Scapegoat

 

scapegoat

“You don’t want to end up like him do you now?”

Years later those words still echo through my mind. They act as some cruel guardian which ensures that I will never stumble, never flounder and never fall victim to the injustices which this world has in store for me. I was shown what happens to those who are weak, those who fail to seize control and grasp the power for themselves. The consequences of failure were paraded before me on an almost daily basis to allow me to witness the full horror of what it was to be sub-standard, below par and just not good enough.

I knew that this fate must not befall me and that it became necessary for me to clamber higher than everybody else no matter what it took or what the cost was. So long as there was somebody underneath me on that ladder as I climbed, then, as the saying goes, the devil would take the hindmost.

Onwards and upwards, climbing higher and higher to escape the consequences of vulnerability, weakness and failure. I was given a swift induction into learning how to stay ahead and protect myself. There were two routes available to ensure that you stayed number one and the best. Strive to stay ahead of the opposition and by the opposition I was taught that this means everybody else and furthermore bring the opposition down so that they become subsumed into the quagmire of failure.

If your opponent is taller, chop him off at the knees. If he is better looking, fling acid in his face. If he is smarter, batter his brains out. If he is stronger, poison him into weakness. If he is wealthier, sap him of penny and cent. If he lives in a pleasant place, pollute the neighbourhood. If he has a good job, get him sacked. Figuratively speaking some of the time of course and that means to do all of those things, that it is necessary to play the scapegoat card. Become proficient at pointing the finger elsewhere, cultivate persuasiveness so that the allocation of blame falls on the shoulders of another, practise plausible deniability so the mantle of fault never rests on my head. Never be the one at fault. Ever. Those were my instructions.

The indoctrination continued. You are not to blame, you are not guilty, you are not the problem, you did not cause the problem either. Erase sorry from your vocabulary as you do not feel it, remove the idea of apologising as you have nothing to apologise for, do not express anything which might be regarded as guilt as that is an alien concept.

There is always somebody else who can be blamed. It does not take long for the repeated mantra of it never being my fault to engender that sense of impregnability and a lack of accountability. Since it is the fault of everyone else it is impeccable logic is it not that it can never be my fault? It therefore follows that if it is never my fault then such a fault-free individual is truly superior and stands above all others.

To facilitate this it therefore becomes necessary to identify a scapegoat or more accurately scapegoats. The role of scapegoat slots seamlessly into our thinking. Fault is an intangible concept but it exists. Someone is always to blame. I was taught that from the beginning. Things do not just happen, they happen for a reason and the reason that she was always crying, that he was always failing, that they were socially ostracised, that she could not pass her exam, that he never scored a goal, that they never went on holiday, that he could not hold down a job, that she was a single mother, that he had a drink problem, that she was ugly, that he lived in a poor area, that she was never invited out, that he died alone, that she was beaten, that he was arrested, that she was raped, that he was murdered was because they were scapegoats.

Make others the scapegoat and immunity from fault and blame follows and thus one can move without hindrance, barrier or boundary. Make him or her a scapegoat because if you do not get in first they will do it to you. Make sure you blame them before they can turn that accusing eye in your direction. Stay one, no ten, steps ahead. They deserve to be blamed. If they had any value they would not be stigmatised in such a fashion, it is their own fault.

I learnt that they may come with smiles but the blade of blame is held behind their back ready to strike, so plunge your dagger of fault deep into them first. Do not be taken in by the false proclamations of love and compassion, they are but veils to place across my eyes so a crown of accountability can be thrust on my head.

Soon, the lessons that I learned began to automatically teach me. Not feeling enough attention at a party? The guests are ignorant and impolite. Tell one that this is a case and see how the attention shifts. Served slowly at the bar? The bar man is incompetent and he should be reminded of this fact. See how he has responded now? Report not completed on time? Find a junior colleague and point out how he has failed to provide the necessary information. Criticised for not earning enough? Blame the bosses for running the company into the ground and failing to reward an achiever such as I. Feeling restless and unloved? Lash out at her so she seeks to make amends. Stuck in a traffic jam? Blame the department of transport for the ill-thought out road works. Struggling to sleep? Must be those damned neighbours and their late-night music, go and give them a piece of your mind and see how much better you feel when you point out they are at fault.

