Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?

  • 29 Replies
  • 6116 Views
*

Anamiame

  • Member
  • 139
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2015, 06:24:44 PM »
Is there a way to like a post?

*

Kizzie

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • 8742
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2015, 09:26:04 PM »
 We just use emoticons:  :thumbup:  or   :yeahthat:  or     :applause: - whatever works  ;D

*

Anamiame

  • Member
  • 139
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2015, 12:01:46 AM »
 :thumbup:

*

Kizzie

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • 8742
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2015, 08:23:38 PM »
LOL   :yourock:

*

smg

  • Member
  • 51
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2015, 09:04:10 PM »
Empty piece of paper!!! Yes, that's her.

I like cooking and gardening. I like bluegrass music. I like to drink cola. I like moments at the movies where everyone gasps, or laughs or cries at the same time, right when the director planned it, because there's a commonality to the human heart.

On the subject of newly/tentatively discovered likes, do any of you worry how much of your current preferences are really coping mechanisms? For example, I'm a fawn-type, and I REALLY like to cook FOR people. I'm not sure where the line is, or if a preference can really be both a like and a coping mechanism.

smg

*

C.

  • Member
  • 1053
  • Reciprocity here as we heal from relational trauma
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2015, 03:58:35 AM »
Cat, 

It looks like you’ve received a lot of validation here.  A lot of great ideas.  My abuse/neglect was all emotional.  In fact, my mom was never even directly critical of me.  All indirect…”suggestions” or “helpful ideas” even at 40+ years old… Persistent emotional abuse and/or neglect have the SAME effect as the “bigger” stuff like physical or sexual abuse.  In so many ways the emotional part is tougher to identify and heal from b/c there is limited visual memory.  And they often begin during early childhood when memory is wired without language, it’s emotional.

My mom is also bubbly, friendly, honest, helpful, etc.  Like your family, people who meet her like her.  But they aren’t her daughter.  It sounds to me like you might be scapegoated through neglect and the absence of positive feedback for who you are as a person.

A metaphor I like for the “unconscious” abuse/neglect by a parent is a car accident where the driver “accidently” hits a me, maybe it’s dark and she didn’t even know that she did so.  In my example it was truly an accident, the driver if she knew would be sorry, didn’t want to hurt me, etc., but the reality is that I now have a broken back.  I’m hurt.  It being an “accident” doesn’t make the pain any less.  And it's still a tragedy.

The radiation metaphor here really matches the idea of little by little becoming toxic.  True.

Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2015, 07:35:44 AM »
Thanks, C.  :hug: 

The thing is, I'm not sure anymore that it actually was an accident, or a mere byproduct of something else. It's all so very subtle, so it's hard to tell. For example, my mother will automatically argue against anything I state. It's reached a point where, if she suggests something like: "hm... I wonder if I hadn't best pay someone to prune my trees instead of doing it myself", and I think it's a brilliant idea and she'd best do this, I do NOT EVER say so. She'd automatically second-guess herself and change her mind. Happened over and over again.

Then there's the way she doesn't take no for an answer. If she wanted to know something, she'd ask intrusive questions, pushing and pressuring me until she heard what she wanted to know.

If I mention anything I'm doing or letting my kids do, she'll always express concerns and warn me. Always. Every. Single. Time. And if she hears about any danger on the radio, she'll phone me at once and warn me of it. ANY danger. I've started to hand the phone to my husband whenever I can reasonably do so, because that puts her in a quandary: you see, he's a man! (gasp and stand in awe), and so one must not interfere in his concerns and one must always respect him a great deal. Problem solved. But not in a way that leaves anything but a bitter taste in my mouth.

There's other stuff too. She sometimes tells me I'm wise and she's lucky to have me - but only after I've said something she can fully agree with. She never asks for my advice, and (see above) never respects my opinion, not even in a let's-agree-to-disagree kind of way. If she does something that hurts me, there is NO chance at ALL that I can simply (and respectfully) ask her to please not do it and she'll stop. If she DOES stop, it's only after I've been very very clear about it ---- and she'll resent me for it, and she'll never forget that. There'll be hints for years after about how "one is not allowed to say what one thinks in THIS house". (That was because, whenever I'd mentioned that I was depressed and finding it difficult to get through the day, she'd respond by telling me I should simply "develop a sense of humour", which in my language means 'learning to not overdramatize things', and after she'd said that about a dozen times, I had respectfully asked her to please not do that.)

So I'm not sure. I'm just not sure. She treats me the same way she treats two of her sisters. So I'm now wondering if she's always just lumped me up with them. She even told me so outright. We were on the phone, she was telling me about a tiff she'd had with those sisters, I commiserated with her, and she sighed and said: "Yes, you're right... do you know, everyone whose name begins with an S is difficult - Sister1, Sister2, and you." Completely out of the blue. I was staring at the receiver, wondering if she now expected me to commiserate with her in that, too. She treats me like a sister, too, coming to think of it.

