Family Scapegoat Has Enough

Below is a post I originally wrote back on July 21, 2013, just a few months after my father passed.It was on one blog and I’d left it in “Draft.” When I found it again, I’d posted it in another blog on February 16, 2017. Both blogs abandoned.

Today, July 29, 2017 I came across it again and felt it belonged here.

It’s interesting to read it now after so much time, because I have experienced a sort of slight dissociative amnesia, in between the dates at different times, concerning different things pertaining to my family.

Back in the early part of having severed ties, I was newly waking up to the abuse from my family…more or less.

I was able to see it more clearly I guess you could say. I began to know without doubt that they were causing me loads of emotional and mental harm. Through the years, I knew something was wrong, but I had a lot of self doubt, which I know now came from much gas lighting.

But now, years later, I read this (and many other things I wrote back in 2013) and I can see the self-awareness and the fact that I’d awakened to their bullshit.  But now, with so much time passed, there are things I read here and had forgotten that that was how it went down.

Sometimes I can’t even articulate as well now as I did then as to why I don’t speak to my family. I just say that they abused me in the last months of contact with them. But it’s so much more and deeper than that.

Makes me really glad I wrote during those early days. So without further ado…

They knocked me down but I’m not staying there

Another email arrived, even after I said I needed time and space away from the family. My mother still insisted on asking something of me before she went to France.

When I sent the email in response to a vague message she left on my voice mail, I made it clear I was not available.

At least I thought I did.

But she insisted on asking anyway, to see if I’d be finished “taking my space” by the time she wanted me to house and cat-sit while she traveled.

I told her no, and pretty much left it at that. It was weird for me not to spin into an explanation to try to control her feelings for me.

I grew up explaining myself, pleading my own cases, even when it seemed both senseless and common sense. The outcome for me was the same. I worried about what she thought and how she’d feel.

I found I was asking myself a lot, “What the fuck? Why can’t she understand without an explanation?”

Now I ask, “Why do I feel the need to explain?”

Normally, I would’ve felt compelled to tell her why. But not this time.

I had attempted too many times to discuss things that needed to be cleared up and resolved. I tried more times than I can count, to lead the big elephants out of the room. But she made it clear one day, she’d had enough and was no longer open to discussions initiated in this vein.

I don’t think* my mom has enough awareness to know why I want the time. And in my mind, it’s permanent…this ‘No Contact’ status, because I don’t think she’ll ever realize the real problem, because the problem is me…according to her.

It started with me, she believes. Her words to me over the phone after I’d answered a question she’d asked about the tension among my siblings and me.

Later after that conversation as well as others, she engaged in and enabled some of the manipulation and triangulation among my sister, herself and me.  And the fucked up thing is, that at the time I viewed it as her being helpful, a mediator for us.  But when I ‘woke up’ I saw it for what it was. She had leaned too much to the side of my sister, for her actions to be that of a mediator.

It’s gone on too long and the roles are so ingrained.

Things are more clear now concerning my toxic family dynamic and it’s dysfunction. And I believe, to remove myself from all of it, is the healthiest option in all aspects of the word ‘health.’

There is so much to work through. It hurts, the way things have come about, and the very thought of learning that love doesn’t exist in my family of origin is very painful.

But most important at the moment, is to keep myself clear of giving them or anyone the opportunity to spew their toxic sludge all over me with blame, finger pointing and taking no accountability.

I have quit the job of family scapegoat.

*I know my mother didn’t and doesn’t have enough awareness now. Between the date originally written and now, she has proven it to me more than once.

Ties No Longer Have to Bind

black sheepWhy should family ties necessarily bind?

Once upon a time being accepted in your tribe was a matter of life and death, so it would be detrimental if we didn’t do what we needed to do, including bow down to the role of family scapegoat, for example. That’s what I was.

Maybe I still am, in their view.

But I’m not there to know. I am not there to be treated that way. My going No Contact or more like No Response was my way of drawing a boundary.

I think it’s still an imprint in the DNA, to feel the need to stick with family, even if they’re abusive.Being part of us, I think is why I felt so anxious about severing those ties before I did so. On the surface I was afraid of their reaction to not liking it.

