Projection: What is it? Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own deeply ingrained impulses or qualities (both positive or negative) by denying the behaviours exist within themselves, while attributing them to other people. For example, a person who feels bad about themselves may accuse other people of being bad. Or an angry ex prone to stalking, may tell friends and family that they have to leave town because their emotionally healthy partner will stalk them if they stay. In actual fact, the narcissist is the stalker and has moved away so as not to give into his or her own temptations to stalk the ex partner.
Projecting onto children
Projecting a parent’s own deeply ingrained behaviour, or thoughts about self, onto a small child is one of the most disgusting things an adult can do. The parent who does this treats their child as an extension of themselves, and has poor boundaries. Devaluing phrases, projections of self onto a child, or constant criticism in childhood creates a false sense of self within the child – a bad, defective sense of self. Projection can be the difference between a successful or an unsuccessful life, a drug addicted young adult who is self-medicating to heal the pain of shame, and an adult whom is confident, self assured and can handle the things life throws at them.
Lives can be destroyed because of projection, and it is not unusual to read in the news that yet another bullied teenager has committed suicide, all because a pack of children projected their shortcomings onto somebody else. Narcissism is dangerous, bullying is dangerous, and projection can end lives.
Projection as an insidious form of rejection
A child is a canvas, and the adults’ in that child’s life are contributing to the state of their child’s psyche (the artwork) through their perception of the child, which will become accepted by the child as the child’s reality of who they are. Like paint, comments stick, and ruminate deeply within the psyche. These comments will either enhance the soul, and help the child grow into an emotionally healthy adult, or, these comments will eat away at the child’s soul like termites to a house.
Projection is rejection- and projection and rejection create shame. The narcissist is an angry volatile person, who can’t handle their own shame. So they accuse other people of being exactly like they are, in an effort to feel better about themselves when feeling inadequate.
What happens to the child’s reality?
The narcissist becomes the child’s reality of who they are, and the narcissist’s reality of who is the child is, is incorrect, because what the child doesn’t know, and won’t realise until adulthood is that the narcissist is crazy. So, the child accepts the narcissist’s reality of who they are. This false persona that they’ve accepted as belonging to them, affects their decision making, their ability to be assertive, their choice of friends, and often results in chronic hyper vigilance.
The story of a scapegoated child:
I have heard many tragic stories about the detrimental affects of projection from many an emotionally destroyed scapegoat. Recently, a very close friend of mine confided in me about her experience with projection from her narcissistic caregiver. My friend was told ridiculous lies about herself, and believed up until the age of 24 (up until she entered therapy) that she was dirty, evil, would push everybody away in her adult life, and was doomed to become exactly like the narcissistic parent’s vile caregivers.
Her narcissist still believes that she is a bad seed. These beliefs were the catalyst for years of suicidal thoughts, feelings of self-hatred, and deliberate isolation from friends and prospective partners through an innate fear that she was evil.
The above accusations absolutely destroyed this adult child, whom of course succumbed to drug use in adulthood, and acted out on the badness projected onto her.
The above example is a classic example of projection. The narcissist in this scenario was renowned for creating havoc in their own relationships, and projected their faults onto their own child, by predicting that their child would push everybody away in their adult life, by becoming a rendition of the narcissist’s defective caregivers.
”If I can convince you that you are like me, I will feel better about myself. And, if I can convince you that you are bad, you will do as I please.’
Common projections onto children of narcissists:
What is the problem with projection?
Children are sponges for information, and they require the approval of the adults around them. When they’re disapproved of, they persist and try to please the parent, to gain their approval. The adult is the child’s reality, and the adult’s perception of the child also becomes the child’s reality. If the parent projects negative traits onto a child, than the child ends up with a deep open wound filled with shame.
A child told that they are an angry person, will most likely suppress their anger, will see anger as a negative emotion, and will learn not to express anger. They may even stuff their anger, and could very well become passive aggressive as a result.
A child told that they are bad will believe that they are bad, and will most likely act out on that deep seated feeling of badness.