She also used to compare me to her mother-in-law. The stories my mother told of my gran make her look difficult, unreasonable, and clingy. And the way my mother said it... not: "oh, you're like your grandmother", or "like your Dad's mother", but: "you're like my mother-in-law", and the way she'd look at me then - as if we were opponents, as if she had this enormous inner distance to me. I got that look regularly. There were lots of situations where it was suddenly like she was pushing and pressuring me, fighting me for domination, trying to make a point - in this chilling manner that had so much inner distance behind it. Like she was continuing a fight that had nothing to do with me. Chilling, and alienating. She'd withdraw into herself and only hint at what was the matter, but she'd keep pushing and pushing and pushing. I didn't for the life of me understand what was going on. Even now, the only sense I can make of it is that I was lumped in with her sisters and mother-in-law and got the treatment they'd have deserved. I don't know.

Sorry for depressing you. Here's a picture of a baby chameleon to make up for it.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 07:42:51 AM by schrödinger's cat »

*

Rain

  • Member
  • 459
  • Hiding your Light is a loss for everyone
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2015, 11:30:16 AM »
Ohhhh, Cat.   I am so sad to read these details of your mother's "relationship" with you.   She does not see You.    You are "like someone else"....

And, to refer to you as difficult, even as you listen and empathize with her??!   Oh, my blood boils.

Her first priority is to be "victim," and to be "right" (with you "wrong").   There is a long, long list of what is abusive that she does to you.   I am so sorry.   You are more like a marble rolled around on a table for her needs than you being her Daughter.

Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2015, 12:03:46 PM »
Thanks, Rain.  :hug: I actually identified that feeling only this week. I've gone LC with my mother, and that much-needed distance is finally letting me remember what it was all really like. So I looked back and realized that there was something about my tiffs with my mother that felt alienating and confusing, like there were forces or factors at work that I couldn't identify or explain, only notice. It felt weird.

*

C.

  • Member
  • 1053
  • Reciprocity here as we heal from relational trauma
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2015, 11:28:51 PM »
Hi Cat,

Sounds like all of your communications with your mom are odd, unpleasant, confusing, etc.  First she solicits your emotional support to listen to her complain about her sisters (parentizing you), then likens you to them...bam...your analysis sounds like it might be true, she's replaying old family sister roles with you.  And what people here have said about projecting her own insecurities on to you makes sense, maybe a form of the "Outer Critic?"

Your thoughts encouraged me to read and delve more in to the N tendencies.  I think I was equating my experience with yours and every situation is definitely different.  In my case I'm pretty sure that my mom usually intends to "help" or "praise", but she's so emotionally undeveloped and in a victim state from my dad/her mom that it always feels insincere.  Plus "helping" implies there's a flaw that needs corrected.  After reading more about N I'm pretty sure it's that she subconsciously sees me as an extension of her.  It's like she looks at me and sees herself.  Anything good is the same as the good in her.  Ultimately it all comes back to her.  Hence, in my case, this manifest through indirect corrections of me, praise of things about me that aren't accurate and "understanding" things about me that simply aren't true.  And my experience became one of emotional neglect, because she never "sees" me and therefor cannot accurately observe how I feel, what I like, who I am, etc.  At the heart of the N relationship is this ego projection...that the child is an extension of the parent.  That seems similar in both of our experiences, but maybe your mom "sees" her "flaws" in you and therefor has the need to constantly correct?

Just an aside:  Sometimes I wish that my parents would have just outright said the negatives that they implied about me, like said "you're bad at science," or some other verbal pejorative b/c then I could remember and correct it in my mind and think, that's not true, what a horrible thing to say.  Instead, they implied it and said "your good at science"...then corrected any statement I ever made about biology or geometry or whatever...

I think that I understand what you're saying in that things may or may not be intentional with your mom.  What I'm noticing in this process is that intentionality doesn't matter so much.  The treatment is simply inappropriate. 

I can understand why you'd use other people as a barrier and choose not to talk with her.  No one needs to be constantly told that they're wrong or flawed even if she's trying to "help" you...whatever psychological title might be used, like scape-goating, it's not ok.


*

smg

  • Member
  • 51
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2015, 02:13:46 AM »
C -- I like your analyis of your mother's narcissism and projection. I think the not-seeing part of narcissistic behaviour destroys relationships -- stops them from ever being healthy even, because the narcissist has no clue who the other party is.

Intentional or accidental...? I think of my mother's parenting as wanton disregard.

smg

*

C.

