Feel Like An Outcast No More!
Are You the ‘Black Sheep’ of Your Family?
- Are you routinely criticized, blamed, shunned or singled out for mistreatment or abuse by one or more family members?
- Do you get discredited or attacked when you try and stand up for yourself, or point out the truth about negative family relationship dynamics?
- Have you tried to stay in contact with family members only to feel misunderstood, put down or rejected over and over again?
- Do you struggle with self doubt, low self esteem, find it hard to achieve your potential, or have difficulty trusting intimate partners?
If you answered Yes to these questions, then you may be the family scapegoat
Scapegoating often starts in childhood or youth, when one member of the family is targeted as the ‘fall guy’ for the family’s problems. Children who are scapegoated tend to be picked on due to their sensitivity, vulnerability, or refusal to keep up appearances and stay silent in an unhealthy family atmosphere.
Scapegoating is a form of bullying that causes injury to a young person’s emerging sense of self identity. Young people who are targeted in this way often grow up into adults who feel chronically flawed, inadequate or – at worst – ashamed. At the same time they may feel intense anger at the unfair treatment they’ve had to endure.
Unfortunately most scapegoats come to believe – on some level – the family myth that they are the bad guy, rather than understanding they are being abused. Buying into the belief that one is ‘bad’ seriously undermines a person’s sense of self worth. Sometimes this belief is unconscious, whereby the scapegoat believes that their inadequacy is a ‘fact’.
Healthy families take responsibility for difficulties as they occur, and take steps to try and resolve challenges constructively. This does not occur in families who scapegoat another family member. In fact, the opposite is true. Scapegoating is an attempt to deny, minimize or deflect responsibility for problem behavior and relationship challenges by making the target the problem.
The negative impact of scapegoating can be far reaching. Scapegoats may have difficulty living up to their potential or fulfilling their life’s dreams due to chronic self doubt or feeling flawed. They may have difficulty developing healthy, trusting relationships. Scapegoats can also experience recurring patterns of disrespect, abuse or bullying from family, friends or colleagues.
If you have experienced any of these problems before, don’t give up!
I’m Glynis Sherwood, a certified counselling therapist based in Vancouver Canada who works with people around the world. I help people who have been scapegoated overcome the pain and move on to lead happier, more loving and successful lives – inside and out.
You are not alone!
Being scapegoated by family is deeply hurtful and frustrating. Many people in this situation feel lonely, hopeless, sad, angry, resentful and insecure. This is particularly the case if their efforts to resolve the problem have led to more conflict or disconnection from family.
If you feel upset, unsure of yourself, confused or just fed up with being the family scapegoat, help is here.
With the right help you can move past the pain and create the life you want and deserve!
Counselling can help you break free of the negative impact of Scapegoating by:
- Helping you understand why you are not the source of family problems, so you can overcome blame, guilt or shame.
- Learning to become more assertive with family members, so you increase the chances of creating respectful boundaries, and decrease vulnerability to more scapegoating.
- Becoming more skilled at pinpointing your strengths, and being able to quickly remind yourself of your good qualities, should you start to believe you are ‘the bad guy’.
- Identifying and stopping unconscious scapegoating patterns you may be getting drawn into.
- Discovering where the allies might be in your extended family, so you can grow the positive relationships you long for.
- Deciding on how much contact – if any – to have with scapegoating family members, how to have more productive contact, and protect your mental health and self esteem.
- Helping to build your sense of self worth, so you feel more confident, secure and capable of having loving relationships – with yourself and others!
But Wait, How Do I Know Counselling Can Help Me? Good Question! At This Point You May Be Thinking:
I’ve tried everything to get through to my family and nothing works. How will counselling help?
Counselling can help you feel more in control of the one thing you can control – yourself. You can learn to be more confident setting healthy limits with family, and standing up for them, no matter the opposition. I will also help you identify your allies, and to build relationships with supportive individual family members, where possible.
Or You May Wonder:
My self esteem has taken a real hit after years of being scapegoated by my family. What difference will counselling make?
Counselling can help you grasp deep down that you are not ‘the problem’, but rather the target of abusive family dynamics, and deserving of better treatment. When you start to overcome negative beliefs that you are somehow bad, inadequate or flawed – you can free yourself from feelings of guilt, self blame or shame. This lays the groundwork for building up your self esteem so you feel more sure of yourself and your relationships. Working with a skilled therapist who truly understands family scapegoating could be the solution you are looking for.
Counselling for Former Targets of Workplace Bullying – Click Here for Info