It is difficult to deal with a narcissist when you are a grown, independent, fully functioning adult. The children of narcissists have an especially difficult burden, for they lack the knowledge, power, and resources to deal with their narcissistic parents without becoming their victims. Whether cast into the role of Scapegoat or Golden Child, the Narcissist's Child never truly receives that to which all children are entitled: a parent's unconditional love. Start by reading the 46 memories--it all began there.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Scapegoat’s Daughter

I received a mail the other day from a bright and articulate young lady introducing a topic that had never occurred to me: the children of a narcissist’s scapegoat. We spend a lot of time and energy working out the dynamics between us and our NM’s but something we seldom address is the impact of our dysfunctional FOOs on our children. Many of us do not go NC, or even LC with our narcissistic families and, as a result, our children are exposed to them but in much different ways than we are.

Eve, my young correspondent, sent me a touching inside look of what it feels like to be the daughter of a scapegoat who continues to have contact with her FOO. With Eve’s permission, I share it with you here:

It’s incredibly hard to write about this subject, because coming from a classic dysfunctional family I start everything I do with an unhealthy dose of self doubt. Were they really that bad? And the answer I come to time and time again, relentlessly examining every situation is … yes they were.

My dysfunctional family was set up like any other: The grand narcissist (my maternal grandfather) at the head of the family, his helpers/enablers and my mother was the scapegoat.

Her life was affected badly by being the ‘bad child’. She could never do anything right, nothing she did was pleasing or perfect and her life seemed to be to perpetually help others. The scapegoat is usually chosen because she/he is the most sensitive, the most caring, the most creative/talented the one that is the easiest to affect; the easiest for the narcissist to ‘feed’ on. The scapegoat is the family dumping ground for everything that they cannot face in themselves.

“The people I label as evil are chronic scapegoaters....The evil attack others instead of facing their own failures.” – M. Scott Peck

Even as I write this I can hear my family on my shoulders whispering that ‘This is how she wanted to appear!’ and ‘She always loved to play the victim!’ This is how their insidious words reach their goal. I know my mother - I have witnessed her pain and suffering and they insist that I haven’t seen anything. The mantra they gave me at a very young age seemed to be ‘You either agree with us or you will be ignored’.

They either couldn’t or didn’t want another scapegoat in the family, that role was already filled and I was not going to join them in the systematic abuse of my mother, as my brothers had done. I had no role, I didn’t serve a purpose in the dysfunctional set up and so I was ignored. This gave me so many issues, so many paranoid thoughts and I could not get to the bottom of why I was so completely ignored. They would rear their ugly heads every couple of years when they felt they had an opportunity to ‘take me away from my evil mother’ trying to impress upon me that they had always been there for me - this tactic never worked. However much they tried to show me the ‘proof’ of how horrible my mother was, it paled in comparison to their hated and abuse of my mum and their total disinterest in me or my life. A perfect example was when my mum and I finally decided to leave our dysfunctional family for good after a huge row with the head narcissist. The whole family wanted me on the narcissist’s side, and wanted my mother completely abandoned. My brother was recruited to ‘talk me round’ and rang me almost every day. This all went sour when I pointed out to him that I was 22 years old and he had never once rang me for a ‘chat’. I asked him what had suddenly changed. I knew exactly what had changed, I was suddenly of use and I was being used as a pawn– he got angry that I had pointed this out and insisted that of course he had rang me before, and then stopped talking to me altogether.

Unfortunately my mum attracted men that thrived on her low sense of self and my father and his family adopted the dysfunctional set up of my mum being the scapegoat and I was ‘the nobody’. They divorced when I was young and he and his family have done their best to vilify my mum and ignore me, all the while insisting that it is me that has ignored them.

 I would not turn against my mother and side with my father, therefore I was dismissed. My father is a nasty human being who is neglectful of his children and delights in lies and causing misery. Another perfect example of how I was cast as ‘the nobody’ in my father’s family is when my grandfather died (my dad’s father). My mum and I were at my aunt’s (my mum’s sister) house for a wedding the next day. My aunt came in and told everyone that my brother’s granddad had died – it took me some moments to realise that my ‘brother’s granddad’ was obviously also my granddad! No one said anything to me, they all said how sorry they were for my brother. My granddad and I had not said so much as two words to each other in my entire life so his death meant little to me but it amazed me how cruel is was that everyone dismissed it. It also struck me some years later that my aunt had been informed of his death before me! My brother had told my mum’s dad and he had informed my aunt! I was not even in the equation.

I have found in other pieces about dysfunctional families the role known as ‘The Lost Child’ – I seem to fit this role extremely well. In family situations I blended into the background, every achievement was barely even mentioned. I had very low self esteem, a very low opinion of myself, my voice when I defended my mum was to be either ridiculed, muted or used against her as she was ‘influencing my opinion’. Even now at the age of 28 I still don’t have an opinion in their eyes. One Christmas when I was in my teens every time I walked into a room my brother would walk out, it was as if my presence was toxic to him. I was desperate to prove to him that I was worth talking to, that I was interesting, but in his opinion I was ‘just irritating’.

I have trawled the internet over the past few years and I cannot find anything about how scapegoating affects down the family tree. I cannot find anything relating to being the child of a scapegoat. The model seems to be set up as a narcissistic mother or father and how this affects their children - real families are more complex and just because I am further down the generations from the original dysfunctional set up and the narcissist, this does not mean I have not been affected. I have watched these ‘people’ who professed to love my mum and me, rip her to shreds and then turn to me with a bloody smile and an outstretched hand. I am not emotionally dead – they made me feel sick.

