Sad kid

Secrets of Dysfunctional Family (2) – Scapegoating

Don’t expect abusive family members to apologize or make amends.  

They will likely blame you more if you attempt to hold them accountable.

~ Glynis Sherwood ~

In any dysfunctional family, the authority person (usually parents) will assign specific role to specific kid.  “Scapegoat” is one of the typical role because these kind of pathological  families need one member to be the “identified problem” in order to make everyone look good by comparison.

Name of my blog – Rebellious goat, is actually represent the role I play in my toxic family, which was crowned since very young age.  I was so confused, lost and absolutely in chaos until I come across psychological term of “scapegoating” in recent years.

The more knowledge I gained the more anger I accumulated and kept on asking “why me?”, I was broke down, depressed, cried from day to night secretly until my eyes swelled like eggs.  Why it seems most of people have a normal (though may be unhappy) family but I was trapped in such toxic family?  It’s not my choice and I didn’t ask for it.  But in another quiet moment, I feel relief because finally have a word to describe my situation and there’s nothing wrong on me. Instead, there’s a saying “Scapegoat” often the truth tellers in the family.

Can do “no right”

I was defined as “the bad / worst daughter”, being picked on small stuffs daily, blamed, put down for most of problems in family, including real or things that they made up or imagined.  I felt I’m a slave / maid at home, my food, education, expenses and self-esteem are exchanged with non-stopped household works.

Nobody helped me when my abusive father was not around, I did cleaning, cooking etc. as fast as I could so I can have my own leisure time.  But when my dad back home, everyone who was on the phone chit-chat or sleeping were suddenly became very hardworking, clean this and that.  I didn’t blame on my sisters for their intention of ACTING good, but when my father found me reading or watching TV, I was insulted as “rubbish” and yelled in foul language.  He didn’t care how much efforts I paid during the day but simply want to blame me for whatever situation.

He acted like a God who tease me sarcastically to my sisters that how lazy I am and how unlucky they are to have such a terrible sister. In my mind, I was thinking they should be the one who need to feel sorry as it’s so sick to act at home.  It’s not a theater.  It’s so pathetic and sad if we can’t be true to ourselves and our biological family.

Lost of motivation

At first, I tried to explain, fight back but eventually tired of doing anything to defend myself, what’s the point? The drama is non-stopped, I’m not only responsible for my own mistakes but all of other family members.  My mom lost her wallet, I was slapped, kicked out of the house, humiliated and scold harshly for not able to get her wallet back from her friends, who stole her wallet (I was 11 years old).  And when my sister mess up the house with unwashed clothes, I was blamed for asking her to tidy up the house (she was 22 years old).

I shut up whenever my father lied about my attitudes and demeaned me in front of family members, relatives.  Not only I was tired of explaining but also I felt shame to have this so-called family.  I feel shame to let others know my abused situation and I worry that once I disclose everything, the family will tear down and my dad’s reputation will be gone.  That’s another common attitude can be found from abused child because we don’t want to hurt people, especially those who supposed love and care us.

Felt like no matter I did, said or respond were become another long-lasting war.  It’s exhausted.  I learned to shut up, ignore and disassociated.   And gradually, I stopped to do all household work because I knew I can never do good, I finally woke up and paid more attention to my own welfare, knew nobody will appreciate my effort and can foresee myself will be their life-long slave / maid till death.

Difficult to shake off the role

Every day, I need to handle all name calling, negative labeling and insulting by my own self.  And in abusive family, other family members are also encourage to pick on this “scapegoat”, i.e. me thus I don’t have any support in the family.  This is the reason why  once you were trapped in the role of  “scapegoat” , it’s extremely difficult to step out of it without hurts.

My abusive father stated clearly that if anyone wants his love / attention, that person needs to stay in his side to support his rules.  He isolated me from other family members and relatives so I’m completely out of support system.   And rumors he spread openly around his circle of friends, relatives made me viewed as even worse in their thoughts.

People chose to believe if parents don’t like that kid, it means this is the problem of the kid.  Not too many people will care why is it happened, what’s wrong behind the doors that made this kid acting so rebellious.  Similar situation may found in classroom, once we spot a child who has behavior issues, it’s not his / her problem but obviously something happened in his / her home that he / she can manage.

Final thoughts

As a scapegoat in dysfunctional family, I can tell you it’s extremely difficult to live with peace.  I was so confused, helpless but at the same time fueled with anger and frustration that ready to explode.  My healing journey is tough and long as it’s still a taboo to talk / judge family at today’s society.  We assume family is always supportive, parents are always do good things to their kids and family members are supposed united together.

Because of such unrealistic perception, abused children or adults have great struggles to speak up.  It’s out of the norm and expectation of society.  People don’t want to listen or see the truth and everything should be covered up properly, like dirty laundry.  It took me a long time to figure out my situation so I feel education / awareness is very important in society.

If you somehow taking the same role as like as me, you are not alone, and actually “scapegoat” is the lucky and independent one, one who well realize the situation, who complain the problems and brave enough to confront the dysfunctional system.  It just need time to learn and heal but eventually we are the warriors.

Photo credit : Pixabay


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