Families of Narcissists-Scapegoat

Inglis Fall

Ingrid shared her story about a family vacation. We were sitting in a library of a public school; a quiet, private place, especially after hours. Our small group had been meeting weekly to discuss narcissism and the impact that this pathology has had and continues to have on our lives.

Apparently, this vacation had been in the planning stages for over a year. The family was going to travel across North America, visit relatives, go to sites of interest like geological formations, national parks and caves. There were discussions about celebrity residences, particular museums and other possible stops on their way. They were travelling by car and the route was discussed at considerable length.

Unfortunately, Ingrid found out a day or two before the family left, that she would not be going. Officially, she was needed to stay home and take care of an elderly grandparent. Since no one in her family visited this individual on a regular basis, it was not a believable lie.

“You won’t like it. You don’t enjoy anything,” Ingrid’s mother said in her defence. The truth was, Ingrid was the scapegoat in this family and with the dynamic of a narcissist at play, everyone knew not to question the decision. More than that, they had all been taught that it was OK to blame Ingrid for anything that went wrong and to attack her any time she spoke.

I would like to say here that this is an extreme example and that it is rare–but I’d be lying. It is typical of a household that has a narcissist for there to be a scapegoat and a golden child.

Ingrid was the scapegoat. In this particular family, she saw no relief from this treatment and it was still continuing. Ingrid was in her fifties when we were having this conversation.

In some homes of narcissists, the scapegoat switches around. One day you are loved and admired and the next you cannot do anything right. This is a different type of emotional abuse because you never know where you stand.

The golden child, on the other hand, can do no wrong. It simply doesn’t matter how they act, what they decide to do, the choices they make or what they say, they are still cherished. This makes it difficult, in Ingrid’s situation, for her sister to understand why Ingrid was so disagreeable all of the time. Why wouldn’t Ingrid just agree that someone needed to care for grandma and leave it at that? Ingrid was such a downer. Her sister told her as much.

Since narcissists need constant nourishment in the form of drama and emotional outbursts, they tend to choose an individual to pick on. In this case, it was Ingrid. If you feel you are always being blamed and treated unfairly, you may be living with a narcissist.

Addicted to Narcissistic Drama

Renee Zellerger, in more than one movie, illustrates the thrill of dating the “bad boy”.  In “Bridget Jones Diary,” she chooses Daniel, her inappropriate boss, who flirts with her at work and is a notorious womanizer over the quieter, more boring lawyer. We all understand

From Bustle.com
.

In “The Holiday” she is once again with a man who treats her badly. He wants to continue to see her after he announces his engagement to another woman.

Now, of course, these are both examples of romantic comedies and not real life, but a lesser discussed reality, when it comes to having a relationship with a narcissist is intense drama.

Most of the men and women I coach want the drama and the partner they have chosen. What they are seeking is a way to decrease the negative aspects of the relationship. With a narcissist this is not possible. If you continue in an intimate relationship with one, you will suffer.

In order to get their nourishment or narcissistic supply, a narcissist creates havoc in your life. This is seen as “great” times in the form of special treatment, lavish vacations, pampering or whatever you happen to like. Then sudddenly, you are being ignored again, possibly belittled, taunted and lied to.

Life can seem rather plane and uninspiring if you have been with a narcissist. The problem is that if you want to get off of the roller coaster ride of great times followed by terrible times, you must let go completely.

So, if you are deciding to stay, I must ask, “Are you addicted to drama?”