Instead of going to uni, getting a great job, and attracting lovely partners, the child projected onto loses themselves in their shame, in their self hatred, and in their pain, which can either temporarily, or permanently hold them back, sometimes for their entire life.
Question: Why is it exactly that the scapegoat child cannot trust their golden child sibling?
Answer: The golden child is committed to misunderstanding the scapegoat child, and in believing the smear campaign against them; the one full of lies.
What I am about to write about is not inclusive of every golden child. Some golden children do not exhibit any of the traits relating to this article and have the integrity enough to see right through the narcissist, tell the narcissist that they are in the wrong, and to stand by the scapegoat’s side. It is likely that if the golden child honours their scapegoated sibling in this way, (which is highly unusual) both children will be discarded from the family for having dared challenge the narcissist.
When I write about narcissism, I write about what I have witnessed happen in families where there is a narcissistic parent. The particular situation I am about to discuss runs rampant throughout narcissistic families’, and is more common than not.
My primary belief about the golden child (who forms a nasty alliance with the narcissist against the scapegoat) is that they are completely unaware of what they are doing and that they have been completely brainwashed by the narcissist. However, that being said, the golden child still makes an executive decision to aid the narcissist in their smear campaigns of the people who expose the narcissist, challenge the narcissist, or who simply have a difference of opinion from the narcissist.
Why does the golden child choose to side with the narcissist?
The narcissist lives and breathes to influence the golden child’s perception of the scapegoat. Through daily put-downs of the scapegoat, exaggerations, and half-truths about the scapegoat, the narcissist will gradually erode the golden child’s perception of their scapegoated sibling. At times mind control sessions will occur on an hourly basis (not daily, hourly).
As the scapegoat becomes older, more defiant and defensive against the abuse, the narcissist will begin to fear exposure, and will suddenly turn the tables on the scapegoat. This is when they will tell all kinds of outrageous lies about the scapegoat, and work especially hard to turn the golden child against their sibling.
By the time the scapegoat exposes the narcissist, the narcissist (who knew this was coming all along) has already pulled one over the scapegoat; and now nobody in the family will believe the scapegoat when they begin to the claim that there is something wrong with the family system.
A close relationship between the scapegoat and the golden child?
A close relationship between the scapegoat and golden child, will in fact, inevitably be destroyed by the narcissist. This will happen because the narcissist has been moulding the golden child’s perceptions of the scapegoat since birth. Eventually, the golden child will completely forfeit the close relationship they may have with the scapegoat (if they were ever close, to begin with), and will act out the narcissist’s contempt of the scapegoat through their body language, verbal language, and utter nastiness.
Any signs of anger or emotional confusion from the scapegoat about the treatment of them during the devaluation phase will be perceived by the narcissist and the golden child as symptoms of a severe mental health issue within the scapegoat; instead of a pretty normal reaction to vile abuse.
The narcissist’s intent is to push the scapegoat over the edge, so as all eyes are off them, and on the scapegoat instead. All of this happens because the scapegoat brings to the forefront the narcissist’s shortcomings.
The golden child’s relationship with the parent:
The golden child is bought by the narcissist, given the best of everything, and doted on daily. They are also continually groomed and hoovered by the parent, told just how entitled or special they are, and are reminded by the parent just how similar they are to them. We mustn’t forget that this child represents to the narcissist all of the goodness in them.
The narcissistic parent will encourage the other siblings’ to also adore the golden child too, to do everything for the golden child, and to love this child until no end.
This child is always right, never punished for harming the other siblings’, and their misdeeds are shoved under the carpet. All of their misdeeds are projected onto the scapegoat, and the scapegoat becomes the golden child’s fall guy early on in the piece.
The scapegoat’s relationship with the parent:
The scapegoat is despised in childhood. Some theories suggest that the scapegoat is the whistleblower or the truth teller in the family. However, the narcissist will claim that this child is treated differently for obvious reasons. They have apparently always been a difficult child; while of course, the golden child wasn’t. However, if the scapegoat was as adored, and never disciplined to extreme measures, like their golden child sibling, then the scapegoat child would have nothing to be upset about now, would they?
