Scapegoats And Hierarchy

Groups that Scapegoat are usually the same groups that seek to appoint someone as "Leader".

Many, many people are engulfed in their own desire for Hierarchy, and so they CREATE "Hierarchy" where it doesn't exist, and where it's not appropriate.

The Scapegoat is a person who someone started treating as a "lower status person" somewhere along the line, and the others in the group FOLLOWED ALONG, because no one wants the "lowest status" position in a group.

If a person believes that Hierarchy is REAL, then they're NOT going to want to be the "low man on the totem pole", they'll throw someone else under the bus in order to avoid being thrown under themselves.

The Scapegoat is a person who gets talked about in very negative ways by other members of the group. This gossiping activity is to ENSURE that they are the ones in the "low status" position, and that no one else is IN DANGER of being put in that position. That's basically what it's about. Everyone joins in the targeting of this individual, because they want that person to STAY IN the "scapegoat" position, so THEY won't get put there.
If "Scapegoating" exists in a social system, then EVERYONE is a potential target. All it takes is for the winds of change to blow hard enough. If they'll turn on one person, they'll turn on another very easily.

The Scapegoat is often called "names" behind their back, and sometimes to their face, such as "lazy, weird, crazy, 'off', nuts, unstable, irresponsible, loser, stuck up, ugly, fat, skinny, slutty, greedy, bitchy, whiny, self-centered", etc.
NAME CALLING is not something that mature or caring people do to other people in conversation, so just the use of "bad names" is a very big red flag. Mature adults don't do "Name-calling" except when they're having a hard time containing their anger about abuse or betrayal (or worse; but real).

The Scapegoat gets blamed for all kinds of things, whether they were even involved or not in an incident.

The Scapegoat's actions are frequently lied about and purposely misconstrued, embellished, and inflated.

A Scapegoat is often the only one who is actually spending time or caring for another person in the family, and may be targeted because the others feel ashamed that they're not doing much to help, or because others are afraid they'll be judged as "lazy" or "uncaring" in comparison.

Scapegoats are typically denied the same support that other members of the group take for granted. That support may include friendship and general respect and courtesy; resources that others receive as a matter of "normal" support; protection from unfairness, disrespect, abuse and assault from inside or outside of the group; shelter, food, clothing, or any other kind of help, support, or assistance that others in the group receive.

A Scapegoat may have been targeted originally because someone was envious of them for any reason, or jealous of a relationship they had with someone.

A Scapegoat may have been targeted originally because they were abused or neglected, and someone has been trying to destroy their credibility by destroying their reputation, just in case the abuse ever "came out".

A Scapegoat may have been targeted simply because someone in the group has some kind of mental/emotional illness that causes paranoia, so they started placing blame and accusations on one person for their feelings, and others in the group followed along with the delusion instead of investigating and putting a STOP to the rumor mill. 

The original reason that a person was targeted for Scapegoating often gets lost in the melee of the slander, gossip and dysfunction of the group. After a long enough period of time, the participating group members just go along with targeting the person and painting them as the "black sheep", as a "loser", as the "haughty one", as "eccentric" or "weird" or whatever.

Groups that scapegoat will ALWAYS scapegoat SOMEONE. If the current scapegoat were to disappear completely, a NEW ONE would be picked pretty quickly from the remaining cast of characters.

A Narcissist Won't ~

One thing you won't see a person with Narcissism do (regardless of having any other diagnoses), is go to a counselor to help them learn how to treat others with more respect and care.


Another common manipulation tactic is the attempt to get "everyone" to agree not to "like" a certain person anymore.

This is often done by those who have envy issues, social insecurity issues, and also those who have actually betrayed, scammed, abused, slandered, lied to, or otherwise hurt the person they're targeting.

(Instead of owning up to their behavior and apologizing or making amends, they try to turn the whole situation upside down and put the blame on the person they hurt.)

A person with codependency or Stockholme syndrome may also do this to a person who has STOOD UP AGAINST a bully, a gossip, or an abuser on someone else's behalf. They become the new target/scapegoat because they stood up for someone else who was being treated poorly.

