Pt. 3 - A Peek Inside Meanness
(As much as you can "enjoy" reading mean girl stories that is....)
If you missed them, here they are again.
Middle School Mean Girl Pt. 1 and Mean Girl Pt. 2.
Sitting in Starbucks, hearing her story in person added all the heartfelt emotion that a blogpost can't properly convey. At the end of her story, I had to ask WHY... "Why do you think you acted the way you did?"
Because, you see, I know Britni and know she's not evil at heart. At all. Far from it. What makes a girl do mean things? A girl raised in a good family, well taken care of, not lacking in opportunity, raised in church, in a Christian school...
She shared these things with me.
1. Anger, inner turmoil and stress of personal situations made me want to be mean to others.
2. I couldn't confide in anyone really, or felt like I couldn't, so the stress came out in anger.
3. I looked to get reactions from others, because of the problems going on in my own life that I had no control over. I was reacting to my own problems with stress and anger, therefore I tried to cause reactions in other people too.
4. I was jealous of attention that other girls got, so a lot of the things I did was to get attention too.
Now, once again I paused hearing this. Number 2 bothered me. I know her family. She had many people to talk to. She was surrounded by family and friends who cared. She should have had me too. How did she feel like this? I know her family did talk to her, care for her and pay attention to her. Even with all of that, she felt this way. It's possible to feel alone even when you're not. I'm sad she felt alone during that time.
This has happened in my own parenting recently. I think I have processed something important effectively, later to find out my kids opinion is, no, not really. How could you say that? I said this, this and this. You said this. We talked about it. Somehow sometimes they don't hear it like we think it happened. People process differently. Maybe we should double check. And triple check?
And for #5, I was so curious about her treating Ellie differently at school then at home. I had to ask why, having seen this situation so many times. The friend acts great one on one or at home, then acts weird or mean at school or in front of other people. Why do girls do that?
5. I loved Ellie and knew she didn't want to be part of being mean, so I ignored her at school, but I still really liked being with her, so one on one I could be friends with her.
Being older now, Britni realized that didn't totally make sense, but in middle school it did.
How must Ellie have felt during this time? confused? wondering whether to give Britni more chances? I wonder!
Usually the "Ellie" of the situation feels hurt and wonders what's wrong with herself to make her friend mistreat her. But that wasn't the case at all. Britni loved Ellie, respected her, and liked being with her. Britni just divided her personality in half in order to deal with what she had created.
I found this interesting and a probable relief for all the Ellies out there! The problem wasn't with Ellie. Britni recognized it as a problem within herself. Not that it solves the problem or makes Ellie hurt less. Not that it's ok. We aren't giving a blanket "okay" for this, just trying to make some sense of the reasoning.
I got intrigued writing this and am attempting to find the true Ellie and hear her side. Detective suit on. Trench coat and magnifying glass out. Will let you know what I find.
I will say again Britni learned her lesson the hard way, through becoming a victim herself and enduring a very difficult year, of which she didn't share all the details for quite awhile. She allowed God to do a great work in her life, change her heart and she has take responsibility for her actions. She is more than willing to tell on herself now, in a hope to help girls not do what she did. Follow her blog now as she travels the world in an 11 month venture, 11 countries in 11 months with The World Race. http://britnibersin.theworldrace.org/.
Meanwhile, also pursuing other stories from girls who have been the victim of bullying, so we can get a personal understanding of that side too. I know it's personal and perhaps painful to relive, but can be a source of education for others, in an attempt to combat what has become a huge problem in our country.
Let me know if you have one to share.