family scapegoat, soul murder
If you go up against the narcissistic family and leave every single person in your immediate family behind you because of abusive family dynamics, than you can expect to be written out of the will. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t receive any of your inheritance (different laws for various countries and states). However, it does mean that you will need to contest the will (if you have the opportunity), and will most likely receive less than your siblings. This is simply part and parcel of disagreeing with the narcissistic illusion, questioning it, challenging it, and saying no to it.
The psychological abuse aimed directly at the family scapegoat is often so dangerous that this adult child simply has no other choice but to leave their family of origin. It is often a case of making the choice to either lose out financially, or to stay in a role which will see the innocent victim of scapegoating continually shamed, ostracised, blamed and projected onto by very sick, brainwashed family members. However, even if the family scapegoat does stay in the family chaos solely for monetary reasons, there is no guarantee that they’ll receive their inheritance anyway. In fact, there is no guarantee that any of the adult children within the narcissistic family unit will receive their inheritance; not even the golden child. Narcissists are extremely unpredictable. At the drop of a hat the narcissist could suddenly deem their children unworthy of inheriting their money. They may just leave their money to a charity instead of handing it over to children who could never please them.
However, the harsh reality is that the Golden child will probably get their all of their inheritance, whereas the scapegoat may not receive any of it, or only very little of what they should’ve received, and would’ve if their parent hadn’t suffered from NPD. If the golden child is sociopathic, than this will make it even harder for a scapegoat to get the entitlement they deserve.
The scapegoat role – the worst role in the narcissistic family, or not?
In my opinion the role of ‘family scapegoat’ is the most disgusting role to be forced to play out within the narcissistic family unit. However, others would disagree with me, and would suggest that the scapegoat is the luckiest family member because they are forced to face the monster head on, the false self, and the darkest of souls. They see a side of the narcissist that other family members are oblivious to. The golden child on the other hand sees the best of the narcissist, and is gifted with a lifetime of adoration and praise.
The scapegoat child is instead on the receiving end of negative narcissistic projections, (the narcissist’s disowned parts of themselves)which destroy the scapegoat child’s confidence, their self esteem, and often their life. Scapegoat children often live with chronic depression, contempt for self, and the debilitating effects of Complex PTSD. These symptoms are life destroying.
The sad reality is that it doesn’t matter how hard the scapegoat tries to win their narcissistic parent’s approval, they will never be able to change their parent’s tainted perception of them. Why? The narcissist doesn’t have the ability to stop themselves from splitting; a habit deeply ingrained. Therefore, the narcissist will always believe the family scapegoat child’s is the reason why all of the problems within the family unit exist. This parent projects onto this child the evil lurking within themselves.
Splitting: A narcissist splits their good and bad parts between the golden child and the scapegoat (or scapegoats). This parent primarily thinks in black and white terms. There is no grey area. You are either all good, or all bad. Splitting is dangerous because splitting is actually a failure in the person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole.
A lot of psychologists believe that the roles of ‘scapegoat’ and ‘golden child’ are equally as emotionally plaguing; and destroy both lives. I don’t agree. In my opinion, as a scapegoat living through the aftermath, I believe the scapegoat loses everything. Even though they often end up with the most admirable traits, they also end up emotionally destroyed, projected onto so horrifically that their family believes they are a basket case, (when the opposite is true) hated by the entire family (because the family views them through the narcissist’s distorted perception) completely alone, and written out of the will. The golden child on the other hand very rarely experiences contempt from the narcissist and is given the best of everything money can buy. The other family members are encouraged by the narcissist to dote on the golden child; which sees them approved of by the whole family. The golden child rarely ends up alone and isolated from their family, or projected onto negatively. They are embraced by the family unit, and everything comes to them on a silver platter; including their inheritance. Yes, this does affect them in negative ways. However, a doted on golden child treated like an angel that just fell out of the sky couldn’t even begin to understand how rejection feels, and the issues it creates for their cast out sibling. Yes, they are damaged; but I don’t believe they are damaged in the life threatening way the scapegoat is.
So, a scapegoat lives through all of the above, goes no contact for emotional safety, then is written out of the will? Did you hear that correctly? Yes you did. Could a narcissist truly be this vindictive? Always……
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably that scapegoat adult child that has decided after years of abuse to finally go no contact with your family, wondering consequently if you will be written out of the will. In answer to that question, it is very likely that you will be. There is a huge price to pay for leaving a cult like family system. If you have defied the authority, most likely exposed the dangerous family dynamics, and disagreed with the narcissistic illusion, than you will most likely be resented by the narcissist and paid back with mind games. In the narcissist’s mind anyone who goes up against them is an attacker, and will be treated as such.
