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Into the Mind of a Bully and Her Parent

“I didn't know that she had so many problems and if I had known that then I would have gone out of my way and tried to help her,” Sharon Chanon Velazquez.

“Some of the things I said were unnecessary and mean, but it's arguing."

“I'm not a mean person.  I think I'm really caring, I care a lot.  Because I went out of my way to help out my friend.”

“And I didn't mean to hurt somebody, or say the things I said...”

“I didn't know that she had so many problems and if I had known that then I would have gone out of my way and tried to help her.”

“People have the wrong idea of me, like I said I was trying to help out a friend.  I didn't mean for it to go as far as it did.”

“I had to stop going to school, they kicked me out. I couldn't do a lot of things. I just want that to stop and go on with my life.”

These are quotes from an interview on the Today Show with Sharon Chanon Velazquez, one of five bullies convicted of misdemeanor criminal harassment (a plea deal down from felony charges, by the way) due to her part in the death of Phoebe Prince. A girl new to the school and just months in America from Ireland, who committed suicide due to the bullying she received at South Hadley High School.

Oh, and why was she bullied? Because she was the new girl in school, because she had dated a couple of guys, and because this had angered some of the girls at the school. Such a classic pattern. So let’s take a look into the mind of a bully...

“Some of the things I said were unnecessary and mean, but it's arguing."

Arguing means saying mean things. Arguing means saying unnecessary things. Treating people poorly is acceptable, if it’s because your arguing.

“I'm not a mean person. I think I'm really caring, I care a lot. Because I went out of my way to help out my friend.”

I care for people, but just the ones "that count." Just the ones I’m friends with. Just the ones that don’t tick me off. Just the ones that only go out with boys I think they should be going out with. I’m caring because I help out my friends, even though it’s by tormenting others.  

“And I didn't mean to hurt somebody, or say the things I said...”

It’s not my fault! And if I hadn’t gotten caught, and if Phoebe hadn’t taken her own life, I would have continued with the torment because I felt completely justified in my actions. I can do whatever I want.  Because I’m better than... Because I’m entitled... Because I’m justified...

“I didn't know that she had so many problems and if I had known that, then I would have gone out of my way and tried to help her”

It’s her fault she couldn’t take it. After all, she had problems. It’s her fault she died, not mine.

“People have the wrong idea of me. Like I said, I was trying to help out a friend. I didn't mean it to go as far as it did.”

Denial, denial, and more denial.  I’m a perfectly wonderful person.  In fact, I’m the victim here, people just don’t understand me.

“I had to stop going to school, they kicked me out. I couldn't do a lot of things.  I just want that to stop and go on with my life.”

Me, me, poor me.  It wasn’t my fault.  I don’t deserve to experience the least bit of discomfort.

And all of this makes perfect sense to the bully mentality. This is why they are bullies.  

And this mentality is learned, you’re not born with it.  

It’s learned primarily from our parents, through their actions or in-actions.  Secondarily, we pick some of this stuff up from society, through our school systems, movies and magazines, TV, music, etc.

I’m too harsh on parents you say?  Here’s proof of the culpability of Shannon’s mother for what kind of person her child turned into.  When asked for her thoughts, Shannon’s mom said:

“As a mother, it was hard, because I was sitting in the back (of the court room)... I couldn't stand up. I couldn't protect my daughter.  ...She (the mother of Phoebe Prince while in court) was saying things that I know, I know wasn't true... That's not the daughter that I raised.”

No words of sympathy.  No words of regret for what had happened. No words of disgust for the part her daughter played.  No words of comfort for the mother that has lost her only child.

Just concern over how "bad" this experience has been for her, and her daughter.  How awful it was not to be able to “run over and protect her daughter.” And Finally, complete denial over what had happened, her part in it and her daughter’s part in it.  Of course what Phoebe’s mother was saying couldn’t be true, because “that’s not the daughter I raised.”  

Actually, that’s exactly the daughter you raised.  What we’re seeing here are classic narcissistic behaviors with a heavy dose of denial.  Two qualities of a parent that are essential in raising a bully.  The truth here is that this mom has absolutely no way to "know" what her daughter was or wasn’t saying, because she wasn’t there.  This mom is much more concerned about how her daughter’s behavior makes her look, than about her daughters actual behavior.  And she obviously wasn’t keeping an eye on her daughter’s texts, email, Facebook and Twitter accounts.  But why would she?  She’s convinced she raised a wonderful, well adjusted daughter:

  • A daughter that doesn’t see a difference between arguing and bullying...
  • A daughter that admits to saying mean and unnecessary things, but thinks that’s OK...
  • A daughter that can’t own up to the wrongs she committed...
  • A daughter who thinks she’s a caring and kind person because she helped out a friend - by abusing another person...
  • A daughter that, if she had known the girl had problems, she would have helped her instead of bullying her.
  • A daughter that shows little, if any remorse for her part in causing the death of another person...
  • A daughter that “just wants to get back to her life...”

Well, at least she has a life to get back to...

maryann kurth-garza July 14, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Now we know why the daughter has problems where is the empathy. I have had my own children bullied. These kids are thugs and being raise by thugs. Like the typical parent you see crying on TV over the death of there child. Who says my child would hurt know one he or she is a good father . However, the kid has a long rap sheet and the known local drug dealer. This insanity needs to stop.
Christal La Fountain-Naylor July 15, 2011 at 12:58 PM
This is very typical abusers MO. Bullying is a word I hate--I use "peer abuse" because if a child had these same actions perpetrated again him or her by a family member child services would be involved. This is abuse, not two children arguing. My daughter is in the throws of trying to heal from severe peer abuse (I dont use the term severe lightly, either). Her battle isnt over because I moved her from the town, her therapy doesnt stop and neither do the flash backs or the crushing beleif of her unworthiness etc.The long term affects of these unparented or underparented children is immense and underestimated.
Martha Lee July 29, 2011 at 06:25 PM
My son developed psycological problems from bullying when he started middle school. Not once were the abusers confronted by the administration. We had to get a letter from the Doctor and have him transferred from the school.

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