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CPTSD and Others => Our Relationships with Others => Family of Origin (FOO) => Topic started by: blues_cruise on December 03, 2018, 03:20:27 PM

Title: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: blues_cruise on December 03, 2018, 03:20:27 PM
Anyone else find that whenever you bring up your past abuse to family members it gets ignored or played down?

For instance, in a vulnerable moment a while ago I shared with one sibling (I'll call them sibling 1) a particularly distressing thing that my father did to me when I was about 12. Sibling 1 was shocked and seemingly empathetic at the time, however next time I saw them they had completely changed their tune and were saying how they would always stay in contact with our father "because he's my dad". I wasn't expecting sibling 1 to go no contact the way I have, however the comment hurt because there was the implication that they disapproved in me moving away from my scapegoat role and protecting myself by no longer communicating with our father. Even after what I had previously confided (which was a massive and probably misguided leap of trust on my part) and how supposedly upset for me they had been.

I've been reading about toxic family dynamics recently and something I read the other day said that a family member who truly had your wellbeing at heart would stand up for you and have your back in the face of being smeared by your parent. My siblings don't do that. They will criticise our father behind his back but not say anything in my defence when I'm being openly criticised. Any reference to my past gets ignored by my other sibling (sibling 2) as though I haven't confided in him.

Another big glaring thing recently is realising the criticism that happens between my siblings behind their backs. Sibling 2 will message me with criticisms about sibling 1 and it's starting to make me wonder what they must criticise me about. Both siblings are critical of our narcissistic father but neither of them have ever shown any remorse about the fact that I was left living entirely alone with him and bore the full brunt of daily abuse for years. They never reached out to me very often during that time and yet they blame the situation as a whole on this rather than regretting that they didn't do more. I was the young teenager and they were the adults. As adults should you not maybe feel some responsibility if your much younger sibling appears to be in a terrible situation, or am I being too judgemental here? I know they had their own stuff going on but I was just a kid and I was probably taking most of the direct abuse so that they didn't have to. It's like they just stuck their heads in the sand and ignored it/didn't care because it wasn't directly affecting them.

They've both started to communicate more with one another over the last few months too while seeming to withdraw further away from me. Sibling 2 has started leaving it longer and longer before they respond to my messages. Sibling 1 sent a message a while ago suggesting we meet up, to which I responded the same day. They then never bothered responding again. Then months later on Facebook I get a public message on there from them rather than privately wishing me a happy birthday and saying we should meet up soon! I mean, huh? If you genuinely want to meet up then contact me properly and respond to my message so that we can actually arrange something, stop with all the gaslighting BS.

I've never really considered just how far the toxic dynamics stretched to in our family until now. I guess once you're really away from the chaos, as in 100% no contact, then you really do start to see how badly under the thumb the rest of the family is. They totally still see me in my scapegoat role too and I don't think they want to acknowledge that I should be treated with respect the way that any other individual person with a mind of their own should.

Just my little rant (EDIT: actually, it's incredibly long - sorry!) It keeps going round and round in my head so thought better out than in. Anyone relate? After years of focusing on my father's behaviour and learning about his personality disorder I feel like I'm only just scraping the surface with my siblings' behaviour and it's coming as an upsetting shock. I feel like I've been deluding myself.  :'(
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: LilyITV on December 03, 2018, 04:38:16 PM
I can kind of relate.  If anyone in my family knew I was in therapy due to the things that happened in my childhood, I would be shamed, ridiculed, castigated, etc. etc.  I am not even going to bother to bring it up because I know what would happen and I just wouldn't be able to deal with it right now.  At some point, I think I will bring it up indirectly that I am in therapy, but in my reading it seems that needs to be done very carefully if at all. 

