It has taken a lot of courage to be as vulnerable as I have about the predatory system that I recently extricated myself from. My final post makes the first two seem mild. I share the most intimate details of the predatory system of which I was made privy. I imply that there is worse that I don’t know. If I have been treading on thin ice thus far, I am taking a jackhammer to it with the third post.
My courage has faltered. Why? The one thing that has tethered me to the predatory system has been my husband. He means more to me than anyone in the world. The marriage we have built together is not perfect, but it is good. We have a good life and our children are loved and cared for. My post will put both of us firmly in the un-enviable position of the scapegoat.
In Old Testament times, the Children of Israel would take a goat from the herd, ritualistically place the sins of all the people onto that goat and then drive it out to starve to death. This ritual is described in Leviticus 16. The scapegoat has become a metaphor for the truth teller within a dysfunctional family system. The scapegoat in an alchoholic family or a narcissitic family is often the person in the family who actually seeks professional help. In therapy, the scapegoat will reveal the family secrets and try to confront the lies and live more authentically. The family will react to this by minimizing the dysfunction, defending the narcissist, and try to discredit the scapegoat. If this doesn’t silence the scapegoat, they will reject and drive them out of the family. The family will then demonize them, rejoice in their failures, and sabotage their lives if they can. All the problems within the dysfunctional family system can be blamed on the scapegoat. If the scapegoat leaves the family, there is often a new person who is forced into the role. There must always be someone to blame to avoid confronting the delusions of the narcissist.
I have actually functioned as the scapegoat in this narcissistic system for a while. Since the narcissist/predator died, the dysfunction in the family has increased. (I explain why in my detailed account.) My empathy for the family members created a co-dependence that I have been working on in therapy. Because of the dysfunction and the depression that has resulted from the pain the narcissist’s behavior has created, I have fallen into a bad depressive episode. This depressive episode can then be used to demonize me and blame me for the problems in the family. Sometimes I am a figure worthy of compassion and pity, other times I am a villainous abuser determined to cage Ben and keep him from his family. I have grown weary of both roles. I have mentally said my goodbyes to each member of Ben’s family with the understanding that the only way a healthy and authentic relationship with them is possible is if the old dysfunctional one is good and dead. I have been ready for a while to tell my story and embrace my new role outside of the family system, but what about Ben? I am not sure he is ready. He has confronted many family members about the dysfunction and has taken heat for it. He has defended me and refused to buy into their lies. Still, I can’t post this without his full support. I have been thinking and praying and my mind has been enlightened to understand things I didn’t before about myself and about the predatory system I am leaving.
I go to see my counselor on Thursday. Ben is planning to come. Together, with the Lord, we will decide what should be in my third post. I know that Ben and I can withstand the worst consequences of telling the truth, as long as we are together with the Lord. Light and truth bring healing. Secrets and darkness allow evil to thrive. Please pray for me, my husband, and my therapist as we seek the Lord’s guidance.
For more information about Narcisisstic Family roles follow these links:
If you find that you have attracted a lot of narcissistic people into your life, you might be highly empathetic. Learning to embrace your authentic self and let go of rigid structures can help you release your potential and resist the urge to partner with a narcissist. I am working to do that as well.