Would I change my belief system for money?
No, I would not. However, it is a huge punch in the guts to know that you will be disinherited because you have strong morals. It is hard to be in any environment where you are the only person who can see how dangerous the environment is. This is the life of any scapegoat. We see toxic situations for what they are. We don’t go along to get along. I personally have felt very disadvantaged because of my insight; and I have often desperately wished that I could remain blind sighted to dysfunctional dynamics. If only I could be like those who are happy to go along to get along, while avoiding the elephant in the room (or gigantic dinosaur).
I have tried desperately to conform to my narcissistic parent’s desired personality profile. I have tried to conform to the narcissist’s opinions on everything, to forgo my own needs, to stop expressing myself, and to be the clone the narcissistic leaders wanted me to be. Trying to conform at times in childhood turned me into a frightened people pleaser with zero confidence. I need to be autonomous from the narcissist. I have to be; my sense of self depends on it. Refraining from being my true self to protect the narcissist’s thin skinned, fragile ego is something that I will never ever do again.
After 32 years of trying to please an impossible person, I left my family a shell of a person; because it didn’t matter how much I hid my self, and refrained from being me, I would always inevitably end up upsetting and offending the narcissist, just because narcissist’s like to be offended. Narcissist’s are constantly searching for avenues to create opportunities for attention, and victim feigning. Small things not even worthy of correction, or the time, thoughts or energy of the narcissist, will be used against an innocent person for no other purpose than narcissistic supply. I am not ok with the narcissistic illusion; and if losing out financially is the cost, than so be it. I mean that wholeheartedly.
Disinherited financially to inherit mentally, emotionally and physically
Sometimes you have to lose an entire family to gain your real family. Sometimes you have to walk away from your blood family to stop yourself from giving into suicide. Scapegoated individuals are at high risk in the narcissistic family unit. Many of us would forfeit the money for emotional health. Sticking around for an inheritance that a scapegoat may never even get is a recipe for disaster.
My life is so different now that I have forgone what the narcissistic family had to offer me. Emotionally it has been very difficult to come to terms with the fact that I will be written out of the will. However, the rewards outweigh the losses. You cannot have a happy fulfilled life when your parent is making you feel so terrible about yourself that you live in self-hatred every minute of every day. You cannot exist with confidence, and good self-esteem when a narcissist is trashing you to your face, and scheming behind your back day in day out. You cannot know normal until you walk out of an abnormal, controlling, toxic environment. You cannot stop living in fear until you stop associating with family members that play dangerous mind games with you. You cannot come to the realisation that the world is not that scary and that normal people do not tear you down for normal assertive behaviour until you get away from a person that rages at you, plots against you, turns everybody against you, and excludes you every time you try to put up boundaries.
You cannot learn to assert yourself, find your voice, and say goodbye to PTSD until you stop associating with people who won’t allow you to be yourself without shaming you for it, who won’t allow you to speak up without scaring you into submission, and who are threatened by your assertiveness, and your need to have your needs met.
For the first time in my life I am not as frightened anymore. I can now have the important conversations if I need to, and stand up for myself if I have to (even though I find it extremely overwhelming because of trauma). For most of my life I have been petrified of standing up for myself through fear of backlash. After removing my self from toxicity I now know that most people don’t seek out to pay you back just because you confront them. I now have the confidence (most of the time) to speak, and to be myself without fearing rejection. Accepting the ridiculous amount of loss which comes with playing out the scapegoat role is the only way for a family scapegoat to officially leave the scapegoat role behind them.
Staying in a toxic family unit for money
I have heard of scapegoats sticking around to gain their share of the inheritance, or breaking ‘no contact’ and going back into their toxic family once they feel strong enough for financial reasons. Sometimes this is possible. I guess it depends on whether or not a scapegoated individual can handle the narcissistic projections, and can tough it out until the end. It depends on the malignancy of the situation. Degrees of scapegoating exist. However, for a scapegoat being smeared, shamed, ostracised and triangulated against, facing being written out of the will and going no contact is probably your best option. I would choose emotional safety over an appearance in the will any day.
