Secrets within a family don’t just have to involve past events or actions. They can concern current relationships or individuals, where a particular spin is put on a situation that is actually a distortion or an out-right lie. For example, the emotional abuse of one spouse by another or of a child by an adult can be blamed on the victim. Mom’s drinking can be said to be the result of her son’s disrespect. A financially comfortable family can maintain a myth that they are perpetually going broke. The irresponsibility and selfishness of one child can be portrayed as the result of lack of consideration from the responsible and unselfish child. The phenomenon of scapegoating in part involves the perpetuation of a familial distortion. For example, a family can focus on little Joey’s bad behavior so that Mom and Dad don’t have to deal with conflict in their marriage. If someone helps Joey improve his behavior, his parent’s marriage might start to show problems. Analogous to family secrets, family myths are generally maintained in order to protect a more powerful member, or to avoid facing the truth about other member. Generally, if a family member does not want to face a certain truth about herself, she will uphold any manner of distortions concerning other family members.
Your last sentence is my mother.
This is a great post; I would like to read more about this.
Yes, I enjoyed this!! Being the scapegoat is a frustrating and lonely role. Family therapy should be mandatory, like taxes!