TeenHealthFX is truly sorry that you are feeling so much distress about the dynamics that are going on between all of your family members right now. Very often family members can assign and take on certain roles in the family – all of this usually occurs unconsciously and without any kind of discussion about it. Family roles can include things like the entertainer, the clown, the hero, the enabler, the lost child, and the scapegoat – which sounds like the role you may have been assigned in your family. The scapegoat is made out as the one always causing the problems, the one to blame, the one who gets put down, or is in trouble constantly. The scapegoat becomes an outlet for anger and other dysfunctional patterns going on between all of the family members.
Being in this kind of family dynamic can be sad, frustrating, painful – and it can also feel like there is no way out of it. Given how tough this situation is for you, FX thinks it would be very helpful for you to reach out for help with this situation and with how you are feeling about it. Ideally it would be great for your entire family to be in family therapy to address these family dynamics, but if your family is not willing to go to family therapy then it would definitely be helpful for you to have someone to talk to about it on your own. You could start by speaking to the social worker or psychologist at your school, and perhaps have your school counselor intervene on your behalf with your parents to get some private therapy for you if you don’t think this is something you can speak to your parents about on your own.
It would be helpful for you to have a safe and private place where you can vent and process your feelings about what is going on, where you can get support and guidance in learning how to deal with and respond to your family’s behaviors, and where you can get the reassurance you need that you are likeable, lovable, and deserve to be treated with kindness and respect – the understanding that their behaviors reflect issues they are dealing with, not how special a person you are.
If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.