FSA Educational Articles

When We Question the Competence and Qualifications of Women

When We Question the Competence and Qualifications of Women

Summary: Women often face heightened scrutiny and obstacles in having their qualifications and skills recognized and valued compared to men due to societal biases and internalized misogyny. This issue stems from ingrained gender stereotypes and a lack of inclusive environments that support gender equality. In this article, Rebecca C. Mandeville reflects on women, marginalization, and scapegoating dynamics, and gets a bit more personal regarding her own background and experiences with these individual and systemic realities.

Sibling Estrangement: The Impact of Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) on Sibling Relationships

Sibling Estrangement: The Impact of Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) on Sibling Relationships

Scapegoating in dysfunctional or narcissistic families disrupts family bonds and may lead to sibling estrangement. A break in sibling bonds is especially likely when one or more siblings adopt the damaging ‘scapegoat narrative’ used to devalue and depower the child in the ‘family scapegoat’ role.

Recovering From Narcissistic Family Abuse

Recovering From Narcissistic Family Abuse

Learn the 11 guiding principles I share with my FSA recovery coaching clients to support healing from Narcissistic Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA).

Radical Acceptance and Scapegoat Recovery: The Power of Accepting What IS

Radical Acceptance and Scapegoat Recovery: The Power of Accepting What IS

Releasing attachment to highly charged emotions and events does not mean that one is “giving up” on themselves or “giving in” to abuse from others. It is simply a process that supports people in coping with past and/or current life circumstances that cannot be changed and that they are powerless over.

Why This Key Malignant Narcissist Trait Can Fool Scapegoat Survivors

Why This Key Malignant Narcissist Trait Can Fool Scapegoat Survivors

Adult Survivors of Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) who are also Empath-types can be particularly vulnerable to the manipulative tactics of the malignant narcissist. In today’s article, I share a key trait that a malignant narcissist exhibits that can draw vulnerable FSA adult survivors into their deadly web – a trait that defies commonly held beliefs about narcissism.

How the Scapegoat Child Develops a ‘False’ Self

How the Scapegoat Child Develops a ‘False’ Self

An important, sometimes even critical, aspect of recovering from family scapegoating abuse (FSA) is to recognize that you may have developed a ‘false’ or ‘survival’ self very early in life to survive a hostile or threatening family environment.

The Dual Layers of Betrayal Trauma For Survivors of Family Scapegoating Abuse

The Dual Layers of Betrayal Trauma For Survivors of Family Scapegoating Abuse

Betrayal is at the heart of being scapegoated. Betrayal is the constant in all the examples shared in this article. When exploring our scapegoating histories we see that our trauma doesn’t just come from the hurtful actions, the cruel words, the painful neglect and humiliations, or the psychological wounds wielded out by family members. Our trauma extends beyond tangible incidents: It permeates our psyches and our physiology…

The Impact of Disenfranchised Grief on Scapegoat Survivors

The Impact of Disenfranchised Grief on Scapegoat Survivors

Those who were cast in the role of “identified patient” in their dysfunctional or abusive family system are subjected to pains and losses that in many cases have no clearly defined name, and are not even on the radar of the professionals and clinicians brought in to help. Furthermore, the scapegoat’s pains are often ignored, denied and even used against them by those who claim to care about them and love them most…

Scapegoating and The Fantasy of Vindication and Validation

Scapegoating and The Fantasy of Vindication and Validation

For many scapegoated adults, the difficult reality is that repair and reunion with their family simply isn’t possible. For some, it is a conscious choice to stay away from their toxic family system as attempting to re-integrate would result in further psycho-emotional injury. Others were unceremoniously ‘ejected’ from their family-of-origin when they began to assert boundaries or call out the abuse, making any type of reconciliation both undesirable and impossible.

Cutting Ties With Scapegoating Family: A Trauma-Informed View

Cutting Ties With Scapegoating Family: A Trauma-Informed View

In this week’s article I share one of the biggest myths about going no contact with family and how I handle issues related to ending contact with scapegoating family members in a trauma-informed manner.

