Tag Archives: Scapegoating

Don’t Shut Up, Your Voice Matters

11 Feb

Well Friends, I have been dumbfounded. I haven’t been sure what to write about lately because there is just so much sad news, I can hardly bear to write about it. When you grow up with oppression and live in fear of a belt and are refused an education, your hope turns to the government and church—people who try to make laws to protect you.  But when your church and government rise toward authoritarianism it can really bring on your CPTSD. These days we all need to keep a paper bag nearby to breathe into or puke into–depending on the news du jour.

It’s even sadder to realize our own social media feeds probably contributed to the election of the lowest life form to ever enter the White House. The more intelligent people who voted for him are now beginning to realize he is not keeping his promise to drain the swamp, but selling it off to vipers through the highest bidders.

So what can we do when women are bullied and belittled as sex toys and not allowed to speak of the truth of racism in congress? We will persist and make our voices heard.

What can we do when other-abled people are made fun of and bullied by the powers that be? We can educate and stand up against bullying–and I’m not talking about protecting one spoiled millionaire’s child, I am talking about the brown kids, the fat kids and the gay kids down the block and most women reporters.

What can we do when a mother is separated from her children by an invisible wall that ultimately threatens their very existence? We can educate and offer empathy to those who are worried this will happen to their own families.

What can we say when the government keeps lying and putting out alternative facts which are basically lies? We can pull out the videos of these lies and educate the public.

What can we do when racists and people who do not support the separation of church and state are able to buy their own seats in the cabinet of our land? We can pray and educate and write and call our congress men and women.

It’s hard to speak up and let our voices be heard when our Christian brothers and sisters disagree. I don’t have all the answers, but I recently came across a paper outlining the history of the Seventh day Adventist denomination in Nazi Germany. It was the most incriminating article I have ever read about the church I was born into and raised in. You can read it here. We cannot ignore our history, because history often repeats itself and there are many today who deny the holocaust ever happened. So here are a few  voices to remind us of history.

“I remember: it happened yesterday or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the kingdom of night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.

“I remember: he asked his father: ‘Can this be true?’ This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?

“And now the boy is turning to me: ‘Tell me,’ he asks. ‘What have you done with my future? What have you done with your life?’

“And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.

“And then I explained to him how naïve we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must–at that moment–become the center of the universe.” -Elie Wiesel

Don't Shut Up, Cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/listing/219719647/dont-shut-up-print-survivor-girl-print?ref=shop_home_active_47

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“You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid…. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer…. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand.

“Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

These words come from a Protestant pastor who spend the last seven years of the Nazi rule in a concentration camp:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–
And there was no one left to speak for me.”

-Martin Niemöller

What can we do when other Christians insist we should be quiet? We can point out how the religious right is not very spiritual and not very right. It’s not enough to have a flag on your profile and post KJV Bible quotes at random. These things do NOT make a Christian. This war we are fighting comes from the kingdom of darkness—

Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is NOT a war where we should post inflammatory memes or spew hate toward those who think differently than we do. Save your breath for breathing and breathe out love. Only love can heal the world.

Love does not boast,
Love is not proud.

Love does not dishonor others,
Love is not self-seeking,
Love is not easily angered,
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil,
Love rejoices with the truth.

Love always protects,
Love always trusts,
Love always hopes,
Love always perseveres.
-1 Corinthians 13

By this all people will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.

Love speaks the truth—whether your friends understand or your pastor agrees or your teacher cares. Just ask Viktor Frankl, Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Niemöller, Maya Angelou, and Jesus. If we have learned anything from the past, it’s that we all need each other and all of our stories matter.


The Spirit of the Lord is Freedom

14 Oct

This blog is about freedom from narcissism and religious abuse. Today I am going to write about the deep sadness in my heart over the church I grew up in and the growing threat to religious liberty.