Would I be in danger physically? Would they come knocking on my door? Would they endlessly text or call?   I didn’t know. But I had to take the chance for myself because I was emotionally exhausted and beat down. I needed to get away from them…permanently…as far as I knew. And as far as I still know.

It’s nice to think that they will see. Once you’re away they will figure out what happened and why you want to keep your distance.

That may happen. But in many cases, that most likely will not happen.

There is ambiguity within me about wanting any family member to want to resolve things. Even if they seemed genuine there would be doubt and if they really were genuine what about all the shit that’s already happened? It would take a lot of apologizing and talking to resolve the past.

I’ve said I’d be open to such discussions and conversations. But then how would I know what the intentions are from a phone call or a message?

How would I know it would not just be a trick to lure the scapegoat back in, or just plain bullshit?

There are I’m sure ways to tell, especially when you have “known” someone all your life and you’ve been tricked and pushed and bullied and beaten so much. There’s a lot to be said for intuition. In addition it would be in their words. And later in their actions if it was a trick and they said all the right things.

Someone who is truly sorry and wants to resolve issues is going to know what to say and how to approach things. They will be awake to their own errors and won’t be accusatory in an email or voicemail. They should point out where they went wrong so you can easily know they are self aware.

I also don’t think they are going to send emails and leave voice mails that don’t acknowledge the bullying and abuse at all. God knows the attempts at contact from my family members mentioned nothing of the hell I put up with.

They’d rather sit with the elephant in the room and in the ether. But of course the elephant wasn’t addressed when it was fully present and in fact held against me later. I was blamed for it. My mother blamed me for of it, of all people.

So even if there were sincere attempts and desires to want to discuss things, to resolve and heal the hurt, to apologize, I’m not sure I’d be ready right now, nor trusting. Words prove nothing. A whole lot of action would be needed to prove it was meant and sincere. And that takes time.

The abuse and bullying got to a point that it was severe, and I’m still angry that they would even do those sorts of things in the first place. It can’t be changed I know. But the damage is deep. It’s also layered dating back to childhood for me, going all the way up to a couple years ago.

There’s a lot not to forgive. And besides, I’m just getting to me…the real me and I haven’t even gotten past the surface yet. There’s a lot to get to know and years of catching up with myself.  Given the oppression that was dished out and then my own defensive suppression I felt was necessary to protect myself, I think it’s better that I do some healing on my own.

But then if they were actually sincere, the healing would be faster if we were ‘all in it together’ I think.  I know that’s not reality though. People who finger point, scapegoat a family member, triangulate and blame don’t usually just wake up one day and say, “OH, what a shit I’ve been. How narcissistic and damaging of me to be so abusive.”

If it happens at all, I’m guessing it’s rare. It’s their way of dealing with their own trauma. It’s more comfortable for many people to be in denial, pretend it’s the fault of one other person, establish a scapegoat and instill lots of double standards.  But that doesn’t mean you gotta take it.

To find out who I am, who I really am is important to me and if I were to accept them back into my life right now, even if they truly were sorry, even if they really wanted to work at healing themselves and the dynamic among the family, I have myself to tend to right now.

It would be too easy to fall back into my role, as it would be for them as well. No matter how sorry or apologetic they all might be, we all still have our triggers and history.  So I can only assume it wouldn’t be easy for them as well. Change is hard for everyone so that would mean it would be difficult for them not to scapegoat me. It would be difficult not to utilize their double standards of their blame and shame against me.

The point is moot though. I think this may be permanent. I can’t imagine that they would ever understand or stop seeing me as the problem. I can’t ever see them as coming to realize how hurtful their treatment of me was, let alone that they were even treating me like shit.

I don’t expect that any of them will ever be self-aware enough to see the blame they put on me.  Nor will they push past the denial of the triangulating and manipulation they pulled.

I just don’t see the rug being put back where it’s been pulled out. And I don’t see them looking under said rug for all the shit they swept under it.

Although I removed myself, I still feel ostracized, because I was pushed out. I wouldn’t exactly say that I went willingly, even though I used my own will to walk away. I did it to take care of myself, for self-preservation and self-defense.