The scapegoat and golden child of a narcissist.
If the narcissist has more than one child, they will assign them roles. The scapegoat child and the golden child.
As with many things where narcissists are concerned, there are no hard and fast rules. Some narcissists will give them clear roles, and sometimes they can cross over to which gets the role on a day-to-day basis depending on which one is pleasing the narcissist at that moment. If a child speaks up against the narcissist, they’ll idealise the other child and make the one that spoke up the scapegoat.
An only child can one day be the scapegoat to the next be the golden.
Narcissists will triangulate children against each other without the children knowing, gaining attention from the children, just another way the narcissist manipulates those around them.
Narcissists seem to enjoy driving a wedge between anyone and everyone, including their own children. Children often do not know they’ve been played off against each other. They’ll know there is conflict but will be confused as to why. As the narcissist never directly does things, it’s all covertly, either calculated or impulsive, through many manipulation tactics. The narcissist just wants everyone around them against each other and all for them. It’s a case of Abuse by proxy.
They will get the golden child to gang up with them against the scapegoat.
The narcissist will get the golden child to help with the abuse towards the scapegoat child.
The narcissist will try to get the scapegoat and golden child to dislike each other. They will do all they can to drive a wedge between family members.
The golden child will be pushed to perform and achieve, and when they don’t achieve to the narcissist standards, there will be shaming, blaming, ridicule, criticism and punishment. They use these same tactics also to push them to do what they want them to do. Children often lose their sense of self as they’re too busy trying to be what their narcissistic parent wants them to be. The golden child gets treated so well when they achieve that they don’t always grow to see what’s happening, which is why limited contact for the golden child is best. This will be really hard as the golden child will take longer to realise that it’s not true love the narcissist shows them. Having one parent that shows them true love will help them achieve that realisation sooner. The golden child aims to please as they don’t want the harsh words, silent treatment or punishment. They end up with no self-worth. The narcissist will say things like, “how dare you be proud you only got an A. It should have been an A*.”
The scapegoat is usually seen as the rebel child that will not conform to the narcissist manipulation. They will get constant criticism over anything and everything, although they typically grow to achieve a better sense of self. Self-esteem, self-awareness and clarity. They will often call the narcissist out on what they’ve said or done/ not done. The scapegoat works it out first because they don’t get many if any of the love bombings. The narcissist will say things like, “ how can you be proud, you’re rubbish at everything. You need to work harder.”
When the children have constant scrutiny, lack of privacy, being continuously played off against each other, being continually provoked when the narcissist is causing arguments that the children don’t even know what it was about and end up feeling confused. They unknowingly play into the narcissist’s hand as they’ll deflect onto the sibling because they’re hoping they’re not going to get all the harsh words themselves. That’s the whole game the narcissist is playing. They just want everyone to please the narcissist.
It’s no better or worse if the child is the scapegoat or the golden child, they can both feel anxious. They both develop self-doubt from constant criticism. They are getting phycological whiplash. They don’t know if today’s going to be good or bad. Both children can be going along having a great day, then all of a sudden boom, the narcissist goes on one for no reason giving them phycological whiplash.
Whatever the children do is never enough for the narcissist.
The narcissist will pit everyone against each other. The overt narcissist will say to children, “ why can you not be more like them? They’re so much better than you” the covet will do it in more subtle ways. The goal for the narcissist is to divide and conquer, divide everyone around them, and so everyone looks to them. They’ll create problems out of nowhere and then have their own solutions, which is what they wanted in the first place. They don’t want people to unite as then they’ll know that they are, and a narcissist can not stand exposure.
They will go to any lengths to keep the divide going. They will happily set people up without them even knowing.
The siblings can get through this together. With one positive parent, they will learn what is positive genuine people, and what is negative, and they will learn with your help to unite against the narcissist from a young age as you’ll be telling them to be kind to each other and look out for each other. They will see it for what it is in their own time, so stay strong.
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Video for more information on the scapegoat child.