Appropriate Punishment vs. Retaliation and Abuse

Inflicting "punishment" on another person for one's own emotional reactions is simply abuse.  It's bullying.
There are specific scenarios where "punishment" is appropriate, and those are limited to disciplinary measures regarding actions that don't comply with standard guidelines. In other words breaking rules or laws, or refusing to hold up one's responsibilities.

A parent or another supervisory adult is appropriate in "punishing" a child for misbehaving, such as suspending privileges, or putting away a toy (or a game, or a cell phone), when they do things like refuse to follow rules, if they mistreat another person or animal. or if they lie.
These are behaviors that have objective, outlined standards that are the same for everyone in a group.
Megan lies, she gets grounded for two days, Ronald lies, he gets exactly the same punishment as Megan did.
Not more, and not less, because the punishment is for the ACTION of lying. It's not about whether someone LIKES the certain child or not, or is MAD AT the child or not, or is EMBARRASSED by the child or not, or is trying to "put the child in her/his 'place'".

However it is not appropriate to punish a child for things like: not complying with abuse, for feeling confident, for expressing emotion (not the same as behavior), for asking questions, for not behaving "feminine enough", "masculine enough", "black, white, Asian enough (etc)", for being "too smart"/"too curious"/"too creative", for NOT BEING SIMILAR ENOUGH to someone, or for "being annoying" because their general personality doesn't MATCH an adult's personality.
A child's role is not to cater to the feelings, comfort, or ego of other people in their environment. 

"Punishment" is also appropriate toward adults who are voluntarily WITHIN a community or organization, where guidelines and laws are SPELLED OUT, and agreed upon by general consensus. And, where the "punishments" for breaking laws and not following guidelines are also laid out. So if a person speeds on a road with a posted speed limit in the US, it is KNOWN that they are breaking the law, and they should EXPECT to get pulled over and ticketed; that's the law, and that's the "punishment" for breaking that law that's been agreed upon. If a person ASSAULTS another person, if they are in sound mind, they surely know that it's against the law, and that they will receive PUNISHMENT for breaking that law.

Those, again, are examples of disciplinary measures that have been decreed and agreed upon that whoever breaks a law will receive.

The punishment is for the ACTION, and the laws and guidelines are agreed upon and known.


If Mary runs a stop sign, the police officer doesn't pull her over because they don't LIKE Mary personally. They pulled her over because she ran the stop sign, it's the law. Mary voluntarily lives in her community, which means she agrees to abide by the basic laws. Mary voluntarily drives a car; she is volunteering to abide by the traffic laws. Not because she's "submissive" or a "sheep", but because traffic laws are there for specific reasons of traffic flow and safety for everyone who's on the road, driving a car, a motorcycle, a bicycle, a delivery truck, walking by themselves, walking with a child, walking with an animal, etc.
If Mary or her friend John doesn't LIKE the laws, then since they are VOLUNTEERING to be citizens in that community, they can go through the process of helping to CHANGE the laws that they don't like. If they don't want to do that, then they can MOVE, if they live in a free country. 

If the police officer pulled Mary over for ignoring the stop sign, and then decided he/she didn't LIKE her, so they cited her for doing all kinds of other things "wrong", or treated her disrespectfully, then THAT would be inappropriate "punishment" and "retaliation", which is a common behavior in certain personality disorders.

Those with control issues for whatever reason/diagnosis may try to inflict "PUNISHMENT" on another person according to their OWN EMOTIONS and moods. This is retaliation, however, not actually "punishment".

Rages, name-calling, threats, slander, kicking someone out of their home, taking away their resources, blocking them from resources or support, back-stabbing, condescension, assault, shunning, and betrayal are examples of RETALIATIONS that those with control issues may try to inflict on another person, and will often call "punishment".

Healthy adults don't "punish" other adults, and healthy adults don't punish children for their own emotion and ego issues.

