Frustrated Tweet-X …

When the hidden-denied reasons behind your childhood of multifaceted #childsexualabuse becomes known more clearly, what’s holding you back from responding alike “the reason I’ve grown so f-ed up, is due to your f-ing parent-church-school-club you took me through”?! #nrs💣

How Toxic Families Choose a Child to Scapegoat

Peg Streep

Peg Streep

Variations on a theme, but always about control and power.

Posted April 16, 2021 |  Reviewed by Davia Sills

KEY POINTS

  • Scapegoating is a common form of parental verbal abuse.
  • Research shows that scapegoating allows a parent to think of the family as healthier than it is.
  • Scapegoating lets a parent minimize responsibility for and explain negative outcomes, enhancing a sense of control.
  • The scapegoat role can be rotating, or it can target one child specifically.
fizkes/Shutterstock

Source: fizkes/Shutterstock

In interviews for my forthcoming book on verbal abuse, the subject of scapegoating comes up with great regularity; among the forms of verbal abuse used by parents, scapegoating appears to have go-to status. In a family with a controlling, combative, or narcissistic parent at the helm, scapegoating is an effective tool to maintain control not just over the interactions and behaviors of family members but also over the family narrative.

As researcher Gary Gemmill has pointed out, scapegoating permits a parent to think of the family as healthier and more functioning than it actually is; if it weren’t for that one individual—yes, the scapegoat—the family would be perfect, and life would be blissful. This is an important point because it helps the parent curate the family narrative in a very specific way.

Another study by Zachary R. Rothschild and others posited and then showed that scapegoating allows a person to minimize guilt or responsibility for a negative outcome and gives him or her a sense of enhanced control because there’s always a reason to point to for a bad outcome. The example I often use is the family car that is vandalized at night while parked in the driveway. If this happened to you, you might be concerned or even call the police, but you’re likely to consider it a random incident.

But the parent who habitually scapegoats won’t approach it that way; instead, he or she will focus on the fact that Jack drove the car last, and he didn’t lock it, which made it so much easier to vandalize. Moreover, Jack didn’t turn on the lights that illuminate the driveway and entrance, which gave the vandals the cover of darkness.

Voila! In the family’s curated narrative, Jack is actually to blame for the car’s being vandalized. That is how scapegoating works.

Who gets to be the scapegoat?

In some families like Tim’s, the scapegoat role was rotating, one that permitted his father to drive his message across with force:

“Failure was unacceptable. Talking back was treason. You did what he said, you took the abuse he meted out, or you were ignored and scapegoated. The son who didn’t listen up then became the scapegoat until he reformed and ‘got the message,’ and then the next slacker would become the target. This went on from childhood to the first decade or so of adulthood until I finally set sail.”

In many families, the scapegoat is a permanent role, as it was in Alisha’s: 

“My middle brother, Tom, was the scapegoat because he talked back and resisted my mother’s manipulations. It was ironic because of the four of us, he was the highest achiever—he was athletic and got good grades—but my mother couldn’t deal with the fact that she couldn’t contain him the way she could me and my two younger siblings. She blamed everything that went wrong on Tom and that, in turn, set my father off who believed every single lie she told about Tom. The rest of us made ourselves scarce and said as little as possible, trying to stay as neutral as we could so she wouldn’t turn on us. Tom left home at 18, put himself through college and then law school, and stopped speaking to our parents 10 years ago. He’s got to be the most successful black sheep in history. I still see him, but my sister and brother are too scared, even as adults, of pissing my mother off. Even though I wasn’t scapegoated, I have tons of issues that I am dealing with in therapy. I spent my whole childhood curled up in a defensive ball.”

Counterintuitively, you don’t need a herd to become a scapegoat; only children can be scapegoated too. This is what Dora recounted:

“In my mother’s telling of the story, everything that has gone wrong in her life can be traced back to me. It was my birth that alienated my father from her and ended up in his seeking a divorce. That isn’t the story my dad tells, of course, and I was 7 when he left. She never remarried because no one wanted a woman with baggage, the baggage being me. This could be funny since Dad married a woman with two kids but she didn’t mean it as a joke. Ditto her job and why she never rose up the ranks; yes, the Dora factor. At 30, I walked into a therapist’s office and ended up confronting my mom who denied ever doing it. As my therapist pointed out, she shifted from scapegoating to gaslighting. I maintain low contact these days but I am moving toward estrangement because her inability to own her actions or words makes me nuts.”

