The relationship between a narcissistic golden child and the scapegoat

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.

It works!

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.




  1. One SG | 12th Oct 17

    This is one of the most accurate and detailed articles about the GC-SG relationship and the Nparent’s role in it. It is literally a chronology of my own FOO, with me being the SG. Thank you for this well written piece!

    • Parenting Exposed | 13th Oct 17

      Thankyou for your lovely comment One SG. As you can probably gather, this article is closely related to my own experience as a scapegoat with an older Golden child sibling.

      • One SG | 13th Oct 17

        Yes! In my case, GC is a younger sibling. Only those who have been subjected to scapegoating can fully articulate the experience. I’ve been reading your other blogs on the subject. They are so reaffirming and helpful. Thank you so much for creating them!

        • Parenting Exposed | 14th Oct 17

          Thankyou! I am very glad to hear that my articles are helping you, and are confirmation of what you know to be the truth.

  2. Megan Jones | 16th Oct 17

    Even in my 60s I’m still struggling with being the family scapegoat. I’ve tried to maintain links with my sisters but it has become impossible. I have gone out of my way to help them but it goes unrecognised. I have recently had to cut all ties with them because of their collective nasty behaviour towards me. My life otherwise is happy, fulfilled and successful. They have me thinking I need to see a therapist. Mo

  3. L. T. | 1st Dec 17

    OMG! Thank you so much! I am literally in tears because I have been going through this for so long. I am the scapegoat and have been so confused and trying to make sense of all this chaos! I cannot thank you enough for this article. It just helped me appreciate and accept my choices to go no contact. I need to heal. Wow! Thank you so much! The difference is I am the older child and the golden child is in fact the younger child.

    • Parenting Exposed | 1st Dec 17

      Hey L.T, I’m really glad this article is confirmation of your experiences as the scapegoat. Narcissistic abuse is so crazy making! During my journey I too have found it difficult to believe in my own choices in relation to going no contact. So, to hear other people validate my experiences which are deeply embedded in these articles, is really helpful, and extremely validating. So thankyou for sharing. I am hearing more and more frequently that the youngest as the golden child appears to be quite a common dynamic. It makes a lot of sense, considering they’re the baby of the family. Good luck with your healing journey. Billie

  4. patty | 2nd Dec 17

    Wow: Thank you so, so much. This article could have been written specifically about me/the Rebel, my older brother/the Golden Child and our Narc Mother. It helps so much to read exactly how it was/Narc Mother died/ and how it can still be. Since 1994, I have chosen to go, “No Contact” or as I put it, “Done”. When our father passed, in 1990, the Narc Mother was left quite comfortable. Everything was taken care of for her. The Golden Child felt slighted thinking he should inherit all. After all he was the first of two sons and the oldest. She was left the FAMILY home, the home my fathers father built in 1941. Our grandparents home. A home we all lived in at one time or another. A home full of memories. The Golden Child convinced our Narc Mother to sell it immediately and buy a bigger, more modern home. For the next 3-4 years/until 1994 the Golden Child spent and spent. Constantly asking for money. Still feeling as if he was entitled to as much as he wanted. Narc Mother obliged for fear of abandonment. Log story short, Golden Child had to claim Bankruptcy due to owing large, large amounts our Narc Mothers money. Narc Mother was involved in the Bankruptcy due to sharing the title on the bigger home and co signing on other documents. 4 Properties were sold immediately, Golden Child’s car was left outside the gate of a car lot, he did not want the neighbors seeing it repossessed. In a matter of a blink of an eye they had to move to Florida. Golden Child lost his job. He had lost everything which had been left for our Narc Mother. Because I know all the details regarding his betrayal and also from being a victim of his greed. Knowing this much, much hidden secret, I have been ripped to shreds. My credibility has been smeared. The lies have been wicked. And basically, I no longer existed. Nor did my middle brother/the Runner. When visiting my elderly mother for the first and last time, if and when I was introduced to someone she knew, I would hear, ” I did not even know she had a daughter or another son”. She could not have cared less about their reaction. She was a textbook Covert Narc Mother and from 1973/I was 13/ until her death in 2015 I was her constant target and the Golden Child’. I call it the, “Silent Abuse”.
    It is an unbelievable abuse. Today, with the blessing of strong, good family influence and the wonderful memories I have and the strength of a life of my own, I am making it through. I have my moments believe me, but, I understand now and I have come to understand our Narc Mothers terrible, hidden childhood. I wish that she’d sought some help. Help which was so often offered and so angrily rejected. The Golden Child hides away, about 2 hours from where I live now. He knows I know all about his ruin. He is very threatened by the fear of, “exposure”. He is the textbook example of a Golden Child with many, many secrets and flaws. He must keep living a perfect, imperfect life. All must be just so. No cracks can show. No inconveniences can be felt and a constant, fake look of entitlement must be upheld. ALL must stay in tact. He is his own worst enemy. It is sad for him and his….

