Golden, Invisible, and Scapegoat Children

The word “abuse” is full of shame. Using that word regarding childhood experiences might feel like a massive exaggeration of what happened and a handy but sad excuse for unresolved issues. When we use the word “abuse,” it feels like attention and sympathy-seeking. It feels like “poor me; I’m a helpless victim.”

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Golden, Invisible, and Scapegoat Children
We may intentionally minimize our painful childhood experiences because we don’t want to think of our mothers as “abusers” or ourselves as unwitting targets. Having those kinds of thoughts can cause us to feel more ashamed, and that affects our core identity. Those of us who’ve experienced traumatic childhood events at the hands of our mothers may feel a sense of disgust or humiliation in addition to shame, and we see ourselves in a negative light when we compare ourselves with others. There’s a particularly dysfunctional family dynamic in which one of the children becomes “idealized," the clear parental favorite, known as the “Golden Child.," and the other children take turns being devalued and blamed.
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