Manipulation Using Sympathy

Expressing sympathy toward another person is one of the tactics that manipulators often use in order to quickly gain a person's trust.
"I can't believe they treat you that way. That's horrible."
"You work so hard and they don't even acknowledge you!"
"I feel so bad for you having to put up with that."
"Here let me help you..."
"It's not right the way they act toward you. I would be so angry."
"You come and hang out with me, I won't treat you that way."
"People like that don't deserve to breathe! They're evil."
"Vote for me, I'm on your side."
"If you need help, or anything at all, you call me first."

The words can sound like real sympathy when spoken by a manipulator.
They can be the SAME WORDS that someone who actually cares might say.
It can be nearly impossible to tell whether a person who is expressing sympathy is genuine, or if they're trying to gain a person's trust or 'loyalty'.

The tactic may be used on many levels and in many situations, depending on the goal or mental illness level of the manipulator. From gaining the trust of a potential customer, to a potential con-mark, to gaining the trust of a potential abuse target, to gaining the trust of a family member, friend, classmate, student, coworker, etc.

One of the ways to determine whether someone is genuinely expressing sympathy, or is trying to manipulate, is to look at the rest of the picture. What are their other behaviors? How do they treat others, and that means ALL others? Do they gossip? Do they treat others with respect, kindness, and understanding on a regular basis? Do they seem to dislike others who are in your life? Do they seem to want YOU to dislike or turn on certain other people, especially who have not done anything seriously wrong?

Do they ask you to do things for them, but they say "no" when you ask them for help, support, or assistance?
Is everything usually THEIR way, and if you say anything about that at all, do they fly into defensiveness, every time?

Can they help you without disrespecting you, or making it a HUGE deal, as if you're asking them to help you move the Washington Monument, or loan you a million dollars?

There are definitely different levels of manipulators. Most are apparently just not socially or emotionally mature or healthy, and can cause problems in social groups and families. These are the manipulators who try to gain the trust of certain others in order to gain their "loyalty", and turn them against certain other individuals.

Then there are those who do this same thing outside of the 'friendship' or family group, in the larger community, and cause problems for others in business, career, and academics, which is actually illegal, but difficult to prosecute, and so it happens a lot. (Bullies will often push to see how far they can go with their behaviors, but may stop if and when they fear consequence.)

There are those who try to gain trust in order to gain manipulation power over another person, so they can get the person to do things for them, give them things, and care for them, but without reciprocation. These manipulators also commonly try to gain the trust and loyalty of others around them, so that they'll HELP with making a certain person into a 'servant', an ever-available 'handy-man' or 'hand maiden'.

Then there are those who try to gain the trust of others in order to con them out of money or possessions. The internet is FILLED with this.

There are those who try to gain the trust and loyalty of others in order to sell their product. (Advertising, sales-pitching).

There are those who manipulate a person into trusting them in order to gain access into their 'heart', so they can use them for all manner of things, including sex.
This is also all over the internet, but can probably be found in any local group where there are humans.

There are those who are on the severe end of the mental illness scale who try to gain the trust of targeted abuse victims.

It's also used on a larger scale for bigger groups of people.

Manipulation; trying to gain trust and loyalty~ in order to build a "following" is common for Politicians (of all stripes and parties), political parties, for promoters of entertainers and artists, religious leaders and speakers, ANTI-religious leaders and speakers, cult leaders, non-profit organizations, big business, political movements such as "MRA", even electronic and computer companies now can be seen using these tactics.

Manipulation via "sympathy" is not used by ALL of these types of people or groups in order to build a following.
It's most commonly seen being used to gain a following when the person or group's agenda includes

We are ALL potential targets of some manipulator, somewhere. It's nothing NEW, there have always been humans who try to manipulate in order to get what they seek, instead of being straightforward and ethical. Often it's because they don't think they're capable of getting what they want without unethical means; they're severely insecure, or very immature; they want to receive something without doing the work or going through the steps, or they want to receive MORE than they've earned.
Other times it's just "malignant Narcissism".
~Either way, we are all potential targets, and therefore it's in our best interest to learn how to protect ourselves and our loved ones, how to listen to others with healthy respect (not trying to shut them down, and not shifting our belief system to theirs), and learning how to keep our Boundaries up and running without turning them into hard and brittle "walls" with cannons sticking out of them.

