Scapegoating is a hostile manipulation technique where blame is constantly shifted to a person or a group, to ease guilt, shame, aggression, resentment, anything that discomforts the scapegoater.
Whether someone was previously abused by one, currently have a relationship with one, want to know how to curate energy, they're often shocked at how frequently this happens in real life and online.
Learning how to spot them goes much towards peace of mind, drawing boundaries, curating your energy.
All narcissists are scapegoaters, be it one with maladaptive narcissistic traits or one with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It takes three to seven years of intense therapy with the few who specialise in NPD for people with NPD to recover, therapists who're general practitioners do not have the skills to help them, the long duration is cost prohibitive and the lack of skilled practitioners makes it a chronic problem that isn't easy to resolve at all. Since it typically takes even those with maladaptive narcissistic traits to realise how destructive it is in their 40s and 50s, most do not take a step into therapy until then.
Therefore the most commonly advised ways to deal with them is no contact and high unshakeable boundaries, including immediate unfriend, blocks, deletion online. Once someone is abusive, the harm is already caused, these methods minimises subsequent trauma, it doesn't negate the initial trauma, being around an abuser in any situation, in any capacity is self-harm.
Believe someone the first time they show you, take swift action to self-preserve, if they exhibit such signs with someone else, you're next in line. Many survivors think it's unique to a previous person, they keep giving chances until they bend over backwards, blaming or guilt tripping themselves, draining themselves in the process, this can go on for 10s of years, once the trauma bond is created, it's excruciating hard to get out of, so prevention is always better than cure.
Since narcissists demonise people all the time, they find out subsequently that they behave the same way to everyone, including them, it's a habit that doesn't change unless narcissists themselves are determined to take charge of their lives and actively pursue change. This only happens when their lives completely fall apart, not before then.
Don't wait around for anyone to change, move along with your own life instead!
Practice self-care to process the abuse, you're worth it. Trauma accumulates, even if not obvious now, it will reach a tipping point where you're permanently disillusioned and in despair. Healing distress when it happens will save you a whole bunch of subsequent trouble, early intervention is key to healthy living.
Scapegoating combined with gaslighting, rewriting history, smear campaigns, deception, intimidation and playing the victim amongst other compensatory behaviours, makes for a toxic environment of chaos, irrationality, arrogance and constant stress. This is how narcissists break people down so they remain in control of the narrative at all times.
Abuse is abuse, there are no excuses for it. If someone needs help, the best way is not to condone or enable them, this could mean not participating at all, not see it as your responsibility to rescue or take on their burden. They're determined to hold onto the view they have of a person or a group, which is you're an incredibly terrible, worthless, useless human being without an ounce of empathy and compassion, out to get them or determined to make life difficult for them. Paranoia and suspicion is part of a narcissist's arsenal of issues, causing great damage to those around them, making trust building a tumultuous exercise.
Not confronting, comforting and refusing to educate them doesn't make you weak or is an indication of your morality, it means you value your peace more than their chaos and is wise enough to spot them from the get go, you love yourself enough to extricate yourself as an act of self-preservation.
Many narcissistic abuse survivors in close contact with them, be it parent(s), partner, friends or a community, develop PTSD, clinical depression, chronic anxiety and auto-immune illnesses that's somatised trauma in the body. The narcissist's need for attention is without a conscience, there's no want to depict a holistic balanced view of any subject, it is 100% self-serving and out of control.
They will go out of their way to harass as well, many narcissists attempt to hoover survivors back after 5, 7, 10s of years with a cycle of love bombing, devaluation and discard, in the relationship and outside the relationship. This is after they led a string of people through a path of destruction to get what they want, they come back to those who truly care for them, however it is too late, survivors have wisen up and move onto healthier lives.
Do that, focus on your wellbeing, move onto a healthier life.
Narcissists enjoy chaos, they create drama to feel important, narcissistic supply isn't just what can be considered positive, such as encouraging or validating, agreeing and comforting. It's also confronting and educating, mentioning them (if they know), creating buzz around their writing and disseminating their toxicity.
It gives them the adrenaline high they're addicted to, they're determined to fight and win in their heads, they will not stop abusing. They experience duper's delight when you do buy in, sneering in gleeful self-satisfaction, thinking they got one over you. When you reject their advances or confront them, they feel deflated, sink into despair, now play the victim, depict you as a total failure of a person, scapegoat you for how they feel when they started the sequence of events in the first place, they're infamous for not holding themselves or the right people accountable, redirecting to target the minority, the vulnerable and the misinformed, using the ones already marginalised as scapegoats.
