No Contact! The scapegoat walks away

Walking away from an entire family is one of the most painful things the family scapegoat 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.

A scenario

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 parent will smear the scapegoat’s name to the 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 of love – and worthy instead of being ostracised and punished by everybody else in the family unit.

This act of family mobbing will 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 knows that 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.


  1. victoress | 8th Aug 17

    Bravo! What an article! I’ve read it three times already — and am so impressed with the author who wrote this. You deserve a medal for writing this. I particularly loved the part about the supa-nova scapegoat’s sting. Now I realize why I haven’t heard from the cult. Before I went NC with my narcissistic family, I told a family member (who was visiting from overseas) about my NM’s abusive behavior, and I told a family friend about my NF’s abusive behavior. I think both revelations were far-reaching, and that’s why the narcissistic family hasn’t tried to hoover me back in — they know it would be a complete waste of their time. And like you said, many people are seeing through their ruse. Let them all hurl their excrement at each other now – they deserve one another.

    • Parenting Exposed | 8th Aug 17

      Hi Victoress,
      Thankyou for your lovely comment about this article, and for sharing your story. Makes my day to know this article is touching people. I wrote this article from personal experience for all of the scapegoats out there left feeling powerless. It is empowering to speak our truth, speak of our experiences, and to reclaim our reputations. Good luck on your journey, and good on you for speaking your truth. Kind regards, Billy.

  2. Neeners | 13th Oct 17

    Excellent! Describes my life in a nut shell. Just walk away you scapegoats– you will never be nothing but thier trash can. Remneber .. Life is to short for their. .. Rip charlotte ann jones my sister who once was a fomer scapegoat.

    • Parenting Exposed | 14th Oct 17

      Yes Neeners, was my life too! My heart goes out to all of the fellow scapegoats. People who endure this kind of abuse are some of the most beautiful, strong and amazing souls.

  3. Alice | 4th Nov 17

    Wow! What an amazing article. I had my breakdown following a mobbing on a family holiday just over a year ago and have gone LC with my family now having initially tried NC. Not seeing my neices was too hard, I feel I need to be the stable adult for them as both their mom (my sister) and their dad are Ns.
    The grief for the family unit you describe is so true and although I haven’t got extended family to talk to, I have an incredible partner and friends who have helped me to see who I really am, not who i’ve been told I am.
    I’d be really interested to know your thoughts on narcissistic siblings. My GC sister is taking over from where my mom left off and just loves to triangulate with me and my other sister.
    Thank you for writing this, articles like this have been so helpful in making sense of my situation and providing some perspective.

  4. Madeline D | 6th Nov 17

    After years of being the scapegoat, I had enough and walked away. I thought they’d all be happy that the person they used as the garbage can left the party. But no, that is when the real abuse starts, the emails, phone calls, letters about how “sick I am, how I need to go get help in a hurry.” Unfortunately, I disagree with the author, walking away was the best thing I have done for myself in a long time. I don’t miss any of them, i don’t want to be around them and I don’t want them in my life. Is it sad? Yes and No. I’m 56 and tired of the drama. I have a wonderful life, wonderful friends, a child I’m adopting and a fulfilling career. My self worth is just fine. What I want is for them to leave me alone, but as I have learned that isn’t going to happen without hiring an attorney and getting a restraining order.

    • victoress | 7th Nov 17

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I was fortunate enough to have had an “ignoring” narcissistic mother rather than a “stalking” one. By fortunate, I mean once I went NC with her, she (and my narcissistic family) pretty much left me alone. My narc mom sent the sheriff to my house initially to do a welfare check on me because I changed my phone number and didn’t give it to anyone in my family. I never phoned her after his visit, and she knew at that point that she was no longer in control of my life. It feels great to be ignored by a narc–once you realize just how evil they are. It’s a gift, actually.

  5. Wendi Vuono | 14th Nov 17

    This reads like my biography.

    • Parenting Exposed | 20th Nov 17

      Mine too Wendi.

