Sunday, December 17, 2006

Bullying Can Be Deadly

Siggy says, "This family gives new meaning to 'dysfunctinoal family'." Sometimes the trauma of bullying is emotional, sometimes physical and sometimes, it's deadly:

Detective Chief Inspector John Dineen, who led the investigation, said:

"This was clearly a pre-mediated attack on the Cochranes. None of the evidence that we have uncovered points even remotely to the idea that the Connors set fire to that house on the spur of the moment.

"Jane and Natalie appear to have become increasingly obsessed with seeking retribution for some perceived slight to them in the past. It is so minor that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what sparked this obsession, but the Cochranes' bore the brunt of it nonetheless, with devastating consequences.

Two girls, former friends, part ways. One of the girls starts bullying the other and her parents join the act eventually burning down the home of the girl's family--waiting until they are asleep to commit the heinous crime. Both parents died. The object of the obsession survives, but must live without her parents. The murderers go to jail. In Texas, one would hope they'd go to the chair.

It is amazing what mentally unstable, amoral people will do when they perceive themselves to be wronged by someone. Often times it starts in the mind--obsessing and fantasizing about revenge or the desired outcome, progressing to stalking, continues as harassment, and ends with a violent act. Unless and until the person sees their behavior for what it is--manipulation and aggression--the behavior escalates.

In contrast, mentally stable, moral people recognize that circumstances don't always fulfill their desires. They rationally deal with this disappointment and move on. Usually, healthy people are also busy and have ways to fill their time other than becoming fixated on someone else's life.

H/T Sigmund, Carl and Alfred


Christy're said...

Whoa, that's AWFUL!!!!

Dr. Melissa said...

Terrifying, really. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know when a harassing weirdo will jump over the line and become a harassing psycho. Or rather, it is difficult to know when someone is truly psychotic and will ramble over that rational imaginary line.

Anonymous said...

it always takes two to tango.

Dr. Melissa said...

"It always takes two to tango."

You're kidding, right? That's just it--the slight is perceived, it's not real and gets magnified until the slighted justifies criminal activities such as these murderers.

And what, pray tell, did these people do to deserve being burned alive?

Anonymous said...

of course none of them deserved that . it was a sickening crime.

but i have to wonder if there ever were moments when some grace and forgiveness presented itself and one or more were too proud, too stuborn to give in just a little.

So much can be healed when a little wisdom and a little understanding for a situation is shown.

kman said...

Anonymous 9:20 - don't count on it. I know I've experienced bullying from some (ex)friends of ours. They lived on our street and when one of our neighbors put their house up for sale we both wanted the house. We put in a bid for the house immediately and got it. They never even put a bid in because they had to sell their house first. What was this delightful Christian's response?

They spread lies about us underhandedly stealing the house from them to literally everyone they knew in the neighborhood. Including whoever would listen at the park, etc. They were friends with pretty much everyone and my wife and I like to mostly keep to ourselves... so of course we became known as the evil couple who made A & J move away. Sheesh. Anyway that was 2 years ago and we still meet people around the neighborhood who have heard about us and figure it's best to keep their distance.

I can assure you that we didn't do anything underhanded and after we got the house they refused to ever talk to us directly. The kicker is that a few weeks back they started attending our church. :) This should be a fun year we're in for.

I'm just thankful they decided to move away without it escalating too far. We'll see how it works out with them attending where we do.

Antoinette said...

Our culture caters to obsession, condones it, encourages it. We say that people who fly airplanes into buildings must have root casues, the worst kind of sex predator just needs treatment, the foulest serial killer just needs love. Pretty soon everyone with a grudge gets the idea, there is always an excuse, your irrational madness is actually reasonable. The media and pop culture encourages sociopaths night and day. We have sown what we reaped.

Dr. Melissa said...


You're right about the societal influence. 1) Obsession is often portrayed as real love when it's manipulation and coercion. 2) From childhood, people are conditioned to believe they should get what they want when they want--even if it's not theirs to have.

When a child has a temper tantrum and then gets what he wants, he learns that unhappiness and manipulation work. When a teenager stomps her feet and screams in rage when she doesn't get to drive the car and then her parents cave, she learns that manipulation works.

Some people only know aggressive ways of communicating. Some people feel they are owed a particular outcome because they feel wronged on a primal level. How many criminals are convinced that "he had it coming to him" or "she earned it"? Almost no one in prison will say, "I was wrong."

In fact, I think the hallmark of mental illness is the refusal to take responsibility for one's own feelings, emotions and actions. Freud said that when a patient can name the problem, it was essentially solved.

A person who projects all their unhappiness on someone else externalizes the cause of the problem. Therefore, the solution is external. That's how a family can come to the decision that burning another family alive seems perfectly rational. "Taking care of a problem" is how the father-murderer put it.