family scapegoating abuse FSA

Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed: Introductory Guide for Adults in the Family Scapegoat Role

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What readers are saying about Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed:

“As a clinical social worker, I enthusiastically recommend this book!” – Amazon reviewer

“Very good book on an oft-misunderstood family dynamic.” – Amazon reviewer

“Life-changing read!” – Amazon reviewer

This is an excellent book for patients or practitioners. The author shares her extensive experience working with and studying toxic families and how to recover from the experience. This book is a must have for anyone treating those from dysfunctional families or family members themselves.

– Melissa Petty, LMSW

Welcome to my website. My name is Rebecca C. Mandeville and I’m a psychotherapist, certified complex trauma professional, and the author of Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed. One of my main goals in writing my book and starting this blog (and now my YouTube channelBeyond Family Scapegoating Abuse) was to educate Adult Survivors of dysfunctional and narcissistic family systems and Mental Health professionals on the following:

  1. Why family scapegoating behaviors qualify as psycho-emotional abuse in highly dysfunctional and narcissistic families.
  2. Sharing my years of clinical and academic qualitative research findings on what I eventually named ‘family scapegoating abuse’ (FSA).
  3. How the systemic, unconscious defense mechanism known as the  Family Projective Identification Process (which is similar to a shared family ‘psychosis’) can fuel family scapegoating abuse, including in family systems that are dysfunctional but not narcissistic (and yes, there is a difference).
  4. Why family scapegoating abuse victims should be assessed for complex trauma (C-PTSD).
  5. Understanding the inter-play between family scapegoating abuse; the family projective identification process; intergenerational trauma; toxic shame; betrayal trauma; and complex trauma (C-PTSD).

It’s been rewarding to see the interest in my work on family scapegoating abuse (FSA) growing steadily since I published my book, Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed, over two years ago. There can understandably be resistance on some people’s part in regard to accepting the fact that some processes related to FSA can be unconscious; however, it has been my experience that this is a critical piece of information for adult survivors of FSA who grew up in a dysfunctional, versus narcissistic, family system, as it validates the reality of their having been harmed by this form of insidious ‘invisible’ abuse. (Scroll down to read more about FSA).

Our healing begins when our pain is acknowledged and validated. As the true self of the FSA adult survivor is reclaimed, the false self that developed as a consequence of a non-nurturing, rejecting, and emotionally threatening family environment will drop away, creating space and energy for the cultivation of a joyful and purposeful life, unburdened by self-doubt, self-blame, and toxic shame.

– Rebecca C. Mandeville, author of ‘Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed’

I have greatly appreciated the many emails and blog comments I’ve received from readers all around the world thanking me for giving this particular form of psycho-emotional abuse a distinct and descriptive name – one that distinguishes it from ‘narcissistic abuse’ – as not every family member who scapegoats is a narcissist, nor are all families that scapegoat narcissistic family systems. I’m heartened to know that so many of you have found it helpful to have a clinical (non-DSM) term to describe your painful and confusing family experiences.

To learn more about family scapegoating abuse (FSA), you may purchase my introductory book, Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed, via the links on this website. Thank you to all my readers who helped make this a best-seller at various popular online book retailers since its release in 2020. I no longer advertise or promote this book so if you find value in it and know someone who might benefit from reading it, please consider linking them to this website. You can access my YouTube Playlist here.

I enjoy engaging with FSA adult survivors and clinicians here on my blog and on my YouTube channel I recently created. ia the comment section on my articles and am in the process of developing new ways to connect with my audience. To learn about new offerings related to FSA Education, you may subscribe to my mailing list.

Rebecca C. Mandeville, LMFT, CCTP


IMPORTANT: Regarding Deleted Blog Posts: Due to my publishing agreement with Amazon, I regret that I am no longer able to share free chapters of my book Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed on this website.

So, push on lovely people. Work hard to remove the obstacles to who you really are. Your true self is just waiting to get out there and drink in this wonderful experience of life to the full, in all its happiness and sorrows, to keenly feel the rainbow of all the emotions, and truly be.

– Andrew L,. Blog Subscriber

About Rejected Shamed, and Blamed – The Book: Understanding What Happened to You Is the First Step in Healing…

Family scapegoating is an insidious form of “invisible” abuse that is difficult to recognize. It is therefore critical that adult survivors understand what type of abuse they are trying to recover from. In Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed, Psychotherapist and Family Systems expert Rebecca C. Mandeville uses her research findings on what she named family scapegoating abuse (FSA) to help survivors recognize and release the damaging ‘scapegoat’ narrative. This 2nd revision includes additional recovery suggestions and resources, as well as updated links (Kindle version).

