How Family Scapegoats Become Lifelong Victims

Family Scapegoats Become Lifelong Victims

Are you one of those family scapegoats?

If you were scapegoated by your family, two things can happen. You can become a narcissist yourself (narcissism being an elaborate defense mechanism to avoid further hurt and abuse) or you will internalize the early message that you’re worthless, defective and have no rights. I’m going to talk about the second scenario because that’s what this video is about and it’s what happened to me.


As a scapegoat, you are trained to live in fear. You become afraid to defend yourself, express your opinions, or demand fair treatment. This attitude of worthlessness, fear, and shame is carried into adult life. Other people can immediately sense you are a pushover and a magnet for abuse, rejection, and bullying, and you become a target for abuse by others well into adult life.

How Family Scapegoats Become Lifelong Victims

You can become a lifelong victim unless you find a way to break the pattern. It’s difficult to unlearn because it was established so early in life by the narcissistic parent.

Golden children, who more closely resemble the narcissistic parent or provide them with narcissistic supply (adulation), are more likely than scapegoats to become narcissists themselves. They will often become the aging narcissistic parent’s flying monkeys against the scapegoated adult child, continuing the family pattern of abuse.

Related: 20 Ways To Tell Whether You Have A Parent As A Toxic Force In Your Life

Scapegoated children are the family shock absorbers. They are the children who have been assigned to absorb and internalize the narcissistic parents’ rage and to mirror back what has been projected onto them.


This is exactly what happened to me. Although because I was an only child I sometimes served the Golden Child role, for the most part, I was the scapegoat. My Aspergers and high sensitivity made me even more perfect for that role.

Today I’m the black sheep and the “loser” of my family. I’m never included in family functions because of my poverty and the fact I’m “different” than the rest of them. Although they disapprove of me, I really became exactly what they needed me to be. My becoming a “loser” ensured they would always be winners.

I’ve been disinherited because they believe I’m undeserving, a shameful blemish on the family’s “good name,” further guaranteeing I will always remain poor and therefore powerless–unless I hit the lottery (which I don’t play) or write a book, which I plan to do. The irony of all that is the book may very well be one that exposes the people who raised me for what they really are.

I’ve always been a risk-averse, avoidant underachiever. My dealings with others have suffered because of my fear of the judgment of other people. I was often bullied as a child and teenager.

Related: 24 Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers

I married a narcissistic man and continued to live with him and allow his abuse even years after we were divorced.

Although as an adult I’m no longer bullied (and am Very Low Contact with my ex), people still try to push me around, treat me like a mental defective, leave me out of conversations, overlook me for promotions or raises at work, or just talk over or look through me as if I’m not there at all. When I say something, people act like they don’t hear me. It’s very hard for me to make friends or fight back when I need to because I was trained from an early age to be so very afraid of everyone. I’m the proverbial shrinking Violet and wallflower–the kind of woman my mother used to mock for being so “insipid.” I seem to have the opposite of charisma.

10 thoughts on “How Family Scapegoats Become Lifelong Victims”

  1. Avatar of Bronwyn

    I can understand this. The company I used to work for promised me a promotion, advertised the post and someone else got the promotion.

  2. Avatar of Just Some Guy

    It hurt so bad to read this because this is very similar to what happened to me.

    I had to abandon my family entirely after 40 years of abuse. My mother, father, and younger brother blamed me for everything and always put me down. I had already stopped speaking to my father a decade prior, and finally realized my mother was a huge problem as well, a source of real pain which I had to get away from and never expose myself to again. My negative interactions with her caused me to lose a very important job (due to stress) which I had worked hard for years and years to get. I accept my own responsibility but there has been a lot going on beside what I am not responsible for and I have to let it go. Toxic family is the worst.

    I didn’t know anyone else had similar experiences, I have never spoken to anyone about this sort of thing.

    Thanks a lot
    I needed to see this. I think I may need counseling. No more random crying jags. It’s not my fault.

  3. Avatar of Stacy kreager

    My diagnosis was also changed from BPD to c-pstd.
    My hubby is on the spectrum as well. He is an empath.
    Very interesting. I want to read your book! I don’t have a publisher, yet, but have a connection

  4. Avatar of Stacy kreager

    Wow, you go girl, I’m so so impressed with your Tenacity perseverance and resiliency. Autism alone is enough to break some people it can be beautiful if it’s embraced. My son is autistic, I was abused and trafficked by my parents as a child my heart goes out to you peace, I also have an only child and the golden child and the major scapegoat life sucks but I’m gonna rise too. I’m also writing a book, my story mirrors yours a lot. You are amzing

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