Social Question

Brian1946's avatar

Why would someone throw acid in their own face and then claim that a nonexistent stranger did it?

Asked by Brian1946 (27762points) September 17th, 2010

Here’s one report on this.

There are some acts that most rational people wouldn’t commit, but are still understandable, such as when someone gets cut off in traffic and is driven by road rage to do something that greatly exacerbates the situation.

That’s not something that most people would do, but I think quite a few people have fantasized doing something like that to an egregiously rude driver.

However, the stranger that Bethany Storro claimed did this to her doesn’t exist, so if she’s angry at this “person” who never was, it seems that her reasons for it would be insanely convoluted.

Serious attempts at analysis and wild conjectures are all welcome.

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12 Answers

diavolobella's avatar

From what I had initially read about the situation, and I confess I have not read further than the first stories, she said she was not angry with the (imaginary) perpetrator. She said that she forgave them. So, perhaps the acid in her own face bit was a cry for attention and the “I forgive them” part was an attempt to make herself look like some sort of saint. She ended up getting initial attention for being an innocent victim and then more attention for being so forgiving. All eyes on her and what a great, brave soul she is, etc.

DominicX's avatar


She got national attention and is even getting attention on Q&A sites. If that was her reason, it certainly succeeded. Some people crave attention and will go to ridiculous lengths to get it. I’m not saying she’s “normal” for doing this, but it’s just another way to get attention, affection, etc.

Brian1946's avatar

@DominicX @diavolobella

I also think it’s a pathologically distorted attempt to get attention.
Thanks for your corroboration.

wundayatta's avatar

She had just gotten divorced. She was feeling worthless and abandoned and like a failure. Maybe her ex had married her for her looks, and now she was getting older and didn’t have the looks she had. She was mentally just not thinking the way she normally would. Maybe even suicidal, but this is better—destroy that which got her into the wrong place with the wrong man.

She didn’t anticipate the publicity. She probably thought it would remain local, if she even thought about what might happen next at all. Probably she wanted someone to pay attention to her, to make her feel like she wasn’t a nothing. Police attention might do.

You don’t make these calculations consciously. It’s intensely emotional. It comes from despair and feelings you’ve never felt before and have no idea what to do with. You just get an idea and you’re very fragile mentally, and things that would never make sense normally now seem like the only option, or the best option to quell the feelings inside you. If you feel like shit, you have to make yourself into shit.

I’m sure she absolutely feels she deserves to be thrown in jail. In a way, it will confirm her sense of self and it will make it possible for her to understand her divorce. At this point, she probably wants jail and then worse. Maybe to be driven to hell and then death.

But now it’s got world attention. She was going to go on Oprah for God’s sake. It’s a different thing altogether. Now she’s notorious, not nothing. That’s got to be confusing. She’s getting scorn thrown at her from all sides. On one hand, that is what is needed. On the other, it’s too much. It gives her attention that in her unconscious mind, she doesn’t deserve simply because she is nothing. A thrown away person.

Now it’s really messed up. She’s gotten what she wanted, only too much of it. Now she’s gotten so much nothing that she’s something.

She’ll be given, or maybe already has been given a psychiatric exam. I bet they’ll find some form of depression. She’ll be treated. They’ll take her out of the limelight and hope the world forgets. Maybe, after a while, she’ll emerge and try to live some kind of life. Maybe she’ll make restitution to her town. Maybe she’ll set up some fund for the aid of recently divorced women, or something.

Interesting story. Fun to imagine what’s going on in her. I wonder how much of it I got right.

marinelife's avatar

Mental illness.

CMaz's avatar

Was asked to work on Saturday?

weeveeship's avatar


I think @wundayatta is right.

NaturallyMe's avatar

Serious mental issues…i can’t think of any reason why someone in their sane mind would do that to themselves.

YARNLADY's avatar

At the very minimum there are 50 causes of self mutilation

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

I was thinking at first to get attention then thought that was really going too far just to get attention. Sounds like they’re a little crazy to me.

tinybutmyt's avatar

I’m thinking Borderline Personality Disorder.
People who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder have at least five of the following symptoms. They may:
* Make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
* Have a pattern of difficult relationships caused by alternating between extremes of
intense admiration and hatred of others.
* Have an unstable self-image or be unsure of his or her own identity.
* Act impulsively in ways that are self-damaging, such as extravagant spending,
frequent and unprotected sex with many partners, substance abuse, binge eating, or
reckless driving (or throwing acid in own face).
* Have recurring suicidal thoughts, make repeated suicide attempts, or cause self-injury
through mutilation, such as cutting or burning himself or herself.
* Have frequent emotional overreactions or intense mood swings, including feeling
depressed, irritable, or anxious. These mood swings usually only last a few hours at a
time. In rare cases, they may last a day or two.
* Have long-term feelings of emptiness.
* Have inappropriate, fierce anger or problems controlling anger. The person may often
display temper tantrums or get into physical fights.
* Have temporary episodes of feeling suspicious of others without reason (paranoia) or
losing a sense of reality.

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