Scapegoating, in some cases, is a way for families to cover up issues they cannot face. When this happens, an individual (usually a child or sibling) is targeted by the rest of the family and becomes the root cause for all that is wrong in their inner circle. Often, the sibling who was perceived as the favorite will be the target of family scapegoating–a practice that can leave one with great degrees of trauma, including PTSD. Healing centers like Serenity Trauma offers multiple treatment types for family scapegoat PTSD victims, and each treatment is customized to the individual, including the treatment approach. Here are four important things you should know about family scapegoat PTSD, and why seeking treatment is critical to one’s ability to live a happy, confident life.

1. Why do Cases with Family Scapegoating Exist?

According to multiple studies carried out by reputable sources, emotionally unstable or mentally ill parents (including narcissists and people with personality disorders) are significantly more likely to scapegoat their child than stable and emotionally healthy parents. In some cases, parents have attacked their child to release bottled up frustration, and their own feelings of abandonment. In addition, parents will scapegoat a child as an attempt to strengthen family unity in cases where one sibling is pitted against another to form an “ally”. The ally is the golden child that can do no wrong, while the child given the stigma of “the bad one” is the scapegoat.

One way of looking at this is in the light of a plane that is dropping from the sky because it is too heavy: one passenger must be thrown out of the plane for it to stabilize and protect the integrity of the other passengers. When family scapegoating occurs, the child labeled bad is kicked out of the metaphorical plane. When dealing with dysfunctional family units, scapegoating is motivated by an unconscious process in which family members displace their own collective emotional and psychological challenges onto another targeted family member. Just be aware that the actions committed by the psychologically ill family unit (shaming, humiliating, rejecting, etc.) are not done unconsciously; just the projection process that fuels the abuse is.

2.  What Kind of Effects can Family Scapegoating Abuse have On People?

In many cases, adult survivors of family scapegoating develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Family scapegoat PTSD can be difficult to diagnose, as many survivors fail to recognize that they even suffered from psychological or emotional abuse, and therapists who aren’t trained in this area of psychological healthcare can easily miss the signs and fail to give an accurate diagnosis. This is an especially painful thing to go through, as people tend to fall into a trap where they tell themselves “but it’s family, so it’s not that bad, ” or “forgive and forget”, but it isn’t that easy. In fact, thoughts like this only serve to reinforce the scapegoated person’s fear that, ultimately, they are responsible for their sullied or non-existent family relationships

Family Scapegoating Abuse


When people suffering from family scapegoat PTSD come to Serenity Trauma for treatment, many find that the anxiety and pain they are feeling is significantly minimized after only a few sessions.

When people with family scapegoat PTSD go through life undiagnosed and untreated, they are prone to several effects that include panic attacks, problems sleeping, depression, anxiety, anger management issues, and unrecognized grief.

In some cases, Serenity Trauma has encountered people who were misdiagnosed as being bipolar, having attention deficit hyperactive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, or agoraphobia. But, they are dealing with PTSD brought on by family scapegoating.

Finally, people with family scapegoat PTSD will often deal with addiction issues and/or codependency.

Seek Treatment Without Delay

When you delay treatment, your symptoms will only get worse as the negative energy remains trapped in your mind and body increasing with pressure. The first step is to get a proper diagnosis, then to follow a treatment plan for family scapegoat PTSD, if in fact it is your diagnosis. Serenity Trauma is a leading authority in this type of anxiety, attracting people to Malibu from all over the country for treatment from the best therapists. Reach out today and begin the journey to living the best life possible.