I’M LEARNING TO PROTECT MYSELF
in healthy adult ways
PREVIOUS: ACoAs – being Scapegoated (Part 5)
NOTE: Use ACRONYMS for abbrev.
BOOK: Puttin’ Cologne on the Rickshaw, by William Bouffard, explains “The Scapegoat Mechanism”, with a chapter re. management practice of plausible deniability, & the assigning of responsibility to the lower ranks
STOP being a Sc at WORK (& everywhere else)
As we recover from being the family Scapegoat, we can stay awake for things we still say & do, often subconsciously, that attracted the negative feelings of others, leaving us wide open to their disdain & disrespect.
Almost everyone else also has unresolved issues – not just us. If we push their buttons, or run into an actual personality disorder (which we can’t always tell), we can easily be victimized.
The ‘Golden Child’ at work (see Part 1)
If you grew up as the Sc, you are likely to be particularly enraged & hurt by the office favorite, who can do no wrong – just like one or more of your siblings!
As the Sc you may have experiences some or all of the following:
● worked your butt off only to have some brown-noser/narcissist steal all the credit (or your actual work)
● done the best job possible & watched others be rewarded
● blamed for something that went wrong when you either didn’t do it or were told to do it by the person blaming you.
And Sc never seem to recover from the loss, betrayal & disrespect, being so angry that they can’t focus on the bigger picture. (MORE, dealing with work favorites…..)
ALSO: many book re. Managing Difficult People
CHANGING the SCAPEGOAT PATTERN
Re. OTHER PEOPLE
A key to not being scapegoated at work is to “stick with the winners”! This is part of changing our behavior. Healthier people have fewer or milder buttons, AND the more patient they are with us when we (accidentally) step on their toes. Pay attention to each person you work with, especially if you’re feeling uncomfortable or angry at someone. What’s their usual m.o. – pleasant or unpleasant, sane or crazy, realistic or in denial, sober or addicted, connected or narcissistic …..?
Positive people to stick with:
— Those who are generally cheerful, discreet, encouraging, friendly, forgiving, loyal, with good boundaries
Negative people to avoid – waving major red flags that they have issues we don’t want to be a victim of nor take on:
— Overly controlling, always critical/ judgmental, know-it-all, bossy
— They talk ‘at’ you, are intimidating – especially toward you
— Make fun of you or other people, are gossips, clicky….
— Always complain about others or the job without doing anything to improve themselves or the situation
— Only talk about themselves & their problems – to you, or anyone who will listen
These types make us uncomfortable & we know their behavior is unhealthy. But we’re so used to it from childhood we think we have to put up with it. NO we don’t! It only gets worse & makes us sicker, the longer we’re around it.
RE. OUR BEHAVIOR
● Don’t be a downer, and don’t complain about stuff too much: politics, societal deterioration, your crazy family, the weather… whatever! That belongs in therapy, church, 12-step meetings….
● DO NOT put yourself down or make fun of yourself, except -maybe- in silly ways. It’s OK to laugh at our imperfection – not always taking ourselves so seriously – as long as it’s NOT from S-H! But when we denigrate ourselves or let others do it, we only reveal our low self-esteem, which gives some unhealthy people ‘permission’ to disrespect us
● Stop being a “truth-teller” which is a fancy way of saying don’t tattle – unless you need help from an authority figure to stop abuse (see Part 5)
● Don’t over-disclose to co-workers, bosses & casual friends, (serious personal problems, intense emotions, financial and legal details….). Be careful who you pick to talk to. Knowing too much negativity about you allows some people the opportunity to judge & treat you differently, gossiping & even avoiding you. If it’s unavoidable, try to be general or vague, using a rational tone (Adult ego state), & end on a positive note.
● Don’t assume everyone is trustworthy. It’s naive to think that everyone will usually take the high road. AND it’s narcissistic to think everyone will or should behave or feel the way you do.
● Don’t trust most people with your secrets. Be friendly, have fun with them, but don’t expect -even friends- to keep secrets. Secrets are always juicy & some people can’t resist sharing them. Others can use them against you, from jealousy or meanness. There’s potential for betrayal.
● Don’t get too attached to a new acquaintances too quickly or easily. Look and listen for the right cues in order to make good choices. Practice healthy discretion.
● Don’t use friendships or romantic partners for therapy. Work on your difficult challenges with a professionally trained counselor.
● Don’t remain the Scapegoat. Work on getting out of your “Victim Mentality.” Most ‘civilians’ are not interested in sob-stories, or woe-is-me. Find & hang on to what’s positive in your life, so you can enjoy it.
NEXT: Enneagram Humor #4