Ted Wilson, the world president of the Seventh day Adventist church is on a witch hunt. Of course he claims he’s not, but any intelligent person paying attention knows what he’s doing. He pushed a paper through this last week to give the unions who have been ordaining women a year to stop or they will take legal action. A couple papers circulated from his office last week discussing a possible takeover of these unions because this president obviously does not support women pastors. It’s not just ordination Wilson is against, but actual women pastors.

A few years ago he was visiting Australia when a woman pastor was to be commissioned along with two men who were going to be ordained. When Wilson arrived, there was a change of plans and the woman was commissioned alone, so Wilson could come onto the platform when the women left while the men were ordained. Bluntly speaking, Wilson wouldn’t lay hands on her and pray over her. Can you imagine any of the disciples not doing this for a committed gospel worker? Can you imagine Jesus doing this?

Sandra Roberts has been an elected conference president for three years, but her name has never been listed in the Adventist yearbook, nor has she been welcomed at official meetings. It doesn’t matter that Jesus has called her and she gives her heart to God’s work, she is simply shut out because she is a woman.

So why should I care? I’m not a pastor. I care because what happens to one women affects all of us. As Maya Angelou said,”Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”

I care because male headship divides families and it is splitting this church. I care because it took me years to realize God loves me as much as my brothers, because I grew up thinking God preferred men over women to pray or preach or lead worship. I care because little girls growing up right now need to know that God values them as much as the boys. I care because Adventists have always stood on the side of freedom until now.

There is a movie coming out next month about Desmond Doss, a World War II medic who saved lives without carrying a gun. Adventists believe no one should bear arms if it goes against their conscience. They also have a religious liberty department and lawyers to ensure their members are not forced to work on Sabbath.

Until now, freedom of conscience was of utmost importance if you belong to the Seventh-day Adventist church, but now there is group of people who are not approved to use their freedom and they are women pastors. These women believe they are called by God and Mr. Wilson wants them to ignore this call. How oppressive is that?

It’s so ironic it reeks of insanity, but in a church founded by a woman who preached all over the world, there has risen a very self-righteous and vocal movement to proclaim women pastors under the influence of Satan. If that is not a witch hunt, I don’t know what is.

Many Adventist scholars in North America firmly disagree. The seminary at Andrews University has put out a document refuting male headship which came into the church in the 1970s. While founder Ellen White was alive there were women pastors. She herself carried ordination credentials although she was not ordained by men, but claimed to be ordained by God. One would hardly expect her to be welcome by these men if she were preaching today.

So how did we get in this mess? Men who wish to be on a higher plane than women. They not only wish to be seated next to Jesus before the women, but they would prefer the women be seen and not heard. This is obvious by the vote itself where nearly three hundred people voted, but only nine of them were women.

Such exclusions are abusive and go against all we know about Jesus, yet these men claim to be doing God’s work. They aren’t worried about people leaving the church under their abusive watch because they believe in the shaking in which people will be shaken out of the church. They even got these words from a woman, but I doubt she thought the shaking would come down to women pastors because she sent her own tithe to support women pastors.

Jesus has always been calling women. He called a woman to evangelize her entire village. He called Mary to sit at his feet. He called a woman to preach the first resurrection sermon to his disciples. And Jesus is still calling women today.

Mr. Wilson might think he’ll be the president to usher in the second coming, but I fear he has forgotten who is actually coming. Here’s a little parable I wrote for him. If you know him pass it on.

You Can't Hold Back the Dawn, cherilynclough.com,http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/15944700-cant-hold-back-the-dawn?asc=u

Prints and Accessories Here

Once upon a time there was a group of workers who were waiting for the master of the estate to come at any time. He had specifically asked all of them to bring in the harvest before he returned. In order to do this it took every man, woman and child.

They were dealing with less than ideal conditions because they were working in the dark of night and they wanted to harvest as much as they could before the master arrived.

The master knew how difficult the task would be and had warned everyone to make sure they didn’t run out of oil. Some of the workers, concerned about a shortage of oil went into town to get more oil to make sure they had plenty. When they got back, they seemed to work twice as fast.