    • Parenting Exposed | 7th Dec 17

      Hi Patty, thankyou for sharing your story. It is very helpful to other survivors (such as myself) who have shared similar experiences. It is the ‘silent abuse!’ I really like how you’ve described it. Unless you’ve experienced this kind of abuse first hand, it is so difficult to explain, and describe. It can left one feeling so terribly invalidated. Good luck on your healing journey. Billie

  5. Hannah | 6th Dec 17

    This was my sister and I to a T growing up, and even now, 20 years later (with her being the older narcissistic golden child and me being the younger scapegoat to our evil narcissistic mother).

    This is the best article I’ve ever read about this topic and gave me so many “aha” moments as to why I’d been suffering (and tolerating!) such abuse up until this past July with my sister.

    In our last conversation, after she had talked about herself for a solid 2+ hours (per usual for the last 15 years), she turned the conversation as she always did about why we weren’t close (which of course was always my fault, because she was the “martyr” and I was the unappreciative unemotional sister that didn’t appreciate all that she had done to defend me from our evil mother growing up). Yeah right. Gaslighting, delusion, emotional and verbal abuse, lying to her kids about me (which she would tell me about, trying to convince me of her delusion…again, gaslighting), and even trying to tell me horrible things that other people had said about me that weren’t true, all to win my compliance and to make me feel like nothing.

    When I tried communicating with her about her manipulations, she of course couldn’t tolerate it being turned around on her, so she shouted at the top of her lungs over everything I tried to say so that she wouldn’t have to hear criticism. After years of this blatant scapegoating and abuse, and i nowing that I’d never get anywhere, I finally hung up on her and blocked her from contacting me on every medium possible. It was right then and there that I realized that she had been the primary source of every insecurity and little voice in my head that said I wasn’t good enough throughout my entire adult life. She’s poisonous and toxic to everyone around her, including her 4 children who, for the most part, despise her. She just went through the nastiest divorce with her husband who she treated the same way. My wonderful dad (who was my rock growing up and the reason I’m normal) and awesome stepmother (who I consider my mom) have maintained contact with her for the sake of her children (who she emotionally and verbally abuses regularly), but it hasn’t been easy on them.

    The irony is, I had gone no contact with our abusive narcissistic mother about 15 years ago and have never been so carefree and happy, whereas my mother’s clone, my extremely malignant narcissistic sister, went no contact with her about 3 years ago and hates my mother more than anyone to this day. She hates her not because of our mother’s toxicity, but because my sister blames our mother for all of her life problems with her now ex-husband, kids, and everything that has gone wrong in her life (which is everything, literally, because she brings it upon herself with her constant negativity and abuse).

    Like the usual scapegoated child, I live for kindness and empathy. I’m a middle school teacher that chose middle school because of the fact that it’s such a pivotal time in a kid’s life. I not only teach world history, but also teach kindness compassion, empathy, open-mindedness, and respect by the example I set, and my kids from the past 13 years know how much they mean to me, and how much I love every single one of them like my own. I’m a big pile of mush who loves all animals, saves bugs, can feel other people’s emotions, and believe in the best in everyone (all because of what I went through).

    However, while I’ve always been thankful for my experiences because it made me the person I am today, I just had a major epiphany! 😳 For the very first time in my life, after recently getting out of an extremely intense and emotional relationship with a man who I considered at the time to be the love of my life (who ended things out of nowhere), did a friend alert me to the fact that the guy was a classic covert “romantic” narcissist.

    My boyfriend that just broke up with me had actually told me that his ex wife (who is an overt narcissist) always accused him of being a narcissist. I had looked it up at the time just to see, and it didn’t ring true at all…because it was about overt narcissists in non-romantic relationships.