  6. Mrd | 21st Dec 17

    My narc dad is acting devastated i left. He told if i dont hurry up ill never have a family. Then he said how can i have done this to myself. After that he said make me happy. The abuse i suffered left me homeless with 2nd grade education. I begged him years back to help me by letting me sleep outside his house and getting into collage. (I had been approved for a lone)or ill never have a family. He said dont ever come home. I gave up hope. In the past i had a stroke from loss of happy life from them. He used to lock me in a room. I never got to enjoy my childhood. I now dont have a family im 49. My dad acts traumatized i left. He cant be happy unless im their. He says i caused him to worry all these years i left. He wondered if i ended up like my mom who jumped off a cliff. Sadness is all thats left. I wish i would of never came home after a became a foster child when they removed me from his house. I wasted my life on a bunch of losers… Sad.. Sad.. Sad..

    • Parenting Exposed | 21st Dec 17

      Narcissists are master manipulators Mr D. Its the art of deflection. They’re the ultimate blame-shifters, and always move the blame to the one brave enough to walk away. In their eyes they’re always the victim; and the real victim is instead, the perpetrator, because they (the victim) refuses to put up with abusive behaviour. Stay strong!

      • Never turning back | 22nd Dec 17

        Yes! Stay strong !!

  7. Freedom | 10th Jan 18

    It took me a while to process what was going on & finally find & read great articles like this one. I relate to the “Triangulation” after a Golden child sibling kept my passport hidden in captivity for 3 years and actually had ME charged for harassment when I called them on their behavior.

    It has been years of “We will come visit when YOU have a kid” , “you remind me of my mother” & other measuring stick tactics before I recently decided that No contact is the only sane, self preserving & healthy option I have. I created what I call my own “Witness protection program” – deleted social media, changed my phone number.. email, everything.

    I have experienced love & acceptance from friends & people im not even related to that parallel what a real or healthy family should be, & makes life alot easier than the “explain/stand up for myself” Merry go round I have been on with family of origin for yrs.

    • Parenting Exposed | 11th Jan 18

      Good on you for saying no more to the merry go round! I love the term ‘witness protection programme.’ Its the only thing to do to stay emotionally safe from scapegoating family members. Good luck on your journey.

  8. X_scapegoat | 11th Jan 18

    I cannot say anything else to the author except: “My deepest respect to what you have wrote here!”.
    After 43 years of being the scapegoat I left my family for good and slowly began to understand that my life is wrecked by this dysfunctional unit called ‘family’. I wish I have understood this earlier. I am now in a dark place trying to deal with my problems, but I really believe the problems will pass and I will live the rest of my years God gives me in a better way than before. Thank you very much for explaining this and thank you for helping me understand.

    • Parenting Exposed | 11th Jan 18

      Thankyou for your lovely words! Yes, scapegoating is very destructive, and it can destroy many aspects of ones life, until they realise what they have been through, remove them selves from toxic people, and start healing deep wounds! Took me years to realise why things weren’t working in my FOO. Knowledge is power! I wish you all the best on your healing journey.

  9. victoress | 11th Jan 18

    X_scapegoat–Believe it or not, 43 years old is still quite young to finally grasp this type of horrific abuse. God intended for our family to love and support us–not to abuse us and get pleasure from seeing us suffer. Some people are still brainwashed and have not yet reached the point where they have walked away. They’re in their 50s, 60s, and 70s still trying to “fix” the narcissist(s). I was 46 when I finally “got it” and 51 when I finally went No Contact with my entire narcissistic family. It’s been over 4 years now and keeps getting better. So give yourself a pat on the back for being so courageous. In fact, you deserve a big hug! Hugs🤗

    • Parenting Exposed | 11th Jan 18

      Yes, this is very very true! I only managed to find out so early on in life about scapegoating because I went to therapy in my early twenties. That’s where I was informed about the dynamics of a dysfunctional family, and the roles played out by the children. Even then it took me 8 years of going back and forth to go ‘no contact’. That was when I stumbled across the term narcissism, and put all of the missing pieces of the puzzle together. Even then it has taken everything in me to remain ‘no contact’. Without therapy and years of research, trying to find answers, I believe I would still be in the same predicament in fighting to change a dynamic that won’t change regardless of what I say.

