Family rejection as the scapegoat

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blues_cruise

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Family rejection as the scapegoat
« 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.  :'(
« Last Edit: December 03, 2018, 03:24:50 PM by blues_cruise »

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LilyITV

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #1 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. 

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finallyfree

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #2 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

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Libby183

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #3 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.


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Blueberry

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #4 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

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blues_cruise

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #5 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.

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finallyfree

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #6 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!

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finallyfree

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #7 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!!!

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Contessa

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #8 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

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Kizzie

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #9 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:

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Contessa

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #10 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:

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blues_cruise

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #11 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!
« Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 10:08:32 PM by blues_cruise »

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finallyfree

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #12 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

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blues_cruise

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #13 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!

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Contessa

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Re: Family rejection as the scapegoat
« Reply #14 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.