I’m copying and pasting this from the comment section under another post, because I think it’s an important issue that needs a lot more awareness and research than it currently has.
I always felt like an outsider in the world because I’m one of those rare people who came from an upper middle class family but fell into a lower class financial lifestyle. I thought I must be horribly defective for that to have happened. From everything I’d ever read until recently, it was believed the only people who would fall so far down the social ladder into poverty (who weren’t born into it) were those who were mentally challenged, drug-addicted, or insane (and even then, their wealthy families would continue to help them financially, if not support them). As a person with a high IQ, I found the theory that “people who become poor are dumb and lazy” incredibly insulting. I’ve worked hard my entire adult life and I’m far from stupid. I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink, and I don’t have the type of mental illness that keeps a person from being able to take care of themselves. I knew my poverty had everything to do with my dismally low self esteem and wondered why this wasn’t ever considered a cause of poverty in adulthood.
It wasn’t until I found the ACON community that I realized I wasn’t alone: this seems to be a phenomenon almost exclusively limited to adults who became the designated scapegoats of narcissistic families. It’s as if we were not only isolated from the rest of the family by our narcissists; we were also kept from being able to take our rightful places in the functioning world. Whether we’re male or female, we were castrated and crippled, then we were blamed for it. We were told we were “losers” or “stupid” or “lazy.” But we never had a chance. To make matters even worse, once poverty befalls us, we are further isolated and rejected because we “embarrass” the family.
So many of us became poor but didn’t grow up that way. Obviously something’s significant is going on here. I think studies need to be done on family scapegoats/black sheep and poverty and find what the correlations and causes are. I would suspect the lack of normal familial support systems, isolation from others, and emotional coping tools due to horrible self esteem are the culprits. Awareness needs to be increased.
Right now, a number of ACON bloggers are writing about their own experiences with it, so it’s starting there, at the grass roots level. Hopefully, in time this very real social issue becomes more noticed and addressed in the general realm. I hope in the future there’s more empathy and tolerance toward the poor in general, who don’t all fit in the same box. We aren’t all lazy slackers and we weren’t all born poor. In fact, many of us are intelligent and college educated. We just don’t know how to navigate the practical side of life as well as others, and we lack the social support networks others have, because of what was done to our self esteem by our narcissistic families.
Why Family Scapegoats Become Lifelong Victims
Outcasts, Scapegoats and Black Sheep of the Dysfunctional Family
Scapegoating in Families: What We Need to Know