Where Scapegoats Come From

When a person gets targeted for scapegoating in their family, group, or community, it only really works if the scapegoating is instigated by a person who others either FOLLOW, FAVOR, or believe to be above reproach (which of course can't be real if they're a human.).

Scapegoating so-and-so becomes part of the culture of the family, group, or community when there are more people who go along with it than who stand up against it.

People "learn" who the leader is in a group by other people's behavior. They also learn who is expected to do what, how the group collectively views and labels each person (usually having little to do with reality), AND who "everyone" treats poorly as a regular thing. 

~~~ No one talks to Jerry, so I'm not going to talk to him either... he's weird... even though I know not a shred of information about him. I'm just going to go along with the crowd without question, because I want to be accepted by them. He looks pretty normal to me, but since he seems to accept the way people treat him, he must AGREE that he should be treated as not really a real member of the group, so I'm going to do that too.

~~~ Everyone speaks respectfully to Robert, and treats him as if he's the Leader and that he knows what he's doing, so I'm just going to go along with it without getting to actually know him at all as a person. He LOOKS like a Leader type... so I'll just assume that he's good at it, and just do whatever he says. If he says or does anything that seems immature, mean, or incorrect, I'm going to pretend I didn't notice it, because that's what everyone else does.

(Dysfunctional groups either fully support their Leader as if the person is "perfect", OR they discard, EJECT, the Leader as if the person is "terrible"; the black and white thinking does not allow for a Leader to be a real person who's sometimes right and sometimes wrong, or who needs the help of others, or who doesn't LOOK or TALK like they want a "Leader Type" person to.).

~~~ Everyone talks about Elizabeth like she is very responsible and a take-charge person, so it must be true, I'll assume that it's true and will just go along with her being in charge of all kinds of things without getting to know her at all, or reviewing anything that she actually does.
She looks and acts like a responsible person, so it must be true.

~~~ Everyone treats Melissa like she's annoying, so I'm going to as well, even though I know nothing about her, and have taken no time or effort to connect with her or get to know about her. Everyone says she's "this" and "that" when she's not present, so I'm just going to go along with them. I did notice that she has rather large breasts, and pretty eyes, so she must be either stuck-up, promiscuous, or an airhead.. at least that's what I want to believe, because I envy her looks, and would rather tear her down than be supportive of her. 

The dynamic doesn't just occur out of the clear blue sky, it builds and builds over time, starting with a specific event or situation.

Often the scapegoat is easily singled out in the group, they're "different" than the others in some way, which is one of the reasons why the others go along with it instead of stopping it.

Only people with bully and control issues initiate the dynamic, but the insecure, envious, non-self-aware, or others with bully issues tend to follow along very quickly.

An original event that may culminate in a Controller scapegoating another member of the group usually involves the Controller doing something TO the person that's unkind, unfair, or abusive.
Then the Controller gets worried that they're going to be seen to be unfair or abusive toward the person.
They may have treated the person poorly, or they may have not stopped someone else from doing it.

Either way, the Controller begins to target the individual in order to intimidate them, upset them, distract them, and sabotage their confidence or their actual projects, work, and tasks. At the same time they start a TREND in the group of targeting the person as "Someone We Don't Respect", or  "Someone We Don't Want Around".

Amazingly, the majority of people will follow along and not raise one question about it. When the target protests or expresses any emotion about the poor treatment, the group is already primed to reject and invalidate whatever the person says.

The reasons that a person might treat a person poorly in the first place depend on the Controller or bully's own inner emotional or psychological issues. They might pick on a person who's chronically ill, or who they're intimidated by physically. They might pick on a person who they envy, or who they believe is inferior to themselves. They may pick on a person because their physical appearance is different than their own, or different from the larger group.
A person whom an envier thinks is "beautiful" will often get targeted in the same vicious way as a target who a bully sees as "unattractive".

It solely depends on the issues of the person doing the targeting.

A common reason other than those listed above is when a person STANDS UP FOR someone who is being targeted for scapegoating or abuse. When this happens, the person who is standing up against the unfair or abusive treatment often gets targeted far WORSE than the original target, because he or she threw a wrench in the dynamic and also pointed out that a Bully or Controller was doing something "wrong", which they typically can't tolerate. So the person who stands up in the group against unfairness or abuse often becomes the NEW "Black Sheep", replacing the former.

It's also important to note that once the "cultural norm" of scapegoating an individual has been established, those in the group who participate will rarely be swayed to change the way they treat or view the person, no matter what happens, no matter what they find out, and no matter what the targeted person does or has done in reality. The scapegoating is not based in reality anyway, so reality does nothing to change it.