A few men believed the Master had put them in charge over the others. They looked around and saw how fast the workers with new oil were working and decided to limit the use of the good oil to men. It was said that men work faster and can do more heavy lifting so the oil needed to be redistributed.

Some disagreed. Women in particular disagreed because they were all about doing their master’s business. They did not feel they were accountable to the men who wanted to limit their ability to do their job because they believed they answered to the master himself.

Other men agreed with the women and by standing up against those who wished to control, empowered the women to keep working, but as the night grew darker a great conflict ensued.

Men against women, men against men and even women against women began to argue and take sides. The question came down to who was most important to use that good oil.

The men who imagined themselves in charge, firmly believed only men should have access to this oil–after all God created Adam first and Eve was his helper sent to procure the oil so Adam could do his important work. Others said God created both Adam and Eve in his image so neither worker was more important than the other.

While the workers were arguing over who could use the good oil, a terrible storm came up. It was worse than anyone had seen before. A large portion of the crop was still in the fields and they were all heartbroken to see how much they had lost, yet many blamed each other for the losses.

There was still much work to be done, but now it was much harder to work around the hail which had frozen some of the crop. Many were exhausted from the fight and scrambled to salvage what they could, but they were shocked to be told they must give up their oil or they would be arrested and fined their wages. They were given one hour.

They had no more time to waste on vain arguments to soothe men’s egos. The women and men who supported them saw a faint glimpse of light on the horizon and they knew if they could just keep working through the hour, the dawn would soon break and they would no longer need the oil.

The last few minutes they worked with what appeared to be super human effort and it was amazing what they were able to accomplish. Then it happened. Light. Glorious Light such as none of them had ever seen before. The Master had arrived to honor his faithful workers.

The men in charge ran out in front to try to explain to the Master how these women had impeded the work with their insistence that they were equal to the men, but the Master told them to go to the back of the line because in his kingdom whoever is first shall be last and the women who were last would be welcomed first.

Then to everyone who tried to stop another worker, the Master said the most incriminating words, “Away from me, you evil doers, you’ve twisted my words, you’ve esteemed yourselves above others and kept the best seats for yourselves and by doing this, you’ve lost a great part of my precious harvest. You certainly don’t know me–because I never knew you.”


How to Thrive After Narcissistic Abuse

7 Sep

It’s been three years since a friend invited me to join a private group on Facebook. I didn’t believe the group was for me so I ignored the first request. After a second offer, I joined to be polite. Within an hour I found the answer to a puzzle that had been plaguing me for most of my life. I discovered the traits of narcissistic personality disorder and on the eve of my fiftieth birthday, God gave me the great gift of understanding and peace.

I’d been writing a blog about God and my own questions and doubts, but this understanding of NPD healed my struggles on a new level because it helped me realize it wasn’t God who had abandoned me, it was my parents.

If you are new to understanding Narcissism, here are three tips that have saved my life:

  1. Find Community and Support for Your Dreams

No one can face life alone. We were created for community, but many of our narc parents didn’t stay in community. We were forced into isolation because we grew up moving a lot or had to avoid people to keep the family secrets behind closed doors.

Finding a good therapist and group of healthy friends is your most important job. No one can survive alone and by making you the scapegoat, the narcissist wants you to feel you have no one to turn to, but the good news is the world really is full of loving people.

  1. Don’t Let Others Define You

The Narc can try to put you in a box or send you out from the camp as the scapegoat, but this says more about the narc and flying monkeys than it does about you.

There is a line the Narc likes to use: “If everyone else has a problem with you, then you must be the problem.” This is a narc fantasy and only works for the narc in their limited world. Think about it. How many friends does the narc have? I’m not talking about Facebook connections which are mostly acquaintances. I’m talking about real friends who live in community with them for years. Most narcs don’t have many friends because they are judgmental and litigious. They either can’t stand people who don’t meet their needs or they sue them.

The Narc might think of you as the scapegoat, but what does this say about them? They are cowards who use group think to control others? They are so ashamed of their own choices they would rather lie about you than let you speak the truth about them?

