on rice & beans when I retire because of the amount of money I have spent in therapy, crying hysterically because of they continue to treat me the same ways, day in and day out, year in and year out.
I lost a lot of money (yearly gifts, huge inheritance) by walking away from the circus. But I figured years ago I would either a) spend it all on therapy anyway or b) commit suicide under their constant criticism, and having lots of money isn't very helpful when you're dead.



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Originally Posted by Pathwaytofree View Post
How I accept my role? I don't accept it anymore.

How do I manage it in a healthy way? By setting boundaries/limitations, keeping relationships surface only, and by walking away if they continue to try to guilt me, blame me, or manipulate me any other way.

I manage it in a healthy way by not accepting blame for anything that I do not deserve.
Yes, agreed. I looked very closely at all that was going on. It was clear my sister had a rage problem with many people, yet they tried to tell me her explosions were my fault. Nope. She was exploding at sales clerks and neighbor kids and who knows who all else when I lived 2,000 miles away. Not my fault.


It's important to look at ourselves and accept blame for what we really are guilty of … and NOT for what we aren't.

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Originally Posted by StellaBlu View Post

I did the No Contact thing for years...and then was scapegoated for that as well

But, seriously, I'm in my mid-50's now and I can honestly say that it has DEFINITELY gotten better. And I attribute this to the following:

1. Dysfunction catches up with people. And it caught up with members of my immediate family. Now most of them are stressed and depressed and cannot deal with their own lives - all because they refused to acknowledge the dysfunction that existed in their lives from our FOO. For all the crap I took my entire adult life from them for being in therapy and not 'being strong enough to maintain a relationship' with members of my family (or so I was accused of), I can say my work in therapy has really paid off.

2. A few years ago my mother was confronting her own mortality and I think this inspired her to want to make amends with me (from her own guilt perhaps?) as best she could. And that helped.

3. I practiced serious generosity with them for many years hoping it would make them ease up on the scapegoating. It didn't necessarily do that, but it did give me something to hang over their heads when I needed to - as manipulative as that sounds - I'm pleading guilty to that.

I honestly believe that if you keep your "eye on the prize", so to speak, and be laser-like focused on what your life goals are and keep yourself on that path, it will work itself out in the end.

...or outlive them and get the last word...
I'm not far behind you. So far, it hasn't gotten better, but mainly because they're sucking my kids into their sickness. I'm still waiting for the dysfunction to catch up with them, for one or more siblings to finally see the light and get help. So far, it hasn't happened. They have each other and they seem happy with that.

My parents are heading toward 80 and it sure looks like they're going to die on this path they're on.

Like you, I feel I've been more than generous and that keeps my nose very clean. I gave them every possible opportunity to reach for that olive branch I was offering and they refused to take it. My nose is clean. I did what I could and could not have done more, short of going back to being their scapegoat which almost certainly would have led to suicide.

I am not being dramatic. But I'm sure everyone here who's been constantly pounded into the ground and told what a piece of garbage they are, always wrong, always the screw up...knows that.

Your advice to keep your eye on the prize, on your own goals, is excellent advice. I've done so since middle school and I believe it's why I've had *very* little therapy. I dismissed them in some corner of my mind, even from that age, and kept focused on what I wanted to do with my life, what I wanted to be able to put into the world.

I looked toward college, then toward career and family and I have done much of what I set out to do. My goal in life is to leave the world a better place than I found it and if I do that, then nothing they say about me matters because those who know me … KNOW me … know the truth.

Do anything and everything to put good into the world around you. Volunteer. Give to charities. Help kids in poor countries through one of those programs. Then your life matters and nothing they say does.
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:02 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Worth a watch this one...



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