Be warned though that a sociopathic narcissistic golden children have a tendency to try to steal the inheritance from their siblings, by scapegoating all of the siblings, one by one until they, the narcissistic golden child is the last one standing. So many siblings stay in this toxic situation, long after the family scapegoat has been turfed out, primarily for the inheritance. They often opt for the grey rock method of contact with a narcissistic golden child, and parent, being as quiet and compliant as they can in the hope that this is enough to get their share of the money.
Very often this doesn’t work. The scapegoat leaves and gets a life, while these siblings often lose their quality of life trying to please a dangerous malignant narcissist who is probably going to constantly change their will in the heat of the moment whenever one of their children doesn’t obey them anyway.
The benefits of accepting being written out of the will
Sometimes for one’s own mental health they just have to leave the entire family, and accept that it is very likely that they will be written out of the will. This doesn’t mean that they can’t go back and fight for it in court, where they can try to prove that being disinherited was unjust. This can be done.
However, for many, completely forfeiting the inheritance has been well worth it; very painful, and heartbreaking at the same time. Sticking around for twenty years trying to get an inheritance that you may never get is far more painful though because its a constant reminder of how little one means to their narcissistic parent. The benefit of leaving a family that doesn’t love you is that you get to have your own life without being controlled. To be able to finally breathe without walking on egg shells is the most amazing feeling.
I am not the same the person that I was when I had a family. I was afraid, scared, and had no confidence. I was so controlled that I felt that I couldn’t even make a decision without the approval of my narcissistic parent. After years of no contact, I am finally creating a self for myself; a self that was stolen from me in child hood to gratify the needs of the narcissist. For the first time in my life my every move is no longer being watched, assessed or judged by the narcissistic leaders in my family. The narcissist is no longer using minor events in my life to create massive dramas out of. I can finally be myself, challenge other people’s ideas without being scapegoated, and actually disagree with the opinions of others without having everybody turned against me.
For the first time in my life people see my worth, and I approve of myself. The sociopathic narcissistic family is nothing more than a hate group. If being disinherited means that one gets to leave toxic hate behind, than as much as it hurts, its the best thing. Money can’t buy you happiness, but leaving a toxic family can.
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.
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.
In today’s article, I am going to discuss the toxic dynamic between a highly malignant narcissistic ‘golden child,’ and the ‘scapegoated child’. Not all golden children are narcissistic, sociopathic, or psychopathic. The vast majority are just ‘golden’ – as in all good, doted on, coddled, and adored. However, the narcissistic ‘golden child’ is not so benign, and more often than not will take great pleasure in supporting the narcissistic parent in destroying the scapegoat child’s confidence and self- esteem. Sibling to sibling psychological abuse is very real and can affect the children abused by these toxic siblings terribly in adulthood.
The disordered golden child is not always the oldest child. However, a lot of the time the oldest child will play out the ‘golden child/ scapegoat dynamic’ with the second child within a narcissistic family set up. Many of my friends are either enduring this dynamic with an older golden child sibling still. Or, they have made the heart-wrenching decision to go No Contact with this older sibling.
The narcissistic ‘golden child’ will mistreat all of their siblings. However, the scapegoated child will endure the most, because they will be the child who refuses to go along with the narcissistic child’s illusions of grandeur. They will refuse to accept the narcissistic child’s belief that they are entitled to abuse, steal from others, become aggressive at the slightest criticism, or have complete control over other people. The scapegoated child refuses to mirror this child as they would like to be mirrored. So, the golden child, with the approval of the narcissistic parent, smashes the mirror.
The narcissist as a black and white thinker
Narcissists are black and white thinkers. They never see shades of grey. You’re either good or bad in their eyes. Very often two people will be separated into ‘black’ and ‘white’. One person will be seen as black (all bad) and the other will be seen as white (all good). Sometimes the two same people will rotate between good and bad, or black and white, in the mind of the narcissist.
The first child is often all good, and the second child is often all bad. However, this isn’t always the way it goes. Sometimes the first child is all bad, and the second child is all good.
Birth order plays a major role in personality development, without narcissism being involved. In a healthy family, the oldest child is the most likely child to emulate the parents. If the parents are narcissistic, the second child has a problem.
The narcissistic child as a replica of the narcissistic parent
The narcissistic golden child is often a replica of the narcissistic parent. They subconsciously take on the narcissistic parent’s values, beliefs, and way of life. They integrate these beliefs into every aspect of the life. Whereas the scapegoated child consciously completely rejects the narcissistic parent’s way of life, beliefs, and values. They consciously question the narcissist’s way of thinking – whereas the narcissistic child just goes along to get along.