What does it say about you that you have been used as their scapegoat? You must’ve been courageous enough to speak the truth or taken a stand that defied their plans. This means you stood out in the crowd by thinking for yourself.

  1. Re-Parent Your Child Inside

Every person will need to decide for themselves what they missed as a child and what they need today. I believe it’s possible to be re-parented by God. God showed me what Narcissism is on the eve of my fiftieth birthday. It was a painful blessing, but this road led to peace because now I have a name for this hidden abuse.

Keep your eyes open and read the gospels because as time goes by, you will find little signs from Abba that you are his beloved! We are all his beloved, but only a few seem to grasp this concept.

As I began my recovery from narcissistic abuse, I began to paint and write about what I discovered. This has helped a lot of people and I really can’t take credit for it because I’m just passing on what has been given to me. I have dedicated this year to writing my memoir and writing my stories has brought a lot of healing and peace too.

Memoir Elephant, cherilynclough.com, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/23081518-memoir-elephant?asc=u&c=541752-inner-child

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I’ve had flying monkeys question me about my blog and upcoming book as though I am writing to hurt my parents. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love my parents no matter what they’ve done or not done for me. I simply wish to have an open and honest relationship with my family because the dysfunction and lies were making me sick and I was forced to take the road less traveled if I wanted to be true to myself and God.

After years of combing through my memories and writing about it, I want to paraphrase my own version of that famous quote by Eric Lidell: God gives me insights from my life and despite the pain, when I write, I feel his pleasure.

In writing this memoir, I have learned a secret:

Memoir is not about the mean things that happened–it’s finding meaning in the things that happened.

How to Stop Feeling Like a Victim

10 Mar

Once upon a time we were all victims. We were helpless children who could not feed ourselves or dress ourselves. We were not strong enough to fight the violence or emotional abuse. We had not control over what happened to us. We didn’t ask to be born into a dysfunctional family. We were blown about by the narc’s whims. Today we might bear the scars of the past, sometimes we still feel like victims, but we are the grownups now and the best way to celebrate NOT being a victim is to let our voices be heard.

Part of being a grown up is taking responsibility now–not responsibility for what others do or how they feel, but responsibility for our own choices today. We get to choose what we want to remember. We get to choose our support family and we get to choose when and who we share our stories with.

Write the Truth, cherilynclough.com

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Ironically, when we choose to talk about our pain and seek healing, the narc will start playing the victim. They might say how much we are hurting them because we remember. They will deny the past and call us liars. They will do everything they can to ruin our reputations by getting our relatives and friends to feel sorry for them.

They will claim we are bitter and ruining the family peace because we won’t just forgive and forget but continue to talk about what happened. It’s a form of emotional abuse to ask us to ignore our past. We own all the years of our lives and we each have the right to our memories.

Remember our abusers are not victims. They are not helpless. They have options. They could own the past and admit what they have done. They could apologize. They could stop talking and lying about us. They could allow us to grieve the past and heal without trying to control us, but none of these things will happen if we are dealing with a true narc.

Healing comes when we own our past and claim what we need. One of the best ways to stop being a victim is to let our voices be heard. We can do this through therapy, support groups and reaching out to other former victims.

Healing comes as we share our stories with other people who have gone through similar experiences. Finding others who understand brings profound healing because healing comes when we realize we are not alone.

When it’s your time to speak, don’t let anyone silence your voice.

Owning our story
and loving ourselves through that process
is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.
-Brené Brown

You own everything that happened to you.
Tell your stories.
If people wanted you to write warmly about them,
they should have behaved better.
-Anne Lamott

Surviving a Narcissist

21 May

Every day thousands of people do things they never wanted to do because they are afraid of offending someone who is bullying them. I’m not talking about a grade school scenario where a bully steals someone’s lunch money. I am talking about dysfunctional family dynamics that are toxic due to narcissism.