Excuses are always made by the narcissistic parent to explain away the abuse of the scapegoated child.
These claims made by the narcissist are most likely true. However, the narcissist is prone to exaggeration, and these behaviours are fairly normal in children; some more so than others. The narcissist cannot tolerate ordinary child-like behaviour because in their eyes they are entitled to have complete control over the child. In the narcissistic family, normal childlike behaviour such as squabbling between siblings, or a bit of back chatting is used against the children. The children who refuse to be seen and not heard are assessed by the narcissist as being problematic. For example; crying is pretty much prohibited in this family system, or explained away as crocodile tears and attention seeking.
The scapegoat grows up living in the golden child’s shadow. When they get upset about it, and have the audacity to have an argument with the narcissist about the issue, they are told that they are insane, have mental health problems, and are out of control. They may even be told that they are very similar to other people that the narcissist deems as crazy, such as relatives or friends.
The narcissist hopes that by denigrating this child they will be able to control the child. This tactic usually goes the other way for the narcissist. Instead, the scapegoat becomes distressed at the accusations hurled at them, and one day discloses the abuse.
Meanwhile, the golden child sits back and feels very special while this is happening to the scapegoat. The abuse of the scapegoat not only keeps this child out of the limelight, but it reinforces to the golden child what a good child they are, and what a bad child the scapegoat is.
Lets get one thing Straight: The golden child isn’t any better than the scapegoated child. They just haven’t been scapegoated; that is the difference.
Cinderella Syndrome: So, here we have a very real case of ‘Cinderella syndrome,’ which of course the golden – child revels in.
Abuse in silence:
A lot of the narcissist’s abuse towards the scapegoat is done behind closed doors, in private where other family members’ are unable to directly witness events which signify extreme abuse. Acts of subtle abuse, on the other hand, are committed in front of the entire family and are accepted by these family members as a consequence of the scapegoat’s behaviour. These family members’ have fallen prey to the brainwashing tactics of the narcissist, and now also believe, along with the narcissistic parent that the scapegoat’s normal childlike behaviour, is the behaviour of a child with something seriously wrong with them.
”It all depends on what the narcissist wants people to hear”
Abuse of the scapegoat is also initiated very subtly in front of the neighbours, friends, work colleagues, or even the coffee shop owner. Often, friends’, colleagues’, and family members’ accidentally perpetuate the abuse by telling the scapegoat that they are cheeky, should smile more, or that they have a sour persona. This reinforces to the scapegoated child that they are the problem.
Common phrases made to the narcissist’s minions:
These comments are said day in day out, sometimes five or six times in an hour. It is no wonder that the golden – child has a distorted perception of the scapegoat. They’re under the spell of mind control.
These continuous despicable comments eventually turn everybody against the scapegoat. So when the scapegoat acts out and claims that they are being treated unfairly, everybody, including the golden child, just thinks to themselves, ‘they’re crazy.’
A consequence of the scapegoat’s position in the family is that it enables the golden child, along with the other siblings, to blame their poor behaviour towards the scapegoat, on the scapegoat. Somehow, in some way, the scapegoat will always be blamed for the abuse hurled upon them.
The mind control that the narcissist has over the golden – child is a sure investment to the narcissist. Whenever the narcissistic parent requires the golden child’s allegiance against the scapegoat, the golden child will provide the narcissistic supply that the narcissist is asking for.
The narcissist has no empathy and no conscience; which means that they have absolutely no issue whatsoever with pushing the scapegoat over the edge emotionally. This way everybody will look to the scapegoat’s unusual behaviour, and focus on that rather than the narcissist.
Why must the scapegoat child never completely trust the golden child?