Not taking responsibility is the home-court advantage of scapegoating.

How the scapegoat gets chosen

While science illuminates what motivates the abuser to scapegoat, there’s no research on how the target gets chosen, so I’ve culled from the hundreds of stories shared with me for this project and Daughter Detox: Recovering from an Unloving Mother and Reclaiming Your Life to come up with some thoroughly unscientific patterns which may, nonetheless, be of interest. Some of them are more obvious than others.

1. The resister or rebel

Since all verbal abuse is about control and an imbalance of power, it’s not surprising that the kid who won’t go with the program—whatever that program may be—will be singled out and marginalized for it. This pattern echoes the story Alisha told about her brother, Tom, and may also be the impetus for the rotating scapegoat role in other families.

2. The sensitive one

Scapegoating and bullying have similar intentions, and each gives the abuser a rush of power; that’s going to be much more satisfying if the kid you pick on really responds and reacts. Additionally, this permits the parent to rationalize the scapegoating as being necessary to “toughen the kid up” or “to stop being too sensitive.”

This happens to both sons and daughters and shows up as a strong pattern in many families, unfortunately. The other children do what they can to repress all their emotional reactions, which gives them cover but causes a different kind of damage.

3. The outlier

I’ve come to see that especially with mothers who scapegoat, thinking a child is an outlier is usually a function of the mother’s own goodness of fit; the child is sufficiently different from both herself and her other children that whatever parenting skills she does have are completely overwhelmed, and she reacts by shifting the blame onto the child. In the family narrative, this child usually bears the burden of responsibility for the household being hard to run or any other problem the mother might be experiencing.

4. The reminder

This comes up most frequently with children of divorce who either look like or supposedly “take after” or act like a parent’s ex-spouse, but it also comes up with those from intact households in which the child supposedly resembles a family relative who is disliked, hated, or is a black sheep or some combination of all. It can be overtly expressed—“You are just like your dad, irresponsible and lazy”—or covert, as was the case for Dina, who happens to be a psychologist:

“As a kid, I couldn’t understand why I was always to blame and my sister was always fabulous. I was a straight-A student, high achiever, and my sister was none of those things. But there was history. My father committed the sin of leaving my mother and remarrying happily. I committed the sin of looking like him—tall, thin, brunette, and intellectual. My sister is my mother’s physical—blonde and petite—and not-too-serious clone. It took the therapy which was part of my training to see the elephant in the living room.”

Scapegoating is verbal abuse, no matter how it is normalized or rationalized. And it really doesn’t matter how parents choose their victims; it only matters that they do.

Copyright © Peg Streep 2021

Facebook image: fizkes/Shutterstock

References

Gemmill, Gary. “The Dynamics of Scapegoating in Small Groups, Small Group Research (November, 1989), vol, 20 (4), pp. 406-418

Rothschild, Zachary R., Mark J. Landau, et al. “A Dual Motive Model of Scapegoating: Displacing Blame to Reduce Guilt or Increase Control,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2012), vol. 102(6), 1148-1161.references

About the Author

Peg Streep

Peg Streep’s newest book is Verbal Abuse: Recognizing, Dealing, Reacting, and Recovering. She is the author or coauthor of 15 books, including Daughter Detox: Recovering from an Unloving Mother and Reclaiming Your Life.


RETRIEVED https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-support/202104/how-toxic-families-choose-child-scapegoat

Ongoing ‘generational’ differences?

Timed perfectly(?), an encounter with some graduates + a younger BBC student occurred on a train TWG-CEN: (eMail contents to BBC, OCA & QR)

/ / / Belatedly  & with “it’s a generational thing” regret as both an Old Boy, OCA-Bursary recipient & past BBC Teacher’s Aide 

#duckduckgo, retrieved 2022

volunteer, the following results from a QR TWG-CEN ~3:43pm:
– QR/TransLink Concession Card Recepients (4/5 seniors, 1 green)- uniformed BBC Students “represent the school & should give the greatest (public) impression” (QR, BBC & OCA)- similar BBC Admin messages have been successfully enacted, yet ‘younger learn from older’ isn’t practiced- passionate language was triggered, resulting from overall ‘untouchable/innocent’ response(?) (predominately seniors)- immediate conversation with QR staff reinforced these “students from private schools” conundrum.