We’ve all known people, who thinks of no one but self, but the narcissist is more than selfish, he wants to take all you have and if you won’t give it, he’ll find a way to make you regret it. Your relationship with a narcissist can go from him flattering you to seeking revenge in a very short time.


It seems there are a lot of people who have been victims of narcissism but they had no idea what a narcissist was until it was too late. I have a good friend who used to be a millionaire until she met a narcissist who embedded himself into her life and accounts and friendships and he took her for a ride. Fortunately, she was able to bounce back on her feet, but the experience was grueling.

I used to think a narcissist was someone who dressed spiffy and liked to look at himself in the mirror, but that’s a simple caricature of a narcissist. So what exactly is a narcissist? There is such a thing as a narcissistic scale and we all fit on it. To some degree as I have been told it is like a scale of self-confidence, but once someone passes a certain mark, they are no longer manifesting healthy, but malignant narcissism.

A malignant narcissist is someone who is so concerned with self and survival of the fittest, they use other people and avenge those who cross them. They have no empathy for their victims or anyone else. If they appear to be empathetic it is just a ruse to get someone on their side so they can use them.

When you have money, they wonder how to get it from you. You cook dinner; they want to eat it and don’t leave anything for whoever else is at the table. They see you have a new toy; they have no shame trying to take it from you.  But what really sets the malignant narcissist apart is their lack of empathy and desire to get even with you when you don’t do as they ask. Then they play a game of revenge. Except for the narcissist it is never a game, but a life and death quest for survival of the fittest.

M. Scott Peck calls them the people of the lie. Maya Angelou talks about people who commit little murders. The narcissist is out to kill your reputation and they have tools in their bag that a nice person like you never dreamed of using. This is why I am writing this series–I am writing it to increase awareness and understanding of how narcissists operate because many of us have been used and abused by them.

As you read the ways a narcissist will try to damage your life and reputation, there is one thing I must caution you against and that is using those tools back on the narcissist or anyone else. Power misused and revenge sought will only harm your soul and make you forget what it is like to love honestly and fully and then sadly, you too could become like the narcissist. When you know you are being mistreated, think of a way to pay it forward so you can stay grounded in love.


A Game We Can Never Win

Not Your Kind of People

Narcissistic Feed

Hooray for the Scapegoat

Beware: Flying Monkeys


Is It Unchristian To Go No Contact?


30 Apr

When Lana’s grandmother asked her to lie to her cousin about something she refused to have anything to do with the lie. Until this happened, she’d always managed to fly under the radar and get along with her grandma. She thought nothing more of it until she discovered her grandmother had blamed her for her own lies.

Lana couldn’t believe it. When she tried to explain the situation to her cousin she wouldn’t even hear her out and wanted nothing to do with Lana. This was the beginning of a new era in her life.

From then on no matter what happened, her grandmother, cousin and aunt blamed Lana for everything. She knew they talked about her because the rest of the family told her what they said. Lana was young and didn’t realize it at the time, but she had crossed a malignant narcissist and now there was all hell to pay because her grandmother was using her as the scapegoat.


The scapegoat is often a person who refuses to go along with the narcissist’s schemes. The term scapegoat comes from the Old Testament where the sins of all the people were laid on the scapegoat and it was sent away and shunned–never to be part of the community again. This is what a malignant narcissist intends to do to anyone who crosses their plans.

A toxic narcissist will spend hours talking about the person they have designated as the scapegoat. They will dream up ways to make them look like a villain in other people’s minds. Once they get other people thinking of you as the scapegoat, they will do everything they can to ruin your reputation and send in the flying monkeys. By naming you the scapegoat, they will try to infer that everything everyone else has done is really your fault–as if you had such power.

There are downsides to being the scapegoat. The Narc will now be shunning you and he may get others to ignore you too, but if you think about it, this is not such a bad development. Toxic narcissists are incapable of having a two way relationship. The only reason a narc needs anyone is to get their own needs filled, so you probably don’t miss being used by them.

