Why Everyone Needs A Scapegoat

This has got to be one of the most misunderstood addictions of all time.

The term “scapegoat” has been used for centuries and it always creates a very negative image in our minds. Most people refuse to even consider putting it into practice.

But like I said in Part 2 of this series, these “hidden addictions” serve a valid, powerful psychological purpose in all aspects of our communication and failing to address them is a huge mistake.

Why is scapegoating so powerful?

…because it cuts straight to our most basic, instinctual drive – survival.

Have you ever heard of Elias Canetti?

Elias Canetti is a Nobel Prize winner and he wrote a book called “Crowds and Power”.  In that book he says,

“One of the most reliable ways of maintaining the existence of any given group of people is in focusing their attention on another group of people whom they see as rivals.  And there is perhaps no one more worthy of being our rival than the one who is responsible for our problems.”


In other words, what Elias is referring to here is, “Our Scapegoat”.  Scapegoating also has another powerful benefit to it other than ensuring the survival of our social groups.  It also serves a powerful purpose for the individual as well.

For example, any time something goes wrong in our life we automatically start searching for a solution to that problem.


Because when something goes “wrong” in our lives it poses a threat to us.  This “threat” can cause us to become psychologically unstable and innately we realize that.  We may not notice it on the surface level, but deep inside we know it.

chiropractic hot messHave you ever been going through life and everything seems hunky dory and then all of a sudden BAM!!!!  life throws you a major curveball and and your whole world becomes topsy turvy?

Your whole world becomes one, big, hot mess and you immediately start to seek out a resolution.


Again, because our psychological stability becomes threatened.

And the fastest way to regain stability is to point the finger outside of ourselves. So we immediately begin to blame others for our problems.

In other words, our problem lies in a scapegoat.

Over the last decade or so, there has been a popular sentiment in our society that encourages people to start taking responsibility for their own lives – to stop blaming others and expecting others to solve their problems.

Now, this all sounds good in theory, heck, I try every day to take responsibility for my own life.  I think this is a very admirable way to approach life, but is it really attainable?

I don’t think so.

The ugly truth is, this is often an unattainable goal for even the most determined individuals.


Because as far back as history records, man has always “blamed” someone else for his problems. It’s part of our DNA. Look at the story of Adam and Eve.  Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. lol It’s been going on forever and it’s not going away anytime soon.

So, at this point I’m sure you’re asking, “Okay Chris, how do I use this to my advantage without resorting to the wretched practices that are associated with it?”


First, you need to realize that the scapegoat doesn’t have to be another person or group.  The scapegoat merely needs to be and opposing force in order to be effective.

Let me give you and example…

It could be an idea, a philosophy, or an unfortunate set of circumstances beyond your control.

The other day I was watching a commercial for an anti-depressant drug and I was blown away by how elegantly the commercial used this strategy to sell the drug.  It was brilliant really.

The commercial went something like this…

“Feeling depressed lately?  It may be the result of a chemical imbalance in your brain.”fault

Then I ran across a commercial on YouTube for a weight loss product and it also used this same method.  This is what commercial said,

“If you’ve tried to lose that extra weight and have failed, it may not be your fault. It may be your metabolism.”

Do you see how both these companies employed the the scapegoat principle?

The drug company is basically telling people that their “depression” isn’t their fault.  As a matter of fact, the “fault” belongs to a biological factor that is beyond their control.  The same goes for the weight loss commercial.

So the question is, “Are THEY being ethical in the way they are using this psychological strategy?”

Unfortunately, Yes. They are in fact being ethical.  Depression is the result of chemical imbalances, so their statement is in fact true.  (I wish I could say, “That commercial is the most unethical commercial I’ve ever seen!”  …but I can’t.) 🙁

Now, you and I both know that Subluxations can cause chemical imbalances that lead to depression.  …but if subluxation is not part of their philosophy on health and sickness, then they are in fact telling the truth as far as their own philosophy goes.

Do you see where I’m coming from on that?

My point is, the drug company is actually being ethical in their marketing by telling people this.  (As much as that kills me to say that) …because depression is, in part, the result of a chemical imbalance.

Note: I HATE BIG PHARMA WITH A PASSION!! …and I’m sick of the fact that THEY know how these strategies work and YOU don’t!  This is WHY I’m teaching you what THEY already know.  We need to start fighting back.  So I’m giving you access to psychological technology that you might not otherwise know about. I’m hoping that you’ll start using it to spread the message of chiropractic in a positive way.

The reason I think this is so brilliant is that it fulfills the hidden addiction of needing a scapegoat and as a result it offers the viewer something of value.  If you can make a person feel like “It’s not my fault that I’m like this.” at the very beginning of your message, they become significantly more open to hearing the rest of your message.

A friend of mine who sells houses once told me that when potential clients are interviewing him to possibly hire him as their agent, they are often embarrassed by the condition of their home.  Things like their carpet, yard, fence, bathrooms, etc… He told me that he’s gotten really good at sensing when a client is actually embarrassed.

So what does he do to comfort them?  He plays the blame game!

He said he will immediately point out that the problems with their home are due to such things as drought conditions, moisture in the bathrooms, poorly made vacuum cleaners from China and what not.  lol

In other words, the condition of their home isn’t their fault!

How much has this increased his business?  Well, he said since he’s been using this strategy the number of people he secures as clients has gone up 20 percent!!!  I know, it’s weird, but the truth is, people don’t want to take responsibility for the negative things in their life and if you can be the “good guy” that redirects the blame for them, they’ll love you to the ends of the earth.

My challenge to you is this…

Homework Assignment: Write down 5 ways you can ethically redirect responsibility for your patient’s problems onto something outside themselves.  Maybe it’s redirecting it onto their MD, BIG PHARMA, MONSANTO (i.e. chemicals in our food), SUBLUXATION, SUGAR, etc…  Write down those 5 things you come up with and then structure them into a form of communication you can relay to your patients during consultations and rof’s, re-exams, wellness care reports, etc… 

Do this and watch how it starts to shift your practice from a small “Farm Team” to THE BIG LEAGUES!

I hope you found some value in this post.

I gotta tell ya, I’m really enjoying seeing all the “likes” and seeing all the “comments” everyone is leaving on each post.

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If you have a question, leave it in the comments section below and I’ll be sure to answer it for you!

In the mean time,


Chris Burfield





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