Walking away from an entire family is one of the most painful thingsthe familyscapegoat adult child in a narcissistic family will ever do. Abuse from the narcissistic family towards the scapegoat is often so severe, and so mentally damaging, that the only solution left after exhausting all other avenues, is to walk away from the family unit, and anybody outside of the family unit, connected to the family.
Scapegoating is contagious – and once the family scapegoat has been earmarked for this kind of abuse, friends of the perpetrators, or relatives ( minions) previously uninvolved in the situation, may involve themselves in scapegoating this member of the family; just because they can. This is the nature of scapegoating. Once the smear campaign is at work, and infiltrates everybody within the narcissist’s circles, the scapegoat no longer has any control over the situation. Explaining away one’s own innocence proves unproductive. The only options left are to walk away,and to remain non-reactive.
At the centre of the scapegoating problem within the family unit, is often an extremely emotionally dangerous, triangulating narcissistic parent, often aided by either an unaware enabling parent, a narcissistic golden child or a flying monkey golden child with a lack of awareness in what they have become involved in.
Earmarked for abuse
Scapegoated individuals are often earmarked for abuse by their narcissistic parent early on in childhood because they are the child who sees through the narcissist’s façade. This ability to see through the narcissist eventuates in family mobbing and the destruction of the scapegoat’s reputation.
The narcissist’s false self cannot take any criticism; and will dish out low blows to anybody who dares challenge the narcissist’s reality – which is not reality.
How does one become a scapegoat?
To become a scapegoat, one must be highly empathetic, very strong emotionally, extremely caring, easily vexed by abusive behaviour, and emotionally sensitive to nasty, cruel actions. This type of individual can literally feel the hurt and pain from those being abused and will pull up the abusers on their behaviour without a second thought.
This child will challenge the narcissist’s false self over and over again; inflicting narcissistic injury upon narcissistic injury to the narcissist’s false self. They are now a threat. In a nutshell, the narcissist must brainwash this child into believing that they are inherently bad. If this sadistic parent can gain control over this child’s opinion of themselves, and manipulate the child into believing that they, instead of the parent, are actually the problem, then the narcissist will be safe from future narcissistic injuries. This child’s view of themselves is now tainted, which will see them second-guessing themselves – and will hinder the child from feeling confident enough to be their true authentic self within this family unit, or in their interpersonal relationships with others later on in life.
To reclaim control over the child, the narcissist will smash the scapegoat’s self-esteem apart, and smash at their developing sense of self by attributing their own abusive traits to the child. The narcissist rids these traits from within themselves, by projecting them onto the child. The narrative projected onto the child is often ‘you’re crazy, angry, abusive, dysfunctional, mentally unstable.’ Of course, as we all know, the narcissist is all of these things, not the child.
To scapegoat an adult child of a narcissistic parent, the parent must have participants. These participants are usually an enabling parent, and the scapegoat’s siblings, who almost always engage in the scapegoating epidemic, because they have not yet cottoned on to the reality that they are being brainwashed, and the narcissistic parent actually has a serious mental illness. Although, that being said, the narcissist selects their flying monkeys, based on the ease at which they can brainwash them. In most cases, the narcissistic parent will secure the child most like them, or the child most easily manipulated and brainwashed, into siding with them in taunting the scapegoat.
Very often, the most obvious ally is the narcissist’s golden child(mini-me). Firstly, the narcissistic parent will triangulate the golden child and the scapegoat against each other. Than the narcissistic parentwill smear the scapegoat’s nametothe golden child. In no time at all, the golden child will be under the spell of mind control, and will be convinced of the scapegoat’s inherent badness.
These two perpetrators will launch a dangerous smear campaign against the scapegoat and will sell it to the other family members. The focus of the smear campaign will be on the scapegoat’s sins;which apparently deem the scapegoat unworthy oflove –and worthy instead of beingostracised and punished by everybody else in the family unit.
