Monday, October 7, 2013

When Scapegoats are Ostracized By an Entire Family

[cite for all pictures-This Charming Charlie]

At every job I used to have pre-disability life, I always managed to find one friend or ally usually in the mix if I was there long enough and it wasn't a temp job. Every organization, club or church I have been a part of, I usually ended up with a couple of friends. And in my case, I don't just have pals though everyone has those but real friends I can talk about anything with.  Sure I'm shy to a few people but my social fortunes were far poorer among those I was related to.

Today I am asking how did I not end up with so few allies in my entire family? Inside there is a painful part, that says, "your whole family hated you and had little to do with you as possible, what's wrong with you?"

From the start, I was treated like an outsider. This was the scapegoating process in the narcissistic world. Sometimes it can be painful to hear people talk about their cousins, aunts, uncles, children, step-children, grand-nieces, and grandparents. I am now without one relative in my life. I never really had no family when it got right down to it.

My mother controls so many of them. Since I went no contact, not one has to tried and contact me except via her direction. No one wrote an email [they have it] and no one tried to write me via a social website.  Only two contacted me via her direction on the exact same day and wrote the words she wanted them to write. It was easy to tell.  Dry one-liners which in my sister's case screamed, "Mom told me to send this!" No whiff of any apologies or concern or anything else. No unscripted messages. It was kind of like dying ahead of time, and you walk into your own funeral or memorial service, and realizing not one relative has shown up. A big part of my going NC, was realizing impeding illness and possible shortage of time here on earth wasn't changing anything. Years ago I made too many excuses for relatives not showing up in hospitals when I was so sick except for my husband. 

Not one of the 16-23 people I walked away from, even though they know I have serious life threatening health conditions asked, "Are you all right?". I have gotten far more care from churches and organizations and clubs I have been a part of then my own supposed "family".

 Yes, they should be ashamed of themselves.  I spent too many years like Charlie here, until I found love via my husband and friends:

How does one function when their own family hated and rejected them? The worse thing my mother ever did to me  was taking other people away from me and destroying my relationships with them because they cared most about keeping her pleased and fearing her.  This happened via the result of smear campaigns, and forcing me into a role, I later rejected. My mother bonds with people by putting others down, and a smear campaign is when things are distorted and manipulated to get people to think badly of you.  The below experience as described by another ACON in her rejecting family,  got extreme for me by the way. Everything was about pleasing the queen while I was chopped liver,  some of the relatives would ask me questions like "Do you think your mother likes me"?

"I, for example, had an “over-active imagination” and while the phrase “drama queen” had yet to be invented, that was the gist of how NM painted me to the family. In a situation in which numerous motives might be at work, NM always selected the worst possible one for me, regardless of what was truly going on in my mind. Over a period of years a picture of me was formed in the minds of family members who rarely saw me and when they did, the reality of me was overshadowed by the picture in their minds.
 When NMs do this, it sets the stage for later predations. If everybody “knows” how bad you are, they have no empathy for you even though you are a small child. They feel bad for your poor mother and admire her courage and bravery in continuing to deal with you and even love you despite your awfulness. Cousins ignore, disdain and/or bully you. It becomes a habit to hate you, a habit to blame you, a habit that becomes entrenched and unquestioned after so many years, and it spreads from one family member to the next like a disease." [link]
 This sums things up. Everything revolved around her. Nothing she said about me was questioned. For me the bad way the family looked at me spread like a disease too. Some relatives would change on a dime once she had a visit with them or saw them more. There was one point I even said to  my siblings, "Can we Have our OWN relationships"? By the way this is not unknown in the narcissistic world, it is known that narcissistic mothers via triangulation and manipulative ways destroy relationships, especially between the chosen scapegoat and others. I think this happened in the extreme with me and it cost me the entire family.

When one thinks about mankind, I wonder if this is the microcosm of toxic families that shows the macrocosm of why in the world, so many sociopathic dictators rule who seek to destroy those who are good, or creative or have another voice or who stand for truth. In other words why do folks like Stalin and Hitler rule the roost, and get others do their evil bidding? If anything in this fallen world, the more evil a leader, the more control they seem to gain. This was true of my mother. Her power was complete.