    However, I started reading and researching extensively after my friend said that, and not only did it hit every nail on the head about my recent ex, but I realized that most of my adult relationships had been with both overt and covert narcissists!!! Huh?! That realization was probably more devastating than anything, because here I was “dating” the two people who traumatized me the most in both childhood and into my adult life!

    I have to say, I consider myself to be a relatively smart and intuitive woman, but how in the world am I just discovering all of this at the age of 39?!? It’s been humbling to say the very least… 😣

    Also, knowledge is key, but how do I break the cycle of narcissists being drawn to me?

    • Parenting Exposed | 7th Dec 17

      Hi Hannah,
      thankyou for sharing your story about your relationship with your golden child sibling. I find it very interesting how the golden child will accuse the scapegoat of doing to them in childhood (bullying, goading, baiting and smearing) what they themselves have actually done to the scapegoat. This too has been my experience, and I have always wondered what that is about. I honestly think it is fear of being exposed by the scapegoat. So, they get in first, and blatantly lie to the people closest to them (their husband, or wife, friends, or siblings) and play the victim, claiming that they have been abused by the scapegoat, when its the other way around. Its the behaviour of a master manipulator, and it is unbelievably crazy- making.

      Its very common for scapegoated children to become involved in narcissistic relationships, and to repeat the same patterns occurring in childhood with abusive partners. I discovered while researching narcissistic abuse, that I too have done this. I guess its all we know – and the cycle is very difficult to break. Melanie Tonia Evans (a narcissistic abuse specialist) writes some amazing articles on this topic. I’m not quite sure how to break the cycle. However, I watched some of Melanie’s videos on utube about this topic, and she gives some very good pointers about how exactly one can break the cycle. Goodluck with your journey. Billie

  6. Cynthia | 8th Dec 17

    Best piece on the subject I’ve ever found. Where Can I find your blog?

  7. Linda | 9th Dec 17

    Thank you for the affirmation. As the family SG, I relate to much of what you’ve written; the only difference is that I am the oldest of five. Even after creating emotional distance, family roles have re-emerged with a vengeance with the illness and death of my father.

  8. TeenageFamilyScapegoat | 12th Dec 17

    Thank you is one of the most intelligent, understanding, articulated article’s about Family Scapegoating! Please write a self help book which explains this family dysfunction for a teenage Scapegoat.

    • Parenting Exposed | 12th Dec 17

      Thankyou! Your comment brought tears to my eyes. It means that what I went through is at least helping somebody. I hope your ok.

  9. Aotea | 13th Dec 17

    Best article I have read on family dynamics of the narc family. Thank you. God bless.

    • Parenting Exposed | 14th Dec 17


  10. Isis Y. | 23rd Dec 17

    Thank you so much! This article really helps me to understand the relationship between my younger brother and me. My mom always wanted a boy and when I was born she was really disappointed, however when my brother was born, she was so happy that she quit her job just so she could take care of him. Now, my brother as a teenager is a nightmare, he tells me that I should die and tries to hit me when I say something that makes him upset, even if I’m an adult now. I tried everything to make him happy for the last 4 years because I love him and I wanted to be friends with him, but never works out. Now I don’t talk to him and my mom is blaming me for everything, it’s exhausting. Sadly, I don’t think I can fight this anymore because I’m tired of being the SG.

  11. penny Schwartz | 5th Jan 18

    LOVE this article!! It is so perfectly written and describes my life to a T! I am sure that all of these comments are coming from “the family scapegoat” looking for self assurance. I was one as well. At 51 years of age I have just finished writing my farewell letter to my narcissistic family and I am completely at peace with my decision. My letter was short but sweet (sweet for me) and I have changed my email, phone, living address and mailing address as to assure no contact (facebook will have to be deleted as well). In my letter I told my mother that I have finally learned that the reason she never loved me is not because I am unlovable but because she in incapable of love. I wrote “You raised me with hate and yet I learned how to love. You raised me with harsh words and yet I learned to speak kindly. You raised me with hitting and yet I learned to embrace”. She didn’t break me even though she gave it a good try. Funny, I was raised to feel like I was weak and I have come to understand that I have great strength. Sending many hugs and words of encouragement to those that still have to deal with a hurtful narcissist. Though I will never be emotionally perfect, I am in a great place. Articles like these help survivors of narcissistic abuse simply by offering support. God bless!