I recently found someone online who spoke openly about dysfunctional/narcissistic families and seemed to have some expertise. I emailed him about my situation asking if he had ever come across this set up and if he had any advice. His response (bear in mind I had given him the slimmest of details and I was generally looking for a discussion not a diagnosis) was that my mother had probably taken on some narcissistic behaviours and I was her victim because the children of scapegoats “should not be affected.” This sent me into an absolute rage! I didn’t know how he could make such a sweeping statement based on what I had given him, but he had simply dismissed all my mental health problems that came about because of my family or he had deemed my emotionally bruised mum as a narcissist herself! I do know that children who are the scapegoat can become a narcissist and carry on the abuse to their own children, but this is not the case in my Mum. I think this experience was the final straw in pushing me to writing this piece. I want to say loud and clear; I am the scapegoat’s daughter and I have suffered too.

While I see rather a bit of enmeshment between Eve and her mother, and perhaps even some parentification (Eve defends her mother rather than the other way around), the effect of the narcissistic generation upon the children of the scapegoat is all too clear. Conflicted, narcissistic flying monkeys like Eve’s brother, angry, compassionate, seeking “lost children” like Eve…all the direct result of the children not bring shielded from the narcissistic parents of the scapegoat. Sadly, this is an outcome to which I can personally and painfully relate, my own daughter having become a flying monkey to my NM and ultimately taking on NM’s mantle of narcissism and controlling.

Eve’s tale rings too true…I can remember wishing my children—anybody, actually—would stand up to my mother and champion me. It was an inappropriate wish because it is not the place of children to defend and protect their parents…at not until the parents are aged and frail…but being so beaten down, I was desperate for any kind of emotional sustenance I could secure. My “us against them” fantasy was easily demolished by NM’s bribery: an excess of toys when they were little, money and promises of coveted gifts/bequests when they were older. My mistake…as was Eve’s mother’s…was not stepping into the breach when my children were barely toddling and either tightly controlling my FOO’s access to my kids or, better (with hindsight being what it is), disappearing with them into the night and never, ever, making contact with the FOO again.

What we don’t realize until too late is that we are actually put in the position of making a choice between maintaining contact with our FOOs or doing what is best for our children. Too often we think we can compromise or that the children aren’t affected because we are the targets, the scapegoats, and the kids are not. But a perceptive, empathetic child like Eve sees it, feels it, and is damaged by it just the same. It may not be the same kind of pain, but it is no less painful.

We sometimes agonize about “depriving the kids of their grandparents” or suffer guilt from “depriving my parents of their grandchildren.” Think for a moment: if grandpa was a paedophile and grandma refused to acknowledge it and protected grandpa by making excuses or even lying for him, would you want your kids around them? Why should the fact that the harm they represent to your children is psychological rather than physical/sexual make a difference? Eve stands like a beacon here, telling us exactly what we expose our children to, how it shapes their lives and their psyches, when we allow them to be exposed to narcissistic grandparents.

I think it is something we should all give some serious thinking time to.


  1. Oh my gosh....this is such an important topic to explore and I would like to thank you Violet for posting it. This is THE most important reason for me and my decision to go NC with my NM and EF. My husband and I were becoming increasingly worried about the effect my NM was having on our children, in particular our daughter. My mother was in the process of becoming obsessed with her (but ignoring our son). I think she saw her as a fresh N supply but more than that I think her unhealthy attachment was also rooted in her desire to create a mini version of herself. When my husband and I tried to slowly limit the time our daughter spent with my parents they pretty much freaked out and became quite desperate to see her. They started calling several times in a week (when they rarely called before) wanting to see "the children" when in fact weeks would go by in the past and they rarely saw our son. So that reaction scared us even more and propelled us into action. We cut off contact and haven't seen them in many months.

    I have paid over and over again for this decision. So many people cannot believe that I have cut my children off from my parents. I can't count the number of times I have heard ..." But all they want is to see their grandchildren" or "I could never live with myself if I cut my children off from their grandparents" I have had an aunt that I barely know insinuate herself into the situation on my father's behalf and when I told her this was between myself and my parents she no longer speaks to me. My scapecoat brother who also suffers from NPD has also weighed in and cut ties with me as well. These two people meant nothing to me and were not part of my life anyway but it is certainly exhausting having to fend off all of these attacks from people. My parents have been working overtime to send in as many flying monkeys as they can....but I wouldn't change my decision to protect my children from all of this toxicity. Not for anything. This blog has only reaffirmed that I have absolutely done the right thing for them. It has not been an easy road but I have to do what is best for them, myself and my family.

    1. Hi, this is Eve I wanted to reply and thank you for commenting. I was anxious about speaking out about my family situation but if I've helped someone else from being used and abused it makes it all worthwhile :) Wishing you all the best for the future x

    2. Dear Eve...thank you so much for this. I am the adult scapegoated child of my family of origin and I am tormented by what it has done, as a consequence, to my daughter, now 25 years old. She is stuck in the middle and it is insidious for both of us. I am going to send this article to her and hope it helps. I keep trying to get her to get some counseling but she resists. I just want her to have somewhere to turn to to deal with the intergenerational family dysfunction...Reading your words and sharing so much of what you say will be a comfort to her, I am sure. THANK YOU.

