I often like to use analogies to try and make sense of the dynamics of my family of origin. This is another analogy that shows how I would be vilified for making an alternate choice to what my family of origin prescribed.
My narcissistic mother (NM) decides that she, my golden child brother, and I, the scapegoat, all are required to meet for an appointment at 10AM on Monday in a city that is about 100 miles (160 km) away from where we all live.
But she adds further details regarding how we are to get to the meeting: We all must drive our cars and take the freeway.
My golden child (GC) brother, living essentially next to the freeway, and only owning a car, does as NM demands and takes his car on the freeway to the appointment.
I live about 20 miles (32km) from the freeway. I wake up on Monday morning and see it’s a beautiful summer day. I’m aware of NM’s requirement that I am to take my car and the freeway, but since it’s such a nice day, I decide to hop on my Harley and take the back roads to the town where the meeting is to occur.
Some potential outcomes:
– I show up on time for the meeting, but I receive a sneer from NM and my GC bro for not doing as NM demanded
– I show up a little late because I don’t have a timepiece that I can readily see on my Harley and I receive admonishment from NM and GC bro for being late and for not following NM’s direction.
– I have the misfortune of getting into an accident on my Harley on the way to the meeting. I’m taken away in an ambulance but I will be OK. I’m not able to make the meeting. NM is furious. She calls me repeatedly until I eventually am able to answer my phone and tells me how stupid I am for not taking my car on the freeway, and that if I had taken my car on the freeway like she demanded that this “never would have happened to me”. So here I am, in the hospital with injuries after my motorcycle accident, and, having chosen a different path to get to the meeting than she prescribed for me, I’m told it’s my fault that something bad happened along the way because I didn’t do as she demanded.
The flip side: If my GC bro had been in an accident while following her direction to take his car on the freeway, she would have reacted completely differently, doing what she could to make sure he was alright. There is a also distinct possibility that she would have found a way to blame me for his accident, since I should have been riding with him or following him, and I if had done that, this “probably wouldn’t have happened.”
Furthermore, if I had taken my car on the freeway as NM required and been in an accident and not made the meeting, it would still somehow be my fault because I didn’t have a “reliable car” or I’m a “bad driver”.
So no matter what the situation or outcome, I am always wrong. Which is by definition the reality of the family scapegoat.