“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 they 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?
17 thoughts on “Scapegoat”
Some men and some women are angels. When someone breaks our wings, we simply continue to fly.
Usually on a broomstick.
We’re flexible like that.
From reading this, in my opinion (and this is just my opinion) this sounds like something a parental narcissist would say. I have heard this many times in my life. From my invalidation as a child and the tough love that I experienced, if someone tries to psychologically manipulate me or sets my alarm bells ringing I will go into defence mode. Sadly though as I am so psychologically tough it tends to manifest itself physically. My guess is that the immune system gets weaker? Then I end up getting physically ill.
Just because I was treated (and brought up) as a ‘scapegoat’ by narcissists of the past, it does not mean I have to accept being treated like one in the future. While it may not change the empathy that I possess, my knowledge / wisdom does change the way I “permit” how I am treated by other people (especially unaware narcissists). I just have to remember my learning. And the empath’s grenades. Hmmm.
Great article but you are the best at what you do. Hands down. I hope you explain the WHY.
In reading again, it seems your mother would not allow you to take fault but… what happened when she might be at fault… that is the clincher. When it is mother v child, then who takes fault in a dispute? Again is the real fear being a failure or what happens when it was a childhood question of mom v me and if I am at fault? When there is no one else to blame… such as saying the wrong thing to her. Was the consequence so bad that this is the real reason a narc can’t be at fault? And this would re-emerge later…I mean imagine going back but being you today in that situation of parent- child dispute, only parent-child. And she was wrong but would not accept responsibility, as a man what would you do? Eviserate her?
Contagious – I can’t help but wonder what happened to my husband and his family members at the hands of the narc matriarch. She is small, ugly and pathetic, yet she rules with an iron thumb. (Well, severe pouts and quiet punishments from what I’ve seen. But surely it took more than that for everyone to come into submission?) A true man WOULD eviscerate her, acknowledging the superiority of the real truth over hers.
Unfortunately, my man will not do that. He made a real show to her choosing me as a spouse, but in the end, he’s choosing to protect and emulate her. Over his own loving family who would do anything for him. It’s disgusting.
Question. It takes strength to know yourself. Accept yourself warts and all and to take responsibility for mistakes. To own it. One forgives themselves and vows to do better. To grow. If you never accept responsibility how can you grow? It seems to me you remain stunted. Also is the reason a narc can’t accept responsibility due to childhood abuse? Harsh reactions to making a mistake? And it’s interesting because antisocial/ psychopaths seems to readily admit to “ wrongs” it seems they know it’s a violation of social norm and they acknowledge it but don’t “ feel” or “ understand” it’s wrong. Whereas narcs seem almost desperate ( Mid range?) to ever admit wrongdoing or ever be at fault almost like if they were, they would die. Why the fear?
One more thing, I look forward to your analysis on psychopaths and hope it includes why a woman nurse would kill babies as recently published on UK news. I understand pedophiles seek positions like churches and schools as their hunting ground must be where children are BUT why would someone educate themself to be a nurse to kill babies? The most innocent defenseless creatures of all! The most hopeful and precious! I don’t get it. Any of it.
Sh said she was evil. I agree. Do you? At minimum her brain is wired to it.
I read an article about a note she wrote stating she was evil and killed them because she couldn’t care for them. The article said she had severe narcissistic disorder whatever that is. SCAPEGOAT
Feels like I’ve entered my brother’s mind….pure evil
Yes, I can. In your denying taking responsibility lies some weakness. You are not perfect, you are seemingly too weak to be willing to learn in some essential parts. It is no strength to fake reality. It’s maybe comfortable in the first place, but brings lies after lies and is much more powersucking than being honest.
Again here a piece of music: Mantus – Hoffnungslos allein
“…I want the big feeling of being the weaker..”
Dear HG, could you maybe clarify something for me.
I think I understand the mechanism of scapegoating from the narcissists perspective. Disowning the negative and projecting it onto a convinient thing/person. There is no empathy, the person is not a human being to the narcissist, there are no boundaries, so there is nothing to stop that from happening. I get that to the narcissist it is the victims fault always, but really it is not their fault.
Why then one person is used as a scapegoat over another? Is this just convinience sake, or is there something more to it? Is there something about the victim that somehow provokes the scapegoating?
In a familial situation with an only child is it just the fact that the child is weaker and can’t fight back?
When there are more children in the familly, what determines which one will be scapegoated more?
And finally in a group dynamic at school or at work, why can somebody specific be targeted?
Does this always boil down to picking on somebody who won’t fight back? Because I find that scapegoats often do fight back, just unsuccessfully perhaps.
Also about the scapegoat fighting back, I realise that this is actually providing challange fuel to the narcissist. So the narcissist is getting what they want in this screnario, hence there is no reason for them to stop the abuse.
In this case is fighting back actually a bad move for the person who is scapegoated? Because it in itself is further provoking the narcissist. But then ignoring the narcissist is also not an available move in this case.
Going no contact is for sure the best. But sometimes it is not an option. Also once you start running away from problems you may never stop.
Is there a scenario where an empath can stop being scapegoating successfully?
Is it actually the case that the person being scapegoated is in the first place is someone that the bigger social structure won’t protect, and the narcissist knows that. And then the only way for the scapegoat to protect themselves is to get help from this bigger social structure, from the higher ups so to speak.
Oh and I know you discussed scapegoating in How to handle a narcissist at work assistance package. It is one of the most helpfull packages with practical solutions.
I guess I mostly wanted to know why somebody would be picked on more than others? And why this happens in families.
You cannot make the narcissist stop scapegoating you with any guarantee of success, you control yourself, not the narcissist.
Yes, thank you for the reminder HG. I used the Halloween discount to buy the Who Can You Control to Beat the Narcissist Bulletin, to get that logic straight in my head.
But honestly I already knew this to be the case because I tried that and failed enough times to realise its a painful road to nowhere. Problem is I don’t really know what the alternative is. Although I guess there’s just enduring the abuse or going no contact.
But why oh why do I have to deal with this in the first place? If this was a one off case, but I’ve been singled out in groups of people often enough for it to be a pattern. It always bothered me because I want to get along with people and it then looks like I’m the cause of the disruption even when I don’t see what I did wrong.
I am a bit of a rebel though and I follow my own way, so I’m bad at pretending just to fit in. Maybe that is what irritates narcissists and makes me a target. Could it be that? The big reason?