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a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.
‘Thrown to the Wolves”
Boundaries.  Scapegoats.  Abuse.
How do I put these words together in a way that rings true to me?    How do I get past the idea that I’m “bashing” family, “attacking people who did the best they could”, “blaming others rather than taking responsibility”?


I have 3 biological children and they are each unique.  There is 1 who is similar to his father, 1 who is similar to me, and 1 who is a combination of the two of us.

I look at my family of origin and I see the differences between the 4 of us; I see the ways we are similar and different to each parent.

As a parent I know that it is easier to deal with some of my children; more difficult with others.

As a recovering abuse victim, I clearly see that some are scapegoats, and others are not.  I know that I was a scapegoat as a child, and, in an effort to stay in my comfort zone, I re-upped that role in my marriage.

As I write this I’m watching the 20/20 show about Bill Cosby and the women who have accused him of rape, and I see similarities.  (this is not meant to diminish the horror of rape, which I have been through).

In both situations, the following hold true:

  • Certain people are targeted.  Emphatic, trusting people are chosen.
  • Our trust in the inherent goodness of people makes it less likely we’ll complain.
  • Our trust and open hearts leave us open to the idea that we are to blame.  Our abusers are good people, so we must be to blame.
  • We end up Confused.  We trust,  we love, we are open – then we are hurt.
  • We can’t fathom hurting a person the way we’ve been hurt, so no one else would deliberately hurt us, right?  And, if they did, there had to be one of 2 explanations:  1) we deserved it or 2) we misunderstood.

It has taken me a life time to understand this, and honestly, I struggle with it every day.  I can not fathom deliberately hurting another person; there can’t possibly be people out there who can.

Unfortunately, there are. Maybe they are damaged, maybe they are fragile, maybe they are evil.  I don’t know why, I just know that they are out there.

And I’m afraid, because they look like me, or you, or some of my best friends.    How am I supposed to protect myself if I can’t see them?  How can I be safe if I struggle to believe that bad people actually exist?

Keeping everyone at arms length, minimizing my attachments and spending more time alone that with others have been my go-to defenses.  Which is fine, if I’m not here for the long haul.  What if though, I survive the cancer, the divorce and the abuse, and live for 20 more years?  What then?

How long can I keep everyone at arms length, just to avoid those who are evil; damaged; ill-intention ed?

Any ideas?