But what if it is not those things and it is because I am not interesting enough to talk to, or not attractive enough to catch the server’s eye, or not good enough at my job, or not hitting the targets because I cannot apply the required effort, or because I do not show her any affection any longer, or because I set off late from the house, or because I fell asleep this afternoon?

Never. That is what they want you to think. That is the control that they seek to exert over you. That is how they get inside your mind and try to make you think that you are weak, when you are not. Remember, they want you to be the scapegoat. They want you to be the failure, they want you to be the subject of their blaming, so you take the rap, take the hit and become the patsy. Yes, you are right, I remember now.

The diktat still resonates even now, reminding and emphasising. That is not your role. You are better than all of them. You will rise above them and to do that you must work hard at everything and ensure that they are the ones who are to blame, because they are. They are the ones who are trying to stop you achieving and claiming what is rightfully yours. They are the traitors, the insidious foes, the treacherous betrayers who spout sedition and practise disloyalty. Let them know who they are, scapegoat them.

Thus this carries into everything that we do. We find a scapegoat in every aspect of our lives. The put-upon sibling, the browbeaten colleague, the lambasted neighbour, the oddball in the local superstore, the subjugated underling, the butt of the social circle and most of all you, the intimate partner who becomes the ultimate scapegoat.

It is you that becomes the receptacle for our domineering, hectoring, nagging, bullying, blaming, intimidating, coercing, blaming, accusing, menacing, terrorising, bludgeoning and oppressive persecutions. You burnt dinner, you made the white shirt turn pink, you forgot to get that present that we wanted, you failed to satisfy our sexual appetite, you made us be unfaithful, you made us break that mirror, you made us slap you, you made us ill, you made our team lose, you cost us that promotion, you woke us too early, you woke us too late, you let us fall asleep, you kept us awake, you didn’t do it, you did it. Again.

This conditioning ensured that the only way to stay ahead, to win and to succeed was to find someone else to blame and that does not change because we know you are just waiting to try to blame us, well we know your game. We have you in our eyes and it is you who is to blame, not us.

The only way to prevent the hell of being a scapegoat is to make others a scapegoat instead.

And so I do as I do, I say as I say and I am what I am so that I do not end up like him, like her, like them, like you.

Can you really blame me for doing that?

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40 thoughts on “Scapegoat”

  1. /iroll, my scapegoat sister got more financial benefits than me, which is a contradiction, I know. I think the general message was that she was weaker, I was stronger and needed less. For sure I learned to not ask for anything. It was an abusive message: “You need to be strong and perfect if you do not want to lose my love” “I prefer you because you are strong; not like your sister”.
    Do you have any theory as to why you were assigned the scapegoat role?

    1. Lou, they always give roles to us, but that honestly sounds scapegoaty. See, goldensis and i worked out, that i was the special one, but she was favourite one, if that makes sense?

      Why i was scapegoated has to do with my Dad’s mental issues, how he projected his own trauma onto us and dealt with his pain. But i definately entered the dynamic as i grew older and fought back.

      1. Yes, I also got into the dynamic in order to defend myself and survive.
        I guess I think I was kind of a golden child because my mother did show more respect and sympathy for me than for my sisters, but it was never a bed of roses with her.

    2. Also Lou: what they tell you about you to you, what they say about them to you, what they say to them, what they tell them about you.

      Straight up manipulation. On and on. We’re functioning as mirrors to them, like mirror mirror on the wall, reflecting their self idealisations and deflected responsibility – they can’t let us be individuals, they can’t give up control.

      It’s complex because it’s a relationship, your feelings are involved, but you should have been allowed to develop your own identity and learned autonomy and confidence in a self-integrated way, not through this reflecting role that serves their self-esteem. I don’t care much about golden or scapegoat, yes each position (which can shift) has different effects, and we respond individually, but it’s all about triangulation, pitting one person’s value against another’s, which is bullshit.

      may the force be with you ; )

  2. I guess you had to see Star Wars back in its day when it seemed cool next to what else was available (like shadow puppets). I never saw it, but it was on tv the other day and I tried to stay interested but it was complete dreck to me. Must be the nostalgia that appeals to some, because if that came out now no one would watch it.

      1. HG
        Fair enough. Your choice in Star Wars as visual entertainment disturbs me. What next? Ghostbusters as excellence in cinematography? Better to stick with porn.