  10. X_scapegoat | 11th Jan 18

    @Parenting Exposed, @victoress, Appreciate the kind words! Believe or not what you are saying is helping me a lot, so God bless you for sharing your thoughts! At the beginning I was thinking that being in my 40s I am too late with understanding what is going on, but I found out that being at your 50s or 60s is also an option to learn about scapegoating. Now I am grateful that at least I received the knowledge and I have the opportunity to correct my life. God bless people like you for the help and support and for your kindness!

  11. Escaped | 7th Feb 18

    Thank you so much for this amazing article. It describes my family down to perfection. I went no contact in July last year. I still have some contact with my younger brother as he at times has been scapegoated. He really isn’t malicious and just has loyalty to our mother because she is our mother. It has always been LC anyhow due to the her triangulation. She has many flying monkeys but has now resorted to my brothers friends. I really have no intention to ever go back to any of that. I did go back a few times previously and she got her revenge ten fold. They can all get on with it.

  12. Jan | 11th Feb 18

    Hi everyone. I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face after reading this article. I went nc with my narc mother, enabling father and narc sister 4 years ago. The bumpy road has been almost too painful to bear at times. I feel like a 55 year old orphan, a sometimes scared little girl in an adult body.

    Deep inside, I know I am a good, decent person who didn’t deserve all they threw at me but the realisation of the extent of their wickedness has shaken me to the core.

    With the help of a wonderful husband who has shown me what love is truly like, I am slowly healing and making sure every day that my beautiful kids, get from me the love I never had.

    I have read countless books, articles on narcissistic abuse but myself and my husband both agree, this is one of the best ever.

    Thank you and much love. X

    • Parenting Exposed | 13th Feb 18

      Hi Jan, you are very welcome. Thankyou for your lovely comments. Thankyou so much for sharing your healing journey. It can be a very bumpy painful road for many.

  13. Survivor | 19th Feb 18

    What an amazingly written article, I’m almost in shock reading this (Chills)… finally, someone who knows. I have survived a lifelong nightmare I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And I am NOT broken, I am not evil, I am not crazy, I’m not a betrayer, I’m not any of the horrible things my parents have said I am. I AM good inside, I am trusted, I am intelligent, and I am worthy of love. I even have love to give, but don’t ask me what a normal family looks like. I have no idea. When I left, they took everything from me. I had to start all over again. They honestly tried to destroy me on a daily basis til I was 33 and made the choice. I was so petrified of being all alone in this world (my biggest fear). Our family friends turned on me, aunts, uncles, my close high school friends/High School love… anyone in my old life that knew my parents. I have so many horrible stories and memories of things no child should ever experience or witness, and no one to believe me if I tried to share it.
    I’m 49 now, and it’s been 16 + years since I left. I will graduate this May with my Masters in Nursing (FNP). I’ve been a nurse now for 12 years, Emergency was my favorite. I now have a great marriage (18 yrs Dec) with three amazing teenagers. I discovered that there is life on the other side and it can be beautiful, with the right support. My wife has been my rock and her beautiful family has given me a template for what “a normal family” looks like. I still hurt and some days are harder than others. But with this new life I have made a choice to not repeat the cycle of abuse and alcoholism. 18 years sober this November. No yelling, doors slamming, hurtful comments, etc with my wife or my children, or even the dog Lol… Our home is peaceful, not perfect but peaceful.
    Something helped me when I was neck deep into my agony and self-loathing. I came across God’s definition of love in the Bible and it struck me that this is how a father loves his children. I broke down and cried. I never knew what love was until I had read those words. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
    The hurt still remains,,, but it does get better… forgiving myself was the hardest part.. looking in the mirror got better after that. I always have to remind my self that I DO deserve this life. I hope everyone that has lived this life can find their own peace. Maybe even share that peace with the new people in their lives. After surviving this I ended up with a new family that loves me and they may never know how much I truly appreciate that love. Thank you so very much for writing this article, it has brought me a great deal of peace today.