 I don't know everything my mother told my other relatives about me, but whatever it was it was bad. One thing I did notice was the constant invalidation, that no matter what I did or said, it did not matter. Even if one family member agreed with me or backed me up even for the slightest second and that was rare, she seemed to always make sure that this would end no matter how petty of a matter it was. Any rebellion was quashed and any alliance with me, was to be thwarted.  I have heard her tell people directly, I was not important, and not worth the bother. Imagine people listening to this for years and years?

Before I went NC, I caught some of this stuff in action, she told my brother not to visit me last fall because it would be "too much trouble". I had not seen that brother in 4-5 years. He went to go visit her and followed her directions.  She told a cousin, I was silly and stupid to stand up for my personal beliefs, this was the family gathering where she actually emailed everyone a list of topics no one was allowed to discuss and he went along with her even though at first he had agreed with me. That was yet another betrayal. She has the money, presents and fancy dinners to give them, I do not.

One part of my going NC, was realizing I did not want to be the forever scapegoat, the person that mattered not, where my forever role among these people seemed to be "fat, poor, loser" and nothing else. By the way, they know about the endocrine disorders and the mild Aspergers, it made not one whit of difference. There was no give or take on the health problems and how I was finding travel far more difficult. I haven't even seen friends in my old town 150 miles away due to the limitations of funds and health now to make the trip. Sitting in a car with severe lymphedema is a different matter then the average person. Many were just flat out mean, including one uncle who on a social website, who would insult the poor knowing of my economic struggles.

It was sad to see the growing subservience over the years among the clan. If the Queen didn't like you, then others realized this, and to stay in her good graces they would avoid you, and at least not want to become close to you. This basically sums up, why I ended up where I did. She totally ruled the roost. One way she totally ruled, is she always came first when it came to visits or anything else. The light was shined on her, while I stood to the side in darkness.

Until I found ACON boards and read how this happens with these severe personality disorders, the malignant narcissists have the extreme talent to isolate the scapegoats,  for years I questioned how did this happen? I blamed myself for far too long. At least now I know.

It's scary how I tried so hard over so many years to work on relationships that were a dead end. Trying to write letters to this one aunt, only to be ignored. Sending one aunt a painting I did, and a box of  gifts only to have her throw it into the bottom of the closet and have it get water damaged. By the way she was the scapegoat of the last generation, and I will write about her soon too. She was no ally, she allowed herself to be crushed into nothing by these people and served as a warning.

Trying to call another who never called back. Inviting cousins and others to visit only to be ignored. Visiting people out of state even during years I was at extremely high weights and had breathing issues, timing those visits for non- housebound times, swelling up in the car for hundreds of miles {I was limited to trips that took one day to get there and back with some hours to visit} and never having anyone return the favor. No one calling, the immediate members of the family calling at the level of the bare minimum, the not being invited to weddings, and parties and other family events, or being set up not to show up with others like my sister refusing to share their plans, it all added up. I tried too hard too long. I got the feeling over the years, that duty and appearances were the only things keeping the head matriarch even bothering with me.

What is weird is how much I tried to approach them and tried to take an interest in them as people while they took none in me. I told them, I felt bad about how I lacked the money and finances to visit as much as I wanted--I did push myself body and otherwise to visit as much as I could. Part of this was even informing them, that I haven't even seen one of my favorite places on earth my old small town, in more then two years. I would invite them to visit, and I live in a place that is popular, with plenty to do.  For years when I lived in my remote rural town, I thought that was why no one visited, but really it was more, because when I moved to where I live now, I moved smack dab in the middle of my mother and sister who live 300-400 miles apart and off the highway they use, and that changed NOTHING as they visited each other for years and weeks at a time. My mother would drive thousands of miles to go out of state, hundreds to go visit others. She never misses a family event and is there for everyone to see which limited my role even more as a nobody within the family while she waged her smear campaigns against me. She considered me unimportant and the others at her direction jumped on the bandwagon.

I live 75 miles away and only saw her TWICE at my home in the last 6 years, once for an hour on my birthday when she happened to be on the way home from somewhere else, and for the 2 minute present drop off of last year. Yes, that told me what a low priority I had become among many other things.