    • Parenting Exposed | 11th Jan 18

      Good on you Penny! So glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself! So many of us have had to make ourselves non-contactable! Good luck on your journey.

  12. Christine | 5th Jan 18

    Thanks for this great article, I am an oldest child scapegoat with a younger sister. I definitely resonated with the statement about how the narcissist mother puts the GC into a position of power. I always felt undermined, eg by my younger sister being given first choice of the large bedroom when we moved house, my NM always helping my sister out and then telling me about it to justify it to me, my sense that my sister was really fake and insincere, which of course she is as she has got a fake self. I have felt a lot of pain in my life because of this and just recently contacted my mother again after 13 years of no contact. What I am doing now at 53 though is grounding myself in who I am, and not caring so much whether I am in favour or not, as I have already gone through the process of letting go of getting what I hoped for. I feel nervous of being in contact again with her and my sister, but will use it to heal myself inside, by feeling what they make me feel in my body so I can heal it. I always felt as if my NM has felt like she needs to make up for something with my sister, I was accused by NM of rejecting her when I was a baby! In otherwords, she probably realised I was not going to be her foot soldier as I was too independent minded!!. Despite that I have always worked very hard to gain her approval, even spending many years being very successful professionally in a career she suggested for me. The strange thing that has baffled me is that I am the SG despite being more successful than my sister most of my life. I once had counselling when I was a teenager (because my NM told me that I needed psychiatric help!) and the counsellor told me that she thought my mother was jealous of me…. I told her this and she exploded as if this was the craziest thing ever…, but I now believe that it was this that caused me to be the SG, that she felt threatened by me and I wonder if this is the dynamic, ie the NM identifies that this child will not be the one to do her bidding, that is happening when an NM selects to be SG??

    • Parenting Exposed | 11th Jan 18

      Scapegoats are often very successful people. And yes, narcissistic parents do get very jealous of their children, and will use their positive qualities against them. Sad, but true. Good luck on your healing journey.

  13. Tara Quin | 18th Jan 18

    Extremely accurate portrayal of toxic family dynamics; a first-born scapegoat.

  14. Christine E. | 20th Jan 18

    Thanks so much for this article! I am a 61 year old scapegoat daughter, still being scapegoated/abused by my 96 year old narcissist father and younger (58 year old) brother. My extremely abusive mother passed away 20 years ago. My brother was the golden child of both parents: I was the family punching bag. Other than my family of origin, I have a very happy life, have been married to a wonderful man for almost 40 years. After the most recent verbal attack after confronting my brother about his behaviour with a gentle ‘it really hurt my feelings when…’ I told my husband that I want to move far enough away I never have to see my brother again. A great weight lifted as I said it. I’ve spent the two days since then wondering if I was over-reacting. Reading your article has made me realize that moving away is exactly what I need to do. Thank you for your wisdom and insight. God bless you!

  15. Maria | 27th Jan 18

    Same story. Cn anyone tell me if i jus leave n go no contact my father’s property will all be inherited by my narc mom n her golden child. How to avoid ths .shall i keep playing along ???

  16. Kate Barton | 8th Feb 18

    Wow! Thank you for this. I understand so much better what is going on with my grandchildren. Luckily the scapegoat has escaped with his mother from the narcissistic father but they have to endure alternate weeks of the golden child living with them and making their lives hell. I pray the scapegoat child has enough strength and love from his mother to survive this situation. Sadly I think the golden child is a lost cause. But at least we all understand it better now. The golden child was a lovely person prior to this, it’s so sad he has been manipulated into being a monster.

  17. Nadi | 13th Feb 18

    This is the most accurate description of the the GS/SG dynamic I’ve ever read. As the SG of my own family and my younger sister being the GS, this really explained more than I could ever ask for. Thank you for using your personal experience to write such an detailed article. Your ability to write about the different dynamics in such detail is amazing.

    • Parenting Exposed | 17th Feb 18

      Thankyou very much Nadi. I am so glad this article has explained the SG/GC dynamic to you. I am so glad my personal experience is helping people and resonating to know that they are not alone in their experiences. I wish you all the best on you journey. Billie

  18. Janice | 16th Feb 18

    Excellent article! I too am the family SG. I had a Nfather and a Nmom who is still alive and tormenting me. I also have a younger GC brother and a very N older brother. My relationship with my parents was fair at best as a child as long as I performed as expected. I no longer perform like a monkey on a leash and now my mother hates me. My brothers are extremely abusive. I can’t take any more and have gone NC. I feel totally exhausted and confused. Haven’t gotten to the place where I stop trying to make sense of their actions, but I keep telling myself that they are the ones with the mental illness not me. Thank you so much for the excellent article and best of luck to us all.