The fallout of thinking for yourself not only results in the loss of being used by the narc, but it will affect all mutual relationships. This is because the narc does not believe in keeping the problems between you. They will not rest until they call every one you both know and try to turn them against you.

Narcs have a away of being very charming and funny and convincing. To those who have no real clue their story might seem plausible and some people will believe them, but those who really know you will read between the lines. Others might turn against you and take up the story the narc is spreading. Those who are deceived are probably acquaintances and weren’t really your friends to begin with. The last group will become flying monkeys who call you up and try to shame you for the narcissist or talk about you to other people because they believe the lies.

The scapegoat may have at one time provided narcissistic feed or been a flying monkey or they might just be wise enough to disengage with the schemes laid out by the Narc.

If you have become the designated scapegoat here is a high five for you! This means you have chosen to no longer be manipulated by the narc for narcissistic feed and you are now thinking for yourself. To be the scapegoat means the truth you know is so frightening to the narc they must spend all their energy defusing it.

If you are a Christ follower, you will remember that Jesus was the scapegoat for the Pharisees. He didn’t play their games, so they lied about him and tried to entrap him and eventually killed him. Jesus changed the game for all of us scapegoats. He took the blame for everything then He destroyed the lies.

Jesus always honors those who tell the truth and because of Him, all scapegoats will be set free by the truth.

A Game We Can Never Win

29 Apr

This week I am writing about narcissism. I barely knew what the term meant seven months ago. I have several friends who kept posting memes from ACON* support groups on FaceBook which kept resonating with me. Then I discovered The Empathy Trap Book and realized I am a highly empathetic person which basically set me up to be used by other people.

I was empathetic by nature, but I was also groomed to be this way. There were many times I gave every penny I had to adult family members. I did this because I saw them as victims who could not pay their bills and felt responsible for them.

As a child I was praised whenever I gave all my money to my family. I was told, “You are so thoughtful.”  Being called thoughtful was the highest compliment I received from my parents. I allowed it to become my identity because I wanted their love and approval. I didn’t realize I was playing a game I could never win.



For one thing the rules can change overnight. Someone can complain about all their problems and you can loan them money, but they will use it for something else. You can call it loaning money, but most likely you are just giving them money. When it becomes apparent they did not use it to pay bills, but went shopping instead, you can call them on the change of plans, but they will just say you don’t remember the original deal because they always intended to keep their options open. This is a form of gaslighting.

If you tell them you gave up all your Christmas money and you feel they used you, they will ask to speak to your husband and proceed to tell him you are a liar. Of course it doesn’t work because he was there when you made the original deal. Then they will blame you because you offered to help them and they will insist they never asked for help. Well there was a lot of hinting, but yeah, you are at fault—at fault for caring about people who basically want to use you.

I’ve had people switch their diet from dairy to vegan overnight–on Thanksgiving when I was hosting. I’ve had people yell at me for giving my cousin a piece of apple pie on Christmas.  I’ve had people furious because I put an egg in a cake. I’ve had people make fun of me for trying to help them when they were suicidal.

I’ve also had people dis me in public for supposedly not being sensitive enough because I am not a mother—especially painful when I am one of the most empathetic people in my family. I bought a crib for one of my family members every time they had a baby and could not afford it.

Not only do the rules change, the stories change and when you try to tell the truth they will do everything they can to destroy your credibility. They will talk to everyone you know and write letters to judges and tell everyone you cannot be trusted because you are mentally ill. And if they have been telling you this since you were a child, for just a moment you might be tempted to believe them yourself, but then you realize this is a pattern and they had other villains and scapegoats before you, so now you know better.

Yeah, after reading half a dozen books on narcissism, I have come to the conclusion, I am an ACON who continued to play the hero for over two decades after I left home and there is no way to explain it except I wanted love. The only way I got love was to give them everything I had, but come to think of it—that’s not love, is it? I’ve been playing a game I can never win and now I just want to say, “I quit.”

