What does a scapegoat go through in toxic family systems and relationships?
Today we are covering 7 things a scapegoat goes through in a toxic family system or relationship - part 1.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat anyone and is strictly for awareness and educational purposes.
1) You get blamed for everything.
The scapegoat is chronically blamed for everything wrong in the toxic family dynamics. It doesn’t matter what it is, the scapegoat will be blamed for it and they will begin to feel bad about themselves and self-gaslight.
2) You are the peacekeeper and the people pleaser.
Scapegoats have to try to keep the peace. If they don’t, all chaos breaks loose, making it hard for the scapegoat to function. They don’t want to handle any conflict because it is exhausting and so draining - but scapegoats will handle the conflict frequently because scapegoats are also the truth-tellers who stand up against injustice.
Scapegoats are often people pleasers. It’s almost always required when we are in a bad situation to fawn over our abusers to keep ourselves safe and out of harm's way - even if it is only for a short amount of time. Depending on the family or relationship dynamic, fawning may not work but there is often a deeply rooted need for to people please to get praise, love, care, affection, and attention that scapegoats are deprived of in these toxic situations.
3) Your abuser uses you for emotional and mental support.
It’s very common for scapegoats to be used as emotional and mental support for the very person who is harming them. Scapegoats are often highly sensitive people who will listen and support - even when the issues the abuser is facing aren’t age or relationship appropriate. Narcissists or toxic parents often create a surrogate spouse relationship with their children, also known as covert incest.
The scapegoat becomes drained of their emotional energy trying to support their abuser - which means they have no time outside of this toxic relationship for anyone else or themselves
4) Your abuser projects their own behaviors onto you.
A scapegoat will face the projection of their abuser. Things your abuser will do will be forced onto you. You will take the blame for their actions. The toxic person is ungrateful, so in turn, they will project that you are ungrateful and nothing they do for you is ever enough - when you are the one sacrificing yourself for them to try to meet their needs, while your needs are never met.
5) The verbal abuse is constantly happening.
Scapegoats are constantly verbally assaulted on a day-to-day basis when they are in contact with their abuser. The comments can be very covert, hidden in past wounds others are unfamiliar with that just trigger you and push you over the edge just so the abuser can get a reaction from you to get their desired supply - this is also known as the manipulation tactic called "dog-whistling."
6) Your success and achievements are downplayed.
Anything that you may accomplish will be downplayed. The scapegoat faces the struggle of always having to feel that they are never good enough because regardless of what they achieve, it is just another day, another thing, and life keeps going.
Scapegoats often face “imposter syndrome” as they often doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and they often have a persistent fear of being thought of as a fraud or they believe they are a fraud. Scapegoats often cannot identify with their achievements. Their past and present often overlap in their minds and it’s hard to identify themselves with what they’ve accomplished because they were taught to just keep going. Keep surviving - but thriving is only for the golden child.
7) The abuse is ignored by others.
The scapegoat will be ignored in other situations and is often made the scapegoat for other people outside the family or relationship dynamics. The abuse that happens to scapegoats will be looked over and the bystanders will say, “that’s not my responsibility” or “I was taught to mind my own business” instead of helping or saying anything. This is a large problem and unfortunately common.