Scapegoating is what we do when we don’t want to look at the deeper issue. It’s easier than looking in the mirror and seeing where our own growth has been stunted, and is more gratifying than accepting responsibility and owning our personal growth. It’s also what we do when we want to draw attention away from ourselves and our actions and distract onlookers with something else. This tried and true technique has been used throughout history by individuals, organizations, and governments.
As individuals, we often use those closest to us – those who we claim to love the most – as our scapegoats. I’m definitely guilty of this. This is dangerous, because those who love us will only take so much.
What is the root of scapegoating? Is it fear? If so, fear of what? Fear of being perceived as a failure if we don’t shift the blame elsewhere?
How can this fear be overcome?
This morning while looking at the stats for this site, I saw another example of scapegoating. Someone made their way here by entering the following phrase in a search engine:
“When a child uses drugs what sin is that?”
What is the real issue here? What is the fear that keeps the parent from admitting the real issue? Is it more important for the parent to tell the child what sin s/he is committing, or to look at what caused the behavior?
For me, asking these kinds of questions is the most challenging aspect of personal growth. It’s always easier to see where someone else falls short than to take a long hard look in the mirror.