Family scapegoating processes are insidious. Adult survivors often feel alone and isolated. Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed validates the experiences of those who are suffering in the 'family scapegoat' role. Topics covered include:
Tomorrow can be better than today...
Rejected. Shamed, and Blamed is an introductory guide on understanding the traumatizing aspects of family scapegoating dynamics in your dysfunctional family-of-origin. Despite the devastating consequences to adult survivors, family scapegoating remains an under-researched, poorly understood dysfunctional family process. If you've experienced any of the below, you may be the 'identified patient' or 'scapegoat' in your family:
Rebecca C. Mandeville is a licensed counselor, recovery coach, writer, speaker, and media contributor on family scapegoating and adult survivors of toxic/dysfunctional family systems. She has dedicated her 20-year career in Mental Health to advocating for those whose voices are not heard due to being systemically disempowered. Rebecca writes for various Mental Health organizations and publishes regularly on her popular blog on scapegoat recovery. She is also the author of the best-selling book on family scapegoating, Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed: Help and Hope for Adults in the Family Scapegoat Role.
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 narcissistic family 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.
Therapist Recommended: Family scapegoating is an insidious form of "invisible" abuse that is difficult to recognize. It is therefore critical that adult survivors understand what type of abuse they are trying to recover from. In Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed, Licensed Psychotherapist and Family Systems expert Rebecca C. Mandeville uses her research findings on what she named family scapegoating abuse (FSA) to help survivors recognize and release the damaging 'scapegoat' narrative associated with the (dysfunctional) family 'identified patient' role. This 2nd revision includes additional recovery suggestions and resources. Also suitable for concerned friends and clinicians,
In these pages you'll discover:
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 while educating on 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."
Rebecca C. Mandeville is a licensed Marriage, Family Therapist and recognized Family Systems expert. She has over 20 years experience in treating adult survivors of dysfunctional family abuse in both clinical and private practice settings. She coined the term family scapegoating abuse (FSA) while researching family scapegoating's impact on the targeted child / adult child while Core Faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. She is also a pioneer in identifying the overlapping symptoms of family scapegoating abuse (FSA), complex trauma (C-PTSD), betrayal trauma, and the devastating impact and effects of multigenerational trauma on adult survivors of dysfunctional, narcissistic, or abusive family systems.
Those who like to read books written by licensed Mental Health professionals that address healing from the effects of Dysfunctional or Toxic Families; Toxic Family Abuse; Narcissistic Family Abuse; Dysfunctional Family Abuse; Narcissistic Families; Gaslighting; Complex Trauma (C-PTSD); Betrayal Trauma; Trauma-Informed Care; Dysfunctional Family Dynamics; Multigenerational or Intergenerational Trauma; Transgenerational Trauma; Family Empaths; (the) Highly Sensitive Person (HSP); Child Abuse; Systemic Bullying; and Adult Survivors of Child Abuse may especially appreciate this book.
©2020 Rebecca C. Mandeville All Rights Reserved
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
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 Review