The Year of the (Scape)Goat

The 19th of February will mark the beginning of the year of the goat/sheep according to the Chinese calendar.  Astrology (and the internet) reveal these common traits:

Goats are kind-hearted, trustful and are not fond of change.

And I also read they are very sensitive.  Hah!  It was listed as a weakness.  I think, for only a moment, the universe is part of the ‘joke’ that took me a while to figure out – that humans can’t be goats!

Well, whether it is Chinese astrology or your very dysfunctional family, Scapegoats make the universe and the dysfunction go round and round.  It never stops.  Until the Scapegoat sees that there is a problem (other than themselves) and actually wants to change.  It can happen even when the stars are not aligned.  Go Goats!

Domesticating Molding a Scapegoat in a family involves placing blame until the child  automatically does so herself, on cue.  The only thing required to keep the goat contained is control.   Control keeps the universe from collapsing (or in this case, the system).  Usually, someone literally collapses because it is exhausting to keep a fragile system spinning in orbit.


Playing the Scapegoat is like an actual goat in the pasture eating unwanted vegetation.  When you think you have tamed the pasture, new weeds have already sprouted up elsewhere.  It works because the Scapegoat can be trusted to do the repetitive job, even our strengths are weaknesses!

As a Scapegoat, you can make all the noise you want but it isn’t until your duties get neglected that everyone pays attention.  Everyone starts to react to the uncontrollable weeds in the backyard (but not actually doing anything about it).  The only thing more off putting than looking at all the weeds is the neighbors commenting on the unkept yard.  Oh my!  Surely something’s wrong with the goat, what shall they do?  Weed killer and mulch, although acceptable alternatives, require too much work, unlike a peaceful goat grazing.

And unlike a peaceful goat, I started to become angry and then, a lot of stuff became uncomfortable around me.  The past years in recovery I felt changes even when no one around me could see them.  I was a human dressed in a goat costume and it was getting really itchy.  I still have a long way to go to get that darn costume off – it was sewn on with love and care intricate stitching.  However, parts are beginning to fray.

Astrology and the goat’s early domestication by humans have led us astray from the true nature of the goat.  The goat will readily return to its wild (feral) state and she is an intelligent, curious creature willing to explore unfamiliar territory (contradictory to the notion she is not fond of change).  Goats live symbiotic with man, serving purposes like milk, butter, cheese, clothing and removal of unwanted vegetation.  But with any symbiotic situation, some basic principles must be remembered to maintain harmony – the weeds are NOT the goat’s fault!

Happy New Year!  All the best to everyone for a healthy 2015!

Footnote to the New Year

I found this article revealing about the trait of procrastination as I try to move forward this year.  A timely article.  😉

18 thoughts on “The Year of the (Scape)Goat

  1. LOL! I LOVE THIS. Yeap, goats are great! Scapegoats are made by narcissistic ‘humans’ (I prefer to think of narcissists as NOT human….certainly goats with their independence and trusting nature have more humanity than some people).

    It takes a long time to break the threads of that scapegoat hide that is sewn on so tightly. And a lot of anger and depression, sorrow and self-blame. It comes to a point that you realize that your life is seriously depleted and you can’t tolerate the burden of these things anymore. I found the only way to shake off that rotting hide was to go NC. But this was not something that everyone needed to do. I was faced with a seriously psychotic mother. A narcissist on the extreme end of the scale. And another thing about being the scapegoat of the family: this I realized after decades” those who in the foo should realize the damage and destruction done by the main narcissist are DE-sensitized to the behavior of the chief narcissist. They become more than flying monkeys. Their wiring is twisted and they become narcissists, not just servants of the narcissist. This phenon. is seen by many I believe but mis-understood. I think of it in a broader term: how could decent Germans become supporters of Nazism? How can decent family members become de=sensitized to the embarrassing and inhuman and sadistic behavior of the narcissist? Because they, in constant contact with this behavior, ….well, it’s mind numbing and they lose all perspective as to what is decent and civil.

    I think when we are scapegoats we go through stages…and anger and self-hatred is part of those stages. Then one day, it becomes clearer and we decide to listen to that blessed anger inside and go on the warpath. I did, and of course, the attitude and behavior of the narcissists in the foo, etc. didn’t change but so what. I didn’t want or need to be around them any more.

    Love your post.


    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Jane,
      Thank you. So true, it takes time to break out of being a scapegoat. And also knowing that even if I work on my own behaviors that aid my SG role that others won’t see me in a different way. Similar to what you say, other FOOs members can only see us as an SG. The points you make are timely b/c I’ve had some realizations and acceptance on the fact that other members treat me in this one-dimensionality – something I think I would like to write more on, so thank you. I think you are right that anger is a necessary emotion to take off the whole costume. Man, anger is a challenge for me. xx


  2. I love how you explore things I would never even think about. Adding a bit more: Not only are the weeds NOT the goats fault, but if you feed the goat weeds don’t blame the nasty tasting milk and cheese on the goat. It’s the weeds. We are not goats. We are amazing, miraculous human beings, and we are strong enough and smart enough and courageous enough to fight to be who we are and leave behind the aberration we were trained to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post TR. I loved this phrase: “As a Scapegoat, you can make all the noise you want but it isn’t until your duties get neglected that everyone pays attention. Everyone starts to react to the uncontrollable weeds in the backyard (but not actually doing anything about it).” It’s so crazy that they blame us for not maintaining the “status quo” while they aren’t willing to lift a finger themselves. 😛

    Kara xxoo


  4. Loved this! Goats are also one of the surest-footed creatures on earth. They can climb and move around on the rockiest of terrain without losing their footing. They’ve also been known to eat clothing. So Scapegoats eat Emperor’s new clothing. Someone’s gotta do it! Happy to see a new post from you TR. xox CS


  5. Thank you so much for this post! Just perfect and clever, too! I also liked CS’s comment about goats eating the “emperor’s new coat.” ha!

    Scapegoating is something I experienced at the end of my marriage and now I’m considering how-and-why I was “groomed” to blame myself for someone else’s bad behavior. That’s where my FOO dynamics come into play—the narcissistic family needs a scapegoat because family members don’t take responsibility for themselves. The blame must go somewhere and that somewhere ends up being the kid with the most sensitive temperament. How SAD. How sad that so many wonderful children are cast in a role that abuses their authenticity!


    Liked by 1 person

    • I learned that about scapegoats in a post of yours last year. How the scapegoat actually bonds the family system. I had never thought of the role like that. I started to see that in the whole system (my FOO and DH’s FOO and friends) – how the need was so pervasive. Indeed, it is usually the kid with the sensitive temperament, something I noticed when the scapegoat was a first born (DH’s cousin). xx


  6. Somehow I missed this post, TR (and I was wondering how you’d been! So I was glad to see you write.) I’m a capricorn, so I’m a “true” goat :). I agree with Kara, that your point about how no one notices the goat until the weeds are over grown is a great analogy. I look forward to seeing you explore this further.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jessie,
      Ah, a capricorn! It is a heavy burden to carry. I am looking forward to exploring and hearing others’ thoughts on the ‘goat’ in family systems, it has so much to do in changing my own behaviors and understanding how ‘far’ the family system will go to keep one in the role. xx


  7. Pingback: How to Speak Scapegoat | In Bad Company

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