    • Parenting Exposed | 3rd Mar 18

      Yes, survivor, I do know all about it! So very very painful. Thankyou for sharing your story. It is so wonderful to hear that you are a ‘God believer,’ – one of the only ways I knew how to get through the mental anguish. I was very frightened to be alone in the world as well. I am glad to hear my article has brought you some peace. Take care, and I wish you all the best. Billie

  14. sara | 28th Feb 18

    My father side of the family is BEYOND ignorant. They shift through scapegoats depending on family dynamics. When one person leaves, another fills the spot. The reason my father side of the family tried to scapegoat me was because they thought i was vulnerable and didn’t have much family and friends outside of themselves……….little did they know, i had my entire mother side of the family and childhood friends for support…this came in handy when they tried the mobbing crap……..when they found out through facebook that i actually did have friends and family that didn’t include them, they tried to cover their tracks by leaving a slew of compliments under FB photos of mine. I eventually blocked most of these relatives on all of my social media sites, changed my phone number and moved closer to my mother’s side of the family and told them what was going on. It is important to remain ‘NO CONTACT’ because they will not change. In fact, if you go back, it will only get worst.

    Other tips:

    1.Make sure to tell any new or old friends/associates that you dont speak to your family….this will put your folks on guard if the Family of orgin tries to start a new campaign smear against your reputation.

    2. If you choose to go limited contact with any of these fools, never go around them alone…….change the subject when they start that triangulation mess…….keep conversation light and positive.

    3. If you choose to go no contact, you must train your children and other immediate relatives to be careful what they put on social media, and to stay away from the abusers. Many NPD families try to get to you through your children.

    • Parenting Exposed | 3rd Mar 18

      Hi Sara, shifting through scapegoats is such a common dynamic in narcissistic families. It is good for other scapegoats to hear this knowledge. It is very clarifying. So thankyou for sharing your story, and your wonderful advice. Wishing you all the best, Billie.

  15. itsavolunteerslife | 2nd Mar 18

    I am a 63 year old Scapegoat. This is the most accurate description of what my life has been like that I have ever read! From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for the validation of what has never made sense to me until now.

    I was given away pretty soon after my birth because I was a sick baby that my mother thought made her look bad because she could not quiet my constant crying. Come to find out I had a Lactose sensitivity that no one was aware of and this was the reason why I was so inconsolable during my first year of life.

    My maternal Grandmother raised me until I was in the fifth grade, so I was loved and well cared for the first part of my childhood. I thrived in her care. At that point in my life, my NPD mother thought I was the answer to her problems and came and got me. She felt that she could not work full time and care for my younger very much wanted sibling and her household chores at the same time. So I became her scapegoat/maid.

    But in the years that my Grandmother had me, this little scapegoat, had grown into a young lioness and my mother found she could not manipulate, control, or intimidate me. I was a very strong willed and determined little girl. So she allowed my alcoholic father to beat me into submission. My younger sibling in the meantime was the wanted, protected and loved child. Still is!

    The beatings broke my heart, but not my spirit. I would survive, but at the cost of my ability to love others, as over the years, I have grown numb emotionally! As a child, I adored my father and when he was sober, he looked after me and tried to make up for my mother’s rejection and lack of love for me the best that he could. He was as much a victim of my covert NPD mother as I was. I just never understood that until recently.

    Over the years, there have been periods of No Contact and Low Contact, in between years of me being mobbed, scapegoated, and then blamed for every bad thing my family has ever done to me, etc…

    But the worst of what my family did to me and my husband was to poison my children’s minds as they were growing up against us in secret. Finally, when my kids were grown, my family managed to alienate them against me specifically. One by one over the last 20 years we have lost our relationships with our 3 children and 10 grandkids.

