Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Support Group

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Dysfunctional family to family of choice?

I was the designated scapegoat in my dysfunctional family system from childhood through age 52 as an adult, so I know the bitterness of unfair dysfunctional family disappointment.  I was an honors student when I lived at home, and when I went to college I got a rare Fulbright Scholarship which would have made any parent proud.  

But I got nothing but criticism and ridiculous attacks on my credibility instead.  The weirdest was when I got an actual beating in high school when I got home from starring in the school play.  Not the usual parent's response to their kids' success.  Most parents would cheer their kid from the sidelines for things like pitching a good Little League baseball game. Not mine.  

My dad happened by my bedroom one night when I was in high school and asked me what homework I was working on.  I mentioned the author I was reading for my high school teacher's homework assignment.  He didn't like that author, so believe it or not, I got another beating--beating for doing my homework.   Most parents would be glad their kid did his homework.  Not mine.

It never stopped through adulthood.  No matter how many coping skills I acquired in my therapy, all they did with that was use it to twist it around to say that I was in therapy because I was the only crazy person in the family.  It showed it was never going to change with them, never.  So as many of you know, after I got punched in the face for nothing by my 80 year father at Christmas 6 years ago, I quit going back for more.  I started coming here to DS PTSD instead.

Now I try to show appropriate kinds of care to people who don't get it from their loved ones because I know what it's like.  A student of mine was pregnant throughout the class she took from me this Spring semester.  Last night I ran into her by chance at the grocery store.  She showed me a photo of her new baby, and I said to bring her by school today, since it's the last day of summer school, to show her baby off to us.

Turns out her baby's father ran out on her 6 weeks before the baby was born, so there's no guy that's held the baby and made a fuss.  So I held the 3 week old baby and I was the one who made a fuss.  

I guess what it shows is that some of us don't get the family we deserve, but we choose other people and make our own family of support anyway.  Like when we come here and support each other on DS PTSD.  

Does anybody else here at DS PTSD have this "family" of choice as their support or is it just me?



Muji, I love how you put this. I like to quote things a lot so my vision of "family" is no one gets left behind. Meaning once I consider you in my life, your kind of stuck there and I will check in on you. Some of the best family I have aren't blood but family by choice.

I definitely understand what you mean. Family means more to me than just blood ties. My 'family of choice' is much less toxic to hang around.

I too consider DS my family of choice. My place to give and receive support,though I am not active on the boards. I have not been diagnosed with ptsd but I think I share some of the symptoms.

I too was the family of origins scapegoat along with many other labels... bad,dumb,no good. Physical violence ie: slapped,hit with a belt. Never punched but lots of slaps enough to black my eyes
I was to make them proud, never myself. It was all about them,parents. I left home of origin in my teens. never lived there again
I didn't find DS until about ten years ago. That was when I began to face my past. To try and make my life better.

I am glad you have family here and have left that foo (family of origin). Your courage I like very much and your perseverance & others as well encourages my own healing work.

I was here a while ago n left and I'm back now. I have had people support me here that didn't come from blood family. I won't say that my childhood was bad but I was often times subjected to criticism which made me have low esteem and making my stuttering worse. It's nice to know that I can always reach out here for help.

I didn't grow up with physical abuse, thank God, but alcoholism and violence and emotional abuse from Dad (I don't refer to him as a father because he was never that to me). I can relate to the only-crazy-person in the family thing. My oldest sister is an extreme control freak who talks down to me as if I were 12. Just today she asked, regarding my therapy, "What does that really accomplish?" The only reason I've kept reaching out to my 4 siblings is because I'm a Christian, and I had a pastor one time who told me that "sometimes we have to take the blame because Jesus did." I can't even have decent conversations with any of them anymore. I keep apologizing for myself because I always thought it would keep the peace among us. I have a sister who hasn't spoken to me for a year, so one night I called her and got her answering machine, and told her I was sorry for whatever I'd done wrong & asked her to forgive me. I have no idea what her beef is, but my oldest sister made sure I knew she heard my message. I keep hanging in there, thinking things will get better but they only get worse. Looks like I have to make a choice I really don't want to make because I love them all, to save my sanity. I'm 54, my hair is completely gray and I desperately need to save my sanity while I'm still young enough to enjoy life.

Yes I really understand Mujica. Im sorry what you been through too.
I came here in November & you guys have been a blessing to me. Also....... thank you for bringing such a great sense of family to the board, it's pretty cool :)
(((((((Gentle hugs))))))))

muji,everyone,i'm so sorry for what you have all been through.

i have written off my two brothers....i now consider my older brother to be an old older friend
whom i trust completly...and DSPTSD has definitley come to feel like family to me,so i thank you all
for being there for me.

Yeah, I was the Designated Scapegoat too.

Designated scapegoat by all family. Thank you so much for this Muji.
Cookie monster is barking hello

Sign me up. Designated Scapegoat. My sister started it. (How a 2-year-old could be responsible for much of anything remains a mystery to me, btw, but she sold it with big boo-hoos, and I couldn't talk, so ....) By the time I was 13? I had a fractured kneecap. Mom poured rubbing alcohol on the wound to clean it. I screamed. Who wouldn't? My grandma, living at the *other end of the farm*, in he rhouse, heard me screaming in *my* house, called over to ask what was wrong, and my dad said, "Oh, she's being dramatic." No, she's getting rubbing alcohol poured on an open wound that (later) was found to be a fractured freaking kneecap. Sit through that without a sound,?! So I had to sit thorugh the soapy water and the picking of bits out by tweezers in SILENCE lest we upset my Dad with my "drama". Mom recently confided it's part of why she didn't tke me to the hospital for X-rays for another SIX weeks. "He had to calm down." Um... I still get asked, when docs see a leg X-ray... literally in one case, "What the fuck happened to this knee?!"

ALl my remaining family are my family of choice. Some are still by blood. Most? No.

Oh yeah. Chosen family. Much better!

Sorry, got sidetracked. Point being: Thank you for being part of my chosen family.

And despite my finishing tops tops tops, not one word did I get. Mom didn't want my sister to feel "less", Dad just didn't think perfect scores were perfect enough. Praise? For my sister being such a pretty girl, an outgoing girl, but not for... well, my dad's only compliment to me was that I work hard. Pride? A sin. Mustn't allow it.

Sorry, hit some deep nerves (apparently behind that kneecap?)

Thanks for posting, Muji, and all others....
Community LeaderSunCloudJD

Big hug for you muji..... I am so sorry that such a great guy was hurt so much and everyone else here as well

I was always the black sheep ..... I was always ashamed of being me..... it was more psychological, tormenting, ignoring, name calling, alcoholism then physical although there was physical abuse as well....

We all deserved better then we got..... I still carry so much guilt for being me and it still hurts me

I'm so glad that you're all here..... Big hugs......xo

My sibling was the scapegoat. We hate each other but its still terrible what they and you all went through on that end.

I never had a family of choice, wish I did. Now that I'm older I have found replacements and its nice to see what healthy can be

I consider my family to be here.
Community Leadermujicaptsd

Thanks, y'all! I'm sorry to hear that designated scapegoat experience in my
family is a standard sociological phenomenon that so many of us shared. So
common that we have that acronym for it mentioned here: "FOO" or "Family Of
Origin," for us more often toxic than not. It's really painful no matter who you
are, especially in your formative years.

The loneliness of it is the most unbearable for a youngster, so it's great that we
have each other's company here in group support as an option for creating a sense of family of choice for ourselves here.
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