Today I have been thinking of how it feels to be an outsider, belonging nowhere as much as to myself. I went to the dog park and connected for a while with people on the day to day level, then Jasper and I drove and then walked to our local/café bakery just along from the big Cathedral/church that was so much a part of my childhood. A friend from school who I haven’t seen for a few years drove past with her son and waved and I had that feeling of being so ‘outside’ in my casual dog park clothes, I wasn’t on the way to church at Easter because to me Easter is a far deeper festival or mythic/mythological event than what is, to my mind, encapsulated in traditional Catholic Easter service with dead men wearing frocks attended by pomp and circumstance which speaks little to me of what Jesus actually lived and spoke about and suffered in his life.
I was also thinking a few day ago of how Jesus said that in order to grow spiritually we have to leave our family of origin and that at times we will find that our enemies are those of our own household. This dovetails with what I tried to express in my post yesterday on being a family scapegoat :
It felt sad to see my friend drive by on one level, but at the same time I was grateful to be going with Jasper to sit quietly, enjoy my morning coffee, read and watch the passers by. However I was also aware of the running dialogue of my inner critic saying how I am a loser as I never had children and am not really a very active participant in society at all having never really found my place. The way things have evolved in my life and sobriety means that I live a deeply interior life in which I, in many way, feel myself to be in the world but not of the world.
This got me to thinking about how so many of the scapegoat identified individuals I have come to know are escapees from narcissistic families, or families devoted to such soulless values that are empty of meaning for the so called ‘scapegoat’. The kind of families they come from seem to be blind to the individual on a deeper level, were actively disparaging or invalidating, and failed to see deeper into that individual’s being, soul and inner life wanting them to be something they were not, or to erase entire parts of their soul. What other alternative do such individuals have, but to leave the family eventually to find their own way, truth, validation and recognition?
To me the scapegoat is often the one who sees at a far deeper level, beyond certain hypocrisies, they may be the one who is designated as ‘apart’ from the collective, they may be emotional or sensitive in a family devoted to practicalities and a stiff upper lip. This is the kind of background portrayed by Jungian therapist and writer Sylvia Bretton Perrera in her book on the Scapegoat identified individual. In this book she explains how the vulnerable member of the family comes to take on feelings of shame and worthlessness projected by parents or siblings disconnected from their own unlived, and unloved characteristics. If, like me, you have ever been exiled from a group for being too angry or sad you will know what I am getting at here. Its happened to me more times than I could count.
The other thing I was trying to touch on in my post yesterday was the fact that feeling on the outside of society often means we carry characteristics and values that have been exiled from a society that is not always spiritually and emotionally healthy, geared as it is to heroic ideals of conquest, achievement and emotional stoicism, competition and self denial. Scapegoats come to be identified as the ‘sick’ one or the one with a so called ‘mental illness’ but we may actually be carrying something that was rejected by the family or society which was problematic reaching quite a few generations back and badly needs to be recognised or incorporated. We may struggle to get it recognised in the family and our quest to do so may never be a success, which pushes us back in the end to our own resources and if on a metaphorical level if you think about what Jesus tried to get recognised and was crucified for you can see some kind of deeper parallel to what scapegoats go through, forced into a kind of exile or emotional crucifixion we may have to struggle through to the deeply painful realisation of how deeply unconscious our families are and now little they are able to nurture or recognise the nascent seeds of our truer, deeper self.
Today much more grounded into a realistic appraisal of myself once I settled down with my coffee and read through recent comments and reactions to my WordPress posts, I saw that in no way am I a ‘loser’, and in no way am I someone who has nothing to offer society. I see how I have struggled so often to find a place in places my soul did not really belong and that perhaps my lonely childhood was a great preparation for me to be a truth seeker in this world, able to see below the surface of things. I also felt infinite compassion for others who struggle with so called ‘mental illness’ definitions which don’t always cut to the heart of what the true wounding was and leave them disidentifed with all the gold these beautiful people hold in their shadows, all the gorgeous gifts that come with being outsiders or scapegoats. In a way we have to end the self judgement that is such a big part of when we identify solely with all the ways in which we don’t ‘fit in’. We need to make our own worlds where we do!
I feel so blessed that in 2013 when I was really struggling that I found the support on WordPress from other scapegoats, some of who carry so much wisdom and was encouraged to be brave enough to express my thoughts and journey here. This is the place I feel the warmth, although its a bit sad we can’t meet in person. Here is the place I connect and find my meaning, here is the place where I no longer see myself as a loser but as someone who belongs and can bear the not belonging feeling that comes when my soul senses intuitively it is not in the right place. So for today I have feel I have more than enough, cosy at home writing this now, I know there is a place for me. The truer I am and the less I identify with the remorseless inner critic so introjected from society and conditioning, the happier I will be. Here deeply at home in my heart and soul I feel that I do indeed belong.