Scapegoating, how others use it to control and manipulate

“I am not your puppet master.”

When I said those words, it felt like an epiphany, but it sure did not look like what you would expect an epiphany to look like. The sky did not open, there was no bright light shining down on me. Due to fear, my face showed no emotion. I had an internal smirk. It felt good to stand up for myself, and while I would do anything to avoid confrontation, I was prepared to fight -my life would never be the same.  

People used to tell me I made them do things. They would tell me I was the one who made them yell. I was the one who made them mad. Essentially, I was the one who made them treat me in a manner I did not deserve. Avoiding confrontation and not wanting to ever make someone upset – I was submissive.

I would say sorry and feel guilty that I did something wrong. I would be upset with myself and try to think about how I could avoid making someone upset or mad in the future. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to control myself from making people mad. I was confused. I felt like I had to be quiet and invisible in order not to make any waves.

Then I grew up.

Spiritually that is. With finding my own spirituality I realized that I am the only one that can control my feelings and actions. While my environment and other people may affect me, I am in ultimate control. With that comes the realization that others control their actions and their emotions. I do not make someone mad. I do not make them do something. They do that on their own accord, and if they suggest otherwise, they are using me as a scapegoat.

It seems so simple. So logical. I feel like I knew it all along, but I didn’t actually know it. I realized the confusion from before was due to me controlling my emotions while others used me as a scapegoat for their own. I was holding myself accountable for not only my own emotional state but other people’s emotions as well. With me taking on all accountability there was none left for anyone else – how convenient for them.

Scapegoating is something that I do not see discussed often. However, I see it in everyday life and have experienced it in my own. It is a way that people can try to control others – sometimes without even noticing it. Scapegoating seems to have been intertwined into our culture, and people, with even the best intentions, may not realize they are doing it.

Scapegoating can come in many forms and I believe that people use emotional scapegoating to cover their poor emotional intelligence. We hate to admit we are bad at anything, but one thing I am certain of, is that our society does not nurture emotional intelligence. It is no wonder why we are better at pushing our emotions down than facing them.

We need to be accountable for our own emotional state. We need to stop allowing others to scapegoat their feelings and actions. If we no longer allow it then it will force others to learn how to control themselves. We also need to be diligent to not use others as a scapegoat.

“I am not your puppet master.”

There was no fight. There was confusion, but this time it was not mine. After all this time, I finally stood up for myself. Something he least expected. It seemed he did not know how to respond, but he gave me this, “Oh yeah, you are not my puppet master?” Like a proud tutor whose most troubled student just solved a complex, algebraic equation I said, “exactly!” I elaborated, “I am not in control of your emotions, you are. I do not make you mad, you make yourself mad. I am cutting the strings, you are accountable for your own emotions, control yourself.” I found the strength to stop the abusive manipulation I had lived with for the majority of my life.

There are a lot of inspirational quotes and analogies that reference the lion. Encouraging others to have the strength of the lion, to be the lion amongst sheep, etc. Hell, I used a lion analogy in one of my previous posts. I realized the other day, that instead of being the lion, for now I am going to be a goat. No longer a scapegoat, I am going to be lively and adventurous. I am going to climb on the side of cliffs and graze in meadows. Maybe I’ll make an appearance at one of those goat yoga classes, baaaaaaa namastday. Sometimes I’ll chill in my meadow and stare at the sky and the clouds or the stars. When any lions walk past, they know better than to enter. Because I am the goat that walked through the lion’s den and came out stronger than before.

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