Understanding the self-absorbed, demeaning, manipulative, controlling, and competitive narcissist and how to stop being a do-gooder and losing yourself…aligned with the Biblical Cain and Abel story

Posts tagged ‘scapegoat’

The Golden Child and His Scapegoat

NPD family

“I will tell my daughter what a teacher once told me: she who walks through poopies gets poopies stuck to her. Narcissistic people cut a wide, messy swath. Helping her keep her shoes clean is going to be a mighty task”. ~Shawn T. Smith

Interestingly, in the Bible, a goat was considered a scapegoat after the Jewish priest symbolically placed the sins of the people onto the goat and sent it into the wilderness (Lev. 16). Nowadays we think of a scapegoat as a person or group who takes the blame for others. There is always one or more scapegoats in a cainistic home, taking the blame for Cain so he can appear perfect and without fault.

Sometimes the cainist in the family is one of the children. He is granted special privileges as long as he does what the self-absorbed parent wants. What’s more, the entire family is taught to cater to this cainistic child, sometimes referred to as the Golden Child. By being placed on a pedestal by the entire family, this privileged child identifies with his exceptional status and believes that the entire world must accommodate him. Nothing is too good for him. All his faults are either ignored or blamed on the scapegoat(s) in the family.

A 1994 episode of the sitcom Friends is a perfect example of this “Golden Child” and scapegoat pattern. Monica invites her parents, Judith and Jack Geller, and her brother Ross for dinner. When she tells her mother, Judith, that she’s making spaghetti, her mother whispers under her breath, “Well, that’s easy.”

 As they sit at the dinner table eating, Judith Geller continues to criticize everything about Monica. Ross has some bad news to share with his parents but procrastinates, fearing his parents’ disapproval.

For a brief moment, it appears that Monica’s Dad, Jack, might come to his daughter’s defense when he says, “Don’t listen to your mother. You’re independent and you always have been.” But then he continues. “Even when you were a kid, and you were chubby and you had no friends, you were just fine!”

In the next breath, he begins praising Ross while continuing to disparage Monica. “There are people, like Ross, who need to shoot for the stars, with his museum and his papers getting published. Other people are satisfied with staying where they are. I’m telling you, these are the people who never get cancer. They’re happy with what they have, they’re basically content, like… cows.”

Monica pulls Ross aside and begs him to share his downbeat information which, she hopes, might take the negative attention off her. Finally Ross blurts out his distressing news, telling his parents that his ex-wife, Carol, is a lesbian, living with her girlfriend, pregnant with his child, but plans to give the baby her lesbian lover’s last  name.

Both parents stare at each other in disbelief. Then Judith Geller turns to Monica and spats:

“And you knew about this.”

This is all very funny in a sitcom, but that is precisely how it plays out in a cainistic home with the Golden Child and the scapegoat. Even when the favored child is knee deep in error, he can do no wrong and the scapegoat can do no right. Not only is the scapegoat blamed for the Golden Child’s problem, but the former is treated as if she has no needs and often given the role of care giving (without realizing that is the role she assumes to receive love).  Monica was the one fixing dinner and the rest of the family merely needed to show up. Monica was seen as having no needs even when she was fat and had no friends.

Understandably, the Golden Child favors the doting cainistic parent, and the scapegoat, who is blamed for everything, is fearful of both the Golden Child and the self-absorbed parent and becomes the Enabler in an attempt to ward off as much abuse as possible. This lopsided treatment toward children creates jealousy, envy, and hostility between the siblings. Indeed, Cain has been known to purposely cultivate the rift between the siblings through this favoritism and unfairness so he (the cainistic parent ) can hide behind the Golden Child who abuses the scapegoat. This cheats the scapegoated child from knowing herself and also sets her up to think she deserves abuse in adulthood.

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Cain Needs A Scapegoat

1_123125_2093564_2208788_2213739_090317_sci_narcissism2tn.jpg.CROP.original-originalCainists couldn’t survive without a scapegoat—someone or something on whom he dumps his faults and inadequacies. Without a scapegoat, he would need to accept responsibility for his behavior, and that won’t ever happen. As mentioned before, it’s vitally important that Cain views himself as the good guy dressed in white and the Enabler as the bad seed dressed in black. Scapegoating, then, is equal to the funny line, “The devil made me do it” used in the seventies by the late comedian and actor Clerow Wilson, Jr., known professionally as Flip Wilson. The line became a national catch phrase to deny accountability. By all means scapegoating is anything but funny. It’s painful.

Projection and scapegoating, although unfair, let cainists disassociate from feelings of failure and shame. He’s brilliant, an Einstein. The Enabler is dumb, a sucker. He kicks off a smear campaign to make her look appalling or slothful so he can look awesome and ambitious. He’ll suck up to authority even though he holds intense rage toward all authority to project a false image to hide his real feelings. And when he maligns someone, he cleverly merges humor into his projection to make it seem palatable or publicly acceptable.

Cain’s scapegoats include everything from loved ones to business associates, from his car to the weather—anything that shifts the blame beyond himself. For example, when condo resident, Angela, scratched the paint off the wall with her fingernail and accused the contractor, Mason, of applying only one coat of paint, he adamantly denied it, blaming the problem on defective paint. In other words, the subnormal paint was the scapegoat for his inaction.

It’s sad that families and organizations throw cherished members under the bus, but it’s done all the time in dysfunctional systems, such as, alcoholic homes and cainistic families and organizations. It might take the Enabler years to understand that she was set up to deflect Cain’s inauthentic, deceitful behavior so he can look better than Jesus Christ himself. In fact, some Enablers go to their graves feeling like complete failures when they did nothing wrong. According to psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, scapegoating is “the genesis of human evil.”

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