IT HELPS TO KNOW
I’m not the ‘crazy’ one
PREVIOUS: ACoAs being Scapegoated (#1)
SITE: The ‘Church Mouse’ abnormal personality (scapegoater)
QUOTE: “Evil people are chronic scapegoaters.” from M. Scott Peck’s “People of the Lie” – a descriptions of extreme narcissism
Scapegoater ADULT (towards a parent, boss, mate, adult-child….)
Just like the Double Bind, ScapegoatING can be called “enemy behavior against an innocent and helpless victim”, because the real source of frustration is either oneself but in denial, or another who is not available or cannot be addressed for some reason. Frustration is acted out & projected onto others, usually someone / some group without supporters or otherwise unable to protect themselves. (Co-dep triangles—>)
Even if others observe the abuse, they rarely want to get involved, so the victim stays alone & unprotected.
Narcissists (Ns being overt & co-dependents because they’re covert Ns) generally blame their bad behavior – addictions, emotional immaturity, volatility, cruelty – on other people or things (partners, children, the weather, the ‘system’….).
They are master projectors – no one is better than an N for looking directly at another person & only seeing who they want/need that person to be.
EXP: When a N parent considers their child, they see many things: a source of narcissistic supply, an ally or obstacle to their lust for personal power, a string of intolerable annoyances, the inconvenience of a child’s emotions & needs, unwanted limitations, someone to rescue & take care of them or to take their frustrations out on…. BUT never the actual child.
Scapegoaters are insecure & narcissistic people driven to try raising their own importance by lowering the personal value of their target. Their main characteristics are cowardice, dishonesty, egotism, immaturity, pride, self-righteousness & weakness of character.
(4 Personality Disorders that ‘form’ scapegoating parents)
● They are not in touch with most of their emotions, having little or no idea how full of hate they really are. They just feel dissatisfied & frustrated, while ‘blissfully’ unaware of the original source of their hurt & resulting rage. Since self-deception is a major characteristic, the perpetrator’s drive to displace & transfer responsibility away from themselves may not be totally conscious, which makes it easy to cut off any guilt or shame, & deny what they’re doing. But even if they do become aware of the actual cause, they can’t or won’t direct their anger where it truly belongs – usually their own original family.
● To deal with their deep anxiety, scapegoaters will rationalize that this specific scapegoat is somehow responsible for their frustration. A very suitable candidate for their abuse can be anyone who accidentally reminds them of the person who originally injured them (a parent or parent-figure). They look for someone who is not socially confident, emotionally over-reactive, anxious, perhaps self-hating – which makes them an easy target to be scapegoated. (More in Part 3)
● Often the main scapegoater (parent, spouse, teacher….) has a good social standing in their community, & some power. Naturally they don’t want to lose either one – at any cost
If the Perpetrator is conscious of the victim’s innocence, they will likely keep adding fuel just to preserve their standing, knowing they have the upper hand
— Assistant scapegoaters will also add to the fire because they want to stay in the P’s good graces, & don’t want to admit they’ve been gullible, manipulated into blaming an innocent person
● In milder cases, occasional scapegoaters can be anyone temporarily angry & dissatisfied, who uses this tactic as a relief valve. And if they’re not too damaged they will experience some shame and guilt afterwards
HABITUAL scapegoaters are miserable – extremely dissatisfied with themselves, their lives & life in general. Yet they are also irritatingly smug, managing to convince themselves that how they’re behaving toward the Sc is somehow justified.
In reality they’re hostile – at the least punitive, at the worst sadistic. They get narcissistic gratification from controlling others, & some from torturing the Sc. They raise themselves up by lowering the other person. Just like double-binders.
Scapegoating momentarily frees the perpetrator from a little of their own self-hate, provides self-centered gratification & the self-righteous* discharge of their aggression.
*Self-righteousness – a person’s feeling of moral superiority, from a sense that their beliefs, affiliations & actions are of greater virtue than those of the average person, making them intolerant of the opinions & behaviors of anyone not exactly like themselves.
Manager: Jill, I need those sales figures to complete my analysis
Scapegoater: You never told me about this before
M: Check out the email I sent you last Friday
Sc: I never got it. Blame our server, not me
M: This system shows that you received and saved the email
Sc: Oh, those figures. I told Bryan to do them. You mean he hasn’t gotten them to you yet? What’s wrong with that guy?
M: Hasn’t Bryan been working on the account for the past month?
Sc: Well … (To herself: “Who can I blame now?”)
CORRECTION: The Scapegoater will stop blaming – temporarily – if given very specific examples of how their mistakes or miscalculations were the problem. Being direct & clear makes it harder for them to shift blame. (‘Managing Negativity in the Workplace’, Gary S. Topchik 4/24/01)
NEXT: ACoAs being Scapegoated (Part 3)