What Family Scapegoats Need to Know About Structural Dissociation

What Family Scapegoats Need to Know About Structural Dissociation

In this article, I share several signs of Structural Dissociation that Family Scapegoating Abuse Adult Survivors and Mental Health providers need to be aware of to ensure successful treatment of this most egregious form of ‘invisible (psycho-emotional) abuse.

6 Clinical Signs of Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

6 Clinical Signs of Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

To recover from something, you need to understand what you’re trying to recover from. In this week’s article, I discuss the clinical consequences of being scapegoated by your family that I have identified via my research on what I named ‘Family Scapegoating Abuse’ (FSA) and in my trauma-informed Coaching and Psychotherapy practices. If you would prefer to access my video discussion on FSA clinical signs, scroll down to the end of this article (I also include video chapters beneath the video).

Scapegoating in Narcissistic Family Systems

Scapegoating in Narcissistic Family Systems

My latest video on narcissistic families and scapegoating explores family systems that are dominated by a narcissistic parent. This would be a parent that meets the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder or who displays strong narcissistic traits.

About Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

About Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

It’s been very rewarding to see that therapists and Mental Health clinics are now adopting the term family scapegoating abuse and releasing articles on FSA to educate others. I will continue to speak out on family scapegoating abuse whenever I am asked as I advocate for those whose psycho-emotional health has been negatively impacted by this form of systemically-driven psycho-emotional abuse. Below are my answers to five questions I am frequently asked about FSA:

Scapegoat Recovery and Recognizing Damaging Unspoken Family Rules

Scapegoat Recovery and Recognizing Damaging Unspoken Family Rules

A Warm Welcome to Our New Subscribers! I’ve posted a new video on 10 UNSPOKEN FAMILY RULES that support family scapegoating abuse (FSA) dynamics for you to check out when you have time – Chapters are included beneath the video link both here and on YouTube in the video description. When you click on a…

FSA Updates as We Enter a New Year…

FSA Updates as We Enter a New Year…

Beginning a new year provides an opportunity to release what no longer serves us, which allows us to both embrace and pursue what now does. Many of my FSA recovery coaching clients have shared with me that they are experiencing a mix of both grief and hope as they enter 2023 – and also a sense of relief – as they accept and release painful family realities and

Online Speaker Summit: Access Top-Notch Interviews (Including Mine) – For Free!

Online Speaker Summit: Access Top-Notch Interviews (Including Mine) – For Free!

I’m pleased to be able to offer you free access to a series of interviews from an online conference I participated in hosted by Fork in the Road with Sheree Clark. Although this virtual conference has a Women’s Midlife theme, many of the speakers and topics may be of interest to subscribers of my FSA Education blog.

FSA Digest – Complete Podcast and Holiday Resources

FSA Digest – Complete Podcast and Holiday Resources

This end-of-year digest includes the complete ‘Adult Child’ podcast interview I recently did, as well as an interesting abstract and holiday resources.

Scapegoating in Dysfunctional versus Narcissistic Family Systems, Podcast, and Holidays

Scapegoating in Dysfunctional versus Narcissistic Family Systems, Podcast, and Holidays

Andrea Ashley and I have been getting some terrific feedback on the podcast we did recently on her show, Adult Child Podcast. I know some of you have been waiting for it to be available on YouTube. Parts One and Two of the interview are now posted there, with closed captions and chapter segments to make searching through the content easier ( the chapters are available in each video’s description).

The Empath Truth-Teller, Family Scapegoating, and Sibling Estrangement (2 New Videos)

The Empath Truth-Teller, Family Scapegoating, and Sibling Estrangement (2 New Videos)

This week on Beyond Family Scapegoating Abuse (YouTube) I address two topics pertaining to family scapegoating abuse (FSA): Family Empaths and Sibling Estrangement.

“Why Do I Seem to Get Scapegoated Wherever I Go?

“Why Do I Seem to Get Scapegoated Wherever I Go?

New Vlog Release – and announcing a new series on YouTube on my new Beyond Family Scapegoating Abuse Channel, Subscriber Question of the Week: This week’s subscriber question is, “Why do I seem to find myself in the ‘scapegoat’ role wherever I go?”

