Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed is a Therapist Recommended Book:
Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed was a 2021 Eric Hoffer Book Awards Finalist.
This much needed work by Rebecca C. Mandeville provides a comprehensive introduction to the subject of family scapegoating and serves as a starting point for survivor awareness and further research for professionals if they want to begin filling in the gaps for this misunderstood and under-served community.
It serves an important niche within Family Systems literature, as it was written for those who were assigned the role of ‘family scapegoat’ within their dysfunctional family system. It adeptly addresses with specificity the abuses and emotional injuries scapegoated adults experience, which are distinct, and often more damaging than those associated with other dysfunctional family roles.
– Lisa Marie Campagnoli, Certified Trauma Recovery Coach, RYT-200
A much-needed adjunct to the Family Systems model. Suitable for clinicans, clients, and lay-persons.
– Shellie Krick, MSW
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
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, & 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, & capacity for change— in other words, the one most able to benefit from therapy.
Rebecca’s writing is clear & 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 & 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 & 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 & 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
From the Author
Scapegoating in any social system is a dehumanizing process of ‘othering’. When you are the target of scapegoating in your family-of-origin, the consequences to your mental and emotional health can be severe, including the development of complex trauma (C-PTSD) symptoms.
This introductory guide’s purpose is to help the reader determine if they are in the ‘family scapegoat’ role; also, to better understand family scapegoating dynamics and the devastating consequences of being ‘rejected, shamed, and blamed’ by the people who were supposed to love and care for them the most. This is not a ‘recovery workbook’; it is a book about what scapegoated adult survivors are recovering from.
By naming the abusive aspects associated with family scapegoating processes family scapegoating abuse (FSA) during the course of my research on dysfunctional family systems, the experiences of FSA adult survivors have been validated and legitimized. I have greatly appreciated the many emails I’ve received thanking me for giving this particular form of 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 narcissisticfamily systems. I’m glad that so many of you have found it helpful to have a clinical (non-DSM) term to describe your painful and confusing family experiences.
At this time, family scapegoating remains an under-researched, poorly understood systemic process that deserves more attention in Mental Health literature. I began my research on what I named family scapegoating abuse (FSA) while serving as Core Faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now known as Sofia University) and I have been treating adult survivors of family scapegoating in both clinical and private practice settings as a licensed psychotherapist for nearly 20 years. This guide is therefore largely based on my research findings (to be published in an upcoming book on FSA) and my experience helping FSA adult survivors to recover from this most egregious form of family abuse.