Fear Of Being Sucked In

People who's boundaries are not strong often fear that listening to different points of view means they will become hypnotized and indoctrinated, and "get pulled in". Since their boundaries are not strong, they might be right about their own lack of ability to listen to someone else without being heavily influenced. But the issue is not the other person, or what the other person is saying; the issue is the weakened state of their own boundaries. If they were strong and healthy (and they can be if the person were to make an effort in healing them), then the person could hear the point of view of nearly any person on the planet, alive or dead, without changing their own beliefs or "getting sucked in".
Of course there are people who try to persuade and 'charm' others into following them, but that only works on people who aren't aware of the trick. Just like a magic show; if you know the trick, you aren't fooled, you don't believe it was really "magic". But if you don't know the trick, it can certainly seem real.
Healthy boundaries allow a person to watch a magic show, or listen to even the most charismatic politician or religious leader, without getting "sucked in", and without feeling as if one has to DEFEND themselves against being sucked in.

Positive Attitude, Negative Attitude... Which One Is RIGHT

People who have "Pollyanna" attitudes are said to see the world covered in rainbows, sunshine, and butterflies all the time.
They can be really annoying to people who live in "reality"...

People who have "Mike Misery" attitudes are said to see the world covered in pitfalls, negativity, and problems all the time.
They can be really annoying to people who live in "reality"...

So, if Pollyannas don't live in reality, and neither do Mike Misery's, then who does?

The truth lies somewhere in between Scotty Sunshine and Debbie Downer.

Reality includes huge quantities of rainbows, sunshine, and butterflies, and it also includes large amounts of pitfalls, negativity and problems.
Neither Pollyanna NOR Mike Misery are "right", because each of them are fixated on only acknowledging certain things in the world, and not the whole picture. Each of them pretend that half of the world does not exist. They're choosing to embrace only certain things, and they're choosing to reject other things that they simply don't want to deal with.

Both LIGHT and DARKNESS exist, and both exist at all times. ALL THE TIME.
Quite literally, if it's night time and cold where Mike Misery is standing right now, on the other side of the world it's day time, and the temperature is warm. Mike is standing in a dark, cold spot. If he did some traveling, he could go to a warm and bright spot. That's reality. Whether it will be easy or hard for Mike to do this traveling is another issue, but either way the fact remains, it's bright and warm in another spot, and if Mike Misery went there, he would be warm and standing in sunshine.

We tend to get used to a certain way of looking at the world, and that often means we're looking through a FILTER of our own making. This filter makes the world look brighter, perhaps warmer, or it makes the world look darker, and perhaps colder. Many of us tend to change our FILTER according to our mood; if we're in a good mood because something good happened, we put the warm and bright filter on. If something happened (or didn't happen) that shifted our mood down, we put the cold and dark filter on. We either see everything as hopeful, pretty happy, and going well, or we see everything as gloom, doom, trapped, stuck, and negative.

We tend to BEHAVE and SPEAK according to whichever filter we're wearing over our eyes at the moment as well; we act kind and generous, respectful toward others, understanding and lighthearted when we're using the bright/warm filter. When we're using the cold/dark filter, we tend to act indifferent, hostile, uptight, annoyed, "tough", aggressive, even cold or mean.

The bright/warm filter makes it easy to act like a "lovely, caring person", and the cold/dark filter makes it easy to act like a "tough hard-nose" or even a thuggish, self-centered oaf.

Many people LEARN to change their filters purposely in order to change their attitudes and behaviors, so they can make themselves feel and act a certain way for various reasons, with various people.

Some people leave one of these filters on all the time, because they received some kind of attention or external reward from other people when they were wearing it.

Sunshine is real, and so is darkness. Happiness and joy are real, and so is struggle. Love is real, and so is hatred. Caring is real, and so is arrogance, neglect, and abuse.

We each choose the filter that we wear every day, and we choose whether to use one or not.

We each choose our actions and behavior as well, and we choose to either LEARN MORE about the world around us, about others near us and far, and about ourselves, or we choose not to, and remain ignorant.