The narcissistic child completely models their narcissistic parent and chooses to treat others based on how their role model treats others. The scapegoat, on the other hand, decides that they will treat people respectfully, because they don’t like how their narcissistic role model treats others.
Why does the narcissistic child take on the narcissist’s personality?
Nobody really knows why the narcissistic child takes on the same personality as their parent, and why the scapegoated child doesn’t. However, there are varying theories on the matter. Family dynamics also play a part in the creation of the golden child and the scapegoat.
The highly malignant golden child is not nurtured by the narcissistic parent. They can’t relay empathy, because they have never been shown any. Empathy is often taught. If a child isn’t pulled up on their ill-treatment of others and given consequences for it, then they don’t learn the difference between kindness and unkindness. If a child is not corrected on their behavior, then they’ll think that it is ok to behave badly. Nobody has told them otherwise. This child learns early on that they can do whatever they want.
In the narcissistic abuse communities, scapegoated adult children often discuss the reality that they as the scapegoat was constantly being pulled up on their poor behavior, and were constantly told when they weren’t treating people properly. The golden child, on the other hand, was never pulled up and was taught that whatever they did, no matter how vile, was seen as ok in the narcissistic parent’s eyes, because they were the golden child.
The expectations for each child, (scapegoated and golden) are different, to coincide with the narcissist’s black and white thinking.
The narcissistic golden child is encouraged to take on the un-empathetic, self-serving behavior of the parent, whereas the scapegoated individuals are often told that they are ruthless, and need to be more empathetic.
”Don’t be like the scapegoat! ”
The golden child learns very quickly that to gain the narcissistic parent’s approval, one must behave in this un-empathetic, judgemental, disgusting way. If they behave like the scapegoat, (concerned, empathetic, and loving) they will be treated like the scapegoat. The narcissistic golden child refuses to stand in the corner with the scapegoated child and have stones thrown at them. Instead, they unconsciously decide that one will fare better in this family system, and may even gain some approval, or feigned love and support if they take on the role of psycho bully.
This isn’t thought out properly. It’s just a survival of the fittest mentality that some children (narcissistically inclined children) take on.
The malignancy of any golden child can very much depend on the family dynamic. If the narcissistic child only has a narcissistic mother or father to mirror, then the child is in big trouble. However, if this child has some love from one parent, that parent being the enabling parent, then the child may fair better in terms of malignancy.
The scapegoat rejects narcissism
The scapegoat has the empathy gene, and they know how to love. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes, and feel their pain. This ability to feel the internal pain of others is what drives them to speak up about the abuse from the narcissistic parent towards both the ‘golden child,’ and themselves.
It is not clear as to why the scapegoat child is more sensitive to the feelings of others and has more empathy. It may be because they are seen as all ‘black’ in the mind of the narcissistic parent. The scapegoated child is constantly reminded by the narcissist that they need to be empathetic, kind, and improve upon the innate ‘badness’ that the narcissist has projected onto them. This treatment often pushes the scapegoat child to work even harder to prove their goodness to the narcissistic parent.
A lack of entitlement may be their saving grace, or; they may simply have been nurtured more than the golden child by an enabling parent somewhere along the line.
The narcissistic parent’s rejection of the scapegoated child is a double-edged sword. In some ways being rejected pays for this child. Luckily they were never embraced with a sick love, and never had delusions of grandeur thrown their way. They escaped the false self which took over the narcissistic child, and the damage done to them is somewhat reparable.
The narcissist’s differential treatment of the two children puts the scapegoat in a position where they begin to see through their golden child sibling. They can see straight through the lie the golden child has fallen victim to. The scapegoated child knows their golden child sibling is not entitled, knows they are not grand, are not going to be famous, and is not this amazing person the narcissistic parent keeps making out they are. They see how cruel this child is becoming. So, the scapegoat child openly rejects narcissism.
What happens when the scapegoat talks about the elephant in the room?
The scapegoated child is in big trouble. This mother (father) and son, or mother (father) and daughter duo are the hierarchy. The second child either follows suit, and allows the narcissistic parent and golden child to control them, without complaining; or they complain, and become scapegoated.