      2. Hold your horses there cat woman, I watched Star Wars as a child. I wanted the Empire to win.

      3. The visual of little boy HG playing with Star Wars action figures amuses me. I bet Matrinarc even bought you a lightsaber.

        And it’s good to have the regular HG back. The energy of the blog has been “off” lately.

      4. She sold all my Star Wars vehicles etc when I still wanted them. I managed to hide the figures. I still have them actually in a box (I do not play with them before anybody asks).

      5. I have a sneaking suspicion that HG is actually quite stingy with his favorite toys. Lightsaber included.

      6. MB
        Oh I doubt hes stingy with his shaft of dark force. I’ll bet its been used to illuminate many a dark chasm lol.

      7. That reminds me of my mother. I loved my toys. The b@#%× gave them away.
        Anyway, good morning and much aloha.

      8. My Darth Moeder did the same, HG, she gave away most of the toys I was still playing with without asking or warning me. I come back from school one day and everything is gone. I was kind of in shock.

      9. There’s nothing wrong with keeping them, trophies of one of your early victories over her you sneaky boy. Good for you!

  3. Peppi, you’re not wrong. What was their survival, was toxic to me, literally making me sick. I was really protected by animals, like they had more ‘consciousness’ than the humans around me. Funny that.

  4. My older sister was the scapegoat when we were children. I was the golden child. I never abused my older sister though, at least I do not remember doing it. I think it is because I was younger than her and I actually admired her. I did not want to be in her place though. I saw how my mother treated her and I surely did not want that. The fact that I did not know why my Darth Moeder preferred me caused a lot of anxiety in me, but I never showed it. I knew instinctively I should not show any weakness. I loved my mother too.
    Being the golden child during those days just made my two sisters hate me. My younger sister used to bite me strongly and tell me “I hate you”. She never hid her hatred for me. I then developed an eating disorder, became a rebel teenager and lost my mother’s favoritism. My two sisters enjoyed it. I totally understand them but it has been sad for me to see that those first neuronal connections they made regarding me will be there until the end of our lives. I doubt that is going to change.

    1. Lou, i was the scapegoat (eldest) and my goldenchild sister, and i suspect, the ‘unloved little sister’ became npd, they don’t show empathy and have splitting rages – but are not sociopathic like our Dad. Being favoured and triangulated against the scapegoat is also a form of abuse. Your sisters were confused, mine were too. It’s sad, but you know how deep it goes. I don’t believe it can be changed either.

      1. Hi iroll. Yes, being the golden child is no privilege, in my opinion. It is also abuse.
        Is your golden child sister a narcissist?

      2. Lou, Golden sis has npd i strongly suspect. The golden position is also being manipulated to be an extension of the abuser’s ego – the only love is being loved for who you are. In a way, it’s easier to separate when you’re on the receiving end of obvious violence, rather than being rewarded (coerced). Sis was taught to clap when i was being the whipping girl, which is very sick. I never blamed her for that, i knew my parents were wrong, i wanted her to know that it wasn’t her fault, i felt very protective, which gave me courage – i could take the abuse because then my sisters would be safe(r), in my mind.

        She got all the support and material benefits but was always trying to feel special (apparently Dad is obsessed with me too, triangulation works in fucked up ways), trying to find her own identity, etc. I thought she had my problems, until she started attacking me when i was vulnerable, lying all the time for ‘no logical reason’, ignoring me when we were supposed to be ‘re-connecting’ and when she tried to upstage our other sister’s wedding. Plus other things. It’s all our Dad’s victory, he loves it when he breaks us.

        But i think she has a chance to heal parts of her self image when i don’t remind her and she’s not triggered to compete with me, and i need a kind of relationship she can’t give, so i leave her alone. Letting go, not in anger, is the best i can offer her at this point, there was no closure. Oh well.

      3. Yes, I always felt “loved” for what I could achieve or how useful I could be to my mother’s façade. I also tried to feel special for a long time.
        My mother loves to divide us. She divides and conquers.
        And breaks.
        Is your mother an empath?

      4. “My younger sister used to bite me strongly and tell me “I hate you”.

        That’s really sad. Sis would scream at me saying “you think you’re so special” – or she’d blame me for my traumatic reactions while accepting my support for hers, which i think in retrospect was a lack of empathy showing.