I think the thing you can feel good about is that even though your siblings are not giving you the validation and support you need and deserve, you are putting in the work to heal.  You will be free of the effects of your father's abuse while your siblings will still be suffering.  Yes you are so right that you don't realize how bad it all is until you've gone 100% no contact.  I feel sorry for your siblings.  Maybe one day they'll want a better life, but I'm so happy that you've broken free of that toxic environment. 
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: finallyfree on December 03, 2018, 05:05:14 PM
Blues,
I understand this situation completely. It is text book family dysfunction and role assignments. Your siblings know (whether they admit it or not) it is to their advantage to play the game and keep the status quo so to speak. You walking away has left a gaping hole and essential role that needs to be filled. No one wants to be the scapegoat or the negative attention the scapegoat unjustly gets. So they go along because it makes their lives easier. I have had the exact same scenario in my own life with my former family of origin. Strong people speak up and the scapegoat is the strongest one emotionally and mentally in the family. This is why they were assigned the role in the first place. Like you since I went no contact, I see it all far more clearly, and have been able to take emotion out of the equation along with the false sense of obligation to that family they beat into me. I see them all crystal clear now. I feel sorry for them, but they are all so abusive, its not enough to go back and again take all of their abuse to make them happy and fill that black hole of dysfunction they want me to. You are not alone and in many ways in good company here with kind, warm, emotionally intelligent people that have experienced the same type of neglect and abuse. I hope somehow this makes you feel better, and you continue on your path to healing and being whole again. I walk beside you in this. All my best to you!  :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug:
Finallyfree
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Libby183 on December 04, 2018, 07:38:04 AM
Hi blues cruise.

In my experience, and in everything I have read, this denial of abuse by siblings, is common and leads inevitably to estrangement. For me, the very first time I mentioned my parents treatment of me, my sister told me that I had remembered wrongly, and "it wasn't really like that".  Absolute silence for six years or more. The way she shut me down and denied my reality (I know hers was different) was so strong that I knew there was no future for us. And so did she. Looking back, I think the strength of her reaction showed what a deep denial she was in.

I have not missed her in the slightest. I don't bear her any ill will. But it is an great relief not to have her in my life. This was reinforced when I had EMDR. We reprocessed a memory from a very young age that involved my mother's reaction to me (a two year old) when my one year old sister got out of the yard onto the road. It was reprocessing this that finally rid me of my physical pain. And made me realise how much I had cared for and protected her. She saw me as the family trouble maker, so really, there was no future for us.

It's sad but inevitable, I think, that siblings go their own ways in families like ours. I think it's best just to let it happen.

Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Blueberry on December 04, 2018, 12:08:00 PM
Anyone else find that whenever you bring up your past abuse to family members it gets ignored or played down?

I've been reading about toxic family dynamics recently and something I read the other day said that a family member who truly had your wellbeing at heart would stand up for you and have your back in the face of being smeared by your parent. My siblings don't do that. They will criticise our father behind his back but not say anything in my defence when I'm being openly criticised.

 :yeahthat: and much more that you've written or similar to what you've written. Dysfunctional family dynamics. It has helped me quite a bit to write Recovery Letters on here directed at FOO. Letters I can't send because there is no point and they would make me too vulnerable.

Once I realised - really realised with my emotions - the damage contact with FOO including my siblings does to me, I went exceedingly low contact and I think that will be for ever. That could only change if a mbr or two in FOO changes significantly. That doesn't seem likely to happen. I'm no longer willing to keep trying to change myself in order to not be triggered when in contact with FOO. I tried long enough and no one else thought they needed to change their behaviour towards me in the slightest, apparently. Except to get worse or show me what they really think instead of talking about it among themselves.

I have gone through phases of feeling very sad about it. It's not easy for me. I miss the good parts of some FOO mbrs and I miss having a FOO at all.

FOO treats me as Prime Scapegoat. My T says it's not good for me to actually call myself a scapegoat since that reinforces the message.