The family was a clique and I was not in it. Most of them were 6 figures rich, I am not talking ordinary middle class types but ones who could afford a new car every two years, who owned second homes, who flew to China for business, who had massive weddings, that cost tens of thousands of dollars. Sadly though in my family, only what you DID matter not who you WERE, and all achievements were measured by the dollar signs, not by any other criteria. Volunteer work, community projects, artistic ventures did not count.

There is a divide now in the family between the upper middle class types and the few poor ones that remain. The upper class ones see themselves as extremely superior to the poor ones. They look down from mountain tops. The sad thing? Well most of the poor ones have accepted their place, I supposed they consider me uppity for not doing so and not worshipping them because of their greater money. If you do not become who they want and do not conform, you are called a loser and a failure. I grew up hearing very bad things said about cousins, aunts and uncles who did not acquire a certain income, "that one is a drunk, that one is lazy, that one is no good!" Ironically even some of the ones on their knees before the Queen were maligned all the time, but they never would believe that was happening when I told them!

One thing I read on many psychology websites, was that when Scapegoats "fight back" and are no longer willing receptacles of abuse, they are closed out. Around my 20s, I stood up against the overt abuse enough for this to begin happening. Imagine your mother is the leader of a clique and you're the rejected nerd girl, in the junior high school slam book. Thus was my life with my family. I wasn't getting invited to parties, talked to. None of the relatives ever shared any of their real selves with me, or got deeper then a cashier at a gas station. I hope and pray one day, I find out I am not really related to any of them but if I am, I lost the DNA Lotto on multiple levels.

Yes I had to give up and walk away. This scapegoat quit, and walked away from the doors slammed in her face and those who didn't even "see" her. I pray everyday that my nieces and nephews become different people who stand up for themselves and care about and love people the right way. I pray at least a few "rebel" against the family system and "come out of it". I am growing stronger since going NC, and realizing I am somebody to other people and to God. No more being a nobody to pedestrian people with no emotions who don't really care about anyone else but themselves.

Post script: I have been able to reconnect with a few cousins and one other relative who were always kind to me.


  1. Of all the things NP do, robbing their child of all other family members-- by conscripting them, lying about the child, using money as leverage--is by far the most evil, IMO. To turn all FOO members against the scapegoat is an inhuman thing for a parent to do to a child. Gah. Of course you had to walk away. And most people will never know how long you tried to alter reality in your head to make it really "your fault," so as to find a way back in, before realizing that there was no way back in because they don't want you there. If you can survive that knowledge, you can get better. I am slowly doing it, after a thirty year struggle with the reality of my parents' narcissism.

  2. I think this is the most evil thing she did, robbing me of the rest of the family. I tried to fight against it, really I did, but she had things set up, so I always looked like the "negative" and "complaining" party while she came to visit everyone else with a smile on her face, with presents in hand. There was no way to "win", so 5 months ago yes as you see, I walked away. Agree so much about the attempts to make things right in my own head and trying to "fix it all" and realizing it was futile. I spent a year before I went NC trying to see if one ally could be retained. I told both siblings about the narcissism, and one admitted my mother has no real affection or feelings but said, "You are only making things harder on yourself!" and basically told me to get back in line. The N sis ignored it and I had to admit to myself her lack of attachment to other human beings and emotions meant she had basically turned into my mother. One thing I kept thinking as I went NC, "You must give up, it is not going to get better, you have to walk through that door!" Thanks :)

  3. It's no easy thing to walk through that door. Most ACoNs reach the point of desperation, of intolerable cognitive dissonance, before cutting contact with toxic FOOs. That you have to do so with NO support from any of them makes it worse. But you will be saner for it in the long run, and eventually their emotional importance will recede. It won't ever go away I don't think--but the relationship to it changes. at least for me.

  4. Oh the cognitive dissonance is horrible, you think thoughts like "How can you walk away from your entire family?" but then have to face the facts about the treatment and abuse. I knew even years ago, I always felt BAD around them, all of them. The head matriarch had it set up, where the disrespect was ingrained among them, and nothing I said or did would matter. Add in the fact she was always around them, and I was far away lacking money or health to visit very often. I have to admit I am sad that I ended up with no one, and she "won" them all over including the other side of the family which invited her to a wedding and not me. There is some major pain for me to have walked away like this, and the only responses among 23 people were scripted and directed by her. I think I will be saner for it in the long run. It's better to deal with the truth and face it rather then live in a bubble of delusion, hoping against hope to have any respect and love from people who have none. I am glad things got better for you and their emotional importance receded.

