This archived article was written by: Josie Sue Slade
People have the habit of blaming their problems on someone around them. One person gets blamed; they become something called a “scapegoat.” Instead of people taking reasonability for something they did, they turn to the scapegoat and point a finger.
Darrin Brandt, director of student services, said, “We can see this happening in about any group where something is going on. A family, a workplace and even a friend group.”
Where did the term “scapegoat” come from? Before the middle ages, towns would gather together once a year to participate in an event that brought about this term. The best goat the villagers owned would be brought to the middle of their town square and the town would then proceed to dirty their hands (in ashes from a fire burned the previous night) and rub the filth onto the animal. When this was done, the strongest fighter would take the goat out into the wilderness and abandon it. The town would then see their sins as washed away. The “scapegoat” took care of all their problems for them.
Often times in a family we can see this happening. Brandt sets up a scenario to help students better understand this concept. “Imagine you have a family and the father of this family has a terrible addiction to alcohol. The wife doesn’t want everyone to know about this, so she begins a behavior in order to screen the problem. When the first child comes along, he becomes the hero child. This is the child that gets good grades and always excels.
“The mother is turning attention to this child in order to give people the impression that they have the perfect family. The hero child learns that the only way to be acceptable is to excel, causing more problems on its own. Then the second child comes and obviously they can’t be as good as the first child. Every problem that arises, even if it was the first child, gets blamed on this child. They are the scapegoat for the family and just another part of the shielding process for the mother.” said Brandt.
The scapegoat isn’t the problem at all, but the people around the scapegoat are. People use a scapegoat in an attempt to hide their own problems and blame someone else for something they didn’t do.
Why do we do this? Everybody has their own problems and by blaming everything on someone else, we cause more problems. It is never right to use a “scapegoat” to make yourself feel better. It’s time to remember that we have to own up to our own problems or they will never go away at all; they’ll just get worse.
Instead of finding a “scapegoat” to blame your problems on next time, own up to them. Not only will this stop more problems from arising, but it also will make you feel better. There are better ways of dealing with things than blaming them on someone or something.