I wasn’t sure how to title this. I don’t want to trivialize what scapegoats go through growing up and until we learn healthy boundaries. So that ruled out things such as “The Brighter Side of Being Scapegoated”, “Strengths of the Scapegoat”. One of my happier memories is my mother playing Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits really loud. So as I was trying to come up with a title, I thought of the song “I Am Woman” and the lyric, “wisdom born of pain.” and that seems very fitting. I’m going to share my own wisdom born of the pain of being scapegoated and encourage you to do the same if you feel comfortable doing so. And it doesn’t have to be 100% positive. It can be something which is a double edged sword depending upon the circumstances.
Empathy for the Outsider/Underdog:
Having been in that position so often myself, I feel a deep empathy for others who are being treated unfairly and unjustly. I always worry about inadvertently excluding people. To the point where I had a dream which would make a funny Facebook post, but since only 2 friends were in it, I didn’t want the rest to feel left out! 🙂 For the most part it’s a good thing, but a few times, I’ve allowed myself to get sucked into other people’s drama.
Freedom from Conformity:
Knowing that I wasn’t going to belong/be accepted within the family post-split and in school was in some ways freeing, as well as painful. No matter what I did, I wouldn’t get accepted. The other girls in junior high/high school had to worry about losing friendship if they didn’t like the right teen heart throb, wear the right outfit, exclude the right girl, etc. I was free to read what I wanted, think what I wanted to, etc. The only downside to this is that sometimes it’s helpful to know what the norms are to get along with a group, such as at work. I’m getting better at this.
I learned fairly early on that I had to be self-reliant. While I sometimes have trouble letting people get close, it allowed me to get out of my mother’s home fairly early on. Which probably helped reduce the amount of damage done by her scapegoating and abuse.
My Sense of Humor:
I’ve developed a somewhat dark sense of humor which has seen me through some difficult times. As the Jimmy Buffet lyric goes, ” If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” And in stressful work situations, instead of shredding each other, I’ve been able to get co-workers to laugh by poking fun at the situations.