    Most recently, our children have now joined in with the family mobbing and scapegoating of me and I was kept from my father’s death bed and his funeral. My father, facing death, made his peace with God. I was told that he asked that there be no fighting after he was gone, so I honored that and did not attend his funeral to prevent the fight my presence would have started with the family that did not want me there.

    Since then there has been no contact again with everyone but my mother. She was diagnosed with dementia a few years back and I don’t have it in my heart to completely and forever shut the door with her knowing that my sibling is not caring for her properly and still letting her live alone and drive a car. I can’t walk away completely and turn my back on her, because my grandmother would expect me to look after my mother.

    My husband and I are retired and travel full time now, so low contact is pretty safe, since I stay in touch with my mother by email most of the time. However, for awhile now, I have been making plans to implement No contact with every last person in my family on both sides when my mother is no longer alive. I just never had put a label on it, as in No Contact, or understood that it was the healthiest and safest choice I could make until recently and I began studying NPD and the effect it has had on my life. I just knew it was a boundary I needed to set to feel safe finally once and for all.

    I have lived the life laid out in this article and it is exactly spot on in every description of what my family has done over and over to me all of my life. To those of you who are in a situation like this in your own family, I can testify that No Contact is what has worked the best in my situation to stop the abuse in the past. And yes, I realize the tragic irony of the fact that I am an Adult child that has had to estrange myself from my parents and sibling, while at the same time I am now the parent that has estranged Adult children of my own. The fact is that I stayed too long in my own birth family trying to make it work and the price I paid was losing my own kids.

    In closing, to those of you who have taken the time to read this, thank you! We scapegoats don’t often get validated much less believed! I live with a lot of regrets these days, the biggest one being that I did not carry out the vow I made to myself growing up in my NPD mother’s home…I was going to run away at 18 and never speak to any of my family again. If I could have read this article then and understood it was exactly what I needed to do, I would not have 3 messed up kids and my grandkids would not now be paying the price for my mistakes in how I responded to being the Scapegoat!!

  16. Lily | 3rd Mar 18

    Thank you for this excellent article. It is amazing and validating to have a stranger write as if they had been intimately acquainted with my family for years. I stayed in this family far too long, due to brainwashing, a false sense of duty, and fear. I’ve been no-contact with my so-called family for about a year and a half, after a final abusive incident involving my mother that was so far over the line that it required me to leave forever for my self-protection. Not one sibling stood up for me. At first it was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. It was truly a dark place, as you say. To be betrayed by those who are supposed to love you is a pain that is nearly indescribable. But now…my head is starting to clear and I am starting to meet more people who do not act like this, so I realized it was not normal. I remarked to my wonderful husband the other day that life has been good lately, and before, when life was going well, something bad would always happen that involved my family. I see now that they wanted me to be miserable and would regularly inject doses of abuse to keep me in my scapegoat role. Now that is over, and although it is still painful, I am thankful that God got me out of that situation before they broke me down completely. Thank you so much for telling the truth about the evil that can occur in families.

  17. Cathy | 4th Mar 18

    Excellent depiction of the life of a scapegoat. Thus is my story to the tee. Not just with family but another significant relationship. It’s true when people say you are attracted to what is familiar from childhood. Walked away from my mother, best friend and list everyone but my brother in the process. I never though at 57 years old I would be rebuilding from zero. Now, 2.5 years later and through the pain, I finally experience joy. It’s hard work suffering through it, but sooooo worth it. Stay strong and react to nothing.

