Golden Child and Scapegoat

(50 Posts)
donoghue Mon 19-Jul-21 21:37:53

So the parent is a narcissist and one child is the golden child and the other is the scapegoat. The scapegoat went LC but there was recent contact with the golden child about something not related to the family situation, initially, but the conversation turned to difficulties in childhood and the scapegoat is honest about their feelings about their parents - but says it is behind them, their childhood was abusive but they built a good life for themselves. The golden child gets upset, says that she just wants everyone to get along, that she doesn't want to be dragged into a conversation which criticises her (her) parents, it isn't her responsibility. The scapegoat says she spoke her mind about something which happened to her, it wasn't intended to offend golden child. Golden child doesn't see the parent as narcissistic, or abusive or herself as a golden child. Who is right here? Should the scapegoat not say anything about the abuse for fear of upsetting the golden child? Should the golden child see that the scapegoat's story is not about her, it is about the scapegoat, and the scapegoat has the right to speak as she feels? I can't say who I am in this scenario, I am worried about someone recognising themselves which will cause even more trouble.

OP’s posts: |
hannayeah Tue 20-Jul-21 02:51:08

It would be unusual for anyone to refer to themselves as the golden child so…

CrazyNeighbour Tue 20-Jul-21 03:03:28

Scapegoat needs to stand firm with their boundaries.

Golden child is upset, so what? Can they accept scapegoat is allowed their own view? Do they think the differential treatment is OK? Can they respect scapegoat’s boundaries e.g. not disclosing information? It’s not clear if the upset is reality avoidance or manipulative.

Wanting everyone to get along is all very nice but what’s her proposal to make that happen given the current starting point. Do parents wish for more contact?

Aquamarine1029 Tue 20-Jul-21 03:06:04

Who is right here? Should the scapegoat not say anything about the abuse for fear of upsetting the golden child? Should the golden child see that the scapegoat's story is not about her, it is about the scapegoat, and the scapegoat has the right to speak as she feels? I can't say who I am in this scenario, I am worried about someone recognising themselves which will cause even more trouble.

This isn't about who is "right." The scapegoat needs to realise that they and the golden child had different upbringings, even though they were raised together in the same home. The scapegoat can't expect the golden child to relate to her experience - the golden child simply didn't live that same experience. They will never see their parents in the same light.

Gherkinbee Tue 20-Jul-21 10:31:18

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Gherkinbee Tue 20-Jul-21 10:31:54

@Aquamarine1029 has it spot on

Branleuse Tue 20-Jul-21 11:36:00

I dont think the scapegoat can expect their sister to be able to relate to this and reframe their entire relationship with their parents, and the golden child should probably just accept that their sibling felt they had a different childhood.
Golden child almost sounds like accusation and as if they colluded when they were just a child too and I think these are often quite complex situations and I very much doubt that either of you would see eye to eye on it, but that doesnt mean you cant have a supportive adult relationship with each other

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Topofthepopicles Tue 20-Jul-21 11:39:27

I agree with aquamarine

stabinthedark0 Tue 20-Jul-21 11:42:26

Nobody is right.

donoghue Tue 20-Jul-21 12:07:50

hannayeah

It would be unusual for anyone to refer to themselves as the golden child so…

Why do you think no one would refer to themselves as golden child? People do. I want to try to keep this neutral though because I want to try to see both sides.

OP’s posts: |
donoghue Tue 20-Jul-21 12:22:52

Aquamarine1029

*Who is right here? Should the scapegoat not say anything about the abuse for fear of upsetting the golden child? Should the golden child see that the scapegoat's story is not about her, it is about the scapegoat, and the scapegoat has the right to speak as she feels? I can't say who I am in this scenario, I am worried about someone recognising themselves which will cause even more trouble.*

This isn't about who is "right." The scapegoat needs to realise that they and the golden child had different upbringings, even though they were raised together in the same home. The scapegoat can't expect the golden child to relate to her experience - the golden child simply didn't live that same experience. They will never see their parents in the same light.

@Aquamarine1029

The golden child has not had it lightly here, they were not hit or verbally abused, but they were not brought up with their needs being met. The scapegoat recognises this. The golden child now has fairly severe mental health problems - the scapegoat here doesn't. The golden child was basically the extension of the parents' ego.

My question was - should the scapegoat just not ever talk about their experiences at all because the golden child gets upset and basically doesn't believe the scapegoat? They will never see their parents in the same light by this do you mean that the golden child cannot relate to the scapegoat's experience at all - complete strangers can hear about it, and support scapegoat, but because golden child's perception of their parents is so different, hearing about the scapegoat's experience brings about a sort of dissonance?

Thanks for your comments

OP’s posts: |
HugoToWin Tue 20-Jul-21 12:27:27

I think both need help and shouldn't rely in trying to see through the eyes of the other.

donoghue Tue 20-Jul-21 12:33:02

Branleuse

I dont think the scapegoat can expect their sister to be able to relate to this and reframe their entire relationship with their parents, and the golden child should probably just accept that their sibling felt they had a different childhood.
Golden child almost sounds like accusation and as if they colluded when they were just a child too and I think these are often quite complex situations and I very much doubt that either of you would see eye to eye on it, but that doesnt mean you cant have a supportive adult relationship with each other

I referred to golden child because it is as described when people talk about the narcissistic parent, both golden child and scapegoat suffer in these situations. I am not sure that it is possible to have mutually supportive relationships if the subject of childhood is off limits - as you say, they cannot relate to what is being said. I am not sure I agree that there is any expectation that either sibling should reframe their entire relationship? Are you saying that people in this situation (and it is fairly common) are never able to validate each other's experiences, without any expectation that as a result they have to reframe their own relationship with their parents?

