IT’S IMPERATIVE I GET
that I am NOT bad, stupid or weak!
PREVIOUS: ACoAs being Scapegoated (#3)
4. CONSEQUENCES for the SCAPEGOAT
🌊 To survive, Scapegoats (Sc) had to build a wall around the toxic family’s shadow energies they were forced to swallow, hiding the origin of the abuse. Even so, now the least little emotional ‘bump’ is felt as an extreme pain when an event touches any old wound they haven’t yet learned to process & contain.
Common symptoms are academic failure, delinquency, drug / alcohol abuse, depressions, rages, PTSD, stress-related ADD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, sexual acting out/pregnancy….. especially in teens, & can continue for many years into adulthood.
Sc carry psychological & emotional scars. They may not start out with a mental illness (although some ACoA Sc are predisposed because of parental alcoholism & depression), but are highly likely to develop one or more – after years of being subjected to abuse.
a. The WIC in every Sc automatically assumes they can’t cope with their intense emotions (fear, anger, sadness…)
— & so are often crippled by them in the form of anxiety, -while-
— those who can’t consciously admit they were the family victim mistakenly believe they should not be in so much distress, because to them being ‘normal’ means not being ‘upset or unhappy’.
b. To compensate for being rejected by ‘loved ones’, some Sc cover it up by feeling omnipotent, seeing themselves as the ‘chosen one’ (which they are – but in a very sick way) for having the ‘special strength’ to carry the guilt & misery of others – their way of keeping the family together!
These adult Sc live in the grandiose belief that “I can do everything for everyone who needs me”, while resenting others for not providing them with their own un-spoken needs! They feel cut off from the rest of human experience for having suffered ‘more’ than anyone else, but also superior & above it all!
As the designated Scapegoat, YOU:
• blame yourself for the original abuse, & look for rational reasons for the way you were treated, BUT
• have developed a lack of trust & deep resentment against the world, while maintaining self-hate & hopelessness
• feel worthless, ugly, stupid, incompetent AND crazy!
• live out the negative messages heaped on you as a kid, which prevented self-esteem – by not developing your potential, getting into harmful & unfulfilling relationships, letting abusers walk all over you…..
• may struggle academically & avoid opportunities which include competition – not from lack of intelligence, but from Toxic Rules (CDs)
• OR try to prove your worth by becoming an over-achiever, often to the detriment of you true needs & dreams
• feel overburdened, at the edge, marginalized, but still responsible for the tribe’s shadow side (clean up others’ messes, soothe anger in a group, ‘keep an eye’ on everything, listening to others dump, put out ‘fires’….)
• feel misunderstood & burned out, BUT duty-bound, noble, virtuous, self-sacrificing, AND
• are inevitably fueled by the accusing internalized voice (PP) & Self-Hate disapproving of yourself & others, & then scapegoating a child of your own
• feel a lot of shame for being ‘the bad guy’, but also rage at being blamed for the family’s dysfunction
• are desperate to find acceptance but can’t hear complements or absorb caring when it’s available, finding life almost impossible to manage, SO —
• tend to look for acceptance outside of yourself, making you vulnerable to manipulating individuals & groups who thrive on taking advantage.
EXP: Religious cults, criminal organizations, & violent or sexual predators lure their victims by initially offering validation to Sc, who want to belong, but have not learned to recognize users & abusers (underlying similarities to their family)
GROWTH: It can take Sc half a lifetime (30s & up) to get the right information that put the pieces of the puzzle together. Once they realize that all the blame & slander they’ve endured came from the very people who were supposed to love them the most on this earth, they often decide to cut interactions.
★ This may be to avoid dealing with the truth, OR because they’ve developed enough emotional strength & support to stop putting themselves in harm’s way.
NEXT: ACoAs – being Scapegoated (Part 6a)