Going Beyond Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

Going Beyond Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

“He says the best way out is always through. / And I can agree to that, or in so far / As that I can see no way out but through” -Robert Frost Just a quick heads up that I have recently uploaded two videos on my new FSA-focused YouTube channel (linked below). The Robert…

3 Bizarre Realities Adult Survivors of Family Scapegoating Abuse Experience

3 Bizarre Realities Adult Survivors of Family Scapegoating Abuse Experience

I’ve started a new video series in which I describe the truly bizarre realities that adult survivors of family scapegoating abuse (FSA) experience, as revealed in my FSA research and clinical practice. Have any of these things happened to you or someone you know?

5 Myths About Family Scapegoating and Recovery

5 Myths About Family Scapegoating and Recovery

5 myths that adult survivors of family scapegoating abuse (FSA) need to know: It has been my experience, after assisting FSA adult survivors in their recovery for the past twenty years, that the five myths I’ve identified and am highlighting here in my latest video can impede one’s full healing from this most painful form of family abuse.

Ten Affirmations for Adult Survivors of Family Scapegoating Abuse

Ten Affirmations for Adult Survivors of Family Scapegoating Abuse

One of the greatest challenges faced by adult survivors of family scapegoating abuse (FSA) is the tendency to ruminate over past painful incidents with family or be consumed by feelings of low self-worth, shame, anger, or grief. I therefore decided to create my first video volume of affirmations to help FSA adult survivors ‘reset’ habitual ways of thinking and feeling that can develop in conjunction with complex trauma symptoms.

Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) Public Service Announcement – Now Available on YouTube

Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) Public Service Announcement – Now Available on YouTube

I’m sharing a short video clip excerpted and re-worked for my own use from a PSA I was asked to create for a Mental Health organization regarding the effects of family scapegoating abuse on children and adult survivors, as identified via my FSA research. To facilitate sharing, I have started an FSA Education YouTube channel and will be adding videos covering critical topics related to family scapegoating abuse as time allows.

Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) and the Family Projective Identification Process

Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) and the Family Projective Identification Process

Healing from Family Scapegoating: Family scapegoating abuse (FSA) is a horrific form of ‘invisible’ (psycho-emotional) abuse fueled by an insidious family projective identification process. Unfortunately, even psychoanalytically-oriented therapists may not be familiar with the family projective identification process unless they have received in-depth training in Family Systems theory; hence, they will not be able to provide this critical piece of psycho-education to clients suffering from symptoms of FSA. In this article, I explain the family projective identification process, and why understanding this form of systemic projection can bring relief to the adult survivor of FSA.

The Fantasy “Repair” Experience of the FSA Adult Survivor

The Fantasy “Repair” Experience of the FSA Adult Survivor

One of the things that keeps survivors of family scapegoating abuse (FSA) stuck and unable to progress in their recovery is the fantasy that if they can say the ‘right’ thing to the ‘right’ person within (or connected to) their family-of-origin, the fact of their abuse will be acknowledged and validated. Tragically, this is unlikely to happen. But this does not change the truth of what happened to you, and your truth deserves to be both told and then heard and validated by people who have the capacity to care.

5 Reasons Your Family Won’t Apologize for Scapegoating You

5 Reasons Your Family Won’t Apologize for Scapegoating You

Dysfunctional family systems are ‘closed’ systems that resist integrating information that threatens the accepted family narrative. Family members who have scapegoated you will rarely accept responsibility for their actions, despite how egregious their mistreatment of you has been. Below are five reasons why you are unlikely to ever receive an apology from your family for their shameful treatment of you.

10 Rules of Families That Scapegoat

10 Rules of Families That Scapegoat

A family that is dominated by a dysfunctional or narcissistic parent may result in its members living under a set of unspoken ‘rules’, rules which benefit the parent at the expense of their children’s well-being. The research I conducted on what I named family scapegoating abuse (FSA) suggests that dysfunctional families that scapegoat are also governed by a specific set of rules. This article reviews ten rules that I have identified as being evident in families that scapegoat one of their own.

