16 thoughts on “How a Traumatic Childhood Leads to Emptiness and Taking on Unwanted Roles

  • February 4, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Thank you, Darius.
    Scapegoat is me.
    Life has been a silent, absolute Hell.

    • February 4, 2019 at 11:22 pm

      Me too

  • February 4, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    This is the story of my life with maybe some mild autism thrown in. You are insightful for what seems to be Someone so young. I have gone to therapy 3 times throughout my life with such disappointing results that it made it worse. After 20 years on anti depressants and not feeling anything my life is in ruins and now I must do the hard work or give up and commit suicide. Not many people understand why you are healing and it makes having friends difficult. Everyone wants a positive attitude! You have to get to that and it takes time and is painful. Thank you for putting into words what I wish I could myself

    • February 5, 2019 at 3:28 pm

      I am right there with you.

  • February 4, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Really good article. I don’t know what else to say about it because I was raised to hide my feelings and I’ve turned into a robot. But thank you for writing and sharing this.

  • February 4, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    I am a giver/caretaker and the scapegoat in my family. I really appreciated this information. I have been diagnosed with C-PTSD and have been doing a lot of work to get to some of my core issues…I have had various types of therapy in the past 3 decades & continue to get some online help through YouTube videos…at least educate myself about my own issues & learning about the personality disorders of those who have victimized me through out my life. Anyway, I’d appreciate any information re: C-PTSD especially how to heal from it…I’m 59 years old & would really like to get some closure on this stuff. Like the above info stated, “It is never too late….”

  • February 4, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    I’m a mix of “normal,” caregiver and scapegoat. I alternate between these 3 depending on the situation. It gives me a chameleon quality, and I’m never able to just be me. Whoever me is, my authentic self that I lost a long time ago, and I’ve been trying hard to get back. I’ve been abused by entire life, and it’s still ongoing in some ways. I’ve been handed off from narcissist to narcissist, literally for 30 years of my life, I’m only 32. I feel very hopeless at times and struggle with many ailments: physically, psychologically, spiritually, emotionally. It feels like the effects of the lifelong abuse will persist forever and I’ll always have a defect about me no matter how much continued healing I do.

    I just want it to end and enjoy the things I used to

    • February 5, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      Hi Aniela: You are ONLY 32 and so fortunate to be aware of your issues at this stage of your life. That means there is time for you to work through them AND time left to enjoy life as a emotionally/mentally healthy person. I hope you can get the help you need. I’m hoping the best for you in the days ahead.

  • February 7, 2019 at 7:27 am

    This feels so profoundly right for me and so wise. I had a traumatic childhood marked by parental death and abuse and I’ve ended up disappointed with my life having made lots of wrong choices and spent lots of time confused and scared. I’ve just spent 18 months in therapy, the longest time I’ve ever had the time and money for and I know so much now that I wish I’d known in the past. (I’m 65 now). Not least, that the man I married came from a pretty dysfunctional family too, though he hid it well, and I’m not sure he’s ever loved me or if he’s capable of really loving anyone. I think it’s too late to leave now and maybe it’s not bad enough, and yet, I’m left with the dissatisfaction and disappointment that I don’t know how to deal with.

  • February 8, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    I have been anxious my entire life and have moderate OCD that was severe as a teen. In mythirties I had two episodes of depression. But atfifty with the grief of losing a parent I began to feel emotions. That was 4 years ago and I have been in therapy the whole time. I am making progress and am learning why I am who I am. I sometimes feel like an empty container….

  • February 9, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    I can’t really put myself into any particular category. I guess I could say I was the “normal” one as a teen and young adult. I was also the silent one. But, that changed. As I became older, I started showing emotions and speaking out more but it was more so to punish or shame my abusers. I wanted others to validate or feel compassion for me. Having a voice came with a lot of anger because of the years I couldn’t speak. I find myself ready to fight for my life if anyone tries to silence me or minimize what I’m saying. Having a voice hasn’t really liberated me because I don’t think I use it the right way. I am deeply hurt and disappointed because so many people have let me down. I express it through anger and simply internalizing until I break down in tears. There’s a part of me that is still silent and I actually wish I never found my voice because it has left me misunderstood, invalidated, shamed and people simply want me to shut up. They don’t want the secrets of the family out. It’s a pretty sad life.

  • February 9, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I can relate with more than one of the personalities, I still have flashbacks from around 4 or 5 years old.

  • February 9, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    I have read a lot of the emotional harm parents have done to their children through abuse or neglect. As children, they feel that they are treated because there is something wrong with them. In adulthood, they must try to get over the resulting hurt and fears. Yet this continues. How can these sort of parents be made to feel responsible for the well-being of their children?

  • February 9, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    Powerful article! Thank you for this. I feel that of these types, I am probably most aligned with the rebel, though I’ve been other things on this list at various stages of growth. Now, I have chosen to actively attempt to dismantle systems of socially-complicit lies that keep traumatic practices in the “normal” and excusable mainstream.

  • February 11, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    Would you say that chronic shame from childhood into mid-life by authority figures can be a form of trauma?

    The person I’m thinking of grew up in a religious family in which shame and conformity were subtle, but clear. Her mother and grandmother were the authoritarian figures in her life. She doesn’t hold them accountable; instead, she seems to have developed a trauma bond with them. She is clearly a “Follower.” She looks to others for approval, she is unable to form her own strong-minded, independent opinions, and she suffers from generalized anxiety. If someone other than her mom or grandma expresses concerns about something in her life, she’s quick to accuse them of “attacking” her, and she becomes so anxious around that person that she needs intermediaries to communicate on her behalf. Outsiders usually do not notice anything different about her or her family, but several people have picked up on a “cult-like” tendency in the family.

    In the course of your work, have you heard of this kind of situation?

  • February 16, 2019 at 8:28 am

    I could say I am a mixture of many roles. Many times I play a role of a clown, sometimes hero, other times normal or scapegoat. It depends. I think the real problem and a challange is to be just yourself. This is why all these roles. You want to fit in, so you please and put yourself in roles to be accepted.


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