    3. I was and still am the scapegoated adult daughter of a NM. Horribly physically abused by an alcoholic father and bullied by one of my brothers horribly. My mom not only ignored the abuse, she'd somehow enjoyed seeing me taunted, teased, made fun of, and even punched around. How I survived is by God's grace. I was a target of emotional, physical, spiritual and sexual abuse as a child and now have been made the FOO's "trash can" for not owning any responsibility for the abuse.

      I ended up very co-dependent, married and had two children early in life. My children's father left us for other women so I had to raise my two beautiful children in same hell-hole I was trying to get away from. I had first tried to commit suicide at the age of 9 by taking an entire bottle of aspirin which my father made me puke out and was terribly shamed for rather than helped. I had two more attempts throughout the next ten years but by the grace of God I am here.
      My daughter became my NM's new golden child and it was decided that she was more her mother than myself. She was modeled in her earliest years to be her extension and is now a flying monkey for her. I am so sad and in pain because I was so unaware back in the late 70's what the hell was going on.

      I am the creative, artistic, and empathic child of all the siblings. I was targeted from the time I can remember for all my NM's rage, misery and blame for her unhappy life/self. Most of my family has turned their backs on me (blessing in disguise) when I began my journey into healing my co-dependency and need for validation and approval from others outside myself.
      But I love my daughter who is now married to a very controlling man who makes a lot of money that he uses to keep her in line. My own precious little girl (now 36) is caught in the web of lies and deceit that began in my FOO. I am so regretful that I was so unaware of what was going on or that I even had a choice to stop it. I pray and hope as I recover, my children will as well. My beautiful son has many issues as well but he was scapegoated by my NM as I was so we both have similar issues.
      No matter who the Narc is in the family dynamic...all are affected. My younger brother and I were my NM's scapegoats, (I got it worse though) no other child was physically abused outside of me. I was given black eyes, burnt with a hot light bulb on my belly (still have the scar) was chained to a pole in the houses basement just to mention a few. I am a survivor though. My dad did change and I actually forgive him all, I somehow knew his anger at my mom was directed at me by her in very covert ways. I was parentified by my mother who never did a day of housework in her life and any "menial" household chore was too good for her to do so I was shamed into being called "Cinderella" by her, my father and two of my brothers. It was just awful! Unfortunately, my daughter and son I had to live in that house with NM and Enabling father after my husband left us for other women. My daughter is now showing huge red flags of being my NM "flying monkey" with me as I have gone NC with NM. She (daughter) is starting to behave like my NM who made her the new "golden child" while my I remained the scapegoat and my son was written off as ADHD. So much pain. I so wish I knew then what I know now and could have taken my power in realizing what was going on and do anything to get out. At the time I had no choice. It is HUGELY DANGEROUS TO EXPOSE CHILDREN TO NARC GRANDPARENTS. I fully regret not being aware at the time. I was so totally lost. The whole family has been affected and scarred by this. It took me years to understand what happened and am just now at age 54 receiving help for co-dependency and healing from the abuse. I feel that it's very possible that now that I've "detached" from the entire family's dysfunction and am receiving much help, that my children will find healing as well beginning with my own.

  2. Oh and just one more thing that I wanted to add to my last comment. Why is it that people do not understand how harmful it can be to expose your children to narcisstic grandparents? I have said pretty much exactly what Violet spoke of in the last part of this blog....if my parents were physically or sexually abusive, people would be quicker to agree that it would be best to keep my children away from them. But for some reason that baffles me I am not taken seriously when I say that my mother has a personality disorder which I feel could pose a psychological risk to my children. I always get the same response..."oh it can't be that bad" or "they are basically good people" or "everyone has their difficulties". I find that people think that it is too heavy handed to separate my children from such a situation. So I do not discuss it anymore. It really becomes an endless cycle of going around in circles with me constantly being put in a position of having to defend myself. And then of course I become "reactive" and find myself trying to convince people to understand that I have a legitimate reason for my decision and that it wasn't made lightly. With the help of this site as well as my own therapy I am learning how to effectively handle situations like these when they arise. But it still confuses me how people do not understand the impact of psychological damage on young children.

  3. I only wish that I had come to my realization earlier - before my children had so much exposure to their grandparents. My 2 sons are "relatively" unscathed as due to the situation at the time that they were little there was not much contact AND they are boys. (My NF is a huge misogynist.) My youngest - my daughter - is much more affected. But what I wonder is, how much of it is from her grandparents, and how much of it is due to my own subconscious? My low self-esteem (or completely missing!) would obviously have had an affect on my parenting and my children. And since I was brainwashed to believe that I'm a less-than human - why isn't it possible to have passed it on to the next generation despite my trying so hard not to? My daughter has received counseling for anxiety and OCD. And it is partly seeing her struggles that has helped me have so many light bulb moments. And I admit that there are times that I also wished that my kids would stand up for me, too.

    I appreciate Violet and Eve sharing this discussion. If we truly want to stop the legacy of the abuse we need to look well beyond ourselves, don't we?

    "What we don’t realize until too late is that we are actually put in the position of making a choice between maintaining contact with our FOOs or doing what is best for our children. Too often we think we can compromise or that the children aren’t affected because we are the targets, the scapegoats, and the kids are not. But a perceptive, empathetic child like Eve sees it, feels it, and is damaged by it just the same. It may not be the same kind of pain, but it is no less painful." This sums it all up for me. Thank you, Violet!

