A Licensed Clinical Social Worker’s Perspective on Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

A Licensed Clinical Social Worker’s Perspective on Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

I recently received the following review on my book on family scapegoating abuse, Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed. As one client of mine who read this review said, “Wow – they really nailed it!” I am sharing the review with you here and hope you can take a moment to read it – I personally found it to be very astute in regard to the author’s insights on FSA.

I do not know the name of the author of this review – If you are reading this, I hope you don’t mind my sharing it here (if so, please email me and I will remove this post!) I wanted you to know how grateful I am to you for all you have written – not just for myself, but for all those who have experienced FSA. – Rebecca

As a Clinical Social Worker, I Enthusiastically Recommend This Book!

I’m a clinical social worker with 21 years of experience. This is a FANTASTIC and potentially life-changing read!

Anyone who works in my field knows that the scapegoat, or “black sheep” of the family, is ALWAYS the one most likely to seek therapy.

In part, that’s because it’s *inherently* depressing to endure shame, blame, abuse, and gaslighting by your own family. Who *wouldn’t* suffer under that? Scapegoats often suffer from anxiety, depression, and complex PTSD (and such diagnoses are used against them by the family, even though the family dynamic caused these problems to emerge in the first place!)

But, another reason scapegoats are over-represented in mental health treatment, is because the scapegoat is typically the family member with the most empathy, awareness, and capacity for change— in other words, the one most able to benefit from therapy.

Rebecca’s writing is clear and compassionate. She offers so much hope, and she’s also extremely honest about “ripping off the band-aid” regarding family mythologies that keep people stuck.

Examples of these mythologies include:

“If I people-please and keep quiet, I’ll finally earn their love and respect”

“It’s my fault I’m being treated this way; they must be right about me”

“If I refuse to speak to them, they’ll learn their lesson”

“One day they’ll realize how wrong and unfair they are!”

One of the hardest realities to face as a scapegoat, is that you can NEVER change their minds about you. No matter what you do or how “good” you are.

You cannot recover if you’re still clinging to the idea that the family system will change enough to accept the real you, if only you are persuasive enough.

Nope nope nope. You simply don’t have that kind of control.

The family system is deeply and unconsciously entrenched in these dynamics, which typically stem from generations of unresolved trauma (with a chosen scapegoat in every generation). Stopping or limiting contact is usually your only option.

You can see how entrenched the scapegoating dynamic really is, because even when you finally stand up for yourself, that is twisted and used against you. Even when you improve your life, your efforts are discredited. Even when you go no-contact, that becomes part of the family narrative about your ingratitude and selfishness.

This is why books like Rebecca’s are so needed. She offers a roadmap toward reclaiming your joyful, authentic self even after decades of insidious abuse; silencing your self-critic; and having healthy boundaries and a renewed zest for life— a roadmap that does NOT involve anyone around you changing in any way, because that isn’t a realistic assumption to make.

– Amazon Customer Review

3 thoughts on “A Licensed Clinical Social Worker’s Perspective on Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

  1. Your reviewer captures the pernicious aspects of FSA that few who have not experienced its particular cruelty can appreciate. The review highlights the unique importance of your work in a field that stands to learn so much from your leadership if they are truly able to help people like us who, until recently, have had to suffer with ruined lives and a ruined sense of self, unacknowledged, in silence, and often in unwarranted guilt and shame.

    The analogy I use: Being a scapegoat is like we are imprisoned in a dark hell-like cell, perpetually being convicted of guilt with the blessing of society, other criminals themselves, and (most tragic of all) sometimes even ourselves, while the criminals roam free and continue perpetrating their crimes with complete impunity.

    It seems to me that a mother’s or parent’s abuse of their child is one of the last frontiers of socially and legally accepted oppression and abuse.

    Over the long history of civilization, societies have slowly acknowledged the human harm they have permitted among its various segments by the larger population, whether through prejudice, power, or practice. With recognition have come social pressure and statutes that slowly moved to protect these groups, their safety, liberty, rights, and human dignity; groups previously oppressed on the basis of race**, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disabilities, and others — even priests sexually abusing boys.

    As for emotional abuse of children, our society has turned a blind eye to a lot of behavior on the basis of parental prerogative and privacy. Only the most egregious history of emotional abuse gets punished. Legal problems are often cited, such as statutes of limitations, lack of documentation, untangling cause and effect, and proving knowledge and intent to harm. Another reason often cited is our nation’s reverence of free speech which, in the view of some, necessitates the sacrifice of some victims. All these make legal remedy extremely difficult.

    Bringing it out of the closet is the first step. Work such as yours, Rebecca, and acknowledgement by those of this reviewer, are important steps to not only help affected persons but also expose its existence and harm.

    Thank you!

    **Racial oppression remains intractable due to a complicated mix of history, institutionalized and legal factors that indirectly perpetuate racial divides on the basis of income and wealth, and political acceptance, if not promotion, that uses race as a campaign strategy.

  2. Wow! Yes and thank you for the endorsement (pardon the pun) it really is something else to contend with.

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