PREVIOUS: The Placater #2
NOTE: This is not the same as the being scapegoated – where parents pick out one child to blame for all the family’s trouble which they themselves are causing.
HERE, the Scapegoat role seems ‘voluntary’, in the sense that this position is being held as a self-sacrifice.
❧ SCAPEGOAT‘s GOAL
Provide a change of focus by allowing everyone to think they are the source of the family’s problems
For Self: take on the ‘bad-guy’ role to protect the addict or other main trouble-maker from having to face his/her pain, their sacrifice given as a love-offering
IMP: An in-your-face refusal to comply with a parent’s direct or unspoken demand for perfection-ism
For Family: serve as the “pressure valve” in the family when tension builds. They misbehave to draw attention away from the ‘problem’
parent so the family’s ‘issue’ is anything other than the addiction
• also to protect the family from any outside interference (cops, social workers, shrinks, social services….)
BIRTH ORDER: Usually the second child, sometimes the first boy if an older sister is the Hero
Academically borderline or failing, they drop out, get suspended or kicked out, may not graduate
Family makes them the ‘black sheep’ & then feels ashamed of them. Because they’re the blunt ‘truth-tellers’, one or both parents may dole out harsher & harsher punishments, trying to ‘break’ them for not going along with the program.
They’re compared negatively to older, well-behaved / compliant siblings, sometimes considered ‘mentally ill’, & may be taken to therapy to get ‘fixed’.
Targeted to be Scapegoats, either because they’re:
a type: hyperactive or sick, so are easily bullied, and/OR
b type: the angry, rebellious, problem child who has the guts to say or do what no one else will, & so is easily ‘set off’ / reactive
Personal: IRONY – they are the most sensitive, caring & emotionally honest family member. Scapegoats are actually the strongest ones, since they carry the “sins” for the entire family.
Their sensitivity causes them intense pain when mistreated, making them self-hating & self-destructive. They are the romantic who becomes very cynical & distrustful from being the “target” of the family’s dysfunction. Will leave home as soon as they can
Family : Rebellious (constant trouble with authority, won’t follow directions), They make a lot of noise, diverting attention from the addict & his/her need for Recovery on to themselves. They won’t go along with the Hero who pretends everything’s alright. For a while will try to compete with the Hero for status, but lose & then stop trying to please
Because they have thick walls built around them from fear & outrage, their relationships will often be superficial & inauthentic – except when they can bond with another equally angry, bitter peers.
Often act out in front of others, putting on a tough act. In reaction to the family chaos & abuse, they become the troublemaker – argumentative, attention seekers, blaming others, disruptive, intrusive, negative leader
AND/OR secretive, sneaky, verbally dishonest, unwilling to take personal responsibility
Defiance, withdrawal, hostility, sullenness, acting out, ‘don’t care’ facade. Strong connection to their peer group (same type) or totally isolated
Inappropriate expression & use of anger, intrusive, won’t follow directions, self-destructive, defiant, irresponsible, underachiever, social & legal problems at young age (truancy, teenage pregnancy, high school dropout, addiction, suicide attempts), can lead others into trouble.
NEXT: Lost Child Role