 :bighug: :bighug: to you blues_cruise
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: blues_cruise on December 12, 2018, 06:12:14 PM
Thank you all so much for your responses and advice.  :)

It's not ideal but I'm OK with limited contact with siblings because it's how it always was. uNF always drove a wedge between us and we accepted it for years. I don't think it's possible to have truly safe relationships with anyone who is enmeshed with someone so toxic, for instance one sibling I worry about visiting because if uNF were to turn up while I was there he would probably get invited in rather than being turned away. Sibling would probably even tell him beforehand that I was going to be there as he has no concept of boundaries. That's a situation I'm just not willing to put myself in.

They're probably stepping back from contact with me because it makes life easier for them and helps them medium chill with uNF. I think I'm fairly done with opening up to them at all now, except for social pleasantries. I don't really blame them for any of it, we were just given a rotten foundation to begin with.
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: finallyfree on December 12, 2018, 08:17:53 PM
Hey Blues,
You are so right in stating we were given a rotten foundation to begin with. So true in my situation as well. I only have contact with one of my five siblings because of this. Also none of the golden child, Saint favorites are mature and respectful therefore incapable of having a mature reciprocal adult relationship with us. I could see a long time ago, after my parents were gone I would have very low to no contact with them. Also they are all users, wolfs in sheepís clothing, just like my former mother. It is a hard reality to swallow for me, but once I was able to digest it, I have started to build my own family of choice now. I know no matter what they were always going to scapegoat me, behind my back and to my face. They always talked bad about me to gain favor with my former parents. They also always expected me to help them, care for and about them and their children or whatever they needed in that moment of time. Completely using me, while scapegoating and attacking me with their lies and false accusations behind my back. I think it sadly was just a reflex for them. I never knew to the extent this was done to me until I was 50 years old and being screamed, cursed at and disowned??? For something that had absolutely nothing to do with me??? Sorry if I am rambling, this just hits so close to home for me too!
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: finallyfree on December 13, 2018, 12:05:49 AM
One more point, if I ever called them out and pointed out what they were doing with facts and attempted to plead my case (which happened all the time sadly) they always minimized everything and pretended like I was exaggerating or that it never happened. It was like I was speaking another language when I attempted to defend myself and it never changed the outcome or that I was falsely blamed and punished so at some point I just quit defending myself. I knew it was pointless!!! Horrible memories for me!!!
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Contessa on December 13, 2018, 05:06:23 AM
Sounds like my family finallyfree. Glad i'm away from them and glad you are too xO
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Kizzie on December 13, 2018, 06:01:34 PM
I think you've nailed it Blues, but just wanted to say too I'm so sorry you don't have siblings you can trust.  It's a blow when we do start to see clearly how rotten our foundation was and is, then a huge loss when we have to accept that things will never be the way we want, need and deserve with family.  Also sending you much support and care and a big :bighug:
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Contessa on December 13, 2018, 08:05:44 PM
Apologies Blues, here with you experiencing a lack of trust and safety with siblings. Our siblings should be our biggest supporters, not our most offensive opponents.
Sending a hug your way with all the others  :hug:
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: blues_cruise on December 13, 2018, 09:58:03 PM
Thank you all so much. I texted the golden child sibling today and I've had a really medium chill response back several hours later with no further invitation for conversation, as in no reply to me asking how he is or him asking me how I am after about 3 months since my last message, which he ignored. Early in the year he was saying that he wanted to have more of a relationship and that he was seeing how toxic our father is and now we're ending the year like this? He also said months ago how our mother would hate to see the family split up the way it is (she died when we were young), however apparently that only applies if I stick to the rules and stay 'in my place' as opposed to our father learning to take responsibility and be a compassionate human being? I'm surprised at how upset I am, I think I just know that uNF has been manipulating him to think ill towards me and I'm so sad that he's chosen that route. I'm angry too because it feels unfair. It's actually making me more determined than ever to stay away from uNF because it's showing that the manipulation and enmeshment is still in full force and that nothing's been learned or is going to change.