  18. Leela | 6th Mar 18

    Wow, what a powerful, and helpful, very informative article. It makes sense, now finally, after years, of many of my family experiences. I actually was cut off from my remaining family (my 2 sisters) because they cannot bear it when I stand up for myself, or challenge them, which I had begun to do more and more as a result of therapy. However they have effectively continued to scapegoat me with extended family and it has taken me years to figure out what was going on when old friends and relatives were suddenly behaving very differently towards me. I recently heard from an old family friend, who has been shocked that my sisters have cut me off, that one of my sisters expressed considerable contempt when he contacted her to tell her about the death of another mutual friend. He said he’d seen me, and how much he was happy to re-connect and my sister apparently made a number of sarcastic comments. It’s very sad. I am especially unhappy about missing out on seeing my nephew and step-niece and nephew grow up, as I have no children of my own. Anyway, there is indeed a lifetime of healing with this dynamic.

    • Parenting Exposed | 10th Mar 18

      Yes Leela, I believe it takes a life time to heal from being so terribly scapegoated. So many families are divided because of this epidemic. Good luck on your journey, and I wish you all the best. Take care.

  19. Leigh | 6th Mar 18

    OH MY GOD!

    I have just read this article after a friend recommended it. I was a scapegoat through my childhood & early adulthood. From as early as I can remember, I have been brainwashed into thinking that I was letting everyone down, never being the child/young adult that was expected. I believe that I have always been “highly empathetic, extremely caring, easily vexed by abusive behaviour, and emotionally sensitive to nasty, cruel actions”. I have always been able to feel another persons pain, maybe too strongly so sometimes. And it is only recently that I have learned about myself that to have endured the years of direct abuse and the subsequent years of indirect abuse, I must be incredibly strong emotionally. By indirect abuse, I mean the ongoing and emotionally damaging abuse of being cast out, never to have contact with your family again. I definitely do not need the narc or the enabling parent in my life, but it still hurts seeing other families being close & together. I feel lonely and alone at certain times. Its like my family died, the complete and total loss, but you can’t grieve because you know that they are still alive. Having a loss that will never be managed or dealt with.

    I also feel an enormous sense of injustice, rage, anger, guilt, betrayal, self condemnation. Strong emotions that need to be managed properly. For many years after going NC, I denied that I had a problem with any of this. Distracting myself from these emotions through drink & drugs and promiscuity. I managed to keep these emotions at bay by immersing myself in the lives of others and being the best supportive friend I could be, always willing to listen to their problems. Feeling their problems, made me not see or feel my own. I was completely numb to my own feelings. I still have a hollowness inside, a burned scar of an emotional heart.

    It wasn’t until many years later, when I eventually settled down with someone, that I, sub consciously, started to feel my own emotions, I became aware of the pain that lie inside, untapped and unresolved. Very slowly at first, I started to unravel. My ability to empathise started to weaken as the proverbial “tank of gas” started emptying. I found I slowly became less able to help others as I was slowly drowning in my own sea of despair, loss, anger, guilt. For the first few years I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I thought I was becoming nasty & bitter, but I couldn’t align this to the person that I had come to believe was me. Its only now after a further 10 years of self examination, therapy and research, that I can now see what happened to me, and what is still happening to me. I went NC when I was 24 years old. I am now approaching 50 and still struggling with the abuse & brainwashing that I suffered for at least the first 20 years of my life.

    I am getting better very slowly, but its no overnight fix, there is no awakening one morning and the rest of your life is rosy. The abuse has scarred me with chronic depression, self loathing, having to second guess not only myself but everyone around me, even those I know I can trust. It has left me a damaged person who struggles to trust anyone, to constantly assume that I have done something wrong even when there are no reasons to assume this.

    I have finally shared my inner feelings with a couple of people that I love & trust dearly (even though this is difficult lol). They don’t judge, they listen, I am even able to commiserate with one who has been through a remarkably similar scenario. What kills me though is that despite all this, I am still so damaged that I don’t think I will ever repair. My internalised anger & rage will never have a resolution as I don’t even know where my family live anymore. I want to exact revenge, I want to hurt them with the bitterness they have left behind. I want them to suffer the way I did and feel the pain! But this will never happen. Yet again I find myself having to simply bury these deep seated emotions and try to deal with them whenever they raise their wearisome heads.

