Family scapegoats are not born bad; no matter how tempting it is to think so. Scapegoats are created, plain and simple, through guilt & shame. A child, often the second-born, is designated to be the problem child in a struggling family. This is not a conscious assignment but one that occurs naturally in a system in need of someone to hold responsible for the dysfunction that abounds there. The more dysfunctional the family, the more problematic the scapegoat will need to be. Basic needs go unmet. A common rule in dysfunctional families is the belief that it’s selfish to take care of one’s self. Therefore no one has permission to take care of themselves. Instead everyone is waiting for someone else to meet their needs and feeling resentful when that doesn’t happen. The finger of blame is pointed squarely at the designated scapegoat who becomes the one held responsible for the unhappiness and unmet needs of the other family members. Scapegoats most often arrive in the family after the “good stuff”(validation, acceptance & nurturing) has already been given over to an older sibling. So instead of positive reinforcement, this child gets primarily negative attention from parents and other family members. The child who is scapegoated absorbs the family’s pain as if it were their own. They take on the pain of the family and, like the rest of the family, come to see themselves as “the bad seed” — the family problem”. Because the scapegoat buys the story that the problems in the family are their fault, they act out the part they’ve been assigned. http://www.lynneforrest.com/clearing-story/dealing-with-strife-hardship-coping-with-life/2008/11/scapegoats-are-necessary-in-dysfunctional-family-systems/
When we blame,
we give away our power.
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