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?

2 thoughts on “Scapegoats

  1. This just rips me apart. I understand everything you are saying….I remember my oldest daughter told me to slap Loser after I found out what he really was… first reaction was “no. I don’t want to hurt him….I know how it feels.”
    How long can you keep everybody at arms length? I don’t know. I still do…
    I think there will always be a malingering fear….how can you possibly ever get over that kind of trauma? Therapy? Counseling? They may help you find different avenues for “dealing with it” but the scars will always be there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an important question, and I struggle with it myself. Who do we trust; we are left barely trusting even ourselves, let alone anyone els!e! Hugs, Tamara

    Liked by 1 person

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