    • Parenting Exposed | 10th Mar 18

      Leigh, I have read your comment a few times now; and I am very grateful that you have shared your experience because what you have described is the truth for so many scapegoated individuals. Such a raw description of those deep seated painful emotions that are so hard to describe. Being a scapegoat child is such a painful experience; only an experience that other scapegoated children will ever understand the depth of. It is the ultimate rejection, and is so very very painful. I don’t think it is something that can ever truly be gotten over. I wish you all the best on your healing journey. And thankyou for your honesty. Your experience has been mine also. Bless you.

  20. Jen Beck | 8th Mar 18

    Thank YOU. <3

    • Parenting Exposed | 10th Mar 18

      Anytime Jen!

  21. Deirdre Christenberry | 4th Apr 18

    Thanks for this article. I am the oldest daughter (I have an older brother) of 9 siblings. My mother is extremely narcissistic and had limited ability to nurture. Everything revolved around her. I am the scapegoat with siblings who flying monkey’s. Some are also quite narcissistic in their own right. My father was an enabler, stymied by her rages and fearful of her vengefulness. He was grateful I had some ability to nurture my brothers and sisters. My mother scapegoated, maligned and triangulated. She ultimately co-opted my siblings after I went to college. I get calls when they are in trouble and trashed, again, as soon as their needs are met. I am not married, line alone, and at this point find the lack of relationships leaves me lonely but also feeling safe. I am no longer inclined to help them and have limited contact with only 2. Even that seems to be one-sided. It would be so nice to be valued and be able to enjoy each other. I believe we are here to love and support each other. It seems we are wasting the gifts of our lifetimes. I would truly like to find joy and acceptance in this life.

  22. Sunshine and Recovery | 7th Apr 18

    Thank you for your insightful articles. It is very validating. Am LC with mine and exactly what you said happened. When I moved away and went LC I really hit rock bottom myself and the whole family exploded into chaos because the trash can was no longer available. Now I am (I believe) being fairly constantly trash talked by them and any relationship I did have with them has more or less fallen apart. GC sister and EnM gang up against me and ND either complains to me how it’s so hard for him having a daughter with opinions who won’t do what she’s told (I’m 45) and expects me to sympathise, or, gets offended and punishes me by not talking to me whilst trash talking me tonotbers. The times when I don’t contact them at all are super happy now! I did most of my grieving and recovery and life is pretty good on the other side. What a bunch of nutters.

    • Parenting Exposed | 9th Apr 18

      Yes, the narcissistic family is filled with nutters. You made me laugh. I am glad my articles help you to feel validated. Its all very sad.

  23. Nick Esposito | 10th Apr 18

    I concur with everyone that reading this article is both validating and explanatory. My wife and I are both 46, and sent a goodbye letter last night to her parents. Both of her parents are narcissistic and alcoholic, and her sister is the GC/FM. I also come from a dysfunctional (more crazy than mean) family, so we vowed our kids would be raised without the stress associated with narcissism, alcoholism and craziness.

    Our Christmas visit to her sister’s house was the final straw. Grandpa was pouring everyone drinks nonstop. The sister’s oldest son, 23, used the F word dozens of times in front of and directed at my kids. My 10 YO son is a huge Clemson football fan, and there was a Christmas gift from one of his cousins to my FIL – a hat that said “F*** Clemson” on it. When we asked that the cussing and drinking be relaxed, we were made out to be the bad guys.

    I guess I should feel like a successful parent, because my kids knew how messed up the situation was within half an hour of being there. My kids reaction is what caused us to seek help and learn what scapegoating really is. It was eerie to read this article – its as if you were at Christmas with us.

    My FIL has always taken very strong exception to my wife having an opinion that differs from him. To the point that he calls her selfish for it. We once had a mild political disagreement and at my dinner table he said “this politician is a F***ing B****”, with my 3 and 6 YO kids at the table. Your article is the first to point out that this is part of the scapegoating pattern, and reading it lifted a huge burden off of our shoulders.