  4. I was the scapegoat of our NM, and decided to go NC 1yr 10mos ago, when I realized my NM was grooming my daughter to do the same thing NM does. She tried to get my child to "tell" on me, give her some dirt NM could use against me. Unfortunately for NM, my daughter is a spitfire who has always seen right through her. Baby girl has tried to get me to leave my mother alone for a long time. I'm just hoping that I can be the right kind of mother for her, and we will continue to have the great relationship that we do.

    1. One of the first times my MNM ever saw my child, when he was just toddling, I left the room for a moment while my child was engaged watching a favorite show.

      On my way back into the room, I heard my mother's voice. Something in her tone made me pause in the hall to listen unseen. My MNM was pumping my child--who had barely mastered sentences--for information about my spouse. "Does your daddy hurt you? Is your daddy mean to you? What does your daddy do to you?"

      My child did not understand the concept of "daddy hurting" anyone--my MNM was not just trying to get intel on my spouse (whom she hates because I love him and our child loves him) she was, albeit obliviously, doing damage to my child's innocence and trust. She was abusing my child, suggesting that daddy might cause harm, sowing fear.

      I came steamrolling into the room, got my child engaged in an activity, and told her in the strongest terms that this time would be the last time she would ever do such a thing. I can count on one hand the times she has seen my child, and after that visit, I always insist on my spouse coming with us so that she is never alone with our child ever again.

      My MNM exists in such a bubble of unreality, she talks about our child "spending summers at nana's house." Maybe the summer that thaws Hell frozen over, but I think our child will probably be booked solid in educational day camps even then.

  5. I am struggling with my husband, who is quiet, blaming and fault finding. He projects onto me , and passive aggressive. I need help in responding well.

    1. Hi, you need to find out if you are co dependent and work on ways to be assertive.Its really hard I know, but keep trying and you will be able to support urself...its also crucial to go no contact with people who are hurting you at this stage.go away for a year and see..

  6. The fact that you are struggling with this to the point that you are writing here for help tells me that your husband is only half the problem. To quote that famous advice columnist, Ann Landers, "Nobody can take advantage of you without your permission."

    You don't say how long you've been married, but obviously the bloom is off the rose. I am guessing you have fallen into a habit of allowing him to control you through manipulation: projection, fault finding, blaming, silent treatment, and petty paybacks. So for me the question is why you are continuing to put up with it?

    You cannot change anybody but yourself. If you are looking for ways to change him, you are asking the impossible: he will change only when he feels a need to change and his definition of "need" and yours are probably light years apart. You can only change YOURSELF.

    So, if you are looking for ways to change yourself and to deflect his behaviour, my best suggestion is to see a marriage or family counselor (alone if necessary) or, better yet, go into therapy (especially if his medical insurance will cover part of the cost) and find out why you put up with this kind of emotional abuse and don't want out, you just want help in "responding well." Why don't you think you deserve a man who loves and cherishes you instead of one who controls and demeans you? Counselling is your best bet for finding a happy ending, whatever that might be.

    Hugs to you and best of luck


  7. Thank you for this post. I have three children age 4 and under. NM loves the four year old and ignores 2 year old...I disappeared went NC so who knows what role baby would play. I left after restraining order and being threatened with grandparents rights....she told my sister in law she would keep me involved with courts so I could never leave. This article has taken away any self doubt...guilt of depriving grandparent relationship.... I am the scapegoat and I never want to see my children pitted against each other or defending me. Thank you

  8. To Violet,
    Thank you so much for this blog. I'm currently looking for advice to help my scapegoated mother who is going through an awful time as she has realised that her mother is an NP and her sister is the Golden Child.

    My mother's mother (I refuse to refer to her as grandmother any longer) is a cruel and abusive woman who has vented her frustrations out on my mother for the past 60 years. Nothing my mother has ever done has been good enough and but my aunt can do no wrong. When my mother finally stood up for herself, she was outcast from the family and this has made her realise how badly she was treated. Unfortunately, her mother and sister see nothing wrong with their behaviour and will tell anyone that listens what an awful person my mother is.

    I've researched around and I'm looking for advice on to help my mother. She is a loving, caring and devoted mother and it is devastating me to see her so broken and depressed. How can I help her?

    1. Do the research and find a therapist in your area who has experience in helping people who came from abusive homes; it would be especially helpful if the therapist was clued-in about personality disorders in general, narcissism in particular, or was at least willing to learn about them.

      Recognize that nothing YOU do can help your mother--she must do it herself. You can find a therapist, take her to appointments, pay for the therapy...but if she does not participate in the therapeutic process, nothing will change. Be careful of "infantilizing" her or taking on a parental role by doing too much: this can paralyze her emotionally. Be aware, also, that you cannot help a person who does not want to be helped: there are those of us who self-identify as victims and if you take that away, they feel they have no identity. They may complain endlessly about their situation but, deep down, have no interest in changing it because to do that would mean they are adrift with no anchor: their self-view is that of victim and people like that just go on to find someone else to victimize them.

      You can set the stage for your mother's recovery from her N upbringing, but SHE has to do the acting.