  5. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    I've only recently started to become aware that I've been scapegoated by my mother and one of my sisters my entire life. But like your experience, everyone in my family has now ostracized by my entire family. I've suffered from depression most of my life, have had a few breakdowns where I've needed to be hospitalised. I've attempted suicide. I don't get invited to family occasions (like my mother's recent 80th). I wrote to one of my sisters a while ago and put my hand out in friendship so we could at least start fresh. I got the most horrible response, she was happy with things the way they were but would like to continue seeing my son. Her husband contacted me and said that he was embarrassed by the letter, by being at the 80th and said that he couldn't believe all my siblings were justifying my not being there. It’s an intentional infliction of emotional distress. I find out about events via my son's facebook account.

    A family legacy of destruction continues by scapegoating and isolating a designated “enemy”. I occupy this role. It’s a pattern which has been repeated over the years, and is passively condoned by others in the family who look the other way.

  6. Thanks. Anon I am sorry you have been scapegoated your entire life. I am sorry your own family is ostracized. I have faced bad ostracization, while the others are close and visit each other, no one wants anything to do with me, the narcissists set it up, so you are deemed "unworthy" by their standards and unlikeable. This kind of thing does lead to serious depression. I know it's been a struggle for me all my life. I get disinvited or they make sure to hold events during times I am housebound [the middle of July or January/December. No one ever helps me get anywhere, aka they'll drive a mile within my apt but not offer a ride or anything else. That is so sad you were not invited to your mother's 80th birthday, and trust me I relate. Mine had parties and events I never heard about. Sometimes I would get an invitation for appearances, or show up at one I found out about but it was never that happy for me. I would be ignored always for everyone else, pushed and shunted aside. Be careful with the sister, and your son. I know too many people who have lost children to narcissistic family members who influence them to reject even their own parents--this can happen especially in young adult hood and if they have money. It is an intentional infliction of emotional distress, do not forget that. I will never understand this. I've been thrown away as the "enemy" too. The passive bystanders I see as just as responsible. I only have contact with a couple cousins right now, but have to be careful even with them, it's very light contact. One thing my N mother managed too was turning everyone into a stranger, they didn't even want to know me anymore. I will pray for you and am sorry you are going through this pain too.

  7. I just found your blog today after going no contact with a family member. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish I had found you earlier but I likely had to let go of the dysfunctional relationship to find healthier people.

  8. Thanks Carmen. I am glad you were able to let go of your own dysfunctional relationships. I know it is not easy and I hope my story can help others.

  9. After reading so many of the comments here, I guess I'm still shocked and bewildered that others have experienced the same scapegoating techniques that I have. Everyone here has a good quote to remember, something to help you when you are down. It has become apparent to me that my family is a special kind of cruel. Although I have not informed people I am going low contact, I know they know something is going on. I have been reading other scapegoating discussions and eerily still find how bewildering all of our experiences are. How can we come from different families, yet have similar stories of neglect, abuse, backstabbing and betrayal? I would like to know from your experiences, what happens to the scapegoat once they actually leave the dysfunction behind? Will there be phone calls from the siblings and relatives trying to find out information? Will there be silence? Is it possible for a Narc Mom to change back and forth from engulfing to ignoring during this distancing?

    1. I was ostracized for NO reason (I was the scapegoat) and never contacted again it has been years by my whole family including nephews and nieces who I was nice to. The whole family ostracized me for good and my father disowned me. I did NOTHING to deserve that. They did a lot of bad things including sexual and severe emotional abuse. I paid for their evil.

      Its very hard. I guess every family is different but that was in my case.

    2. I have LC with the few cousins and others that noticed I was alive but that is the exceptions to the rule. The narcs have a way of turning people against you even overtly or in a subtle fashion where they figure trying to be close to you isn't worth the cost. I think about all the times I reached out only to get a door slammed in my face. I am sorry you went through so much abuse. It is horrible isn't it? I will pray for you. With the younger members sadly the evil narcs train them to abuse the scapegoat too.