The scapegoated option is the option unintentionally chosen by the second child, who almost always ends up sparring with the entitled child daily, and complaining endlessly to the narcissistic parent about the endless abuses incurred from the golden child. Challenging the narcissist’s illusion about their ‘special’ child ends badly for the scapegoated child. They spend their entire childhood being pecked at by a psychologically dangerous child, and a psychotic parent.
This golden child represents to the narcissistic parent everything amazing they see in themselves. The narcissistic parent lives and breathes through this grandiose, omnipotent, amazing child. This is the child that will defend the narcissist to no end, battle all of the people that continue to harm the narcissist’s ego, and will prove their omnipotence to the people around them. The narcissist will shine like a star through this child.
The scapegoat child strikes blow upon blow to the narcissist’s ego when they point out that the golden child isn’t so wonderful, is floored, troubled, and mean. This creates a huge narcissistic injury in this parent, who sees everything they love about themselves in this narcissistic child.
The narcissistic parent doesn’t encourage love between the two children
There is no love here. Only pure hatred from the narcissistic golden child towards the scapegoated child. The relationship between these two children is very similar to the iconic Cain and Able tale in the bible. The narcissistic parent deliberately sets this dynamic up for their own vested interests.
This dangerous, toxic dynamic between the two children serves a purpose for the narcissist, who has deliberately pitted both children against one another.
The narcissist encourages the golden child to try to gain control over the scapegoat child. The narcissistic parent never intends to encourage love and harmony. Instead, they allow the golden child to abuse the scapegoat, and they don’t bat an eyelid. Its a hate fest, where this dynamic duo attack, and discredit the scapegoated child any chance they get.
The narcissist will share the children’s secrets with each child, paint each child as black behind each other’s backs, and will feign victimhood when the situation explodes, and the children blow up at one another. This friction between the children is just another way of gaining attention from anyone who will listen when the narcissist explains to people how they have these two terrible children who can’t get along. The narcissist will do anything for fuel, and drama. Even if it means triangulating their children.
The golden child at this stage is a fully fledged narcissist. They operated with a false self, and they believe in the illusion – that they truly are grandiose, a hero, and omnipotent. When the scapegoated child challenges the narcissistic illusion, they are pummelled, turned against, lied about, and smashed down by the narcissistic child to the narcissistic parent, who just goes along with it.
The situation by this stage is too far gone, and the relatively good-natured enabling parent can’t get the situation between the two children under control because the narcissist isn’t on the same page as them.
How does the narcissistic child treat their siblings?
The narcissistic child doesn’t love any of their siblings and treats each of them terribly. They will, however, feign kindness towards the sibling or siblings’, that they feel are easier to control, and are more compliant appliances; especially if it serves them in some way.
The golden child will use these children as porns to antagonize the scapegoated child. They will share their lollies with a more compliant child and reject the scapegoat when they ask if they too can have a lolly. They will allow the more compliant child to engage with, or play with them while informing the scapegoat that they are not invited to play. As time goes on, and the scapegoat becomes more difficult to control, the golden child will even try to brainwash the other siblings into believing that the scapegoated child is fundamentally floored and that everybody must exclude them in some way or another.
This behavior worsens in adulthood, and often results in family mobbing. The golden child and narcissistic parent are always the ringleaders in family mobbing against the scapegoat.
The golden child will rage at their siblings, laugh at them in a condescending manner; use them when they please, and reject them if they suddenly need help, support, or empathy.
However, this being said, the more compliant sibling, or siblings, will not endure the harassment that the scapegoated child endures; unless of course, they question the golden child’s control. If the second child is already the scapegoat, the golden child has no need to go after the other siblings’. They already have a punching bag.
The golden child will provoke, and provoke and provoke the scapegoat child into arguments, while never antagonizing the more compliant siblings in such a way. They will pick this child to bits. They will pick at their entire being. When they become upset and react to the abuse, they will be told that they are unhinged, unstable and crazy.
Two sets of rules for golden children and scapegoats
There are two sets of rules for the golden child and the scapegoat child. If this child rages and screams at everyone, the narcissist doesn’t move on in to protect the children from the abuse. Instead, they accept it as the norm. However, if the scapegoat loses it because they can’t tolerate the golden child’s abuse anymore, they will never hear the end of it from the narcissistic parent. They will be told they are neurotic, highly strung, and a bad person; whereas the golden child’s faults will be swept underneath the carpet as though they never happened.
They are all good, and the scapegoat is all bad.