      Best of luck with this



  9. I am the scapegoat daughter, my mother has hurt my soul. She got a hold of my daughter when she was very young spending a school year with her dad in another state, my mother loved her the best out of my 3, she dressed perfect and she molded her into he "Christian angel " she went behind my back and became friends with my daughter step mom and trashed me and fed my daughter with lies and things a daughter should never know or be told Long story short after a visit to my moms without my consent I called and said I like to take her to the airport when she leaves and I was refused. I had sole custody of my daughter, she was visiting her absent for many years dad and his "new family" to build a relationship after abandament was the sole reason I let her go. My NM lost her "child" and trashed me to the "new wife" and soon after her befriending my X new wife I was denied taking my daughter to the airport after reminding my NM I had sole custody I could if I wanted to and hung up with no plans of disturbing the situation, as I was trained well by my NM that if I go against her wish , she will turn more and more people against me and I was already shot down to the ground. MY NM then called my X and told them I had plans to kidnap my daughter and I was an abusive mother , my X and his wife sued me for Custody and won with my moms backing . I guarded my 2 boys from her and when they went on summer visits to their dad my mother would contact their dads family and trash me and trying to turn my x family against me (my daughter had a separate father) she worked on my sons which they are now grown and she recently has got my oldest son , who needs a car and she can co sign, since then he is now under her power. I confronted my mom on all she done to me and my life recently and she has alienated my son and I , we are to be ignored from my entire family. SHe is in my sons business and his girlfriends family before I ever met them she had already trashed me to them and she now takes over the role of a grandparent that had to be a parent to my kids because I was such a awful parent. I have no respect from my 2 children , this has effected my whole life , it is like a domino effect and now my children are in with my mom and my mom says something about me they say the same statements. My son that is aware of this abuse and not swayed by MY NM , he too is not given any attention and snide remarks against him. SHe destroyed my family how can I repair it? K in Ga

    1. First you realize that you cannot change anyone but yourself. You cannot change your NM or your ex(es) or your kids.

      Second, you realize that many people will believe what they WANT to believe, they will believe what serves them, over the truth. And with people like that, absolutely nothing you can do will shift their belief.

      Third, you realize that some things, once broken, can never be repaired. Some things might be mended, but they will never be the same, their scars and evidence of damage will always mar them.

      I have had a similar experience to yours and I am not in contact with two of my three kids. They have no interest in truth, they are interested only in a fiction that serves them. When I presented my daughter with hard evidence, including court records and several years worth of cards and letters I had sent her--but she never received because they were intercepted by my mother--she dismissed them all and continued to believe my NM's lie that I had abandoned her. And it paid off...NM substituted her for me in the family and eventually my daughter inherited half of a large inheritance (6 figures) and my sons and I were very intentionally disinherited.

      How do you fix it? You don't. Instead, you fix yourself. Nobody goes through the kind of life you have had without gathering a lot of scars and pain, and that affects us in ways you cannot presently imagine. You find a therapist and you work on fixing yourself, on accepting yourself, on learning to relate to your other family members honestly and authentically, instead of hiding in the hurt, fearful victim you were raised to be.

      In the end, you will come out a new person, able to figure out and do the things necessary to fix those family relationships that can be fixed, and able to emotionally deal with those that cannot. It isn't easy, but neither is living with the way you feel now and at least with therapy you can look forward to a better tomorrow, a better you, a better life.

      Hugs and best of luck to you


    2. I am in awe so much of our story's the same, even what you wrote. I hate feeling victim but your right I am. I hide it well in my journals and art. I am so happy to found this and I will get the help neededll. I have lived the betrayal of people I loved and it hurts deeper then the child molester she married with knowledge of his desires for her daughters 13 years, you think that would break me , this is far worse then that. You and I only know this amongst those that have experienced it. God I was so many times ready to kill myself because I was useless in life. I beleive ih God because he was all I had that I could cry to, yet I hate Christians as the women NM of mine is a professed Christian and used her bible knowledge as well to destroy anything she could of me, I am so happy you brought this site to those of us that suffer something awful being done to us that is not visable to the rest she recruits. I am so sorry you or I have had to endure this and I am sure you have not many to go to? Or maybe you do? I was not invited and the whole family was to celebrate the holiday and spent alone, today read of their great time on facebook and cried. If you are ever in Atlanta you have a place to spend holidays with. I want to bring this more to light and will post of facebook but yet again not , i will be attacked, I pray for you and everyone having to live this hell and I am a proffesional victim and I am tired of it, I want to switch the roles be the survivor, another question is it wrong to not like my daughter after 16 years of her and my moms bs and she is 27 now and she has taken the lead as my NM is aging , well they both seem to hold top position it seems, but is it wrong to not want anything to do with my daughter again and can she be changed? She like your child thinks I have abandoned her , and same as you I have shown proof and she enjoys I do believe the attention she receives telling people she was abandoned by her mom. Did you also have addictions? just curious I did later in life, and gave them the more reason to make me look bad and all they say truth....that angers me the most at me...give them reason is the death of us. Not here anymore,. I want to know who I am and I am 51 at least I realize it to discover the true me....It still hurts so bad I cry alot alone , how could anyone steal from their own child the rite to enjoy her children and be a parent , or steal from me the rite to have a family, how can they live with themselves, its already getting passed to my grandchildren which also deep cuts ....i was so excited to have my own family , I protected my boys from her but after years no contact she came at me harder and found that one weak moment to get at my son ...Prayer and healing to you , me and all who has endured this deep dare they hurt us,