Use screenshots, cut and paste with accreditation to the website, not post links. This depletes their supply, in a world of social media where numbers are often seen as popularity or agreement, do not encourage them or promote them.
If you feel tempted to confront a narcissist or a group of them, don't bother, put your energy into educating those who aren't narcissists and grow a sincere circle of authentic people who aren't afraid of the truth, genuinely want to solve problems instead of being part of the problem, adding to the problem. Educate those already interested in making informed choices, open to you, bridge that gap instead.
How do you know if someone or a group is scapegoating?
Persistent demonising, directly or by association. A popular recent development is TERF, associating TERFs with homophobia, racism, bigotry, moral inferiority, lack of compassion, betraying a group, etc. It is frequently taken out of context, facts are twisted, words are put in your mouth, you get all the blame and never the credit. A popular way for narcissists to feel good about themselves is hanging onto a holier than thou attitude, clinging onto immediate moral superiority as a way to guard that inflated sense of self-importance, resulting in chronic low awareness, the ego feeding the ego.
Lack of whole objects relations. An internal object is our psychological and emotional footprint of a person in our minds. It is the representation that we hold onto when the person isn't physically available and it influences how we view the person in totality. Let's say you travel for work and can't communicate for 10 days, someone with whole objects relations can still remember the memories shared and have a positive loving impression of you even if they don't see or hear from you. Or that friend you lost touch with for years, when you reconnect, it feels like time stood still, you're just as affectionate with each other.
Lack of object constancy. Psychoanalyst and clinical researcher Margaret Mahler defines object constancy as a child's, and later, a person's:
- capacity to recognize and tolerate loving and hostile feelings toward the same object;
- capacity to keep feelings centered on a specific object; and
- capacity to value an object for attributes other than its function of satisfying needs.
Narcissists often see only the bad and never the good in a person or a group, what puzzles survivors is the contradiction of the last part where as long as they satisfy needs, they will associate with a person or a group, support a cause, an ideology while harbouring secret resentment, they see it as using someone or groupthink effectively, something they're entitled to.
While narcissists will collaborate when they need you, they however lose interest just as quickly, they will ditch you at the low points in your life, any sign of vulnerability or a moment of weakness is a big no to them, they prey on your labour but once you're of no use to them, they're gone in a flash.
They fluctuate with their support, as long as you say one thing that displeasures them, they discard you. They aren't sincere friends or allies who will show up when you really need them, they are unable to build secure permanent bonds, you're a tool for their use, property and a possession, nothing more.
There is no depth, it's all superficial and meaningless, attributes such as a unique personality, caring, compassionate, authenticity are lost on them, all they are thinking about is how can I use you for me? How can I use you to prop me up?
They forget previous contributions and focus on their discomfort in the moment, lashing out at you, no good emotions can be present with uncomfortable ones, it has to be one or the other.
They forget the good, remember the bad only, resort to black or white thinking, it may seem like white is a positive thing when the all good is an idealised version that exist only in their heads, where they elevate you to impossible standards which you're sure to fail and be criticised yet again in due time. Love bombing only last so long before they devalue again.
More commonly is spitting hairs, pinpointing something minute to pick on you. They cannot see how you're benefitting another group and you're indeed sincere about social change, if they can't see on the surface how it benefits them, they refuse to give you the benefit of the doubt and dive in deeper, get to know you better. Clouded by the need for instant gratification, as long as they don't get what they want immediately, they give up on you.
By seeing anything good about you, they can't avoid their discomfort and would have to take responsibility so they default to all bad selfish thinking instead, hating on you is easier than self-reflection. They have the inability to regulate emotions, are often depicted as emotionally unavailable, soulless or empty. Even if you have a long history of contributions to prove it, they remain unstable sources of support who drain you more than they ever give you.
Immediate accusations. They will go to extraordinary lengths of irrationality to scapegoat you, if your message is crafted well and there're no holes to poke, they will squeeze the most ridiculous conclusions out of nowhere or hurl slurs and accusations instead, attempting to guilt trip you into compliance. Something, anything to justify their refusal to take responsibility, making it extremely stressful to be around them.
Leaving you feeling permanently unseen and unheard, invalidated and neglected, frequently silenced and abandoned, which is the aim of scapegoating, to break you down so they're in control at all times.
You always have the right to leave a situation without explanation, draw boundaries with anyone, adjust your boundaries as necessary and self-care without guilt.
You matter, your wellbeing matters, let no one tell you otherwise.
Love light and peace
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