  10. I am sorry you have gone through this. I agree about the feeling of the special feeling of cruel. I am not sure what happens to the scapegoat since I am only 6 and half months into this, but others who have gone NC for years have said they achieved healing and more peace of mind. It has shocked me how much of the same stories of neglect, abuse, backstabbing occur among acons, of course I blamed my obesity for a lot of what happened to me but have realized what happened to me went way beyond that because the stories of thin or average sized neurotypical [non-Aspie] match mine. I suppose these personality disorders all operate from the same MO and affect people in the same way. In my case my NC brought...

    1. Silence from most. They are afraid to talk about things. My NM kept my departure secret.

    2. Some hoovering with cards. Only few phone calls at start.

    3. I am LC with a few, but they are so afraid of retribution from the matriarch, they are saying as little as possible about my NC.

    4. Some relief.

    5. My self esteem has increased. I was talking to my home nurse today about what happened to me, and she asked has your self esteem gotten better? I have thrown off the burden of trying to please the unpleasable.

    6. I still get cards from GC Nsis, they are very generic types, no personal comments, like postcard with children's pictures on it.

  11. Has anyone learned what could possibly be said about one to bring about the ostracization of an ENTIRE family? I'm taking Dad, uncle, aunt, cousins... Please share if you have any ideas. I am at a complete loss...

  12. simple. Narcissistic smear campaigns combined with long distances, lack of travel money for some on BOTH sides and severe health problems on the end of one party. Actually NC with a narcissist will improve these relationships and has with some massively.

  13. I have very much lived this. The deep hatred from them has been there for a long time and the others would stand up for my abuser and gang up with her as well. I have had a few friends of mine open up about their experiences with her. My spouse had told me that every time that I was out of the room, they would attack me and say horrible things about me. She even went so far to hurl false accusations at me in order to break my family up cause she believes I have no rights to anything. Then the rest of "her" family would follow suit and attack me, when I was never present. Another friend strongly believes that all of what they have said was deeply uncalled for and it made them look bad, in his eyes. So I sort of have a rough idea as to what may have been said to "her entire family".

    It hurts not having relatives (the grief is a major loss) but I would far rather be an orphan than to endure the extreme dysfunction from my family of origin. Right now, I deeply fear my life because of all the false allegations and the trouble that it can make. I would love to change my name but, I can't because my ex is very close to my abuser and he wilfully demands that "his" child see his grandma. I don't want my child around that woman and I get accused of being selfish, only caring about myself and taking out a grudge on his ex mother in law by using a child...... it gets twisted. My oldest now brings up or tryst to guilt trip me that I'm not in contact with the FOO.

    I have a younger child that is completely protected away from my abuser and she is safe. Not like my oldest girl, who is still exposed to the abuser. She would be the type to even turn my children against me.

    My abuser has also turned some of my ex boyfriends against me by disclosing every single thing about my life. There was no disclosure and no privacy. My whole live or whatever that was shared with her was all on display. I talked with her many times to know that it was not just me that she spoke ill of, it was her stepsons, that she wished were dead from their lives. She was abusive to others in the family as well. Though with her you best, she made as a favorite and would do anything for. Always spoke highly of her because the favorite was an exact extension of herself.
    ; but in her eyes better. The baby of the family has a rich husband and a very nice house. She is extremely stylish and as a fancy wardrobe and a dew hundred friends.

    Some insights is that the baby is living the life that my abusive mother wanted so much to live, (her dream life) but instead she became pregnant with me during her teenage years. Deeply resentful that her young life was tragically taken away and an very unwelcome burden heaped upon her life. Though she had a choice to get an abortion, let family raise the baby or give it up for adoption.

    She decided to keep the baby, yet I'm not sure if this was forced on her or what. All I know is that she never wanted to be a mom and she hated children very much. She ended up marrying my biological father who then was extremely abusive to her, her son and me. Her first husband cheated on her and left one Christmas eve, after that she lost to will to be a parent. She grieved the loss of her son going to live with his dad. Men became one of the most important quests in her life and would leave me with my grandparents.

    The silver lining was I did have allies. My grandparents became my mom and dad and my oldest uncle as well.

    It has been over a year since "her" entire family stormed out of my life. I have had to look at the circumstance and situation surrounding the origins of my life and the dynamics into to start to heal.

    This is rather long windowed but I felt compelled to share and to give some insights into why some mothers are like this......