        No one really wanted my love or opinion on anything. My family are emotionally impoverished, they’d just hide all the abuse and act like everything was normal and if you talked about problems, you were the problem. My mother would say she loved me because it was her duty, but couldn’t like me. Now she calls me her gracious eldest and her most beautiful one. But growing up she was cold as ice to me and it’s all pretty superficial now. Her love is very self serving. I have learned to have strong emotional boundaries with her and perform our relationship as a duty of appearances, which isn’t in my nature, but it works better. To her it means things are going well, to me it means, i’ve completely given up on having a real relationship.

        Compared to them my emotions are super big and so it was easy to scapegoat me, i *was* different. I felt invisible and like an alien. But now i know i was just alienated. If you feel like a stranger in your family, how much of a ‘family’ are they really? I think that goldensis was very sensitive and just terrified into shutting down and was rewarded for ‘conforming’ through a false self, which left her authentic emotions and self, underdeveloped.

      5. Well said. You try to talk about the problems, you become the problem. And then alienated and ostracized because of it.

      6. The majority of narcissists are sociopaths. You father sounds like he was a psychopath.

      7. Your sisters were not confused. They knew excately what they were doing, because you were the escape goat and i suspect you still are. They learned it from the best. Why change when all your needs are met when you are a narcissist. It is alot easier that way than being a scapegoat. They find no need to change, because it has worked for them this far.

  5. “I was given a swift induction into learning how to stay ahead and protect myself. There were two routes available to ensure that you stayed number one and the best. Strive to stay ahead of the opposition and by the opposition I was taught that this means everybody else and furthermore bring the opposition down so that they become subsumed into the quagmire of failure.”

    But you still need people…attachments. A sad state of affairs…Who else to reflect your glory back to you?

    HG – A beautiful piece of writing…do you believe there are narcissists along the spectrum that are conscious of this? Or must it always be a case of denigration or one-upmanship? Can they even share the limelight? 

    1. Once can share the limelight if the outcome works for us but this would only be higher echelon narcissists.

  6. This is the ugly side of humanity, marginalised people know it all too well. I’m guessing your family is not originally English because of the mix of wealth and pressures to succeed?

    Negative responses are necessary information that we use to question and develop an internal value system, which tells us how to process impulses, emotions and feelings, otherwise you’ll believe that all that glitters, including toxic crap, is gold, etc. Like gollum.

    The problem is still a lack of applying flexible ambiguity, because of split object relations: black and white thinking.

    Dad was like this (celtic troubles!), so is my narc. This is something narcy wrote to me recently “Just admit it to yourself (blablabla) – so your pathetic excuse for an ego can still feel some elation for not being tied down in this material world you imagine to stand above.”

    So yeah, behind the Silent Treatments and stranger zone, there’s a lot of ‘ideas’. I withdraw because i’m sensitive, not ’cause i’m living in some transcendental escapist paradise… i mean, only in my mind.

  7. This is such a toxic dynamic when it happens in a family. It is a very harmful atmosphere to grow up in and have your mind conditioned to. It fosters a very black and white, dog eat dog, mistrustful, closed-minded, fearful and competitive world-view.

    What I can see now, in hindsight, is that a young person conditioned to think in this way, whether they are the scapegoat or the golden child, learns to think that the world simply operates in this way. It becomes the reality of the outside world. When the stresses of adult life start to take hold – for example, getting an education, finding a job, finding a partner, buying a home, having children, and making your way in life – these old patterns of black and white thinking and fearful jumping to conclusions, have an immense, deep-rooted impact on your general thoughts and behaviours. They shape your overall life choices to a huge extent.

    It permeates many levels, from an individuals inner emotional life, right through to a collective, society’s cultural beliefs.

  8. HG, you never cease to amaze me.
    As for your last question, I don’t blame you. In fact, as a scapegoat I’m envious of you, of your logic.
    But, I’m a empath. It’s something I’ve come to loath. It takes a lot of energy to always have to know things and have to figure everything out. To always feel driven to make everything better. Nor being able to stop myself until things become messy I life again.
    Working to make peace with it all is nothing short of a drain.
    Hoping to get through the mire, confusion and self hatred.
    Feeling determined to leave being a scapegoat behind. To leave behind the sick need to be batted about as someone’s toy to be discarded.
    One way or the other I will learn.
    Grateful for your writing.

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