OP’s posts: |
donoghue Tue 20-Jul-21 12:40:50

CrazyNeighbour

Scapegoat needs to stand firm with their boundaries.

Golden child is upset, so what? Can they accept scapegoat is allowed their own view? Do they think the differential treatment is OK? Can they respect scapegoat’s boundaries e.g. not disclosing information? It’s not clear if the upset is reality avoidance or manipulative.

Wanting everyone to get along is all very nice but what’s her proposal to make that happen given the current starting point. Do parents wish for more contact?

It seems other posters here don't agree...

Parents have said they don't want a relationship with scapegoat, because scapegoat was difficult as a child. They will tolerate scapegoat attending events and send the odd passive aggressive badly wrapped present to scapegoat's children but that is it and they have explained that they are supportive of golden child because they had a good relationship with them as a child. They have said that they as parents were the victim in all this.

OP’s posts: |
Sittingonabench Tue 20-Jul-21 12:49:43

In this situation it would seem best to focus on what both siblings want from their future relationship. If both want a relationship and both accept the other is not responsible for the past issues then why does it need to be hashed out between them? The scapegoat can work on their issues separate to golden child and golden child can do the same while focusing on providing support to each other for current issues and future support. If both siblings have different perspectives of the past seen through a child lens then they will not validate the others experience and will only cause friction and a distancing of the relationship. Perhaps that’s what is wanted by one or both and it’s self sabotage but personally I would keep the past in the past when speaking to other party as it is not their fault and they can’t fix it

CrazyNeighbour Tue 20-Jul-21 12:54:51

It seems other posters here don't agree...

Again, so what. But also, I don’t think anyone has said you should drop your boundaries [give in to the golden child’s demands at the expense of your own happiness], just explained that neither of you will get the type of relationship you ideally want with the other.

Btw, it isn’t clear whether the GC accepts your entitlement to your own view?

CrazyNeighbour Tue 20-Jul-21 12:55:51

Xpiat with @Sittingonabench

Bluntness100 Tue 20-Jul-21 12:58:46

Are you th scapegoat op. There’s an undertone of bitterness in your posts

I would suggest therapy, accept yout perceptions are different. You all perceive it differently snd try to work through it with someone qualified.

hannayeah Tue 20-Jul-21 13:01:11

How close am I here:

You’re the scapegoat. Sibling is the goldenchild. You want to push her to talk about it. You say you are healthy and beyond it all. Goldenchild doesn’t think you are beyond it all and thinks your version isn’t completely healthy or correct. But she knows if she doesn’t agree with your narrative there will be hell to pay in the form of more abandonment. Ergo, let’s avoid this and try to preserve what’s left of our family and just be in each other’s lives.

donoghue Tue 20-Jul-21 13:37:55

@Bluntness100 stress not bitterness.

@hannayeah that is a really odd thing to write if you don't mind me saying so and I can only assume you are projecting. Read my opening post again. You are completely off-base.

@CrazyNeighbour is right though, I am scapegoat here and my boundaries were off when I started to engage with my sibling recently, because I was shattered at the time and she didn't sound well.

My original question put in a different way - just how awful was it of me to make an off the cuff comment about past, not intending to cause offence to sibling but causing offence all the same? Because I am being made to feel that I have contributed to her MH problems. And I don't have a "normal" reference to judge whether that is a fair criticism or not.

OP’s posts: |
donoghue Tue 20-Jul-21 13:41:03

Goldenchild doesn’t think you are beyond it all and thinks your version isn’t completely healthy or correct

@hannayeah could you just expand here - you are saying you think sibling doesn't believe there was abuse? The abuse was physical and severe over a period of years and my parents have not denied it, they have just said it was my fault. I am not sure how my response to this, to go LC - I have been LC for a number of years - could possibly be not completely healthy or correct? What do you think?

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donoghue Tue 20-Jul-21 13:44:16

@hannayeah also, I am only LC because parents will cause a lot of trouble if I go completely NC. I moved several hundred miles away from them a few years ago.

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hannayeah Tue 20-Jul-21 13:51:41

I think LC is very healthy. I don’t think trying to talk to your sibling about it, especially if she has MH issues is good though, because you will not get the acknowledgement you want.

I read your opening post “the conversation turned…” to mean you began talking about it at length while she was trying to shut it down. You have a right, but your needs won’t get met this way. And yes, she probably has a different version of events. You being healthy means seeing it with clear eyes, and not needing her to agree or discuss. What happened to you happened, not matter her take on it.

I don’t think families like this (mentally ill parents) ever really heal as a family. You can heal as an individual.

hannayeah Tue 20-Jul-21 13:53:27

donoghue

*@hannayeah* also, I am only LC because parents will cause a lot of trouble if I go completely NC. I moved several hundred miles away from them a few years ago.

I am a huge proponent of low contact. Very healthy way to cope with it. I actually think it’s better in many ways than NC for the healthy person. Less guilt, etc.

hannayeah Tue 20-Jul-21 13:58:06

Also, I mean your sibling is telling herself a version of events she can live with on both sides. Goldenchild also is usually a peacemaker. So no, she won’t fully believe things as you tell them. And in the case of physical abuse she’s either pretending it didn’t happen, wasn’t as bad as it was or that there is some justification (they didn’t know what to do, didn’t handle it right, have MH issues, and so on).

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