Monthly Archives: October 2015

Scapegoating in Families

Greeting Card by J.C. Duffy (c) 1981
Greeting Card by J.C. Duffy (c) 1981

I bought this greeting card back in 1981, when I was 25. I didn’t buy it to send to anyone. I bought it because the woman in the picture looked like I felt: shocked, exhausted, raw.

I was reminded of this picture this week, when I came across multiple blog posts that described my family-of-origin with eye-popping completeness and specificity. In just the last 5 years, the toxic dynamic that shaped my life has become recognized and understood by enough people that it can be googled.

Mean Girl Times a Million

Everybody knows about “mean girls”, and how they bully and torment their targets. Mean girls are narcissists (or, more technically, suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD). They have an exaggerated sense of their own worth, and think that their chosen minions can do no wrong because they chose them. Conversely, they view those they deem unworthy as legitimate targets of libel, slander, gossip, derision, contempt, ostracism, and worse. Mean girls don’t feel bad about hurting people’s feelings because narcissists can’t empathize. They can feign it, but they don’t feel it. Narcissists don’t actually recognize the existence of other human beings as such. Other people matter only insofar as they impact the narcissist’s own life. Character traits like loyalty, responsibility, and integrity are not part of the NPD world. Only what the narcissist wants, needs, and feels matters. Ironically, if you try to assert your own wants, needs, or feelings with a narcissist, you’ll be called “selfish”. How thoughtless of you to consider your own needs above those of the narcissist – or at all, for that matter!

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