Now would be a good time for BBC to seperate itself, from the herd-mentality. Otherwise, expecting ongoing feedback re: these matters.

BadApples

Now realising that I too have been grouped as part of the ‘bad apples’, perhaps if a collective group with other BadApples could be joined-or-started! Through continuing amounts of surviving-victims coming forward, the ‘occasional’ is growing to wider audiences there’ll be less ‘pots calling kettles black’ + more merging of a multi-levelled society.

Pot calling kettle black, Google images.

Now realising that I too have been grouped as one of the ‘bad apples’, perhaps if a collective group with other BadApples could be joined-or-started! Through continuing amounts of surviving-victims coming forward, the ‘occasional’ is growing to wider audiences there’ll be less ‘pots calling kettles black’ + more merging of a multi-levelled sharing. Probably how our nation appears in front of the camera!

Alternative sides of brain, Google images.

Brisbane Boys’ Colleges https://www.bbc.qld.edu.au/life-at-bbc/boarding/

Catholic Schools https://www.cecv.catholic.edu.au/Our-Schools/Child-Safety

Anglican Church Grammar Schools https://www.ascqld.org/programs/child-safety/

Grammar Schools https://www.brisbanegrammar.com/information/policies-procedureshttps://www.ipswichgrammar.com/education/student-wellbeing

Boarding Schools https://www.qld.gov.au/emergency/safety/children

Karma, Google Images.

Cognitive dissonance’, ‘monopolised’, ‘excluded’, ‘negative attitude’ & ‘victim-blaming’ were included in a recent therapy appt. Following which, another surviving-victim began having an early-stage discussion of what was involved in both finding out more + preparing for meets with knowmore! Karma, Murphy’s luck, or pieces of reality fitting together?

Murphy’s luck, Google images.

Dysfunctional family + National Redress

How much of “unfair smear-campaigns that will be initiated at breakneck speed to everyone the parents know,
the lack of compassion,
understanding and support from others,
and the loneliness, confusion and grief to process after we sever ties.” … #dysfunctional family? (1 of 2)

…understanding and support from others,
and the loneliness, confusion and grief to process after we sever ties.” … are experienced by those who’ve withdrawn from a #dysfunctional family? #nationalredress is approaching settlement for 1 CSA surviving-victim: ‘Apologies’ awaited. (2 of 2)

RETRIEVED https://sdbcrc.wordpress.com/2021/09/19/dysfunctional-family-national-redress/

NRS Submission (1st stage)

Although we’re each taught that toddlers-teenagers are to be treated with “purety + innocence”, as ‘children of god’, Institutions of #BaptistChurch, #BrisbaneBoysCollege + #BoysBrigade have had their past behaviours brought into question.
-(twitter)-
#DSS-#NRS will now research their inclusion, in preparation for assessment of these #ChildSexualAbuse impacts. Bless each of you.
Boys Brigade, Brisbane Boy’s College

T-minus 7-6-5 …

Details are being planned & records collected …

Learning the facts is the first step to preventing child sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse Statistics |

The statistics and facts below can help you understand what child sexual abuse is, the risk factors and consequences for survivors, and how to identify and report suspected abuse. For all statistics and references, download the full statistics PDF.

The Magnitude of the Problem

Child sexual abuse is far more prevalent than people realize. Find out how big the problem really is.
Magnitude Statistics

Offender Statistics

Those who molest children look and act just like everyone else. Abusers can be neighbors, friends, and family members.
Offender Statistics

Circumstances of Abuse

Child sexual abuse takes place under
specific, often surprising circumstances.
Circumstances Statistics

Risk Factors

While no child is immune, there are child and family characteristics that can heighten the risk of sexual abuse.
Risk Factor Statistics

Consequences of Abuse

Emotional and mental health problems are often the first consequence and sign of child sexual abuse.
Consequences Statistics

Facts on Reporting

Only about one-third of child sexual abuse incidents are identified and even fewer are reported.
Reporting Statistics

Signs of Abuse

Do you know what to do if you suspect or discover child sexual abuse? Learn the facts about signs of abuse that will help you identify when to report.
What to Do Facts

All Statistics

Download a pdf with all statistics.
All Statistics


RETRIEVED https://www.d2l.org/the-issue/statistics/

‘Corruption, abuse, deception AND obstruction …’