  10. My story is similar to the ones posted here. For years my mom verbally abused me.She often wished me death and ruined every holiday because she did not get her way. My ex-husband came from a dsyfunctional family as well and deeply just wanted a father who cared for him. Everyone turned their back on my continue abuse and crying. After years and years of telling my husband I wanted more space from her, my husband and dad caring nothing about my feelings I had an affair and fled. The lies my ex-husband spread were incredible. No one knows I paid child support from day one, paid half my children's college, tried to give my ex easy divorce payments, called my children everyday. I am a terrible person who had an affair. My wonderful son saw threw some of this and I have a relationship with him. My beautiful daughter believe my Mother and ex's lies and wants nothing to do with me. 15 years later I am disinherited because I left me ex. The whole family still believes everything he has said. I truly thought in time the truth would come out. I am so hurt that no one would help me with my abusive mom, just she loves you in her own way and everyone helped me ex during our divorce. They were suppose to be my family. Today I have adopted 6 children out of Foster care. I understand the pain of a mother which cannot love. I forgive them all. Isstill pray for healing. The hurt comes back but I am only responsible for my heart. I am responsible to be the best I can. I still pray the truth comes out one day but now all I can do is wish healing and love to all. God bless our mess. Your will be done.

  11. Abusive FOOs are no different from poisoned wells. You wouldn't knowingly take your children to drink water from a poisoned well so why would you expose your children to your toxic FOO?

    1. Your analogy is apt...but if you don't realize the well is poisoned, if your children keep getting sick but you don't recognize that the water is causing it, you keep returning to that well.

      Once you know it is the water, you might still go there, because you are in denial. Or it may be just you getting noticeably sick...the effect on the children not so evident, so you don't think it really is the water...or maybe it is just you, there is something in that water that only affects you and everyone else is safe.

      That is the kind of thinking Ns grind into their children: YOU are the defective one, not me. YOU are the one with the problem, not me. And if the child believes it (and a lot of them do), then they think the abusive relationship is their fault and the Nparent will be a lovely grandparent.

      Even the courts fall prey to this kind of thinking: in a situation where there is an addicted or otherwise unfit parent, courts will award custody or guardianship to the very person who raised that unfit parent. It makes no logical sense, but it happens every day.

      You only stop giving your children water from a poisoned well when you truly realize and accept that it is the well itself that is irretrievably poisoned and even though the children may be asymptomatic, it is still bad for them. And sometimes that realization takes a very long time to come.

  12. Apologies for only posting the bit about poisoned wells. This was actually the end bit of my long post to give you a context for my remarks. I will make my post in several parts as it was too long to post in one go.

    Part One

    I was lucky to have moved away after getting married. It meant, when my children came along, I was able to keep them away from my FOO. I was the child born out of wedlock and my mother put all her shame on me. I was the child who had to be grateful she hadn't aborted me and had kept me after giving birth to me. My mother's siblings and their children all treated me with contempt. Things got worse when my mother got married to my stepfather. She kept threatening to send me away if I caused problems for her by not accepting her new husband. I ended up being sexually abused and raped and was too afraid to tell because I would be blamed and sent away. My mother only got out of that marriage when her husband started to abuse her. Lucky for me, she sent me to boarding school, to get me out of the way as she had nowhere to put me during the time she was hiding from her husband who was looking for her.

    I forced the issue to connect with my biological father and met with the same shaming treatment at his hands. Turned out, he had been married the time he had an affair with my mother, with several children at home. In the time, I was being rejected and humiliated at my father's house, not just by him but his other children and his second wife, I met my future husband.

    I thought this man wanted to marry me for me but later found out, it was because he wanted to be connected to my biological father, who had money and status. My saving grace was the fact that we moved away after getting married.

    My husband picked up where my family had left off but having my babies woke me up. Watching a lot of Oprah’s abuse discussions and reading about toxic families and scapegoating provided me with the means to process my past and make some decisions about the future. I decided early on that I had to protect my babies from what I had suffered and I didn't want them to be poisoned by my toxic family dynamics. I kept my children away from having form of contact with my FOO and made sure my children grew up knowing exactly how mean and cruel my family had been to me. It was pretty clear my FOO were looking to recruit my children to join them in abusing me. My mother wrote a letter addressed to my SEVEN year old daughter, telling her how mean and horrible I was, for not allowing them access. Who does that? Sick and twisted people who can never change do such things. They don't know when to stop and cut the c*ap. They can never accept that their target of hate has woken up to their generational abuse, cut the cord and walked away. They want the situation to continue because it works for them. They will keep coming back and will destroy your relationship with your children if you let them into your life. Even now, when my children are now in their twenties, my FOO keep trying to establish a connection with my children. The door is firmly shut. One of my half siblings found my daughter via facebook and started trying to draw her in. My daughter put an end to that by no longer using facebook.

  13. Part Two
    PS: Lucky that my ex husband was mean really to me and our children during the marriage. Our children were relieved to finally be free of the misery he inflicted. He had his own difficult childhood but never got angry at the stepmother who had been so cruel to him nor his father who let it happen. Instead, my then husband turned all his hatred and mental/emotional cruelty on us, his own family. I thought he would see it as a second chance to have a loving family of his own but he never saw it that way. He kept chasing after everyone else's approval while saying horrible things about me where we lived. I only found out the extent of the lies he had told when I filed for divorce and his co-workers got themselves involved. The only way to escape him, and his lies, was to gather me children and move away to another part of the country.

    Leaving my marriage enabled me to cut off any token contact I had with my FOO. My FOO took my ex husband's side in the divorce and encouraged him to not give me a thing. My own family wanted me to remain trapped in an abusive marriage due to lack of money or to leave and face destitution. Lucky there is such a thing as free initial legal consultation and being a joint owner in the marital property meant lawyer's fees would be deducted from the settlement.

