If You Feel Unloved In Your Family You May Be The Family Scapegoat

Have you ever considered who is the family scapegoat in your family circle? Yes, many families focus on one person who others feel cause the problems. It’s easy to blame one family member to protect the others. Who is likable, and who causes the drama? Is there someone who insists on telling the truth when others are trying to hide it? What about narcissists and family members who are controlling or passive aggressive? There are lots of ways that family members can hurt each other. Family roles play a big part in determining who is the family scapegoat.

What Are Family Roles

Did you know that every family member has a role no matter whether your family is healthy and loving or dysfunctional? When you learn about family roles, you can be surprised. Are you the storyteller, the caretaker, the moody one? Some family members take on the difficult tasks. Some are considered the geniuses. If you’re the good girl, or the good boy, you will be treated differently from the so-called “wild” or “dumb” one. Some family members are especially loved, and sadly some are not appreciated as they should be. Your role can be arbitrary, or based on other people’s secret hidden feelings that have nothing to do with you. No matter the reason, being the family scapegoat hurts.

What if You Are The Family Scapegoat

What if your family members blame all the family problems on you? What if you’re the one who’s left out?  If have you have low self-esteem, depression, sadness, anxiety, you may be the family scapegoat. Are you a parent who always feels bad? What can you do about it? We always suggest getting help to understand what’s happening in your family and ways you can detach or take steps to heal yourself and feel better.

One kind of scapegoating that is difficult to manage occurs in families where there is substance or alcohol use disorders (addiction). Teen and adult addicts or alcoholics tend to blame their parents for everything that goes wrong. Parents are overwhelmed with the hate that comes their way. Here’s an example.

Alice P, an addict’s mom, wrote in to tell us about a liberating ‘aha’ moment she had about her painful relationship with her son Jimmy. Jimmy is an active substance abuser and extremely mean to her. There’s no nice way to put it.

The Family Scapegoat Is The Mom Who Tries To Help

“Since Jimmy started using, he lies a lot. I don’t know the truth about anything,” Alice told us, “and I felt horrible all the time. It was hard enough worrying that Jimmy would overdose and pass away, or hurt someone else while under the influence. But also it was extremely painful that he acts as if I am the one who abuses him and his problems are my fault because I don’t do enough to help him.”

I Found Out I Was His Scapegoat

Scapegoat theory refers to the tendency to blame someone else for one’s own problems, a process that often results in feelings of prejudice toward the person or group that one is blaming. Scapegoating serves as an opportunity to explain failure or misdeeds, while maintaining one’s positive self-image. If a person who is poor or doesn’t get a job that he or she applies for can blame an unfair system or the people who did get the job that he or she wanted, the person may be using the others as a scapegoat and may end up hating them as a result.  Encyclopedia Social Psychology

Alice’s Enlightenment

“My therapist used the word scapegoat. She told me scapegoating is a kind of abuse. It certainly felt like Jimmy was beating me up for no reason, when I hadn’t done anything wrong. But if you don’t want someone to die, you will put up with a lot. The whole thing was confusing to say the least. Now I kind of get it. I don’t have to listen to him. My point of view matters.”

Getting Help Was The Key To Her Recovery

Alice went on to say she is not the kind of person who ever looked to therapy for answers, or used facebook sites to vent her frustration, and she had not thought about trying Al-Anon, which is free and could also help her. But life with an active addict aged 22 and living at home felt like it was killing her. “I needed another point of view to help me accept that I was the one who had to change,” Alice told me.

Blame Shifting Is Responsibility Shifting

We know a lot of people find it difficult to ask for help. Alone, however, it can be too difficult to identify what about your relationships is causing so much pain. When Jimmy pins his problems on his mom, he doesn’t have to take responsibility for himself. He doesn’t even have to be reasonable. It’s her fault. If she buys his argument, she’s allowing herself to be both used and abused. When she tries to hold him accountable, he’s likely to get even madder. Anyone who’s scapegoated by a family member, lover, or co-worker, cannot win no matter what they say or do. A therapist can help identify what’s going on. Here are some resources for you to explore to get information and help. And check out online therapy.

More Articles To Read About Family Relationships

What Are The Family Roles in Dysfunctional Families?

Unhealthy Roles In Family Addiction

The Characteristics of Healthy Families

What To Do When Your Family Doesn’t Love You

Family Help For People Who Love Addicts

Are You In A Narcissistic Family?

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Ricardo Medina
Ricardo Medina
2 years ago

I want to learn And I want unity

Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass became a recovery advocate and co-founder of Reach Out Recovery in 2011, encouraged by her daughter Lindsey who had struggled with substances as a teen and young adult. Learning how to manage the family disease of addiction with no roadmap to follow inspired the mother and daughter to create Reach Out Recovery's website to help others experiencing the same life-threatening problems. Together they produced the the 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery, and the teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, distributed by American Public Television. In her career, Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines as a writer of both fiction and non fiction. She is the author of 9 bestselling crime novels, featuring NYPD Dt.Sgt. April Woo. Leslie has has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and as a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation. For from 1990 to 2017, Leslie was the Trustee of the Leslie Glass Foundation. Leslie is a proud member of Rotary International.

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