Scapegoat Recovery: The Importance of Addressing Complex Trauma (C-PTSD)

Scapegoat Recovery: The Importance of Addressing Complex Trauma (C-PTSD)

Recovering from the traumatizing aspects of family scapegoating abuse (FSA) is an individual process and each FSA adult survivor’s healing journey will be unique. But no matter the recovery route you take, you will want to first ensure you build a strong foundation for recovery by addressing symptoms of complex trauma (C-PTSD).

Family Scapegoating Abuse, Complex Trauma, and Structural Dissociation

Family Scapegoating Abuse, Complex Trauma, and Structural Dissociation

When FSA adult survivors are chronically traumatized within their family-of-origin, they can develop a form of dissociation known as structural dissociation, whereby the personality lacks integration and expresses itself through ‘parts’. But it is never too late to experience your innate wholeness…

The Scapegoat Child and the Malignant Narcissist Parent

The Scapegoat Child and the Malignant Narcissist Parent

For the child victim of family scapegoating abuse (FSA), the ‘scapegoat story’ created by one or both parents (which the entire family invariably adapts and accepts unquestioningly) can negatively impact their mental and emotional health. When a parent is a malignant narcissist, the abuse the child experiences can be extreme, resulting in complex trauma (C-PTSD) symptoms secondary to grave psycho-emotional distress.

Healing From the Injustices of Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

Healing From the Injustices of Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

In the twenty years I have been working with adult survivors of family scapegoating abuse (FSA), one issue that typically becomes a ‘stuck’ point in their recovery journey is the sense of grave injustice they experience in regard to the wrongs done to them within their family-of-origin – Injustices that have never been acknowledged or validated. By anyone.

The Relationship Between Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) and Traumatic Shame

The Relationship Between Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) and Traumatic Shame

There are very few clients who enter my FSA Recovery Coaching practice who are not suffering from traumatic shame (also known as ‘toxic shame’), as well as a variety of complex trauma (C-PTSD) symptoms – something I discuss at length in my book, Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed. While traumatic shame creates a sense of social isolation, complex trauma itself fragments us and leads to self-alienation, leaving the adult survivor of family scapegoating abuse (FSA) feeling intensely alone and unsupported.

Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) as Psychological Trauma

Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) as Psychological Trauma

As we learn more about Complex Trauma (C-PTSD), it becomes increasingly clear that family scapegoating abuse (FSA) can lead to the development of C-PTSD symptoms, which are often misdiagnosed and mislabelled by Mental Health Professionals if and when the FSA adult survivor seeks therapeutic treatment and support.

#DoneWithFSA (New Hashtag on Twitter)

#DoneWithFSA (New Hashtag on Twitter)

Are you on Twitter? I don’t post much there, but I’ve been so moved by all of your comments on my latest post, Learn To Be Done, that I started the hashtag #DoneWithFSA on my pinned post created today. If you’d like to help raise other people’s awareness, I invite you to visit my Twitter…

Learn To Be Done.

Learn To Be Done.

One of the most common phrases I have heard from clients over the past 20 years practicing as a licensed Psychotherapist and certified trauma-informed Coach is, “I’m done!” “I’m done” can mean many things. Therefore, my first question is always, “What are you done with?” Are you done with fawning and submitting as a means…

Family Scapegoating Abuse and Healing the Mother Wound

Family Scapegoating Abuse and Healing the Mother Wound

Mother’s Day can be a particularly painful holiday for adult survivors of family scapegoating abuse (FSA), especially for those that are estranged from their nuclear family. Today’s article therefore focuses on mother wounding and transforming the ‘negative mother’ archetype.

Does Your Family Know They Are Scapegoating You?

Does Your Family Know They Are Scapegoating You?

A question I am often asked by clients and readers of my book, Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed, is whether or not family scapegoating abuse (FSA) is conscious and intentional or unconscious and unintentional. My answer is that it can be either or both, and that nothing is simple or black and white when it comes to this uniquely complex family system process.

