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 2
The terms narcissistic, sociopathic, or psychopathic are not being used as a diagnosis. These terms are being used as descriptors of patterns of behaviors that are exhibited by individuals. This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat anyone. This blog is strictly for awareness and educational purposes.
1) The scapegoat faces confusion.
The scapegoat faces confusion between what is love and what is abuse. The connection makes the possibility higher of having abusive partners and friends when they do leave toxic family systems. Not all toxic relationships come from having abusive parents but it is very common and it is important to understand that familiarity is often disguised as chemistry. We need to bring awareness to the cycles of violence toxic relationships bring.
2) You often play the role of the savior.
It’s common for the scapegoat to be the savior or the hero in the family dynamic and sometimes in the relationship dynamic. In a toxic family dynamic, the savior or “hero” role will be filled by the scapegoat as they are trying to protect and deflect any abuse directed at others. This can extend into romantic relationships - especially if children are involved.
Protecting those who can’t protect themselves is something most scapegoats can relate to. They often sympathize with the person going through anything traumatic and they wish someone would have stepped in for them because they have once experienced that type of pain.
3) You were forced to be the “Cinderella” of the home.
When you are a scapegoat, it is common for the cleaning and caretaking to be placed on you. This doesn't always happen in every situation, but it is one of the common themes female scapegoats often have to do. They become the designated cleaning person in the home and are forced to serve the toxic person as if they were their personal maid. This “ Cinderella syndrome” is typically forced into scapegoats at a very young age, which also parentifies the child.
Regardless of age or gender, scapegoats are to be exploited in any way, shape, or form.
4) You were encouraged to not have friends or relationships.
Isolation is a toxic person's best friend. If the outside world has less information on their scapegoat, the better. No relationship is ever going to be seen as good in their eyes. The more isolated the scapegoat is, the better likelihood they will stay in the toxic person's grasp and have no chance of possibly telling anyone about the abuse they’re facing.
5) You were shamed.
Toxic people love to use shame as a manipulation tool. Narcissistic parents will force perfection onto their children and it is humanly impossible to be perfect. The lack of perfection creates shame, and that shame is used as a tool to belittle and berate the scapegoat. The scapegoat then faces the humiliation of being labeled as imperfect and a failure of a child to their parents.
Why do narcissists and toxic people shame others?
Shame forces us to remain silent. Shame forces us to hate ourselves instead of the abuser until we realize that the abuse exists.
6) You were not allowed to explore your dreams and passions.
Toxic parents and partners will want to hold you down to keep you from exploring your passions and dreams. They may choose your career, your major in college, what style of clothing you wear, how you style your hair, and who you communicate with. Being restricted from reaching your potential is a way to crush your hopes, which leaves a smaller possibility of the scapegoat leaving the home.
Toxic people want scapegoats to be dependent on them. This often results in financial abuse - which may mean the toxic person is in charge of your bank account, doesn’t allow you to work, and has sabotaged your efforts for higher education and employment. With this form of sabotage, the scapegoat feels hopeless and feels like they can never accomplish anything.
7) You were never "good enough" for your abusers.
Your abusers want you to believe you are not good enough for them or anyone else when you are the scapegoat. They want their victim to feel like they have to bend over backward and be perfect to please them, but they also want them to fall to pieces and then bounce back to do whatever the abuser needs.
Your abusers are thinking of how they can use you to their advantage. The games they play are so calculated and strategic that they bring themselves out to be the victim when the scapegoat calls out their toxicity and stands up for themselves or someone else. The victimhood abusers play not only causes the confusion I mentioned earlier but also makes the scapegoat feel like they could never be good enough because they are the problem in the abuser’s eyes.
You have always been enough.
We have to find our worth once we discover what we have been through as scapegoats. Know that their tactics were only to hold you back from reaching your potential. You deserve the very best - even if you don’t feel like you do right now.