  • Member
  • 1053
  • Reciprocity here as we heal from relational trauma
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2015, 02:31:44 AM »
SMG...I know what you mean.  I lot of people here have mother's who were directly cruel or directly uncaring.  Mine actually "thinks" she is doing all of the right things, reads all the right books, goes to a counselor sporadically...with her it's always indirect and an absence of empathy & understanding...on a consistent every single day of my life with her level...it's like she's a daydreaming child...even here i feel badly saying these things about her b/c in my case I see that her "intent" wasn't cruel but her lack of action had the same effect as if it were intentional....

and i don't want to override Cat's original post here.  I think I found this topic so poignant and important because it shows how we're taught to minimize something important...

like MaryC has said on other post here we take the time to listen and understand one another, it's an example of how to be and contrasts so starkly with our FOO

Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2015, 07:22:49 PM »
Sorry for replying so late. You're not overriding anything, C. After all, it's highly interesting to see what experiences others have in this area. All the usual description are of clear-cut cases of scapegoating. So if you have experience with subtler scapegoating, I'd be VERY interested to hear that.

There are a few parallels between our mothers, then? Mine reminded you of yours, and now yours reminds me of mine. That well-intended praise for example - yes, YES, that's precisely it: there's always this bitter taste to it, like she's only praising something in me because it echoes her own quality. Or her praise is very tactical - so she's praising me in order to make me do more of (whatever it is). And I definitely have the impression that she sometimes sees me as an extension of her. So what you said is exactly what it's like for me: she has good intentions, I know she has, but she doesn't see me, and there's so often nothing at all I can do to change that.

And I, too, wish she would have just said things outright. Implied criticism - it's like being made to grope about in a darkened room, searching for something. You take a LOT longer than if you're simply shown the object at once. So the very fact that the criticism is ever so subtle makes us focus on it more for a longer time.

And it takes away our chance to reply. If someone says: "I don't like your hairstyle", you could say: "Too bad. I like it." Or you could say: "Eh, I'm not too fond of it myself." Or you could say: "I'm I'm honest, I don't like yours either." But someone gives you a worried look... and then they take a step closer to you and look at your hair, still with this worried look... now they're obviously struggling to find tactful words... and then: "oh... your hair... do you know, my hairdresser is really very good..." -- Then what do you say? If you say: "NO, mother, do NOT make an appointment for me with your hairdresser", you come across as overly defensive. If you say: "I like my hair", you'd only get more hints, more subtleties ("...oh... you see, it's so important to leave a good first impression with people... to be well put together... people are shallow like that..."). You can just as well try to argue with blancmange. There's nothing there to defend yourself against, nothing to argue against, nothing is out in the open. There's just a smothering blanket of tact and politeness that's still full of intrusiveness, meddling, and hidden barbs. You walk out of that talk not even thinking "bleargh, my mother just told me she thinks I'm frumpy", because she didn't, did she? You simply feel bad about yourself and don't even know why. You even feel guilty for being so impatient with your poor mother, who was only worried and concerned for your welfare, after all.

Or then again, maybe that's just me. But I just wanted to say that I really, really understand how your mother can be well-meaning and still cause you harm.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 09:16:08 PM by schrödinger's cat »

*

Kizzie

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • 8742
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2015, 08:59:13 PM »
Seeming well-meaning and being well-meaning - very different things.  It may be that some N's want to be well-meaning rather than using it as a tactic, but imo I don't think they understand the essence of how to connect with others, to feel and be truly caring and supportive because they have a personality disorder which prevents them from doing so. 

My NPDM worked to appear well-meaning, caring, supportive but it never felt right, it never connected with anything good inside of me, it connected to or ignited feelings of guilt, anger, of being defective or bad. My M was/is a covert N but I realized in reading through this thread that I now describe her behaviour in overt terms tks to OOTF because I came to see what she was doing (and still does) very clearly and there is no question in my mind about her behaviour these days, but it took awhile to get here.

Covert N behaviour is so crazy making because it takes a lot longer to figure out as alot of you have said.   My M also implies (she's never direct unless she is raging) that I am this or not that and before I would react something like "Did something just happen because I really don't feel great right now? Am I being overly sensitive or did she just zing me?" Now it's very clearly a "WHAM!" to my soul, nothing covert about it to me anymore - it's there and big as an elephant even though it appears quite subtle to others. 

I think you are definitely figuring out your M's behaviours and how they contribute to your CPTSD Cat. Trust those feelings you have around her, they're telling you some important things you need to know :hug:


*

C.

  • Member
  • 1053
  • Reciprocity here as we heal from relational trauma
    • View Profile
Re: Do you think there's such a thing as a low-key scapegoat?
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2015, 10:07:22 PM »
Very true Kizzie.  I've been exploring this whole concept since joining OOTS.  It was a blind spot to me before, and after reading up on covert NP and talking with my T and all of the descriptions on this forum I now see my M's behavior for what it is, ultimately always about her.  In my case she's always careful to clothe it in "helpful" and "kind" words, she doesn't criticize or correct directly.  But when she talks about anything in life it relates back to her, her beliefs or needs or personality traits or whatever.  She cannot "see" any objects (people included) outside of a mirror reflection related to herself, but says and thinks it's about something else.  It's like being around a blind person who sincerely believes they see the color pink.  Not so "damaging" for other people, but I imagine the pain and trauma to a child who've never seen accurately.