Does the mention of any of the terms of ‘corruption, abuse, deception, obstruction’ cause a creepy feeling, the hairs on the back of your neck stand, or a chill run down your spine? You may have been effected by any of inappropriate issues, that are still becoming prevalent today. Most of us are familiar with the saying of “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely”. (Lord Acton)

Translations of this are often made into areas of vulnerability: Teacher-Students (pedophilia), Church Leader-Youth (child sexual abuser), Sports Coach-Player (privatelessons), Disability Carer-disabled (manipulation), Government-Indigenous (stolen generations), Caretaker-Retiree (aged care abuse) and Banks-Customers (coercion). Thankfully, there’s been many Royal Commissions called, with more to come. Our ‘RoyalCommBBC’ is only a small example of what can be possible, when the Sharing of beneficial Information-News-Experiences-Solutions are made.

A great part of any Institution, is that like members typically stick together. It’s been found that when ‘reality hits home’, many of us acknowledge that they’re not alone AND there is a simple solution available. This is where RCbbc can help, in supporting past Students, Parents and Friends in contacting experts in their fields.

Revelation 2/3

Sorry, if this post is shorter than the 1st! Tue nite’s 2nd Revelation hit home a lot harder for me + my weekly Counselling call starts in a few hrs. While I tried to take some notes, of how Catholic patterns were carried on in both school classes + individual attacks-instances. Even while noting these out, my mind feels like it’s returning to a spinning-whirlwind feeling. Predators knew this + took advantage of it.

PAUSE Take a break, from what you’re doing. These moments can be very complex and anyone involved, may be drawn into the trappings. Put your phone, or computer down and clear your mind. You can always return later.

Advice on STRESS-tension

While I was returning, to continue typing (after my break), an advert of the 3/3 Episode of Revelation was playing on TV. Whilst I had been making comments, when I 1st saw it on Tue nite actually watching it directly had a ‘freezing’ effect. Not temperature, but in my movements. I hadn’t felt like that, since after another church incident in 1990. 🧊

ABC’s iView has available online viewings of these Revelation Episodes, which also allow you to watch what you can, pause + replay whenever you’re ready!

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/revelation

Watching Revelation in iview

International students (part 2)

Not realising how impacting the issue of international students would be, it seems that this is a largely untapped area. Unsurprisingly, as Education appears as a high commodity in Australia’s Budget, through the handling of Students our nation has boundless incentives to be hands-on(😯?). Similar to the frequent defence of ‘no harm intended’, the amounts of information + reasons for foreign speaking Families of suspected CSA surviving Children + Students is quite astounding!

‘Foreign students’ study in Australia

From Victorian Education Dept’s Risk Assessment Template for International Students, the Events or Environments of Highest risk are:

  • Homestay host is not clear on Child Safe requirements and mandatory reporting procedure;
  • Parent of International student not clear on how to report child abuse;

This is where BBC has performed well, as to the the first item – mandatory reporting procedure. Discussions had with the PMSA confirm this, in-addition to easily viewing + Sharing copies of the related PMSA Historical Abuse Redress Policy (PDF). What does cause concern is the ongoing leaps in statistics of BBC’s previous, current and potential enrolments. This is where the second listed ‘Highest risk’ appears, in the items above. Even through discussions with BBC ‘Old Boys’ experiences in foreign countries, it appears that even reported Australian CSA occurrences are not included with other Education systems. This could be compounded in ESL predicaments, as demonstrated by particular interest in views from non-English countries.

Visitors – Jan 20

Of greatest concern, is those Students + their Families who ‘fall between the gaps’. Through providing our factual evidence, our RCbbc Shares the following link to the International Baccalaureate’s ‘Discussing child protection in international schools’ (http://blogs.ibo.org/blog/2016/04/14/discussing-child-protection-in-international-schools/). Of particular notes is that the key topics of:

  • Educating educators (including International Police Cert.)
  • Lifting the lid
  • More work needs to be done

Closing off with the Author’s for IB Schools + protecting children:

Larsson’s advice for IB World Schools

  • Research the resources available
  • Attend training
  • Invite experts into your communities

To protect children:

  • Listen to them
  • Support them
  • Believe them
  • Find an expert to immediately investigate – it can be damaging to a child to have them repeat a story over and over again to someone who isn’t trained to do the interview.