The narcissistic child is groomed to be the narcissist’s soldier
The narcissistic parent doesn’t like anybody. Nobody will ever be good enough, and everybody who comes into contact with the narcissist is a potential scapegoat.
The narcissistic parent literally grooms the golden child into becoming their soldier. The golden child (who will do anything to be accepted in this rejecting narcissistic family system) falls victim to the narcissist’s manipulations, and believes in the narcissist’s lies told continually about potential scapegoats. The golden child is the ultimate ‘bark dog’. This child behaves as though they are at war with everyone.
The narcissistic parent lives through the golden child. They encourage the golden child to trash talk everybody that comes into the room, be on the lookout for potential scapegoats, and to judge people harshly, with no room for error. Other people’s faults become the golden child’s focus, instead of their own.
Judge judge judge.
Often this duo will be a mother and a son, a mother and her daughter, a father, and daughter, or father and son. They are best friends and will conquer the world together. If anyone challenges the system, the golden child is there with the narcissistic parent to organize the smear campaign. Sadly, the object of the smear campaign is often the family scapegoat.
Why does the golden child have it in for the scapegoat to such intensity?
This is about the golden child’s sense of entitlement. The narcissistic parent felt entitled enough to create a mini-me and taught the child early on that they are entitled to exercise complete control over the scapegoat child, and everybody else they come into contact with.
This kind of golden child becomes that narcissistic adult in the room that a lot of us have probably met – the one who must have complete control over the actions, words, thoughts, and beliefs of everybody within their environment. The scapegoat is just meant to sit down and shut-up. The golden child’s sense of entitlement will not allow this child to accept that other people have human rights to a different opinion or different ideas from them.
Pulling the golden child up on their behavior, or disagreeing with their opinion on any given topic is seen by the golden child as severely manipulative behavior by the perpetrator of such an offense (usually the scapegoat).
The narcissistic parent is completely to blame for this over exaggerated sense of grandiosity and entitlement in the golden child because this parent taught the golden child that they have complete control over everybody in their environment. The first victim under the complete control of the golden child was the scapegoat. The narcissistic parent gave the golden child this position of power over the scapegoat and set the golden child up to believe that they will have control over anybody in their space.
What happens to the scapegoat’s relationship with the golden child in adulthood?
The relationship between the scapegoat and the golden child is often so damaged that the scapegoat outwardly resents the golden child. They don’t have a problem challenging the golden child’s false self. They don’t like them, and they aren’t going to hide it, regardless of the repercussions.
This person damaged the scapegoat so badly in childhood that there is no way that the scapegoated child will mirror back to the golden child that they are grand and omnipotent. The scapegoat can’t be controlled. The scapegoat is a continued reminder to the golden child that they are truly an abuser and a dangerous person.
So what does the golden child do? They smash the mirror over and over, with the help of the narcissistic parent, until the scapegoat eventually walks out of the family.
Eventually, many narcissistic golden children ruin the scapegoat’s reputation in adult life and turn their siblings against them, as well as the enabling parent. Rigid, weak enabling family members often just go with it. The scapegoat is often so terribly shamed and humiliated by these people that they are advised by their therapist to leave the entire family.
Does anyone support the scapegoat?
It’s unlikely. There appears to be an inability for the scapegoats’ siblings, even the less narcissistically inclined siblings to empathise with the intensity of the scapegoat’s pain; because if they could empathise at all, they would stand up for their sibling, and actually ask their golden child sibling, or the narcissist, to stop abusing the scapegoat. However, most of the narcissist’s children turn a blind eye, look the other way, and allow for the scapegoated child to get pecked and pecked and pecked, until there is literally no soul left to peck at.
It often becomes a case of ‘well thank goodness it isn’t not me.’
The narcissist convinces the other siblings who fail to support their scapegoated sibling that the scapegoat is unhinged, mentally ill, and needs help with emotional regulation. The golden child also says these vile things about the scapegoat in the hope of escaping all accountability.
The scapegoat’s strength
Scapegoated individuals are strong, often creative, and intelligent. They are often the most empathetic child in the narcissistic family, which is the primary reason why they are so targeted. When they leave the narcissistic family they take these traits with them, grieve the family, heal, and begin traveling the road less traveled by family members in the narcissistic family; the road to recovery.
The scapegoat has integrity. They never back down on this integrity, and they usually go on to have very fulfilling lives. The narcissistic family members either stay united in chaos or turn on each other.