Family Scapegoat: Signs You May Be, And What You Can Do About It

Last Update on December 2, 2022 : Published on December 4, 2022
Signs You’re A Family Scapegoat

All Families have problems! Some families deal with major issues and some have just some minor ones but I don’t think there are families with zero issues. When we talk about familial problems, collective resilience or collective coping & adaptive abilities come into play.

However, many dysfunctional families rely on combined maladaptive coping strategies. Each member of the family goes in a different direction and has different ways of coping. In some dysfunctional families, there is one person who bears the brunt of it all.

The Family scapegoat Meaning:

The family scapegoat is the one person who is blamed for everything wrong that happens in the family. All the mistakes are blamed on that one person even if it is not their fault. Cinderella was one character that fits in the family scapegoat mold perfectly. Her sisters and stepmother put all the blame on her no matter who made a mistake.

Because of the manipulative behavior of the family members, it becomes difficult to realize that you’ve become the family scapegoat. Therefore, it’s important to know the characteristics of a family scapegoat and how one can cope with it.

Let’s understand who is a family scapegoat, its signs, and coping strategies together…

Who Is A Family Scapegoat?

Before we talk about the family scapegoat, you need the understand the meaning of the term scapegoat. In the early Jewish culture, a goat used to be sacrificed in place of all the sins people have committed. The goat paid the price for their sins and that goat was the scapegoat.

Now, whenever someone pays for the sins of orders they become the scapegoat. When it comes to family scapegoat, it is the person who takes the blame for all the wrong that has been done. The family scapegoat may not take the blame on their own, this blame is mostly imposed on them.

Therefore, a family scapegoat is a family member who is constantly found responsible for all the wrongdoings and problems in the family. They are those people who bear the consequences of the actions of other family members.

Signs Of A Family Scapegoat

Although it’s not very difficult to identify a family scapegoat, with dysfunctional families it can become a little tricky. It becomes confusing when you have difficult people in the family, the scapegoat camouflages with the rest.

Let’s have a look at some identifiable characteristics of a family scapegoat so that you can know if you’ve become just a scapegoat for your family;

1. You feel ignored: when you are the scapegoat of the family, it’s very common to feel ignored. They will not think twice before freezing you out of the family. All your needs are being easily ignored.

2. You are not praised often: it’s difficult for your family to fathom that you can achieve something too. You will find your achievements are being dismissed by your family. So, if you’re not being praised for your achievements, you’re probably the scapegoat of the family.

3. You are portrayed in a negative light: when you are the family scapegoat, your family will always portray you in a negative light. Whenever they talk about you, they’ll always have something negative to say about you.

4. You are isolated from others: for a family, a scapegoat is almost impossible to feel included in the family. You’ll always find yourself away from the rest of the family.

5. Others’ flaws are projected onto you: you will see this happening the most, and all the wrongdoing and flaws of other family members will be put on you.

Also read: Understanding Enmeshment: Causes, Signs & How To Break Free

How To Cope With Being A Family Scapegoat?

There are no said strategies to cope with being the scapegoat of your family. It is unfortunate that you have become the family scapegoat but if you have identified yourself as a scapegoat, you’ve already taken the first step.

It’s important to know that whatever is happening to you is because your dysfunctional family has picked you as the scapegoat. Being the scapegoat takes a toll on your mental and emotional health. Therefore, you need to start focusing on your mental health.

Also read: Steps To Build A Strong Emotional Bond With Your Family

A mental health professional will help you understand your family dynamic better and will make you focus on your feelings more than what the other family members feel about you.

Also Read: Best Online Family Counseling Of 2022

Along with taking care of your mental health, you must invest some time in self-care activities so that you don’t burn yourself out.

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about signs you’re a family scapegoat helpful, interesting, and thought-provoking. Do share this blog with your friends and family so that recognizing the characteristics of a family scapegoat becomes easy.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

Also Read:

“I Feel No Connection To My Family”: Can It Be A Sign Of Family Estrangement?

Why Do I Hate My Family? Dealing With Hard Emotions

12 Effective & Mindful Ways To Navigate Difficult Family Relationships

The Stress Of Family Conflicts: How To Resolve Family Disputes Effectively?

About The Author

Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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