This act of family mobbingwill almost always eventuate because of the obvious threat the scapegoat poses to the family unit as a whole. Truth tellers are not allowed in this family unit.
These attacks of family mobbing are not uncommon in the narcissistic family system. They are almost always set up by the narcissistic parent as a payback to the scapegoat for usually disagreeing with the narcissist’s opinion on something they deem important, requiring support – which of course would take attention away from the narcissistic parent, or for exposing some minor abuses incurred from the narcissistic parent, to an enabling parent, or other family members. To silence the scapegoat, or to pay them back, and show them who’s boss, the narcissist will set the scapegoat up by turning the adult children against them. They will do whatever it takes to destroy the other family members relationships with the scapegoat; which will, of course, cause horrendous pain to the scapegoat, and cut deep. The narcissist most likely fears the scapegoat will completely expose them as the fake they truly are. So they must remove them from the family.
The scapegoat says ‘no more.’
After decades of psychological abuse, random family interventions on the scapegoat, years of smearing, backstabbing, triangulation, and more likely than not, another attack of family mobbing – the scapegoat says ‘enough is enough.’ The final goodbye is not pretty, and usually, after the final confrontation, the scapegoat walks away. Nothing has worked. Assertion hasn’t worked, distress hasn’t worked, and most of the scapegoat’s warranted reactions have backfired on them.
The entire family watches on in dismay as the scapegoat informs the family that they will no longer be abused by them, and wants nothing more to do with them. They wander off into the darkness, (which eventually turns to light) never to return.
An earthquake has literally erupted, and the scapegoat’s family of origin is left to pick up the pieces. Narcissism is one of the few conditions where the true victim is left alone in a complete state of emotional terror; and isolation, while everybody flutters around the emotional terrorist, and dotes on them. Whereas the true victim often walks away from their war-torn family, only to have a complete psychotic breakdown.
The entire family turns their back on the scapegoat in their time of need. Members who once supported the scapegoat have become victims of brainwashing and now believe in the lie. Not one single family member will check to see if the scapegoat is ok – and nobody tries to find them; because nobody cares. This is the nature of the narcissistic family unit.
It is very unlikely that anybody within the family unit will ever actually have an epiphany, understand what they have been involved in, and actually realise the breadth of the damage done to the scapegoat. If the scapegoat’s family ever did try to find the scapegoat, it wouldn’t be to empathise with them. It would instead be to convince them that they should come back to the family, and honour their mother or father. These people are not going to apologise for what they have been a part of, and will most likely never be able to access the empathy required to understand the emotional agony the scapegoat has actually endured.
A member of the family who acts as a flying monkey for the narcissist, and tries to hoover the scapegoat back into the family unit, subconsciously does so, in the hope that the scapegoat will come back to the family to fulfil their role as the family trash can. Life becomes difficult for the narcissistic family when the trash can leaves. However, it becomes harder to blame the scapegoat when the endless drama between the family members continues – even when the scapegoat is nowhere to be found.
The earthquake has erupted
After being smeared, and trashed talked to such extensive degrees amongst the immediate family members, and extended family, scapegoat’s often choose to speak their truth, in relation the family dynamic, and reveal to extended family members, or to curious enquirers known to the narcissist, that the narcissist is indeed the main reason for the dissension in the family unit.
The narcissist wasn’t prepared for this. Revealing the narcissistic family dynamic to enquiring minds without trash talking the family, or stooping down to their level, is often the only way for the scapegoat to recover their reputation, which is often destroyed in the face of cousins, aunts, or even grandparents. A lot of these people see through the ruse and sympathise with the scapegoat. However; others don’t.
It is not uncommon for a scapegoat to find support in an extended family filled with cousins, where they can openly discuss the scapegoating epidemic within the family. This decision to assert their truth is very empowering; because for an entire lifetime, the scapegoat has watched on as the narcissist has lied about them, deemed them mentally unwell, smeared their name to anyone who would listen, and has done everything they could to break them. All the while the scapegoat has most likely remained loyal and hasn’t revealed the truth.
