Family Scapegoat Estrangement: How I Deal With the Aftermath?

Being the family scapegoat is like wearing a heavy coat of blame, always feeling like you’re in the wrong, no matter what you do.

It’s a bit like playing a never-ending game of “pin the blame on the scapegoat” where you’re left feeling misunderstood, isolated, and unfairly treated.

I know because I’ve been there. And if you’ve felt like the designated troublemaker or the go-to person for all family issues, you’re in the right place.

Family scapegoat estrangement can be incredibly isolating. It damaged my self-esteem and well-being, but I’ve also learned how to heal from it.

Below, I’ll share my personal story of healing in hopes of helping you find your way through this challenging journey.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling. Accepting those emotions is the first step to healing.
  • Don’t deal with it alone. Talk to friends, join support groups, or consider therapy. It can make a world of difference in understanding what you’re going through.
  • Setting boundaries with toxic family members is mandatory for your well-being.

How Do You Deal With Family Scapegoat Estrangement Grief?

Dealing with the grief that comes with family scapegoat estrangement can be a complex and emotionally taxing journey.

It’s the kind of pain that lingers, affecting not only your self-worth but also your connections with loved ones.

Here’s how I navigated these murky waters and the valuable lessons I’ve learned along the way:

1. Recognize and Accept Your Emotions

Being the scapegoat child in a family dominated by a narcissistic mother, I can relate to this on a personal level.

Growing up, my mother’s relentless criticism created a toxic environment where I felt like I could never meet her impossible standards.

It took me a long time to realize that my feelings of inadequacy, anger, and sorrow were entirely valid.

In dysfunctional families like mine, emotions are often dismissed or even exploited.

Embracing the will to acknowledge and accept these emotions is the foundation for beginning the healing journey.

Tip
Write down what you’re experiencing and allow yourself to express the full range of emotions without judgment. It’s a powerful tool for self-discovery and emotional acceptance.

2. Talk to Friends, Join Support Groups, or Consider Therapy

When you’ve been the black sheep within the family unit like I was, finding a support system becomes all the more important.

Fortunately, I realized that talking to friends, joining support groups, or considering therapy was a lifeline.

Sharing my experiences with understanding friends and joining a support group helped me learn more about family scapegoating and healing from the complex trauma it causes. 

Seeking guidance from a licensed therapist also provided me with a safe space to navigate my emotions.

Don’t hesitate to reach out. Building a support system can make a world of difference on your healing journey.

Tip
To get support, reach out to a mental health professional. They can provide specialized guidance and strategies to cope with being the family scapegoat.

3. Protect Your Emotional Space From Toxic Family Members

Protecting your emotional space is important when dealing with an emotionally abusive parent. I know from personal experience that setting healthy boundaries is a game-changer.

As an adult child of a narcissistic mother, I had to learn that it’s okay to establish limits to shield myself from the toxicity.

It’s not about cutting ties, but about safeguarding your well-being. I had to communicate my boundaries clearly and consistently, even if it caused discomfort.

This step was key in preserving my mental health and finding peace in a challenging family dynamic.

Tip
Be clear and firm in communicating your boundaries. Practice saying “no” and go low contact if necessary to prioritize your emotional well-being.

4. Spend Time Reflecting on Your Family Dynamics That Led to You Being Scapegoated

Spending time reflecting on the family dynamics that pushed me into the scapegoat role was eye-opening.

It helped me understand how intergenerational trauma played a part, and how my narcissistic mother’s behavior wasn’t solely about me. It was about her unresolved issues, too.

Recognizing these patterns allowed me to separate her actions from my self-worth. It’s a tough journey, but it needed to happen.

Tip
Set aside regular time for self-reflection. Consider therapy to help gain insight into the family dynamics and work through the emotional impact.

5. Engage in Activities That Nurture Your Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health

Being blamed for things that aren’t your fault can be painful and damaging. It can lead to low self-esteem and affect how you handle your future relationships.

Doing things that nurture my physical, mental, and emotional health became my lifeline.

But through sports, meditation, and regular exercise, I rediscovered my self-worth and emotional balance.

Make it a daily routine, and you’ll find the strength to reclaim your sense of self.

Tip
Set aside time for self-care activities that rejuvenate your body, mind, and emotions, even if it’s just a short daily walk or journaling session.