DARVO and Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA): When the Abused Are Revictimized by Their Abuser

DARVO and Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA): When the Abused Are Revictimized by Their Abuser

One of the more baffling and incomprehensible aspects of being scapegoated by family is being the target of mentally and emotionally abusive behaviors; reacting to the abuse appropriately (e.g., expressing hurt, confusion, anger, setting boundaries, etc), and then discovering that the person who committed the harmful or abusive acts views themselves as the victim – not the one they harmed.

The Healing Power of a ‘Victim Impact Statement’ for FSA Survivors

The Healing Power of a ‘Victim Impact Statement’ for FSA Survivors

As you consider how being the victim of family scapegoating abuse has changed your life, you may use the following suggestions and questions to guide you. Do be aware that thinking and writing about something so painful may be difficult for you. Pace yourself and don’t feel that you need to complete your FSA Victim Impact Statement in one sitting…

When Your Family Invalidates Your Experiences of Abuse and Complex Trauma

When Your Family Invalidates Your Experiences of Abuse and Complex Trauma

It is difficult enough to bear the burden of traumatic childhood experiences and its long-term physical, emotional, and mental effects. For adult survivors of family scapegoating abuse (FSA), this difficulty is magnified by the fact that their reports of abuse or trauma are typically denied, dismissed, and invalidated by their family due to their being in the ‘identified patient’ role…

10 Strategies for Navigating Holiday Family Gatherings

10 Strategies for Navigating Holiday Family Gatherings

It is common to have high expectations when thinking of reuniting with family you haven’t seen for a long time. Alternatively, you might fear that your worst expectations will be realized if you get together with nuclear and/or extended family members for a holiday celebration.

Radical Acceptance and Family Scapegoating Abuse Recovery

Radical Acceptance and Family Scapegoating Abuse Recovery

Many people are familiar with Kubler-Ross’s ‘Five Stages of Grief’, which are Denial; Anger; Bargaining; Depression; Acceptance. In my model for family scapegoating abuse (FSA) recovery  (which I will expand upon in an upcoming book), I use the term ‘radical acceptance’ versus ‘acceptance’ to describe a late-stage healing concept that is critical to the FSA adult survivor’s full recovery from systemic family abuse.

10 Self-Care Tips to Support Scapegoat Recovery

10 Self-Care Tips to Support Scapegoat Recovery

If you’re in the ‘family scapegoat’ role and in contact with family members who continue to subject you to mental and emotional abuse, manipulation, gaslighting, and narcissistic behaviors, this checklist will aid you in protecting your emotional and mental health.

Recognizing Narcissistic Family Scapegoating Abuse

Recognizing Narcissistic Family Scapegoating Abuse

In the narcissistic family system, the needs of the disordered parent take precedence over the needs of the dependent child, resulting in narcissistic abuse. Family members are not cherished individuals to be loved; they are instead ‘narcissistic supply’ whose only purpose is to serve the infantile, primitive psycho-emotional needs of the narcissistic parent.

Study on Childhood Verbal Abuse

Study on Childhood Verbal Abuse

I’ve noticed within the Mental Health field that the scapegoating of a child or adult child is frequently referred to as a form of ‘verbal abuse’, which I find concerning and somewhat misleading, given that FSA is driven by psycho-emotional, systemic processes in dysfunctional or narcissistic family systems, hence it can be covert, insidious and subtle…

When Abusers Depower the Scapegoat Child (What My Research Revealed)

When Abusers Depower the Scapegoat Child (What My Research Revealed)

Have you ever been called crazy or emotionally or mentally ill by members of your own family, either to your face or behind your back? If so, you’re not alone, as my latest research results on this particular aspect of family scapegoating abuse (FSA) attests…

Scapegoating, Narcissism, and Reactive Abuse

Scapegoating, Narcissism, and Reactive Abuse

Reactive abuse is when someone who is a victim of abuse (family scapegoating abuse, in this case) reacts to the abuse in such a manner that if an outside person were to be a fly on the wall observing, it would make it look like they, and not the perpetrator, are the abuser.

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