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Why Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) Merits Global Attention

In the intricate tapestry of family dynamics, there exists an overlooked, devastating phenomenon concealed in shadows – Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA). FSA is like a silent, insidious stalker that preys upon vulnerable family members, leaving deep scars that often go unnoticed and unrecognized. In this article, clinician and researcher Rebecca C. Mandeville addresses why FSA warrants our collective attention, and what we can do to begin to effectively address it as a society.

FSA and Family Mobbing: Dynamics, Impact, and Coping Strategies

Family, typically regarded as a sanctuary of love and support, can sometimes harbor complex dynamics that lead to unexpected forms of conflict and distress, as well as covert or overt forms of individual and/or systemic abuse. One such phenomenon that qualifies as systemic abuse is family mobbing, a term often associated with workplace bullying but equally applicable within familial settings, particularly as related to the phenomenon I named family scapegoating abuse (FSA)…

Kintsugi Vase Healing From Abuse

Beautiful Scars: What the Art of Kintsugi Can Teach Us About Healing From Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

The ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi beautifully illustrates the concept of embracing imperfections and turning brokenness into beauty. Versus feeling self-conscious or a sense of shame or inferiority as related to their intrapsychic wounds and scars, adult survivors of family scapegoating abuse (FSA) may benefit by re-envisioning their healing process from family trauma and abuse as a journey of artful restoration whereby intrapsychic wounds are transformed into imperfect – yet still beautiful – scars.

Women Marginalized Scapegoat

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.

man in black shirt looking at the window

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.

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 grief of the family scapegoat

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…

woman holding forehead at night

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.

Assessing for symptoms 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).

what is family scapegoat abuse

What Is 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:

a woman writing numbers on sand with her hand

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

Podcast 2 Tn Andrea

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).

myths about family scapegoating abuse

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.

AFFIRMATIONS family scapegoating abuse fsa

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

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.

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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.

is this just fantasy neon sign

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.

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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.

woman with cross symbol on mouth unable to speak

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.

blue eyed man staring at the mirror

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.

man people woman art

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.

upset little ethic boy looking at faceless father during argument

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

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.

red haired girl standing near plant

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…

woman standing on grassy hill

Radical Acceptance and Family Scapegoating Abuse Recovery

Many people are familiar with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s ‘Five Stages of Grief’, which are Denial; Anger; Bargaining; Depression; Acceptance. In my model for family scapegoating abuse (FSA) recovery, 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.

Read More »Radical Acceptance and Family Scapegoating Abuse Recovery

young gorgeous woman standing behind iron grate

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.

malignant narcissist and family scapegoat

FSA and Malignant Narcissism: Impact and Recovery Strategies

Surviving Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA) can leave lasting scars on individuals, impacting their mental and emotional well-being for years to come. At the heart of certain (not all) FSA dynamics lies the phenomenon of malignant narcissism, a complex personality disorder not included in the DSM-5. Malignant narcissism is characterized by a toxic blend of narcissistic, antisocial, and (at time) sadistic traits. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of malignant narcissism, its effects on victims of FSA, and strategies for healing and recovery.

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