*ACON—Adult Child of Narcissist

There is freedom in quitting. It’s like having a pocket full of sunshine. Oh yeah!

I got a pocket,
got a pocket full of sunshine
I’ve got a love and I know that it’s all mine

Do what you want,

but you’re never gonna break me,
sticks and stones are never gonna shake me

Wish that you could,
but you ain’t gonna own me
do anything you can to control me

Take me away (take me away)
A secret place (a secret place)
A sweet escape (a sweet escape)
Take me away (take me away)
Take me away (take me away
To better days (to better days)
Take me away (take me away)
A hiding place (a hiding place)

There’s a place that I go
That nobody knows
Where the rivers flow
And I call it home
And there’s no more lies
And the darkness is light
And nobody cries
there’s only butterflies

The sun (Son) is on my side
Take me for a ride
I smile up to the sky
I know I’ll be alright
-Natasha Bedingfield

Scapegoating (Traditions of Dysfunctional Families 3)

29 Aug

Some families can only be united when they have a common enemy. The way scapegoating works is the family as a group starts blaming one person for all their problems.

“If only this person would forget what happened.”

“If only this person had not told the truth.”

“If only this person was not here, we would all be so much happier.”

Scapegoating dovetails with not taking responsibility for your own actions–but instead of blaming the boss, the bank and the doctor, scapegoating blames just one family member. Over and over. It sucks.

When dysfunctional families talk, they like to talk about people. Scapegoating takes this to a new level. By laying all the blame on the scapegoat, no one takes responsibility for their own mistakes and they all feel pretty good about themselves. Of course the problem is still there. Blaming one person never fixes anything because it always takes more than one person to create a conflict.


I recently received a message from a family member who read my Aunt Jemima blog and also lived in the motel with me for nine months. This happened when I was eighteen and they were twelve. Obviously our memories of the experience would be influenced by our ages. This person called me the problem and said all the rest of the family would have been fine without me to complain about the situation.

Hmm. Let’s see, I was 18, had no high school education, no driver’s license and I’d been completely isolated from other kids my age. I felt I was old enough to leave home, but how could I when I didn’t even have a social security number?

Even though I wanted to move outside the motel room walls, I was completely unprepared for life in this world and I had no one looking out for me to help me. So no, I reject the idea that the misery in that motel room was my fault–that situation was the combined result of my parents not being able to make a living and not preparing their children for the future.

When I write about my childhood and teen experiences, I feel no bitterness toward my parents.  I have compassion for them because they learned from their parents and sometimes circumstances were not what they planned.

At the same time, I just wish instead of defending themselves, parents could have compassion on their children. Their choices have affected their children’s lives, their careers, who they marry and even how some of us eat today. While parents are not responsible for their adult children, they do affect their choices.

I’ve said this before, but we are the grownups now.  Part of growing up is to find our voices, stand up for ourselves and get the healing we need. No one else will do this for us.

Don’t let people hurt you if they make you the scapegoat. It’s a common theme among those who are not in recovery. It’s hard for them to understand those who are. Recovery is not always fun, but the alternative to go back and suffer through our addictions and never talk about the painful experiences would be even worse.

The most important thing I have learned about scapegoating is that scapegoating is simply a fantasy. It’s a waste of time because it never allows a family to heal from the real issues. I guess some people would prefer to keep their heads in the sand and scapegoating is one way to do that.

Therefore confess your sins to each other
and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
-James 5:16

Traditions of Dysfunctional Families Home

Anger (Traditions of Dysfunctional Families 1)

Secrets (Traditions of Dysfunctional Families 2)

Isolation (Traditions of Dysfunctional Families 4)

Triangulation (Traditions of Dysfunctional Families 5)

Silence (Traditions of Dysfunctional Families 6)

Disrespect (Traditions of Dysfunctional Families 7)

Violence (Traditions of Dysfunctional Families 8)

Victim-hood (Traditions of Dysfunctional Families 9)

Mind Control (Traditions of Dysfunctional Families 10)