How to Stop Being a Family Scapegoat in Dysfunctional Family Settings

How to Stop Being a Family Scapegoat in Dysfunctional Family Settings how to stop being a family scapegoat in dysfunctional family settings
Photo by Jose Francisco Morales on Unsplash

Are you the family scapegoat? Do you feel that your family always blame you for their own shortcomings or for what’s happening in their lives? Are you always being accused for doing or not doing something? Do you take all the responsibility for making your family happy? Do you always feel underappreciated for your efforts in that family setting? If those resonate with you then chances are you’re the family scapegoat.

A scapegoat is someone who everyone puts the blame on even for things which are far beyond their scope of control. When you’re a scapegoat you’re often sidelined and even seen as the bearer of bad news in dysfunctional family settings. When you assume this role, you will be treated differently from your other siblings. For example, if you make a mistake, you’ll be criticized or punished more than your siblings.

When you do something for the family, say buy gifts, you will feel very underappreciated. You might be making countless sacrifices for your family but it doesn’t really get the praise it deserves and when one of your highly-favored siblings even kills a fly, they are elevated to the level of being the savior of the family.

When you find yourself in these positions, you start doubting yourself and that you’ll never be good enough. You internalize your family’s receptiveness to your actions and feel that your efforts will never be worth it in life or you’ll never match up. You might get stressed about it or even try harder to change who you’re so that you can be seen or be heard by your ‘loved ones.’

When you’re the family scapegoat, you develop low self-esteem and to compensate for this you try and try to win over your parents by even buying them expensive gifts or even sacrificing your boundaries as you seek to prove your worthiness of love or that you’re a worthy child. In other cases, you may even isolate yourself from them while carrying deep feelings of shame and guilt for what you’ve done.

So, how do you Become a Family Scapegoat?

There are a number of reasons which may make you take the role of being the family scapegoat even when you’re family is not that ‘dysfunctional’. The main reason is because you’re just doing things differently and you’re not following what the rest of the sheep (just a connotation for your family members and siblings) are doing. You stand out from the rest of your siblings which makes you an easy target (imagine a yellow car in the middle of white cars) for your family members and parents.

For example, you might be overly successful or even working on yourself, you’re not following the religious views of the family or you’re not getting married and you’re just living like a ‘hippie’ (or a rebel) kind of life. In a way, your family members are deeply jealous (on their insides) of your carefree attitude and the fact that you’re not even ‘struggling’ in life.

Another thing is when you stand out and you’re the scapegoat, you may receive hostility from your overly controlling, needy, overbearing or even narcissistic parents. As the victim, you may find yourself reacting aggressively to their hostility because you just don’t understand why they’re treating you that way. So, you question them and even try to take them on which further cements your role as being the rebellious child who doesn’t obey or listens to their parents yet all along you were just arguing out your boundaries. Unlike the other siblings who will obey without question, you always voice your opinion. At times, you may react undesirably when you’re pushed to the limit which even makes you feel guilty about what you’ve done.

So, how do you Cope with Being the Family Scapegoat?

When you’ve taken the role of being the family scapegoat, the first thing you’ve got to realize is you don’t have any obligation or sense of duty to uphold in your family (read this again and feel that knot in your stomach). One of the greatest forms of conditioning we’re born in is this feeling of duty and obligation towards our family (even when they’re unhealthy to us.). We just feel guilty and bad about ourselves when we’re disconnected from them because that’s what we’re used to.

We all guilt-trip one another with words like ‘respect’ and ‘obedience’ towards those who raised us, those who sacrificed to pay our school fees, our elders, and that we have to follow what they say or else we’ll burn in hell (in case of strict religious settings) or we’ll be cursed (for the more superstitious ones) or you’ll just have it rough in life. It’s all about fear, intimidation and more fear which has been passed over from generation to generation.

So, go easy on yourself and do the inner work that will set you free from this conditioning and past hurts. You will know you’re free when you don’t feel any sense of guilt and resentment towards your family members. Another door will open in your life, a door of compassion and love where you realize that your family members are also part of the same conditioning and what they’re doing presently is just stemming from what they’ve learned from other people or from their current level of awareness (perception of reality).

You will deeply understand that your family is also made of individuals who were also parented in a dysfunctional family setting (who were also parented in the same setting ∞). You will also realize that the acceptance you’re seeking is not actually from your family members but just you accepting yourself fully without the need of approval from others. The acceptance you need is just loving yourself unconditionally and connecting with your authentic self.

Lastly, don’t internalize this feeling of compassion or forgiveness or “why can’t they just understand” or just those complex questions when you’ve not healed. Focus on nourishing yourself and healing then you will have the answers you’re seeking without even anyone telling you about it. Drop the habit of wanting to know or wanting answers when all along the answers you’re seeking are deep within you, they’re just being clouded by your current worldview (ego). Focus on clearing those clouds of emotional pains and past hurts, and just be.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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