The New Webster's Dictionary defines scapegoat as, a person who bears all the blame that should fall on others. I believe that most families have a member who acts as their scapegoat. They absorb the tension and wear their heart on their sleeve. The dominant members of the family know exactly what buttons to push to manipulate these involuntary recruits. As children they are usually the one who will be called out for a mess that clearly everyone had a hand in and stuck with most of the chores. They are the ones who must listen to all the accolades showered upon everyone else. Great expectations are for the others, "you just need to know your place and for gosh sakes stay out of trouble." Those of you who have been the scapegoat know who you are. Others reading this who were not, know who you are. You may have looked on with sympathetic eyes, but you know which sibling was the target. In some families it's the "not so pretty sister." In some minority families, it's the "dark one." Maybe it's the son who is more artistic than athletic. It's the one who is sensitive and try their best to be a peace maker and smooth things over. They take many different shapes and forms inorder to fill the many gaps.
I saw the trapping of a scapegoat unfold before my very eyes on a popular T.V. show hosted by a "doctor." At the center of the controversy was a young woman with tears streaming down her face. Her parents and siblings, and even this pseudo doctor, all chimed in with their angry dissatisfaction. They were so rude, including the "doctor," I could barely continue to watch. They all took turns talking about all the frustration she was causing everyone. You want to know why? They were upset because she gave birth to a child with disabilities and with trying to deal with the magnitude of the situation, SHE GAINED WEIGHT!!! That was her crime. She gained weight. I tell you what, just the way she kept quiet as each of her accusers had their say and the way she tried to reason with them, spoke volumes to me. She had been their soft landing at the end of a hard day. She had been the pillow they'd yell in to when they were frustrated. It was one of those blind sided attacks. At the end everyone feels better, but you.
Most parents will complain and say they wish they had an owners' manual for their children. Well I think there is one universal rule that should be applied to every child brought in to this world, love them. If you were blessed with more than one, love them all the SAME. Skin tone, size, demeanor or disposition, strength or weakness, if they were born a human being they are worthy of respect and consideration, and not some MORE than others. This leads to my title. What came first the victim or the scapegoat? There is only so much a child or person can handle before all the heaping on of guilt and mistreatment manifests itself. I feel that many turn to alcohol, drugs or even food to lessen the pain.
If you know all too well what I'm talking about, tell me about it. Help me out. Tell me your story. Tell me if you've actually come to the aid and defended the scapegoat of your family. Do you think I'm wrong and that there are just weak people who choose to have a crutch? How can someone get years of abuse of this kind behind them and experience freedom? I think it's a discussion worth having.