    My FOO's continued relationship with my ex husband has made it easier to leave him behind and not look back. When our children were at university, my FOO tried to use my ex husband to infiltrate our children by passing on contact details. He even tried to bribe them with money but again we were saved by his own damaged nature. He couldn't sustain being nice and his mean side kept taking over, making him someone whose intentions, our children couldn't trust. My FOO had chosen the wrong person to do their dirty work.

    So far, we have had a few years of absolute peace, until last month when news came through that my biological father had died. My FOO sent a message through my ex but I never responded. All I felt was a sense of relief at the closing of that chapter and didn't want to get drawn back in.

  14. Part Three

    Sorry for writing all this but thought it might help someone else to realise, you can and you must protect your children, from the family dysfunction that blighted your childhood. Nothing good can come from playing nice and letting them have access to your children. I think it is Oprah who said, "when people show you, who they are, believe them". When your family of origin have shown you time and time again, they mean you harm and your pain is their joy, believe them. Nothing good will come from sacrificing your children to such twisted people. Your children are nothing more than pawns in their power games against you. These people want you to serve a life sentence of being c*apped on and will use any means necessary. Take a stand and refuse to have your children recruited into the cult of generational abuse. Draw a line in the sand, pick up your babies, keep walking and go make a life somewhere you can give your children a loving and supportive family experience.

    Get counseling to help you get strong enough to do what is right for you and your children if you can afford it. If you can't afford counseling, start to self educate by reading online and using books about toxic families, narcissism etc. The more you know, the stronger you will get at realising what you need to do, to protect yourself and your children. If you are lucky enough to be married to someone who is supportive of you then you are truly blessed. Use this support to make a new life as far away from FOO as you can manage. Remember your children are counting on you to keep them safe from being emotionally and psychologically abused. Your children are also counting on you, to show them what it means to be a loving, protective, supportive and nurturing family. You can't do any of this if you allow your children to see you being abused and ganged up on by your FOO. Teach your children how to stand together and be united from those with "divide and conquer"

  15. Part Four

    agendas. Dysfunctional family dynamics depend on compartmentalised relationships. Bullies in families rely on the favoured family members treating the suffering of the scapegoat as something happening to someone else and therefore not their problem to address. Make sure your children grow up knowing it is not OK to ignore the hurt and humiliation of your immediate family member. Just so they can fit in with the bullies. If your children are older teens and you are moving towards waking them up to your FOO, have them sign up for anti bullying campaigns at school, so they can appreciate the damaging nature of bullying. Once a child has woken up to the injustice and dynamics of bullying, it does not take much for them to wake up to the same patterns in the family dynamics. The important thing is not to suffer in silence. Silence is not golden when your family is at risk of being destroyed by your FOO. You can't afford to experiment with your children finding out for themselves that your FOO are toxic people, whose main objective is to turn your family on itself, so the FOO can continue to abuse their chosen scapegoat.

    Abusive FOOs are no different from poisoned wells. You wouldn't knowingly take your children to drink water from a poisoned well so why would you expose your children to your toxic FOO? Your children are your second chance to have a family of your own where you can love and be loved unconditionally. Protect your right to have a toxic free family because your future is with your children not your FOO. Your siblings will have their own families and their own lives and you are entitled to yours. I know everyone is at different points in their realisation, deciding the way forward and the process of recovery. I can only speak from my own experiences and from what I have seen so far, nothing good comes from allowing your toxic FOO, to have access to your children. If they can’t turn your children against you they will turn on your children in addition to whatever they have been doing to you. Never compromise once you get it, protect your children at all costs. Only you know how much your FOO has hurt you. Listen to your pain and refuse to allow your children to be corrupted by your FOO.

    Sorry for the long post but hope this helps someone going through this

  16. Part Five

    Came back to add a clarification about when to encourage your children to sign up for anti bullying campaigns at school. It should be from pre teens and onwards. Mine advocated at their school from middle school until graduation. It is invaluable in teaching your children to see bullies for what they are and how the actions of those around the bully enable the bullying to continue. My children were really helped because they picked up the language to articulate what was going on when someone was being targetted and the emotional and mental coping tools to deal with bullies (toxic people). Support your children by encouraging them to talk to you and to each other about whatever is going on in their lives. Start early and the teenage years though challenging will be a lot easier on them and on you as a parent.

  17. This is amazing. Thank you so much for posting. It's 7 months since we went NC with my in-laws for my daughters sake as well as ours and we have not looked back. I was very angry and upset initially. I had nightmares daily. My husband wasn't as bothered (he says this is how it has been his entire life) We have been harassed nonstop ever since we went NC with lies, cyberstalking, smear campaigns to family members, and finally an attempt to break up our marriage with more lies on Christmas eve when I am recovering from 2 surgeries. I often wonder what I should say to people who say "they just want to see their Grandchild" but, we owe no one an explanation. They have not lived this horror and why should we relive it? I give everyone credit who has went NC and held strong, it's hard in so many different ways.

  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. This comment was removed at the request of the originator--V

    2. Thank you for posting Eve's story. I went NC 13 years ago when I realized that my NPD mother was favoring my eldest daughter over my younger daughter. Her favoritism of my brothers throughout my childhood was extremely damaging for me. I didn't want the same for my daughters. My stepfather could not understand until the end of his life. He forgave me for doing that. I think he finally acknowledged the reasons why I chose this as my only option.