The tables have turned, and the scapegoat is gaining their power back. What the narcissist wasn’t prepared for is the scapegoat’s comeback.
This statement from the scapegoat is very powerful. Depending on the extent of the narcissist’s malignancy, the narcissist, along with their minions have been known to withdraw from an assertive supa – nova scapegoat’s sting. The family now knowsthat the scapegoat will never ever be available for family mobbing, family bullying, baiting, goading, exclusion, and other cruel acts of emotional terrorism, ever again. The family has been called out.
This exposure repels the narcissistic family from the scapegoat. They know the scapegoat is a force to be reckoned with; and because of this, the scapegoat will most likely never ever hear from these crazy-making family members ever again. They are free, and are now in survival mode after having left a war-torn family.
What happens to the family when the scapegoat leaves?
The family, on the other hand, is left to deal with the family problems all on their own. The scapegoat has quit after decades of abuse. The family trashcan is gone, and the family will now have to deal with their own rubbish or shift it over to a newly appointed scapegoat.
The family members will gossip and trash talk amongst themselves about how terrible the scapegoat is for as long as the subject can keep them entertained. This collaboration of forces against the scapegoat in their absence may connect these family members for a time – but eventually, they are back to square one, dealing with the same problems within the family unit that they were once blaming the scapegoat for.
What everybody has failed to recognise in this major debacle, is that the main problem in the family unit, the narcissist, still lives and breathes in the adult children’s domain. The ringleader, and primary crazy maker, the narcissist, is not going to change just because the scapegoat has left. This sick human being is still going to continue to triangulate all of the other family members and to cause chaos where once there was none. The narcissist doesn’t know any other way. The family members who mistakably thought that all of the families problems would be fixed once the scapegoat left are in for in a huge shock. I am speculating here; but the problems are only just beginning.
What happened to the scapegoat the day they left?
After an act of family mobbing against the scapegoat, all of the family members flock around the narcissist, while the real victim, the scapegoat, is left in a state of emotional terror.
The scapegoat has lost everything all in one sitting. They have lost their family, close relationships with the members of the family that were turned against them, their dignity, their reputation, and their identity. Their identity has been trashed in this family unit, they have no reputation left, and they are in a state of shock. It is not unusual for someone this bullied to have a complete psychotic breakdown, experience suicidal ideation, fantasise about dying, experience C-PTSD symptoms, huge triggers, and daily panic attacks.
Narcissistic abuse is a complete attack on the soul, personality, and emotions; almost always leaving victims feeling emotionally dysregulated, suffering panic attacks or agoraphobia. The scapegoat is left in a state of emotional upheaval.
This innocent victim of abuse has been cast out and left to fend for themselves. They are vulnerable, fragile, and broken.
The scapegoat embarks on the biggest healing journey of their life
If the scapegoat has a partner, healing from narcissistic abuse is going to be a smoother process. However, if the scapegoat is completely alone in their healing, then they may struggle immensely. If they are alone, or with a clan of children (a single mother) while grieving, then the lack of family support will take its toll.
Either way, the scapegoat is about to embark on what could be described as one of the darkest, bleakest, scariest journeys a person can embark on. They are about to grieve years and years and years of abuse, rejection, abandonment, and betrayal, from the people who were meant to love them. Grieving an entire family is one of the darkest, bleakest, scariest journey’s a person can endure. It is often filled with horror, depression, shame, guilt, and condemnation of self.
Years and years of brainwashing has taken its toll and has controlled the scapegoat beyond belief. The chains which have held them captive emotionally for a lifetime, are finally about to begin to dissolve. This may take a number of years. However, as time goes on, the scapegoat will most likely eventually relinquish the crazy cult like beliefs drummed into them; as well as their brainwashed pathology – by finally realising that they can now be the autonomous being they always wanted to be, because no one is watching them, or judging their every move, any more.
