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

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair

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

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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

red haired girl standing near plant

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…

Radical Acceptance and Family Scapegoating Abuse Recovery

woman standing on grassy hill

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.

Recognizing Narcissistic Family Abuse

young gorgeous woman standing behind iron grate

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.

The Narcissistic Martyr Parent Ploy and the Scapegoat Child

tired mother with cute daughter resting on bed in cozy room

One of the ways that a narcissistic parent marginalizes their child is to demean them and put them down – This is particularly the case with the ‘scapegoat child’. An example of such marginalization tactics is evident in what S.P. named the ‘Martyr Parent Ploy’, which we consider to be a form of covert narcissism.

Recognizing C-PTSD as a Legitimate Diagnosis

complex trauma and family scapegoating

[Note: This article originally written for The C-PTSD Foundation in November 2020] Complex PTSD ( which is sometimes interchanged with terms such as complex relational trauma, developmental trauma, and interpersonal trauma) is a relatively recent concept. With the recognition of complex PTSD (C-PTSD) by the World Health Organization (WHO), healthcare providers around the world are […]

5 Critical Things to Know About Family Scapegoating Abuse (FSA)

family scapegoat

Because family scapegoating processes can be insidious and subtle, many adult survivors do not realize that they are suffering from a most egregious (and often chronic) form of systemically-driven psycho-emotional bullying and abuse, with all of the painful consequences to body, mind, and spirit…