      My daughters have needed help throughout their lives with this. Not understanding NPD, it was difficult for them to understand why and how I could turn away from my mother. They were afraid that I would turn away from them if they made a mistake. The saving grace was my mother was not interested in them anyway. They eventually understood that.

  19. There is actually a lot of information on this topic if you google "Parental Alienation Syndrome". Though I think what is happening is this "syndrome" is being related only primarily to divorce situations where one parent scapegoats the other and the child is affected. I was trying to look for further informaiton of what would make a child become the target instead of a parent, having a client who was a step mother who was successfully turning her partner against his own daughter and I couldn't figure out why. To this step mother, the daughter was evil, monster, etc etc, but asking what she was doing to be called that, the step mother couldn't really say. So, hopefully people will begin writing about this topic more, not just as narcissistic moms/dad's affecting their children and parental alienation seen in divorce cases but bridging the gap between. Took me forever googling all sorts of things to finally find this word "scapegoating" I was googling step moms who hate step kids, step moms who alienate step kids from fathers love, narcissistic step moms, etc. Took me over a week of googling and watching videos on parental alienation and narcissism to find this connection!

  20. Also, while I still understood the blog, I can't figure out what FOO means (maybe put something in brackets for those of us who aren't researched on this topic). NM (narcissist mother?) and what does it mean not to go NC or LC or a child?

  21. There is a tab at the top of the blog page called "Glossary" which provides numerous definitions. FOO means "family of origin," NM is "Narcissistic mother," NC means "no contact" and LC means "low contact." I am not sure what your question mean with respect to a child, however.

  22. Hello! I just found this site and am so happy because I have been looking for some sort of support group. I am also the scapegoat's daughter. my mother was the scapegoat but is also a severe narcissist. my father was a narcissist too apparently. I will be reading and posting more. thank you Violet for this site and your posts.

  23. I am the scapegoat daughter - and yes, my kids have been effected because of this. I can list countless examples of this, but I guess the main thing I realised, at the age of 51, when I was still trying to maintain low contact with my mother - was that she abused my children regularly IN FRONT OF MY FACE and I had only just started picking up on it. One lunchtime, having a coffee with my 'dear old mum'. Suddenly she says, - "Your children are b******s." I nearly choke on my drink - What? asks I - gobsmacked. "Your children are B******s - you were not married so that makes them ...and says the word again - at least, she continued - "That's what they would have been called IN MY DAY" Then, of course I am sucked in to defending my children's parentage to their DEAR OLD Grandma.

    Because they are MY CHILDREN that gives her, and anyone else in her mind - the right to abuse THEM. When she looks AT THEM she sees the same thing as when she LOOKS AT ME.

    She knows I am a tiger mother - She knows what she is doing when she verbally attacks my kids - or lets my father kick my 2 year old daughter across the sitting room (they were BABYSITTING) never again after that, I can assure you. When I threw him out SHE COULDN'T understand what was wrong????????

    My kids have missed out on birthdays, Christmas presents all the usual material rubbish - but they have also been given second hand clothes as presents - and been set up to be/feel humiliated. God I HATE THOSE PEOPLE.

    My mother tried to convince my daughter at the age of 21, that I was 2born evil" that she didn't know me like my mother did.

    My daughter told her not to be ridiculous. You can only imagine where that got her......

    Children of Scapegoats = Seriously effected.

  24. I am just stunned and thankful to have found this blog. Thought this was just happening to me and have been struggling in the worst way over limiting my children's contact with my Mother. I am the scapegoat. My term for myself for years has been the "the disposable child". My mother treats me as if she could care less about my feelings. By the age of 5 I knew my 3 year old sister was the favored one. I went to my Mom then, saying I feel like you love my sister more than me - and that's where the message that I was wrong - my feelings, my perceptions, my ability to understand situations - was always wrong began. I am 50 years old now and was privy to texts between my mother and sister planning on how to cut me and my children out of certain family events, for no reason ever explained, that I now realize that those feelings were right. The worse mistake I ever made was letting my children know my mother, because now they want to see her and I know I need to remove all of us from her as much as possible. I honestly never realized that my mom and sister had ganged up with each other at some time to make me the scapegoat until recently - always felt her favoritism would be just to my sister and my kids would be safe from it. But I just learned how much she had been saying to my daughter. I now see her intent was to turn my daughter against me as well. I had already made the decision that there would be extremely limited, no unsupervised contact with my kids before reading this, but this opened my eyes to the damage that could occur by having any contact. After reading this, does anyone have any ideas how what is best when the children are old enough to feel real hurt if I allow no contact - is very minimal supervised contact ok (they are 9 and 11) Or is no contact for my children the best was to go also? I have contacted a counselor to set a session to discuss this very thing. Thanks for your input!

  25. Children understand bullying and "mean girl" cliques. Put it in that perspective. I wouldn't proactively bring anything up to them, but if they ask, you can say that Grandma and Aunty Sue have been acting like bullies to you lately and none of you are going to see them until they stop. If they ask when you are going to see Grandma again, you can say "when Grandma stops being a bully, we can discuss it then."

    I would like to caution you about the counselor--see the counselor ALONE the first time--make sure s/he is not one of those "family unity at any cost" types. The last thing you want is to pay money to a counselor who undermines you in front of your kids.

    You might also consider joining a support group of other survivors of narcissistic parents. There are presently a couple of openings in the Facebook Narcissist's Child group. If you are interested, go to FB, search on Narcissist's Child and go to the group and click that you wish to join. I will contact you from there.


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