Were you blamed for almost everything when you grew up? If so, you could possibly have been the family scapegoat.

The family scapegoat is the portion of the dysfunctional family that takes the brunt of every situation. No matter what happened, even if the situation could not possibly be any fault of the scapegoat, this designated person still receives a portion of the blame. It’s not entirely clear as to why they receive such blame, but this treatment can be devastating later in life.

Were you the family scapegoat?

The dysfunctional family must keep their image unmarred. This is why they choose certain members of the family to take the blame for any problems that arise. There’s no way these dysfunctional dominant family members will allow responsibilities to be allocated in the right way. It’s about covering flaws to the point of ridiculous measures. Were you the scapegoat in your family? Read on and learn the truth.

1. You were ignored

If you were part of a dysfunctional family, then you may have noticed how no one wanted to listen to you. Unfortunately, that may mean you were the scapegoat in the family. If most of the blame was placed on you, then you were ignored when trying to set things right. This is simply because your truth destroyed their illusion.

2. You don’t recall being praised

It’s sad to think about it, but scapegoats come to a realization that they cannot remember being complimented. Considering most people remember receiving compliments occasionally, the scapegoat lives a dismal life of self-doubt. The family scapegoat wasn’t complimented as a child because this would contradict their flawed and always responsible position in the family.

3. They say you should change

Honestly, everyone can change for the better in some way, but as for the family scapegoat, they’re expected to make changes every day. Dysfunctional families, after designating the scapegoat, will dish out lengthy reasons for a change. Of course, this change always falls on the scapegoat. When changes aren’t made, it’s just more reason to blame them for everything that happens.

4. You are the butt of the joke

Have you ever been to a family function where the same person always got picked on? Well, congratulations, you just discovered the family scapegoat. This designated member of the family is teased and tormented at all family functions if not every single day. It’s amazing just how much abuse this person can take.

Later in life, the scapegoat will struggle with fierce self-esteem issues.

5. You were isolated

Just as you were being ignored, you were also being isolated. No, the goal was not to isolate you from all of the family, but just the one person who took up for you. The dysfunctional family which requires a scapegoat for existence will never let the scapegoat find their worth.

This is what happens when someone steps in and takes the scapegoat’s side in any given situation. As the scapegoat starts to feel better about themselves, the family will quickly isolate them from their ally and put the scapegoat back in their place. If you can visualize someone firmly placing their foot on someone else’s neck, then you correctly visualize what it’s like for the scapegoat.

6. You were demonized

If you think the insults vaulted toward you in your presence were bad, then the insults behind your back were even worse. Dysfunctional families will not only attempt to convince you of your negative character, but they will also try to convince others of the same things. This was done to further enforce isolation from other people who may have taken your side.

7. You are the victim of projection

Here’s an absolutely crazy situation for the scapegoat. Say, you were the scapegoat and you were doing housework, and suddenly the scapegoater, who was sitting around looking at their phone, entered the scene and accused you of being lazy…do you see how insane this sounds?

Well, this happens often. Scapegoats are often accused of doing things that the other members of the family are doing. It doesn’t matter how blatant the accusations are, the scapegoat will always be the one who has to absorb the criticism.

8. You became the punching bag

No matter what you do, or who’s around, you were the punching bag. All the other members of the family also labeled you as the one who’s wrong, mean, unfair, and dysfunctional. When people came around, your family members warned them about your behavior and told them to stay away from you.

I am sure you’ve heard the warnings about certain family members from friends or in-laws, haven’t you? It’s possible that you’re hearing about the scapegoat. You may also start to realize that you’re always steered away from this person. Interesting, isn’t it?

Is there hope for the adult victim of scapegoating?

It’s sad to hear these things about the scapegoating process. Fortunately, it is possible to heal from this horrendous abuse. Healing from such treatment first takes realizing the fault in your childhood image. You must understand that the things said about you were not true. When you make this realization, you can start to build yourself up with positive reinforcement.

If you were a victim of scapegoating, then there is hope. Finding your true identity after abuse of this form is hard but beneficial to a full healthy life. Were you the family scapegoat? If so, it’s time to throw away the old you and find the person you were always meant to be.


  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com
  2. https://www.thoughtco.com

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