6 Signs You’re the Family’s Scapegoat (Does Your Family Blame You for Everything?)

Do you ever feel like you don’t fit in with your own family? 

What makes you say so?

Do you feel constantly ignored or criticized?

If you can relate to those points, there is a high chance that you’re the family’s scapegoat.

It means that your own family uses you to unload their own frustration and anger.

Are you constantly blamed for mistakes, some of which aren’t even yours?

Do they call you names and talk bad about you to others?

Being the family’s scapegoat can really affect your behavior and way of thinking.

It can make you think less of yourself and get lost in hatred for your parents, siblings, or relatives.

So if you want to know healthy methods to cope with it and possible reasons why your own family members do those things, please read more.

FRIENDLY DISCLAIMER: The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional.

1. They treat you as a metaphorical punching bag.

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Do you get blamed for a lot of things, even the ones that aren’t your fault?

Let’s say your parent just got home in a bad mood, are they often yelling at you or scolding you for things that are unnecessary?

There are many factors as to why family members would treat you this way.

Personality disorders, racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and past trauma are just some.

Being in a dysfunctional environment such as this can certainly take a toll on your physical and mental health.

That’s why if you find that you’re currently stuck in this situation, please don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Keep in touch with supportive friends, distant relatives, or even professional workers and let them know how you’re doing.

It’s not good to keep everything inside as well as harboring grudges either.

Have forgiveness in your heart and know that there is always a way out of it.

2. They talk bad about you to other people.

Oh, that child is hopeless. They have the worst temper I’ve ever seen!

Have you ever had a family member badmouth you in front of friends or guests?

It certainly doesn’t feel great, and chances are, the words still ring clear in your head until now.

This situation usually happens when you’re raised by narcissistic parents.

Because they want to appear perfect to other people, they would distance themselves from things that would possibly disrupt that illusion, even if it’s through badmouthing their own relatives.

Think of it as a way of them saying “I don’t know why they’re like that. All I know is that it’s not related to me.”

They may have the tendency to bring you down just to lift themselves up.

It can get quite tiring and it can really make you feel bad about yourself.

But please remember that it is never true and it’s in no way your fault.

Yes, no one is perfect and you could always learn from your mistakes, but being offered constructive criticism is totally different from being insulted or backstabbed.

Remember to talk about your feelings to those who really care and try to engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself.

You can’t easily change your family members but you can always work on how you handle their behavior.

There will be bad days, but bad days don’t entail bad lifetimes.

Let them talk about what they want.

Most of the time, their own actions are a reflection of their internal battles.

3. They put a damper on your achievements.

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Do you have times when you just really want to be recognized by your own family?

If you often have those kinds of thoughts, it probably means that you aren’t being appreciated enough.

You probably think “I’m not doing well enough, I should do more.” Or maybe “They won’t recognize me no matter what I do, might as well just not do anything.”

All of those things are not true.

In all honesty, you don’t have to do something big to get the recognition you deserve.

When you keep on going that path, you will sooner, rather than later, reach burnout.

Each human leads different lives and is capable of totally different things.

Another person’s seemingly huge achievements in no way undermine your own supposed small ones.

Everyone leads a different pace, so take this as a reminder to tell yourself that you are doing great.

You may think that what you’re doing is menial, but another person is looking up to you somewhere in this world.

Whether it’s because you’re genuine, silent, or chatty, another person is smiling, proud of how you’re living your life.

So whenever you notice that your own family tends to downplay your attainments, take it as a probable mark of their own insecurity.

Maybe they’re with the wrong set of people. 

Perhaps they set super high standards for themselves and other people.

It takes one deep breath and an open mind to try to see where they’re coming from.

Of course, you don’t have to be a martyr and let yourself experience their stinging behavior firsthand, but once you see the reason why they act the way they act, their actions will hurt just a little less.

Perhaps they’re secretly in pain, and you’re one of the people who can make them feel better in a convoluted way.

It doesn’t excuse their actions, but at least now, you know their perspective.

And who knows? Maybe you’re the person who can help them on their healing journey.

4. They project their own mistakes onto you.

Have you ever had a family member yell at you for an error they personally made?

Let’s say your uncle forgot to clean his car, did he later scream at you because he drove a dirty vehicle around the city?

Most of the time, these things happen because they’re angry or irritated and you’re within the firing range of their emotions.

They don’t know how to cope with the sudden burst of their energy, so they let it out using detrimental means.

They might yell or lash out at you for something that you are in no way related to just because they can.

They may even want to rile you up as well in order to light a full-blown argument.

Try to keep in mind that whenever this happens, it’s best to let them cool off.

Put some distance between you two and be careful not to engage with them in their state. Fighting won’t solve the problem. It would most likely create more.