The golden child and the scapegoat child are sometimes good friends in childhood; best friends even. However, in most cases, the golden child will not accept that the scapegoat has been abused beyond belief. Deep down they too have internalised that the scapegoat is the crazy person, not the reverse.
They honestly don’t get it, and how could they? Most of the time people cannot empathise with an abused individual unless they’ve experienced something similar. Not once does the golden child ever question the impact the severe emotional abuse inflicted on the scapegoat, by the narcissist, may actually have on their sibling.
The scapegoat must never ever fully trust the golden child, under any circumstances. At the end of the day, it is most likely that when it comes down to it the golden child will always align with the narcissist.
What the scapegoat needs to understand about their relationship with the golden child:
The relationship with this child was never real and never had a chance. Relationships can’t exist when there is mind control involved or the likes of a dangerous manipulator.
The entitlement of the golden child:
The golden child believes they are so much better than their scapegoat sibling, who just cannot behave (apparently).
The golden child can be very two-faced. With entitlement can often come nastiness. Their specialness makes it ok for them to sit and laugh at the scapegoat behind their back, smear the scapegoat’s name, and continually put the scapegoat down.
The golden child has a sense entitlement, and they believe that everybody should treat them in a special manner.
The golden child:
The sad fact is that the golden – child doesn’t care. Its all about the survival of the fittest in this family, and if the golden child needs to turn on their sibling to keep in favour of a vile human being. Well, so be it.
It is absolutely imperative that scapegoated children, even in adulthood, never fully trust their golden child sibling; because unbeknown to the scapegoat child, the golden-child, even in early childhood, has taken on board the brainwashing tactics of the narcissist. Deep down, regardless of a friendship with the scapegoat child, or not, the golden child will always believe that the scapegoat is fundamentally floored.
This is what the evidence suggests about the scapegoat in the eyes of the golden – child:
The golden child has witnessed the scapegoat:
Golden child as judgemental:
The golden child is very judgemental and does not understand that these reactions are very normal reactions to a disgusting amount of psychological abuse.
The development of an alliance between golden child and narcissist: A scenario
In adulthood, the scapegoat may begin to tell people about their abuse, including the enabling parent. When they do this, and the truth becomes uncovered, the narcissist will take the scapegoat out, and destroy their relationships with the other siblings.
How does the narcissist use the golden – child to take the scapegoated adult child out ? A scenario
Narcissists are very revengeful: They will plot for months, or even years to get somebody back for some supposed slight that didn’t happen as they see it (like a scapegoat pouring their heart out to a family member about being on the receiving end of severe mental abuse).
First, the narcissist will hoover the scapegoat into the family by love bombing them. The scapegoat will find it odd that the person whom they have exposed is now making them soup, buying them things, and suddenly being very kind to them.
The scapegoat will believe in their mind that they have made amends with their parent, and that the parent has forgiven them for exposing the truth. However, they will notice that the tension heightens when they enter the room and that their siblings are acting strangely around them. The scapegoat will know for months in advance that something is wrong; they just won’t be able to put their finger on it.
The final showdown may happen at a function, or while the scapegoat is visiting the parent, who appears to want them around. I have heard many stories where a scapegoat is vilified in front of everyone at a function; only to have the scapegoat’s original suspicions clarified. The tension they originally felt around the family was very real. The narcissist had been sitting around with the help of the golden – child smearing the scapegoat’s name to the entire family.
Mind control is in full force: Finally, one of the children will have enough (most likely a golden child sibling – (there can be more than one) and blast the scapegoat. When the scapegoat questions the parent in private, their supposed slight of the narcissist will most likely be mentioned to the scapegoat as a reason as to why the discard occurred. The other children will most likely never know that this was all a revenge plot by the narcissist. At this point, the golden child will show no remorse for what has happened.
Redeveloping a relationship with the golden child:
I personally believe that the golden child has already shown the scapegoat who they are, and that the scapegoat should really take this into account. The golden child cannot be trusted, and they have most likely shown this to be true on several occasions.