6. Rewrite the Story of Your Identity Without the Scapegoat Label

Instead of just letting go of the scapegoat label, take the next step and rewrite your story. It’s a powerful step in healing from the guilt and shame that often come with that role.

When you’ve felt like an outcast your whole life, you start doubting your strengths and start believing their lies. I know I did.

But I realized that self-doubt only held me back.

When I focused on my personal growth, I was able to reconnect with my authentic self and gain confidence in my abilities.

Tip
Challenge negative self-talk by affirming your worth and talents. Remind yourself that you are not defined by others’ judgments.

7. Allow Yourself to Grieve the Loss of the Family Relationship

I’ve experienced the pain of losing that sense of belonging, but you have to acknowledge the reality that the relationship is toxic and can’t be changed.

Give yourself permission to feel the sadness, anger, and even relief that comes with letting go.

Grieving is a natural part of healing and ultimately paves the way for healthier, more fulfilling connections in the future.

Tip
Find a trusted friend or therapist to confide in and process your feelings. Grieving is important to move forward.

8. Talk to a Therapist or Someone Who Went Through Similar Situation

I know all to well the isolation and despair of being the targeted family member.

But connecting with others who understand your pain not only provides validation but also valuable insights into surviving scapegoating abuse.

Whether it’s with a trusted therapist or someone who’s been through a similar situation, this safe space allows you to share, learn, and heal.

With these conversations, you’d be able to untangle the complex emotions and experiences you’ve endured, which ultimately helps your recovery.

Tip
Find therapy or support groups specializing in family scapegoat recovery.

9. Focus on Who You Are and What Future You Want for Yourself

Reorienting your mindset towards your authentic identity and the life you wish to create is a key element in healing from a narcissistic family.

In my own journey, breaking free from my family’s toxic dynamics meant I could finally concentrate on my own needs and aspirations.

Take time to explore your passions and goals, and envision the life you want.

This forward-looking perspective will help you make choices that align with your values and help you build a fulfilling future on your terms.

Tip
Create a vision board or journal to visualize your goals and aspirations. Refer to it regularly for motivation.

Family Estrangement Is Hard but It Was the Best Thing for Me

Family estrangement was a difficult path I had to tread, but in hindsight, it turned out to be the best thing for me.

At first, it was painful, and I felt the weight of that loss. Yet, with the support of friends and loved ones, I discovered a profound sense of peace.

I realized just how toxic the environment I left behind had been, and in a strange way, my family did me a favor by cutting me off from their circle.

I found solace and a newfound appreciation for my dad’s side of the family, while my mom’s side remains a chapter I’ll never revisit.

Through this estrangement, I rebuilt my self-esteem and learned the value of a loving support network outside my biological family.

It is a journey of healing, personal growth, and understanding, and it’s made me appreciate the healthier, happier life I now lead.

They Did You a Favor, Trust Me

As I reflect on the family scapegoat estrangement I experienced, I realize that being cast aside by a toxic family can be a hidden blessing.

While it’s undoubtedly a challenging process, emotionally taxing and full of uncertainty, it is also a doorway to personal growth, self-discovery, and healing.

I can attest from my own life that breaking free from the confines of a damaging family dynamic led to newfound peace and clarity.

In many ways, they did me a favor by severing those ties.

It is a path where I’ve learned to prioritize my well-being and embrace healthier relationships, and it’s pointing the way to a future free from the constraints of being the family scapegoat.

Trust me, brighter days are ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do families choose a scapegoat?

Families may choose a scapegoat due to a variety of reasons like power dynamics, unresolved issues, or a need for a target to deflect blame onto.

Why does the family hate the scapegoat?

The family may project their own insecurities onto the scapegoat, using them as a target for blame. This can lead to resentment and hostility.

How do you heal from being the family scapegoat?

To heal from being the family’s scapegoat, seek therapy, build a support system, set boundaries, and work on self-acceptance. It takes time, but it’s possible.

What happens to the scapegoat in adulthood?

In adulthood, scapegoats may carry emotional scars, struggle with self-esteem, and face challenges in forming healthy relationships due to their past role in the family.

How do you avoid scapegoating?

Avoid scapegoating by promoting open communication, addressing conflicts, and encouraging individuality within the family.

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