A family member may also act this way because they’re not comfortable with a certain aspect of you.

Perhaps they tend to discriminate race, gender, and the like, and that’s why they feel inclined to blame everything on you out of prejudice. 

You are not the problem here.

First, accept that what they’re saying about you isn’t true. You are a wonderful person.

Next, understand that every person faces battles of their own. After you’ve learned to accept yourself, it’s likely time to accept that your family members are flawed people, too.

It’s never about you. 

How they treat you says more about them.

5. They blatantly ignore you.

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Do you ever notice your family members going out of their way to pretend you don’t exist?

Perhaps they don’t invite you to dinners or ask for your opinions on matters. Whatever it is, you just notice that they’re outright blocking you out.

Family members do this for a number of reasons.

One is that they know they’ve done something wrong to you and want to avoid possible confrontation.

Two is that they’re afraid you’ll talk about their abusive behavior to people outside of the household.

And three is that they see something in you they don’t like to look at. Things like your personality, skills, or looks – basically anything that triggers their own insecurity or discriminatory tendencies.

There are more reasons as to why family members would choose to avoid you, and all of these are more or less rooted in dysfunctional behavior.

It’s really important to remember that just because your family avoids you, doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of any attention at all

Because although appreciation from family members is great, chances are you’ll only get hurt by looking for approval from people with disturbed mindsets.

Sometimes, it’s good to reach out to an external support system.

Keep in touch with your friends who make you laugh and smile a lot. Join communities. Participate in club activities!

By doing this, you’re letting yourself enjoy life with people who see you for you.

Everyone deserves to love themselves and be loved by others, and just because your family members aren’t at that stage yet, doesn’t mean you don’t have to be, too.

6. They treat you differently from others.

Photo by Tarikul Raana from Pexels

Are you always being compared to a sibling or a cousin?

Do you have the label “troublemaker” or “black sheep” of the family?

Enforcing ranks or hierarchy systems on family members is never a good habit.

It means that there’s a power system in place and that if someone makes a mistake, they’re brought down because of it.

For example, as a scapegoat, you’re often being talked down to in order to make the “golden child” shine.

Being continuously subjected to that sort of environment can hurt you, damage your self-esteem, and at the same time cause unnecessary pressure for the other family member, too.

They would probably have thoughts like: I have to better. I have to do more. I should never make a mistake.

They become scared to make mistakes, while you may feel discouraged to take on challenges, too.

It’s just never a win-win situation.

All it breeds is unhealthy competition, contempt, and toxic perfectionism.

Most of the time, these situations stem from narcissistic parenthood

Because of their need to seem perfect – to have a perfect self, to have a perfect family – they push their children to be more without noticing that they’re past their breaking point.

They would glorify the more “accomplished” child and berate the other one for not catching up.

Have you ever noticed that you’re too competitive? Or perhaps that you don’t ever bother to compete at all?

Your current behavior is usually heavily influenced by how you were treated as a child.

It’s good to be self-aware and to understand that you can always work on creating a better you.

The important thing is that you’re here now, and you’re doing great.

Family is family. And your friends, supporters, loved ones, and us here at Psych2Go are your family, too.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Do you think you’re the family scapegoat? Why? 

Which points do you relate to the most?

There are truly many reasons why family members would treat you that way.

Mental conditions, insecurities, and discriminatory tendencies are just some.

It doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it helps to get an insight as to why they’re inclined to be that way so you would know what to do.

There are times when it is quite difficult to be the bigger person and move on.

However, a little bit of your patience, understanding, and forgiveness might just be what is needed for healing.

Try not to combat hate with more hate.

Accept their hurtful behavior as a sign of their own pain, and let it go.

Thank you for reading this article today. Hope you learned from it.

If you know someone who might gain something from this, please don’t hesitate to send it to them.

See you next time!

READ MORE

REFERENCES

Gardner, A. (2022, January 31). Are You The Family Scapegoat? Signs You May Be, And What You Can Do About It | Regain. Regain US. Retrieved February 15, 2022, from https://www.regain.us/advice/family/are-you-the-family-scapegoat-signs-you-may-be-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/

heybobbibanks. (2022, January 6). Being the family scapegoat can look like: Instagram. Retrieved February 15, 2022, from https://www.instagram.com/p/CYZLH-6gZj9/

Maccoby, E. (2000, February). Parenting and its Effects on Children: On Reading and Misreading Behavior Genetics. Annual Reviews. Retrieved February 15, 2022, from https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.1

Nittle, N. (2021, June 11). What Does It Mean to Be the Family Scapegoat? Verywell Mind. Retrieved February 15, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-the-family-scapegoat-5187038

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