Possibilities for a relationship may occur after the narcissist dies. However, the scapegoat will never be able to trust the golden child again, because when it suits them, they’ll just turn against their scapegoated sibling, as a way to avoid all accountability for their own vile behaviour. The only element that will change in this scenario is who they side with.
Until the golden child’s perception of the scapegoat changes, which is unlikely, the scapegoat may need to sever all ties with the golden child and kiss the relationship goodbye.
Scapegoated children of narcissistic parents will often reinvent their own child-hood trauma by choosing severely personality disordered partners with either narcissistic, sociopathic, schizoid, or psychopathic traits. Individuals with severe personality disordered traits will scapegoat anybody with whom they become involved with, because these personality types will not take responsibility for their own behaviour.
The scapegoat only knows one type of relationship, and that is the scapegoat/ narcissistic relationship – which they originally played out with their narcissistic parent. The development of this relationship between the parent and the child became an investment in the narcissist’s eyes. An investment which would deflect from their own shortcomings by blaming someone else.
Why does the scapegoat reinvent their own trauma?
Lets take a look at the relationship between the narcissistic parent and the scapegoat child to find the answer to this question.
The narcissistic parent ‘murdered,’ and ‘annihilated’ the scapegoat’s soul. It is not unusual for the narcissistic parent to tell neighbours, work colleagues, all of the siblings, the pastor, the pastor’s wife, aunty’s and uncles, and the man down the road, that their child, ‘ the scapegoat,’ is crazy.
Why does the narcissistic parent do this?
Because the scapegoat had the audacity to correct the narcissist, and to challenge the family system. This isn’t always the reason, and reasons vary. However, this is a common reason why the narcissist will set out to destroy the scapegoat. Any slight, or the smallest of criticisms will send the narcissist into panic mode, through fear of being exposed.
The scapegoat has been trained since birth to believe that every thing negative that goes on inside of the relationships with their family members, is in actual fact, the scapegoat’s fault. If one of the children hits the scapegoat, the scapegoat is at fault. If the scapegoat hits the other child when the child called them a name, than the scapegoat is at fault. If the scapegoat calls the sibling a name, and the sibling hits them, the scapegoat is still at fault.
The scapegoat is shamed daily. Things are said to the scapegoat that will never be said to the other children; and these phrases have the capacity to put the child into a state of inconceivable mental anguish.
The above examples are core reasons as to why the scapegoat reinvents their trauma, and unknowingly gravitates towards people who will scapegoat them.
Example phrases of the types of things that get said to the scapegoat, and about the scapegoat behind the scapegoat’s back:
Why does the scapegoat become scapegoated again?
In adulthood the scapegoat goes out into the world and often chooses a partner exhibiting all of the scapegoat’s narcissistic parent’s traits. However, because the scapegoat child hasn’t unpacked the emotional baggage carried from childhood, and sorted each wound out one by one, they won’t be able to recognise potential red flags presented to them. These same red flags presented to them in childhood, were the adult child’s normal.
By the time the scapegoat forms a relationship with a narcissist they no longer believe their own perception of events, and are no longer confident in their assessment of people. The scapegoat’s perceptions of situations have always been invalidated by their narcissistic parent, and family of origin. Whenever they’ve had a problem in this family unit, they have become the problem. So, when problems in their relationships with controlling people begin to occur, the scapegoat blames themselves, and persists in these relationships to no avail.
The scapegoat has been brainwashed by their entire family into believing that they have it all wrong. They have been convinced by the narcissist, their siblings, and the narcissist’s minions, that if they could just change everything about them, then their relationships with the entire family would improve. These beliefs that the scapegoat has about themselves leads them to people please, and to seek approval from dangerous types.
The terribly sad thing is that the scapegoat was right all along, even at the tender age of ten.
In what state does a scapegoat enter a relationship?
The scapegoat doesn’t know what a healthy relationship is like. They have come out the other side of their childhood with poor boundary function, and have come to accept unacceptable behaviour as the norm.
The scapegoat enters their relationships with a huge vulnerability.