  14. Inside an introverted World, I am so sorry you have faced this. It is not easy. The deep hatred is sometimes inexplicable isn't it? I had a few cousins and my brother who still seemed to have some affection for me, but I have to be careful with them because they have contact with her. I think of the years worth of lies and the constant put downs. There was a time in my 20s, where I seemed to be gaining some allies in the family but I lost as time passed, and I was forced to move away farther for jobs and try and survive and faced other challenges, so guess who they saw more of because she had money to travel and see them and buy gifts far more often. I am glad your spouse told you what happened and how they trashed you. I would hear about the trashing from other people and indirectly and in my case, she would wait for me to be alone. With my spouse they didn't even try it, probably fearing what he would say.

    Breaking your family up is uncalled for and starting lies about you. That is terrible. I have heard of narcs doing that and worse to people. For me there was no mercy either, the rest of the family started to view me the say way she did, and the sway and influence she has over the entire family is scary, I suspect this happened with you too. Before I went NC, I was figuring out some things that were said. I had no money to make it to grandmother's funeral, [needed at least $300 for the gas there and every source of money by then was tapped out via husband's lay offs] and was very sick. They knew I was broke, but I am sure the story was I didn't care about the grandmother or didn't want to be there. She told one aunt that I did not want to attend a wedding, the one I was disinvited to. They can sow poison not even in overt "She is horrible ways" but in more covert, and when that faucet drips for YEARS and you live hundreds of miles from said relatives and see them at most 1-2 times a year it can go really bad. I haven't seen many of them now in 7-8 years. Yes it hurts not having relatives. A few of the ones I even asked, "How come you don't visit or try to have anything to do with me?" and it's excuse city. I know in my heart many of them are so afraid of her or having her think badly of me, that she influenced them to hold me at a distance and have as little to do with me as possible. Those are some of the dynamics that narcs can set up to you know...


  15. I already know in my ways I am an orphan but its better to even be alone rather then be abused and try and find close friends in one's community to be a family. I have good friends in my life who really serve that role. One friend who died, I consider my surrogate mother.

    I would take precautions considering their false allegations. Maybe send a letter to a trusted friend, signed and dated and notarized about what could happen, and then if they try anything you will have some evidence that you feared these false accusations at one point.

    I hope you can change your name, maybe you can when your child turns 18. One thing when children are involved I have seen narc families many times turn the children against the parent that went NC. I have seen and heard about this happening even later as they enter adulthood. I am glad your younger child is away from the abuser and feel bad for the oldest girl. I would tell her the truth if she is old enough to handle it, about the abuser and what happened to you. Even if this fails, it may work in the long run too especially if she picks up on things. One way these narcs will operate is turn children against the parents. I never had children but I could have seen me open to such things if I had ever had them especially if the narc or abusers can hold out presents and money to "buy" the young people.
    It looks like your abuser crossed many boundaries. I find it creepy how my NM is friends with exwives that are not blood related. . Actual FRIENDS. Suppose yours leaves no stone unturned either.

    The ones with money they will kiss up to. That is nothing new to me either regarding your baby sister. It sounds like your mother does resent you and getting pregnant young which is not your fault whatsoever. I am not sure why mine resents me as I was second born in an otherwise intact marriage and she had a child after me. If she put you aside to date and neglected you as a child that is wrong. Thank goodness you had those kind grandparents as allies. I had one kind aunt but she died young and the scapegoat was my friend at the start but turned against me. I know it is hard to fathom why so many mothers end up like this. One thing with your birth being young, that may not have changed things, if she was a narcissist, she may have still chosen you to reject even if you had come later or did not come unplanned. Take care and thanks for sharing with me.

  16. I am so glad and thanks for your blog. Being the scapegoat in a dysfunctional family is very painful and then being shun and ostracized is just incredibly painful it happened to me too.
    My intrusive thoughts are a torment every day. I wish you the best and I am glad you are sorting it out it is NOT you is THEM who are worthless.
    I know I feel worthless but have no reason for it. The reason is that I was the scapegoat hence groomed to feel that way.

  17. Yes this is all very painful, I think some of the worse pain someone can face. I understand the intrustive thoughts, I have to work myself on avoiding them. I hope for the best for you too. They groomed us to feel this way, but now that we know that, healing can come.