This journey may be very painful, but joyful, bleak, but full of opportunity, and darker than one could imagine. However, once the grieving is done, the light is brighter than the scapegoat ever thought it could be.
The aftermath – the feelings felt
The shame that the scapegoat feels after being so terribly psychologically abused for an entire lifetime will most likely eat away at them for a long time. They may even experience regular shame spirals for a number of years, even after they have gone no contact.
The seven stages of grief are relentless, and will often feel never-ending while enduring; because the day the scapegoat left is the day their family died.
The rainbow after the storm
However, at the very same time that the scapegoat experiences these terribly overwhelming, gut-wrenching feelings of shame, pain, guilt, anger, rage, and complete distress; they also feel an immense sense of freedom. For the first time in their lives they are free to do what they want, when they want to, without having a bunch of nasty onlookers laughing at them, picking their choices to pieces, disagreeing with their decisions, telling them how they should be, and still trying to control every single aspect of their lives in adulthood.
They don’t have to deal with regular family interventions anymore, their narcissistic parent constantly trying to gain attention for themselves by creating drama in the scapegoat’s life, and creating problems where there once were none.
For the first time in their entire lives, the scapegoat is free. For the first time in their life, they no longer have to walk on eggshells or behave with an incredible amount of hyper-vigilance. They now know which way the pendulum swings. For the first time in their life, they are emotionally safe.
Is it Tempting to go back?
Yes, it is tempting go back. The pain can get so bad at times that the scapegoat will probably feel tempted to go back to their family. However, once these emotions dissipate until next time, the scapegoat will in time, begin to feel a sense of freedom, and autonomy that they have never felt before.
It is especially tempting to go back to the family of origin if something goes wrong, and the scapegoat is experiencing an unbearable emotion which would normally dissipate with family support. Scapegoats are very very vulnerable in so many areas of their life because they have no family support.
The clarity which comes from healing
The more time one has away from the narcissistic family unit, the clearer they become about what was really going on. Within a few years, the fog completely lifts away, and the scapegoat realises they were duped by a false self, with a penchant for brainwashing, who claimed to be the scapegoat’s parent. They were living in an illusion for years with a very sick parent, as well as an enabling parent, who did very little to stop the abuse.
When you leave the narcissistic family, you leave a brainwashing facility; plain and simple. The brainwashing and indoctrination begin to lose power after some years of being away from narcissistic people. It is such an amazing feeling to learn that everything you were ever taught or were ever told about yourself was not reality, and was told to you and taught to you, so as to control you.
The narcissist’s belief systems are deranged – and the oppression the scapegoat lived under for so many years is not how normal people live. This is liberating. No one is watching the scapegoat anymore, judging the scapegoat, and picking the scapegoat to pieces. Mind control is wearing off, and it feels great.
The chains previously wrapped around the scapegoat’s soul are dissolving.
The scapegoat as an autonomous being
The scapegoat is now an autonomous being. They are no longer an extension of the narcissist; and after a lifetime of abuse, they now see through all of the lies. It takes a lot of internal work on one’s self to recover their self-esteem, lesson the effects of narcissistic abuse syndrome, and to find their voice again. It can be done, and will only be improved upon with time.
The scapegoat walks forward into the sunshine, and creates the best life they have ever had, and leaves behind them a war zone where everybody in the family unit continues to fight, bully, goad and provoke one another.