    • Parenting Exposed | 17th Feb 18

      Anytime Janice, thankyou for you your lovely words. So glad this article has helped you. Good luck to you on your journey. Wishing you all the best, Billie

  19. barney elvis | 25th Feb 18

    Im 39 an am now realizing that i am the SG youngest of 3 boys with middle being GC. Its amazing how i unconsciously left the house 18 years ago and moved overseas. My 14month daughter was the reason i discovered the truth as i was protecting her from the madness on a home visit and i could see clearly I WAS NOT WRONG they were. Since i realized this though i have been suffering from panic attacks as i question if i can be a good parent and why i cant help my family who i love but who want to distroy me in every way. I have gone almost no contact the both brothers and only call my enabling month one a week and try and keep it simple and about my lovely daughter. im a strong person really and hope ill pull it together, i’m not sure if thi will help other but i wrong on the mirror “the best way to PROVE you are good and wothy is to live a good life.

    • Parenting Exposed | 3rd Mar 18

      Hi Barney, thankyou for sharing you story. I wish you all the best on your healing journey. Take care, Billie.

      • barney elvis | 5th Mar 18

        Hi Billie, Thanks and i didnt say thanks you in my first post for your amazing work, hats off to you my friend. Billie do you think the N GC E know what they are doing to the SG on a conscious level? Thanks in advance, B x

        • Parenting Exposed | 6th Mar 18

          Thankyou Barney, means a lot! I believe that the narcissist, like any bully, most definitely is well aware that they are being unkind to their targets. However, I also believe that they are of the opinion that the target deserves the mistreatment, has behaved inappropriately, and is actually bringing the mistreatment from them and their minions upon themselves; all because the target won’t allow themselves to be controlled. I believe this because from what I have personally witnessed, the narcissist’s false self always believes that the target is the attacker, and the one to have done something wrong to them (disagreeing with their opinion, fighting back etc is deemed wrong, exposing abuse). So, they do the great big turnaround. We’re talking about people who are entitled; and from the perspective of an entitled person, anyone who challenges their authority deserves to be attacked. They reverse the roles, and truly believe they are the victimised individual. We’re talking about people who can only think of their own distress. Nobody else matters. ‘Its all about me.’

          Lacking empathy though, the narcissist has no idea the mental anguish they cause the scapegoated individual, because they cannot put themselves in the shoes of another. They truly and honestly believe they were attacked by the person questioning their authority, and that they are the one being abused. What is actually happening to the scapegoated individual is what the narcissist thinks is happening to them when they have their authority questioned. The narcissistic injury for the narcissist is so full on, that they can’t see another perspective outside of their own. All they know is that the disapproval reduces them to feeling inadequate, etc, and the scapegoated individual should not have made them feel the exact same way the N’s original abusers in child hood did. So, the target has to pay. N’s hate feelings. And if you make them have one; so help you God.

          • One SG | 6th Mar 18

            Excellent question and explanation!

            I’m currently no contact with my NM and NGCsis. NM tried to hoover me back in and my DH told her I was hurt and didn’t want to talk with her. No response.

            He outlined all of their egregious behavior towards us and/or me (the scapegoat0 that he’s personally witnessed/experienced. She didn’t care. Just sighed and went on to list her grievances – most were flat out lies.

            That’s the thing: A narcissist will actually lie to ensure that you are the perpetrator and they are the victim – all while simultaneously accusing you over and over again of “playing the victim” and “always having to be right”.

            A sick cycle that is lose-lose for the real scapegoat.

          • Parenting Exposed | 10th Mar 18

            Yes One SG, such a sick sick cycle. Such a lose-lose. So very painful.

  20. Kyla | 9th Mar 18

    This is my life. Oh my goodness. It confirms everything! I am the oldest but also the scapegoat. Not sure how that happened! But I’m a very sensitive soul so I guess I wouldn’t make a good golden child. Yay me!

    • Parenting Exposed | 10th Mar 18

      Yes, I’m a sensitive soul too. You are so right Kyla…..Lucky us!

