Scapegoats And Hierarchy

Groups that Scapegoat are usually the same groups that seek to appoint someone as "Leader".

Many, many people are engulfed in their own desire for Hierarchy, and so they CREATE "Hierarchy" where it doesn't exist, and where it's not appropriate.

The Scapegoat is a person who someone started treating as a "lower status person" somewhere along the line, and the others in the group FOLLOWED ALONG, because no one wants the "lowest status" position in a group.

If a person believes that Hierarchy is REAL, then they're NOT going to want to be the "low man on the totem pole", they'll throw someone else under the bus in order to avoid being thrown under themselves.

The Scapegoat is a person who gets talked about in very negative ways by other members of the group. This gossiping activity is to ENSURE that they are the ones in the "low status" position, and that no one else is IN DANGER of being put in that position. That's basically what it's about. Everyone joins in the targeting of this individual, because they want that person to STAY IN the "scapegoat" position, so THEY won't get put there.
If "Scapegoating" exists in a social system, then EVERYONE is a potential target. All it takes is for the winds of change to blow hard enough. If they'll turn on one person, they'll turn on another very easily.

The Scapegoat is often called "names" behind their back, and sometimes to their face, such as "lazy, weird, crazy, 'off', nuts, unstable, irresponsible, loser, stuck up, ugly, fat, skinny, slutty, greedy, bitchy, whiny, self-centered", etc.
NAME CALLING is not something that mature or caring people do to other people in conversation, so just the use of "bad names" is a very big red flag. Mature adults don't do "Name-calling" except when they're having a hard time containing their anger about abuse or betrayal (or worse; but real).

The Scapegoat gets blamed for all kinds of things, whether they were even involved or not in an incident.

The Scapegoat's actions are frequently lied about and purposely misconstrued, embellished, and inflated.

A Scapegoat is often the only one who is actually spending time or caring for another person in the family, and may be targeted because the others feel ashamed that they're not doing much to help, or because others are afraid they'll be judged as "lazy" or "uncaring" in comparison.

Scapegoats are typically denied the same support that other members of the group take for granted. That support may include friendship and general respect and courtesy; resources that others receive as a matter of "normal" support; protection from unfairness, disrespect, abuse and assault from inside or outside of the group; shelter, food, clothing, or any other kind of help, support, or assistance that others in the group receive.

A Scapegoat may have been targeted originally because someone was envious of them for any reason, or jealous of a relationship they had with someone.

A Scapegoat may have been targeted originally because they were abused or neglected, and someone has been trying to destroy their credibility by destroying their reputation, just in case the abuse ever "came out".

A Scapegoat may have been targeted simply because someone in the group has some kind of mental/emotional illness that causes paranoia, so they started placing blame and accusations on one person for their feelings, and others in the group followed along with the delusion instead of investigating and putting a STOP to the rumor mill. 

The original reason that a person was targeted for Scapegoating often gets lost in the melee of the slander, gossip and dysfunction of the group. After a long enough period of time, the participating group members just go along with targeting the person and painting them as the "black sheep", as a "loser", as the "haughty one", as "eccentric" or "weird" or whatever.

Groups that scapegoat will ALWAYS scapegoat SOMEONE. If the current scapegoat were to disappear completely, a NEW ONE would be picked pretty quickly from the remaining cast of characters.