What happens in the scapegoat’s intimate relationships?
The scapegoat often becomes involved with partners whom fail to take responsibility for their own behaviour, blame everybody else, and will always revert the responsibility for the problems within the relationship, back onto the scapegoat – whom often accepts all responsibility, and apologises when they shouldn’t, because of their own detrimental beliefs about self.
The scapegoat continues to try to fix the relationship by trying to fix themselves; all in hope that if they can just fix themselves, the relationship will work. It is not unusual for the scapegoat to go from narcissistic relationship to narcissistic relationship, being scapegoated by people whom have no issue blaming the scapegoat for their own shortcomings.
Some scapegoats will stay in the relationship way past its expiry date, and may even go out with a big bang (due to emotional overload) appearing as the crazy one – again. The scapegoat’s partners will most likely do to the scapegoat exactly what their narcissistic parent did to them – blame shift, and smear the scapegoat’s name with lies, and half truths. However, the perpetrator will never own up to what they did. Instead, they will only share with their minions what the scapegoat’s reaction was to absolute crazy-making, gas-lighting, and goading.
The scapegoat perpetuates their own inner wounds and self-hatred through their continuous liaisons with these kinds of perpetrators.
Why does the scapegoat continue to go from scapegoating relationship to scapegoating relationship?
The scapegoat will often enter a relationship with another personality disordered individual because they are unaware of their own attachment blue – print, which encourages them to gravitate towards narcissists’.
Until they do the recovery programme, and actually sit down with a professional therapist to discuss their relationship patterns, the scapegoat will remain in a fog type state; and will continue to blame themselves for everything that goes wrong in their future relationships.
It usually takes a few failed relationships exhibiting the same pattern before the scapegoat goes in search of answers.
The scapegoat will continue on in this pattern of destructive relationships until they accept that they are not at fault for everything, not responsible for the perpetrator’s behaviour, that they are not bad, and that they have a right to normal, healthy, loving relationships.
Scapegoats walk into relationships with a murdered soul. They often have zero confidence, no self – belief, and are a sitting duck for a crazy maker.
What happens to someone who never learned to trust?
Confuses intensity with intimacy: The scapegoat feels completely unlovable. So when a psychopath, or narcissist comes into the picture and love bombs the scapegoat, they don’t see this as a red flag, because they don’t know whats normal and whats not. Instead they mistake love – bombing as someone finally appreciating them.
Confuses Obsession with care: The scapegoat has been yearning for someone to actually like them, and see some good in them since they were born. When someone cannot get enough of them, they don’t see a problem with this. Its actually quite flattering to a scapegoat. However, a healthy person would run a mile.
Confuses control with intimacy: Before meeting a partner, a scapegoated individual can feel out of touch with themselves, and as though their life is out of control. Their own parent never took the reigns. To someone whom has never been loved, controlling behaviour can come across to an abuse survivor as love, not control.
The difference between the scapegoat and healthy people
Healthy people who grew up in families with healthy boundaries know the personality types to stay away from. These people know not to engage a drug addicted person, someone who drinks too much, a person with a history of violence, or a person who refuses to take responsibility for their behaviour. They know what they want in life, and they won’t settle for less.
Healthy people are confident, and they have self-love. If they notice a huge character floor, they are self – assured enough to know that the person the character floor belongs to has a screw loose – not them. The healthy person listens to their intuition, whereas the scapegoat tells their intuition to go away, and convinces themselves that they are the one with the problem, not the perpetrator.
Healthy people also know their limits. They know that someone who loves them would not deliberately go out of their way to push others to emotional extremes; whereas the scapegoat has only ever had close relationships with people who push the scapegoat to emotional extremes. A healthy person can pick a crazy maker from a mile away.
Scapegoated children are trained to accept that their perception of the narcissist is wrong, that their intuition is incorrect, and that the narcissist’s treatment of them is acceptable. Unfortunately, the scapegoat may re-enact their abuse by choosing a partner very similar to their parent.