  21. Margot Moyes | 10th Mar 18

    This is truly the most absolutely accurate article I have ever read, that relates to my own situation…I could have written it ( if I was as articulate as this author )

    • Parenting Exposed | 10th Mar 18

      Thankyou Margot.

  22. Margot Moyes | 10th Mar 18

    …..must add also that as a scapegoat middle child, it is so refreshing to have the paragraph regarding the ‘Scapegoats Strength’.
    We need to be reminded ( even at age 57 & after many many years in my case ) of our self worth… it is very easy to slip back into unhealthy thought patterns, created by the decimation of a narcissistic parent & their golden child.

    • Parenting Exposed | 10th Mar 18

      Yes Margot. It is very hard to keep one’s self-esteem in tact after having experienced the absolute horror of family scapegoating. The emotional terrorism can be soul destroying. The narcissist often becomes the victims harsh inner critic. Always in their head, even many years after contact has been had, undoing any sense of self-worth created.

  23. Ellen | 10th Mar 18

    It is amazing that someone could write such an accurate description of so many families they have never met. This shows the pervasiveness and truth of these conditions. Although “losing” ones entire family through having to go no contact for self-protection is indescribably painful, it is often the only way to survive. Those who have “normal” families will never understand the living hell of the family scapegoat. The evil power of a malignant mother to turn a whole family against a decent human being and the tactics she uses MUST be understood by the scapegoat. Otherwise, it is hard for the scapegoat to overcome the thought that it must be them, because how could a whole family be right, and they be wrong. You contributed a great deal to this understanding. Thank you.

    • Parenting Exposed | 12th Mar 18

      Hi Ellen, I’m amazed too at how common these dynamics I’ve written about are. I always thought these dynamics were singular to my own situation. The scapegoat role is a very sad role to play out. Hopefully with more education on N abuse, scapegoats will realise much earlier on in the piece the role they have been forced to play, and will remove themselves from the dynamic much earlier than they usually would. All the best on your healing journey Ellen. Take care, Billie

  24. LucySnowe | 10th Mar 18

    I read a lot about narcissism, having narc parents. This article is one of the best I’ve read, dealing specifically with the sibling dynamic in a narc household. I am the SG in the family, my brothers are not narcissists but have taken turns being the GC to my mom who masterfully triangulated us all as we grew up. My brothers both married narcs and I’m watching the GC/SG dynamic being played out with one of their families. My niece is 11 and becoming a master manipulator with the assistance of her NM. I’ve watched them repeatedly bulldoze friendships, and come out looking innocent while their victims are smeared. Another family we are friends with has a narc father son duo who are the meanest people one minute and super charming the next. The enabling wife/mom smooths everything out for them with the people they hurt so they can continue on their rampage.
    Now that I’m aware of narcissism and how it played out in my family I’ve drastically changed how I deal with my parents and my brothers. I learned about boundaries (finally!) and my parents don’t like that at all but it’s been life changing for me. My mom always knew that I cared what my brothers thought of me and used it as a way to control and punish me. Now I can truly say I don’t care if they believe her lies and without that she’s lost her control. Boundaries are key…narcs are not attracted to people who set boundaries because they can’t steamroll them. I’m also ok with knowing the narcs in my life lie about me. The people who really know me, know the truth. The ones who believe the lies will themselves be subjects of their slander soon enough and will learn the same hard lesson we all learned.

    • Parenting Exposed | 12th Mar 18

      This is a very common story Lucy. One I am very familiar with in my own family dynamic. It is wonderful to hear that you are getting stronger. Believing in one’s self is the only way to combat N abuse. Good luck to you. Billie

  25. Kris B | 11th Mar 18

    Thank you so much for this very important article. Reading this brought me to tears. I have never read an article that so closely describes how my relationship is with my older sister and my father. I have always felt like the scapegoat in my family and have struggled with their behavior for so long. Every paragraph is applicable to my life. This is so helpful in my quest to move on. I have always recognized their narcissism and self entitlement, and my role as the scapegoat, but have never seen it described in such a comprehensive article. Thank you for taking the time to write this. It should receive an award!!

    • Parenting Exposed | 12th Mar 18

      Thankyou so much for your lovely comments Kris. I am so glad this article has helped you in your quest to move on. Nothing like some validation. Good luck with your healing journey. Billie

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