When you’re in the role of the scapegoat in a narcissistic family system, growing up to feel “normal” can be a stretch. After years of torment, the scapegoat is accustomed to being blamed for every little thing which went wrong in the family. It’s hard to feel a real sense of self and belonging after your trust for yourself and others is abused.
You were given the exact opposite treatment than was the golden child, which may cause you to resent that sibling. The golden child had it all. He or she was perfect in your narcissistic mother’s eyes, as this child was an extension of the narcissistic mother who could do no wrong.
Worse, if you were an only child, you likely were put in not only the scapegoat role, but sometimes enjoyed the hero/golden child role only to be put back to scapegoat or ignored in the lost child role. The punishment you endured was intolerable and something no child should have to endure.
As the scapegoat in your family, you probably took on the family’s issues and problems as your own because your narcissistic mother made you believe everything was your fault, no matter what the situation. This baggage can be felt by you as carried feelings that you bring to present situations. Even though the feelings didn’t originate with you, they are now your burden until you realize they weren’t yours but were from your mother who did not boundary or process hers. Being the adult child of a narcissist (ACON) is one of the hardest jobs because you come to realize that they pain and suffering you have always felt was due to your narcissistic mother.
When it came to you and your siblings, you probably were given more chores and responsibilities, as well as treated unequally when it came to discipline of you and your golden child sibling.
Now that you’re an adult child of a narcissist, you may notice things about yourself and your siblings which reflect how you were treated when you were young.
The golden child sibling may now be a narcissist themselves, never having to deal with the fact they were not perfect because your narcissistic mother never challenged them to believe otherwise.
Or, the golden child may now struggle with a sense of not knowing who they are or what their worth is outside the enmeshed relationship they had with your narcissistic parent.
For you now, it may be hard for you to trust yourself and feel confident in the decisions you make. Growing up, your narcissistic mother may have gaslighted you and you then questioned yourself and your sense of reality. This can lead to low self-esteem, because it was so hard to be certain whether your beliefs and values were right or wrong.
It’s common for scapegoated children to place blame on themselves, even into adulthood, for things going wrong which may be outside their control. They may blame themselves for the mistreatment they endured when they were younger, thinking it was their own fault their narcissistic mother was so cruel. In reality, a narcissistic mother is incapable of consistent love or empathy, picking you as her targeted scapegoat simply because she could.
Many scapegoats succumb to their role, knowing they’ll only receive attention from their narcissistic mother when they act according to how she wants them to. Repressed anger may come out when they grow up, leading to explosive aggression and resentment for their mother and other people in their lives. Then, scapegoats get frustrated with themselves for immature behavior and feel “less than”.
Other scapegoats fight and then bear the brunt of the angry narcissistic family system. Siblings, spouses, friends, and anyone else within the power of the narcissistic mother’s influence are used against the scapegoat. Some scapegoats go from submission to aggression in order to survive.
Now you are older and able to define how toxic your upbringing was. You didn’t deserve the treatment you were given by narcissistic parents and you don’t have to blame yourself for what happened.
Being chosen as the scapegoat in your family is not normal, nor is it healthy.
Don’t spend the precious time you have left trying to change your narcissistic mother’s opinion of you.
When I coach ACONs who’ve been scapegoated, I know they’re going to expand into their own happiness when they detach themselves from a narcissist’s opinion.
Base opinions of yourself according to your strengths and values. As you take actions that honor and protect your values your will feel your self worth increase.
It is no longer about what your narcissistic mother made you think you were or what she and those she manipulates currently thinks of you. You can put carried feelings and behaviors from the past behind you. You can end the cycle of dysfunction, shed your scapegoat role and be your own person outside of your narcissistic mother’s family.
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