What happens when the scapegoat quits? ›
Once the abuser realizes that they no longer have power and control over the scapegoat who left, they are going to search for a new scapegoat to regulate their suppressed negative emotions and fulfill their insecure need for power and control.How does the scapegoat escape? ›
Substance use and other addictive behaviors: Scapegoats often try to escape their pain in various ways. They may turn to certain vices like drugs or alcohol to numb their feelings. Likewise, because they've often been told they're “bad” or “useless,” they may assume they're doomed to addictive behavior.What happens to the scapegoat in adulthood? ›
More specifically: Scapegoated adults often feel debilitated by self-doubt and 'imposter syndrome' in their relationships and in the work-place, and blame themselves for their difficulties. They often will develop 'fawning' behaviors, whereby they seek to please others and avoid conflict at any cost.Is the scapegoat the strongest? ›
Like the strong goat Aaron selected, the target of family scapegoating is also often the strongest and healthiest member of the family. At first blush, this may sound counterintuitive. But think about it a little more.Is the narcissist jealous of the scapegoat? ›
The narcissist charms everyone around them. They manipulate others to support their distorted version of reality. All the while, they enjoy the feeling of power they get from making the scapegoat suffer. The narcissist is driven by envy, jealousy and a lack of empathy.How does the narcissist choose the scapegoat? ›
A narcissist will decide who their scapegoat is based on their own fears, feelings of jealousy, sense of inadequacy and insecurities. From a narcissist's perspective, a scapegoat is someone who somehow triggers their fears, feelings of jealousy, sense of inadequacy and insecurities.How does a narcissist react when they can't control you? ›
Narcissists also gaslight or practice master manipulation, weakening and destabilizing their victims; finally, they utilize positive and negative emotions or moments to trick others. When a narcissist can't control you, they'll likely feel threatened, react with anger, and they might even start threatening you.How do I cope with no contact? ›
Allow yourself to feel your full-fledged experience, without the hindrance of anyone else's perception.
- Let yourself feel the guilt. ...
- Note how much better things are. ...
- Focus on yourself.
Trust issues. Because of verbal abuse, scapegoated children rarely feel emotional safety and are often unable to trust people or their own instincts — not being able to distinguish what's true and not. Relationship issues.How does the scapegoat feel? ›
Effects of Being a Scapegoat
Trauma: Being deprived of a family's love, singled out as the “bad one” in the household, and having one's positive attributes overlooked can set up a child for a lifetime of emotional and psychological distress, where they struggle believing they are good, worthy, competent, or likable.
What do people gain from scapegoating? ›
For individuals, scapegoating is a psychological defense mechanism of denial through projecting responsibility and blame on others.  It allows the perpetrator to eliminate negative feelings about him or herself and provides a sense of gratification.How do you tell if you are a scapegoat? ›
- Feeling ignored. ...
- Believing you are not praised often. ...
- You Are Portrayed In A Negative Light To Others. ...
- You Are Isolated From Others. ...
- The Flaws Of Others Are Projected Unto You. ...
- What's Happening Here? ...
- You Are The Family Punching Bag. ...
- Know The Truth About Yourself.
Of the child roles in the narcissistic family, the entitled and enmeshed golden child is probably most likely to develop a narcissistic personality. However, being scapegoated can also lead to narcissism, particularly the covert form.How the golden child treats the scapegoat? ›
Expectedly, the scapegoat oftentimes feels very jealous of the golden child. And the golden child is usually so enmeshed with their parent that they can't see anything wrong with the parent-child relationship they're in. They'll jump in to defend their parent and might even think they have the best parent in the world.What happens to the scapegoat child? ›
Because of verbal abuse, scapegoated children rarely feel emotional safety and are often unable to trust people or their own instincts — not being able to distinguish what's true and not.Who has it worse scapegoat or golden child? ›
Indoctrinated into the worldview of the damaged parent, the chosen one absorbs emotional damage alongside the attention. Despite what most scapegoats will tell you, golden children are usually the more severely traumatised in narcissistic families.Can the scapegoat become a narcissist? ›
Of the child roles in the narcissistic family, the entitled and enmeshed golden child is probably most likely to develop a narcissistic personality. However, being scapegoated can also lead to narcissism, particularly the covert form.What happens to the golden child of a narcissist? ›
Golden children cannot explore their identities because they spend all their time obeying their narcissistic parents. Since narcissists can only provide conditional love, golden children feel a severe amount of pressure to please their parents to be accepted and loved.