One more point, if I ever called them out and pointed out what they were doing with facts and attempted to plead my case (which happened all the time sadly) they always minimized everything and pretended like I was exaggerating or that it never happened. It was like I was speaking another language when I attempted to defend myself and it never changed the outcome or that I was falsely blamed and punished so at some point I just quit defending myself. I knew it was pointless!!! Horrible memories for me!!!

Yeah.  :'( That's the thing, you're left with these lifelong wounds which are so complicated to heal and all you want is the opportunity, finally, to safely tell your story to people you think you can trust. Then they kick you down even further. What does keep me going is the fact that I feel far healthier and get on better with regular, healthy minded people when I'm not communicating with FOO. That has to say something. When I was sticking to FOO's rules I seemed like more of a social leper than ever at work or when I was just generally out among regular people because I was trying to get by on the scapegoat set of rules, which just made me seem extremely odd and withdrawn towards people. Life is way better nowadays but stuff like this does hurt still. It's such a process, I start to think that I have things sorted in my head and can have relationships in the FOO independent of uNF and then BAM, nope, wrong - he's still holding the cards for them!
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: finallyfree on December 14, 2018, 01:07:11 AM
Blues,
Many hugs to you,  :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: I sincerely understand and empathize regarding your situation. I hope you can at some point make a kind of peace with it. Itís a long rocky road, like you pointed out, with a faulty foundation from the start!!!! I am thinking good and positive thoughts for you now!
Finallyfree
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: blues_cruise on December 14, 2018, 12:04:21 PM
Thanks finallyfree, your message is a comfort.  :)  At least I think I partly know where I stand with the FOO now!
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Contessa on December 15, 2018, 02:12:35 AM
Blues...

Quote
He also said months ago how our mother would hate to see the family split up the way it is (she died when we were young), however apparently that only applies if I stick to the rules and stay 'in my place' as opposed to our father learning to take responsibility and be a compassionate human being? 

Feeling it. Won't go into detail how, it will involve a few trigger warnings. But I've certainly had this constraint applied as well. It's so abusive in itself, it compounds the damage that we've already been through; soul destroying to comply.

Our whole life is a catch 22; we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Our decisions come down to what we hope will do us the least damage.

Got to go, feeling the christmas down big time today.
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Wattlebird on December 15, 2018, 03:49:27 AM
Hi blues cruise
As a "former" golden child, I think finally free is quite right in her quote.
Strong people speak up and the scapegoat is the strongest one emotionally and mentally in the family. This is why they were assigned the role in the first place.
My scapegoat sister was always the one to speak up at injustice and cruelty, I was assigned peacemaker and golden child, this so messed with me that I could not tolerate any acknowledgment of disfunction in my foo until this last couple of years, I am ashamed at the way we treated her, she became mentally ill and has long since suffered as a result of this dynamic, I lived under the delusion I was a wonderful person, but have since worked out that this too was a false picture of who I am, when I worked out this reality I was sent off into psychosis myself, my m recently told me she no longer thought I was the Saint she assumed I was, my response was "thank god" as I had stopped jumping to her beck and call.
It is hard to acknowledge your faults or the faults of your foo when you can "do no wrong"  I feel pity for your siblings, but want to tell you not to rely on support from them as it may be too difficult for them to acknowledge your pain, it doesn't fit with their reality and to accept that it's true will turn their lives upside down.
I'm sorry that you were the scapegoat, I wish your siblings were there for you like I wish I was there for my s.
 :hug:
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Blueberry on December 15, 2018, 12:05:30 PM
Sorry for the little hijack blues_cruise. Thanks so much for writing this Wattlebird honestly from position of ex Golden Child.

blues_cruise, I've read that over on OOTF that the strongest child turns into Scapegoat. Took a long time for me to even start to believe that. FOO always told me how weak I was. But yeah, I was always standing up for other people, often to the detriment of myself.