What Is Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)?

My book, Rejected. Shamed, and Blamed: Help and Hope for Adults in the Family Scapegoat Role, is recognized as a pioneering work in the field of Family Systems. This best-selling introductory guide focuses on understanding the traumatizing aspects of family scapegoating dynamics in your dysfunctional family-of-origin.

Despite the devastating consequences to adult survivors, family scapegoating remains an under-researched, poorly understood dysfunctional family process. If you’ve experienced any of the below, you may be the ‘identified patient’ or ‘scapegoat’ in your family:

  • You’ve been the victim of a family ‘smear’ campaign designed to discredit you, defame you, or destroy your reputation.
  • You’ve been called a “liar”; a “faker”; or “crazy” by one or more members of your family.
  • Your accomplishments and successes are ignored and go unacknowledged by your family.
  • You feel frustrated, angry, or confused due to feeling scapegoated by your family-of-origin.
  • You have considered cutting ties with one or more members of your family to protect your mental and emotional health.
  • You suffer from anxiety, depression, or complex trauma (C-PTSD) symptoms.

When neither resistance or escape is possible, the human system of self-defense becomes overwhelmed and disorganized. Each component of the ordinary response to danger, having lost its utility, tends to persist in an altered and exaggerated state long after the actual danger is over.

– Judith Herman, 1992

FSA Can Lead to Complex Trauma Symptoms (C-PTSD)

During my research on family scapegoating dynamics while serving as Core Faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now called Sofia University), I observed certain patterns of individual and systemic behavior specifically affecting those who were in the role of scapegoat child or identified patient in their dysfunctional family system. l later named the harmful (even traumatizing) phenomena such children and adults are subjected to in relation to family scapegoating dynamics and processes Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA). More recently, I began to identify the overlapping symptoms of FSA and complex trauma (C-PTSD), as well as betrayal trauma.

Family scapegoating processes are insidious. Those who are the target of family scapegoating behaviors often have difficulty describing what is happening to them to others. Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed validates the experiences of adult survivors who are suffering in the ‘family scapegoat’ role. Topics covered include:

  • Intergenerational Trauma
  • Distorted Family Narratives
  • Betrayal Trauma
  • Disenfranchised Grief
  • Toxic Shame and the False Self
  • Complex Trauma (C-PTSD) Symptoms

A survival strategy is a way of getting out of childhood alive.

Frank Jones Sulloway

Join Our YouTube Community: Beyond Family Scapegoating Abuse on YouTube

Beyond Family Scapegoating Abuse on YouTube

You may not be able to stop people in your family from scapegoating you, but you can stop identifying with the ‘scapegoat story’ and the dysfunctional and damaging family narrative.

From Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed: Help and Hope for Adults in the Family Scapegoat Role

My approach to FSA Recovery

My FSA Recovery Coaching services are informed by my experience as a licensed Psychotherapist specializing in childhood trauma. As a trauma-informed coach, I am committed to meeting the standards, ethics and guidelines set forth by SAMSHA and follow their recommended six key principles of a trauma-informed approach. At this time my there is a waiting list for my services.

Rebecca C. Mandeville is a licensed Psychotherapist (LMFT), Certified Complex Trauma Professional (CCTP), and internationally recognized Family Systems expert who has been serving clients in clinics and in private practice for over 20 years. She served as Core Faculty at the world-renowned Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where she first began identifying, defining, describing, and bringing attention to what she named (for research purposes) Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA).

Rebecca is also the creator of the Family Scapegoating Abuse Recovery Coaching™  process, which was designed to help those seeking relief from the psycho-emotional distress caused by being in the ‘family scapegoat’ role.  She writes regularly on her ‘Scapegoat Recovery’  blog and is a guest author for various online Mental Health organizations, including Psych Central, Paces Connection, and the C-PTSD Foundation. When not serving clients, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her partner and animals at her home on the Oregon Coast, where she finds inspiration for compassion-based, integral living.

PLEASE NOTE: This website is for my FSA Recovery services. If you reside in the state of California and are interested in my licensed Psychotherapy services, visit this website.

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