The narcissist’s scapegoat is often the person who gets blamed by the narcissist for all the narcissist’s mistakes, wrongdoings, flaws, faults, shame. The narcissist’s scapegoat is the person who the narcissist passes responsibility over to for the narcissist’s actions, the person who take the consequences for the narcissist’s actions, the person who is left with a damaged reputation due to the narcissist using the scapegoat to deflect negative attention away from the narcissist towards the scapegoat.
The definition of the scapegoat child is someone who is assigned to take all the blame, to be the reason behind any family fallouts, anything that’s not going how the narcissist wants, it can happen to anyone within the family unit, or even a work environment when the boss makes one person to blame for any and all mistakes, even mistakes that have not happened. Within the dynamics of the family, friends, or work, the narcissist will try their absolute best to gather an army of enablers, their flying monkeys, to join in the narcissist’s games and cause more cognitive dissonance to the scapegoat.
The scapegoat can be someone who doesn’t conform to the narcissist’s demands, doesn’t conform to the narcissist’s way of thinking, or someone, the narcissist, is envious of. The narcissist’s scapegoat can be someone the narcissist just doesn’t like or someone the narcissist fears might expose the narcissist.
More often than not, scapegoats are justice seekers who, by seeking justice, can play straight into the narcissist’s games. Scapegoats tend to be.
- Aware of their own flaws.
- Aware of their own mistakes.
- Protective of others.
- Justice seekers.
- Emotionally reactive.
Usually due to the narcissist blaming, humiliating, shaming, judging, and criticism of the scapegoat, often the narcissist will have enablers joining in with this behaviour the scapegoat can feel like no matter what they do, it’s never enough, full of self-doubt, ruminating over things they’ve said and done, fearful of speaking up as they can see many prospective and don’t want to hurt another’s feelings, or they can be stubborn and closed off, protecting their feeling due to the narcissists always using the scapegoats feeling against them, they can also be provoked easily when the narcissist goes after those the scapegoat cares for as they don’t want other to feel the pain, the narcissist has caused them.
A narcissist will invalidate, shame, blame, criticise, ignore, dismiss, provoke, isolate, triangulate, humiliate the scapegoat, the narcissist will lie about the scapegoat to those around them, and they can turn entire families against the scapegoat, an entire work setting against the scapegoat, a narcissist can outcast a scapegoat.
A narcissist often feels threatened by a scapegoat. Either the scapegoat might expose them, the scapegoat is strong-willed, so might abandon the narcissist, or the scapegoat is doing well, so the narcissist feels envious. Therefore the narcissist will go all out to sabotage the scapegoat.
With a narcissists projection of the narcissists’ self-defence mechanism, they pass the blame for the narcissist’s intentions, feeling or actions and gaslight others into believing it’s the scapegoat’s intentions or feelings and not the narcissists. So the scapegoat often doubts themselves as those around them doubt the scapegoat also.
It can be very lonely being the scapegoat, left feeling confused, hurt, angry, misunderstood, never feeling enough, no sense of belonging as they’re blamed and shamed for the narcissist’s failings.
The narcissist tries to isolate the scapegoat, often with mass smear campaigns and triangulation, turning loved ones, friends, family members, work colleagues against them, or causing so much doubt in the scapegoat’s mind, the scapegoat might self isolate not knowing who to trust.
The scapegoat’s character is assassinated, not only internally from the mental torture from the narcissist yet also externally when the narcissist slanders the scapegoat to all those who will listen.
Scapegoats are never rewarded for good behaviour and often get dismissed or told by the narcissist that they only achieved because of something the narcissist did. Accomplishments are most often, ignored, Belittled or rejected. At the same time, any mistakes are heightened and used against the scapegoat.
Scapegoats can learn to talk to themselves negatively, as that’s what they heard growing up. They might try to control other areas in their lives, including weight, so going on extreme diets to achieve rapid weight loss, to then gain it all back. OCD can develop in any area of life to keep control over anything they can, certainty is another human need, and when life is so full of uncertainty, which is another human need, yet because the balance is lost, scapegoats can crave to make things certain developing OCD, as they are so used to the uncertainty from others, they also tend to desire to re-create this too.
What can you do?
If the narcissist is smearing your name, step out of the picture and leave them to it, the gossip fades so much faster when you’re not reacting to anyone. I understand this isn’t easy when they are coming at you from all angles with so many soul-destroying games. It’s our instincts to want to defend ourselves. The best defensive with these kinds of people is simply not to play, not giving them any of your time or energy, focusing on you and your new life. It is hard when living in fear. The more you call the authorities if needed, the more you step away from the games, the easier it becomes. Trying to explain to authorities that don’t seem to understand can be hard. Just stick with “you’re in fear of your life and safety” when you start going around in circles trying to explain. Just explain you’re in fear of your life and safety, and you want the authorities to help.
When we are left with the negative talk that the narcissist has repeated time and time again, because we are so used to being spoken to in that way, most often we begin to talk to ourselves in that way, bringing ourselves down, that negative talk is played on repeat within our minds, often bringing ourselves down and sabotaging our own success, as hurtful as the narcissist is and as damaging as they are, sometimes it’s due to them being the scapegoat or victim of narcissistic abuse. It’s all they know, a survival instinct that kicked In as a young child and stayed through excessive psychological abuse. The only real way to stop this from going from family generation to generation is to stop it within you. Remember, it did not start with you. If it’s your parent, partner, boss, a friend, that narcissist will not end with you. However, you can stop it for yourself.
You are learning how to recreate your inner voice to how you’d like people to speak to you, and how you should talk to yourself if you’re a people pleaser, a hurt person who tries to help people, start speaking to yourself how you choose to talk to others and lift them up. If you wouldn’t talk to another the way you are talking to yourself, stop talking to yourself in that way, takes practice however it works.
Writing out any damaging negative thoughts someone else placed into you’re mind, who it was, and why they did it, so you have that visual, then writing the truth, as only you define you. You have strength, power and endurance within you, you are special, and you are kind. You can, and you will recover from this.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.