    Moving forward, we are concerned with retaliation. Several years ago, the FIL questioned our parenting skills at my daughters basketball game. Very loudly in front of many of our friends. I anticipate that they will show up at a soccer game, or the musical, somewhere, to try to shame us. Its how they operate. I am trying to develop my plan for when this happens.

    Also, we are the only family that lives in the same town as my wife’s parents. Should we let extended family know that we have gone NC? We aren’t really close with any extended family. I can’t let my family be around them any longer, but it would be good if someone knew about their alcohol and mental issues and that we will not be emotionally willing or able to provide the care they will start to need in a few years.

    Good luck to everyone who is going through this with us.

  24. molly | 11th Apr 18

    Billie, this is the most insightful article I have ever read on the subject of scapegoating.
    Only those of us who have walked this path can understand the depth of our suffering.

    • Parenting Exposed | 14th Apr 18

      Yes Molly, this is very true. Unless one has been scapegoated they just don’t get it, and it seems pointless to try and explain it to those who haven’t been through it.

  25. Kevin L. McDonnell | 15th Apr 18

    i grew up in this situation and left the family about two and a half years ago. reading this article is one of the best things that ever happened to me, as it gives me a lot of confidence in my story and makes me feel that I am not alone. thank you so much. i am still in the fog, but am getting to a much better place. If there is a way I can reach out please let me know
    God bless !

    • Parenting Exposed | 15th Apr 18

      Hi Kevin, you are not alone in this scapegoating stuff. I spent my life feeling that way until about five years ago when I went on a journey to find out all about NPD. It is so comforting and validating to have other scapegoats come out of the woodwork and confirm that I too am not alone. The fog will lift in time Kevin. It takes a while; but it does lift. I do have a contact form you can reach me on. Take care, Billie

  26. Christine | 15th Apr 18

    Hi Billie…I can’t believe I stumbled upon your site, it must be Providence! I have been reading an re-reading your articles, because I can’t believe how accurately this describes my situation. I’m in my 50’s now, and my parents are long gone. I endured an emotionally and physically abused childhood from which I broke away in my 20’s. I “wandered in the wilderness” until I figured out what had happened. I have one younger sister who was the “golden child” (I was the scapegoat) and the problems are continuing. She appears to have adopted all the narcissistic neuroses of my father, and I went NC on her when I confronted her with the fact that she had attempted to cut me out of our parents’ will. (BTW, she did not succeed at that, as the attorney could see through her antics and shamed my father into not proceeding). Actually, she went NC on ME as her attitude is “if you don’t treat me like the perfect princess I am, I am going to cut you out of my life!) She lied about her attempts even though I had the evidence in my hands. (She has lied about MANY things). She has sent a long-standing family friend as her “Flying Monkey” to try to get me back into line, first by having her tell me that my sister was going on a trip, and that my sister had asked her to make sure that I received all her money should anything happen to her. (Apparently this “friend” wanted me to get back in touch with my sister to express my undying gratitude). Next, the monkey called me to let me know that my sister was hospitalized for gall bladder removal, and asked me to call her (which I did). However, that was not good enough for the monkey (who knows about my sister’s attempt to disinherit me). The monkey still expected me to make a several-hour drive to see my sister even after I had ascertained my sister was okay and did not need anything. When I attempted to explain my side of things, the monkey just tried to talk over me. I realize now, with some pain, that the monkey (whom I had previously considered a friend), does not have my best interests at heart, and that I have to treat her with suspicion from now on. Since I am responsible and have been called an “all-together person,” I think people expect me to be “helicopter mom” to my sister, whose “schtick” is to make everyone feel sorry for her. I’m so grateful for your page, and would appreciate any advice on how to handle people who expect this of me, and then think I’m a horrible person for keeping my distance.

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