Same in my FOO I'm expected to "stick to the rules and stay 'in my place' " Bit by bit I'm stopping that. It has taken me an enormous amount of energy and courage so far but it's working for me. Of course, I'm losing FOO, but I'm gaining myself.

Recently a friend gave me something to think on. We undoubtedly all know that saying about "keeping the peace" by staying silent in FOO. Well, this friend asked "Whose peace? Am I allowed some peace too? Or is that 'peace' only for certain people?"
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Contessa on December 15, 2018, 01:13:58 PM
Same in my FOO I'm expected to "stick to the rules and stay 'in my place' " Bit by bit I'm stopping that. It has taken me an enormous amount of energy and courage so far but it's working for me. Of course, I'm losing FOO, but I'm gaining myself.

So true
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: finallyfree on December 15, 2018, 02:27:07 PM
Itís so sad, you canít know or become who you really are until you stop being what they demand, their personal scapegoat. Which enables them to never ever have to take any responsibility for any of the abusive things they do or say. Contessa is absolutely correct, we have lived a life with our FOO where we were damned no matter what we did. Stand up for yourself or anyone else and be punished. Stay silent, allow the abuse to continue to perpetuate and most likely just get smear campaigned behind your back anyway. So destructive and undeserving of such caring, emotionally intelligent, kind people. I am
A true empath. My family didnít deserve me and never ever appreciated me at all. So sad................. I am so sorry for all of us that have sadly endured this and hope and pray we will all move forward in a positive better future. We definitely deserve it.
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: finallyfree on December 15, 2018, 02:33:24 PM
My sincere apologies if I hijacked this post from you blues, was honestly never my intention.
Finallyfree  :wave:
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: blues_cruise on January 02, 2019, 02:26:27 PM
I feel pity for your siblings, but want to tell you not to rely on support from them as it may be too difficult for them to acknowledge your pain, it doesn't fit with their reality and to accept that it's true will turn their lives upside down.

This is true, brother has openly admitted in the past that he sticks his head in the sand. When he did attempt to acknowledge things for the way they really are he developed a deep depression. I did too when the fog first started clearing for me, but since I was damned either way reputation wise, the option to suck it up and revert to golden child mode wasn't there. In the long term I think this is a blessing. Thanks for your post, Wattlebird. It is really refreshing to see someone allocated the golden child role to have such clarity on it all.  :)


Recently a friend gave me something to think on. We undoubtedly all know that saying about "keeping the peace" by staying silent in FOO. Well, this friend asked "Whose peace? Am I allowed some peace too? Or is that 'peace' only for certain people?"

And that there hits the nail squarely on the head!  :yes: It's family rules and dynamics in play designed to mark us as the troublemakers. We're basically expected to forego our personal freedoms and live a life of misery to 'keep the peace'. So messed up.

My sincere apologies if I hijacked this post from you blues, was honestly never my intention.
Finallyfree  :wave:

Don't worry, you didn't hijack anything. It's been really good to see people contributing and if this thread has helped other people process the issue then all the better.  :)
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: finallyfree on January 02, 2019, 07:18:06 PM
 :hug: :hug: :hug: to you Blues!!! Wishing you a calm, peaceful, happy new year.
Finallyfree
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: sj on January 03, 2019, 06:22:28 AM
I'm really sorry about your situation, blues_cruise, but I'm grateful that you started this thread. I relate to so much of what has been discussed here, so it's been really helpful. I have so many equivalents and comments I could make, but it's often difficult to feel in the right head-space to get into it all that I often just have to leave it. I sometimes contemplate starting a thread, but it often seems too hard. So again, thank you for starting one and providing the opportunity for others to flesh out some of these dynamics.  :thumbup:

I will say make one point/ observation - I continue to be amazed and fascinated that these are patterns of behaviour and types of experience that otherwise disconnected people all around the world experience in an astoundingly similar way. Isn't it weird that we all can understand each other so well, even though we are essentially strangers to each other and our lives are so far apart? Kinda blows my little mind  :aaauuugh: . It's also comforting, somehow, and helps to depersonalise the crazy a bit.
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Kizzie on January 05, 2019, 07:25:25 PM
I will say make one point/ observation - I continue to be amazed and fascinated that these are patterns of behaviour and types of experience that otherwise disconnected people all around the world experience in an astoundingly similar way. Isn't it weird that we all can understand each other so well, even though we are essentially strangers to each other and our lives are so far apart? Kinda blows my little mind  :aaauuugh: . It's also comforting, somehow, and helps to depersonalise the crazy a bit.

Well said sj.  We really are 'reacting normally to an abnormal situation' given we develop a common set of symptoms (versus being defective, weak or crazy as so many of us fear). Same for adopting family roles like Scapegoat or Golden Child, it's all about trying to 'manage' the abnormal (trauma) in as normal a way as possible, but in the end just prolongs/worsens things.
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Contessa on January 06, 2019, 10:39:59 PM
Seconded SJ. Well said.

Returning to one of Blueberry's rhetorics of  'Am I allowed some peace too?' I had to lose five brothers and sisters and all the attached friends and family with them to get some semblance of it.

There is no peace either way. It was a choice to keep myself alive.
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: blues_cruise on January 14, 2019, 01:05:39 PM
:hug: :hug: :hug: to you Blues!!! Wishing you a calm, peaceful, happy new year.
Finallyfree

Thank you so much Finallyfree, I wish the same for you too.  :) :hug: and everyone else here also.  :grouphug:

I'm really sorry about your situation, blues_cruise, but I'm grateful that you started this thread. I relate to so much of what has been discussed here, so it's been really helpful. I have so many equivalents and comments I could make, but it's often difficult to feel in the right head-space to get into it all that I often just have to leave it. I sometimes contemplate starting a thread, but it often seems too hard. So again, thank you for starting one and providing the opportunity for others to flesh out some of these dynamics.  :thumbup:

I will say make one point/ observation - I continue to be amazed and fascinated that these are patterns of behaviour and types of experience that otherwise disconnected people all around the world experience in an astoundingly similar way. Isn't it weird that we all can understand each other so well, even though we are essentially strangers to each other and our lives are so far apart? Kinda blows my little mind  :aaauuugh: . It's also comforting, somehow, and helps to depersonalise the crazy a bit.

I totally understand about being in the right head space to get into it all. It is so therapeutic to talk about these things and I think it's the healthy thing to do, however it is really overwhelming. I think this is why this forum is so great because there's no pressure to be or do anything and it's really caring and forgiving (for instance when I'm really slow to respond!) It's so nice to just work through things gently.

Yep, I'm always amazed at how similarly I feel to others with dysfunctional families. Offline I talk myself into being 'the crazy one' and then when I read other people's stories I see so many similarities. Because I feel compassion for how other people feel having gone through it it then becomes easier to feel compassion for myself.  :grouphug:   
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: beingme on January 29, 2019, 07:13:49 AM
All of you. OMG how all your stories resonate with me. I find this sad as well.

I am only at the beginning of my journey to healing as a 53 year old realising I have been the scapegoat to Narcissistic older sisters created by a violent chaotic childhood of two very damaged individuals.

decades of gaslighting and the emotional and physical abuse as a child left me feeling like I could never be healed, but even though it is an emotional roller coaster just learning about all these concepts I feel hope of recovery like I never have before.

Stay strong



Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Kizzie on January 29, 2019, 11:43:56 PM
Quote
Because I feel compassion for how other people feel having gone through it it then becomes easier to feel compassion for myself.

This is exactly why being here helps  :yes:   Glad to hear this Blues!  :thumbup:
Title: Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
Post by: Wattlebird on January 31, 2019, 08:51:21 AM
 :yeahthat: