Woman Arrested For Facebook Trolling Herself Is Hilarious Until You Realize She’s Mentally Ill

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Here’s a new twist on a week full of family disfunction: a woman named Michelle Chapman created fake Facebook accounts under her family members names, sent herself abusive messages from that account, and then reported the unsuspecting family members to the police, all as part of a revenge plot. Chapman has been sentenced to 20 months in prison, which makes her the first person to be arrested and to do time for trolling herself. As much as that sounds like a great set up for a joke, the story is more complicated than that and deals with the reality of mental illness and it’s reach far beyond the mentally ill person.

Chapman spent a year sending herself threatening, sexual messages from accounts that she created under the names of her stepmother and father, Louise Steen and Roy Jackson, as well as other relatives. After Chapman reported the abuse, Steen was arrested and Jackson was issued a formal warning.

Apparently this all began when Chapman and Roy attempted to reconcile after a 21 year estrangement. This didn’t go great, so Chapman decided on a “revenge plot” that first involved sending abusive messages to her father under Steen’s name with the intention of ending their marriage. Then, the whole plan grew to include multiple family members who abused Chapman (well, Chapman abused herself under their names).

Prosecutor Philip Lee said that “she said that she wanted revenge on her father for matters in the past. She just wanted to make their life hell,” and it apparently worked, since Roy and Steen’s marriage fell apart soon after.

This is a hilarious revenge story and we all laughed and laughed. Except that that’s a pretty incomplete take: it’s also a pretty difficult example of untreated mental illness’ consequences.

Chapman’s husband, Glyn Chapman, said it best:

“She is the victim, she has mental health issues and it was a cry for help. She has not had the help she needs. This is what you do when you’re in desperate, desperate need of help – you scream out.”

This aspect isn’t being reported in some media outlets–looking at you, Buzzfeed. In fact, Buzzfeed doesn’t mention the mental health component at all, but plays the story off for laughs. It’s somewhat insidious to leave out that aspect of the story and paint it as a slapstick comedy routine. The mental health aspect is the main thrust of the story, and not that a woman did something outlandish. It’s gross to try and present it any other way.

Photo: Shutterstock

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    • Kaitlin Reilly

      I hope this woman gets the help she needs. Clearly the funny idea within the headline completely clouds the fact that this woman is very, very sick.

      • Christina G.

        How do we know she’s very, very sick? Because her husband says so? Maybe she’s just a woman with no character and a great deal of immaturity.

      • Rhonda

        Exactly what I was thinking reading the article. Has she seen a psychiatrist and had an offical diagnoses. If she hasn’t been receiving treatment I would guess not. So I suppose anyone could behave appallingly now and use mental illness as an excuse which I think is very belittling to people who actually do suffer from this condition.

    • guest

      There is nothing funny about this whatsoever.

    • Christina G.

      Everybody in prison is “mentally ill” so what makes this woman any different?

    • Alishmcmalish Dayum

      What mental disorder is she suffering from specifically? As a psychologist in training I’m very interested.

    • Cari

      I hope she gets the help she needs, but having a mental health condition or illness doesn’t excuse her apalling actions. Also, the story isn’t funny with or without the knowledge of her mental health.

    • Amanda Lee

      Seriously, what proof do you have other than what the husband has said? Looks like she wanted to make their lives a living hell, got caught, said “Oh shit! Uh huh, it’s mental health issues”. I wouldn’t say she is anymore a victim (assuming she actually is mentally unstable) than they are. They got arrested because of her for crying out loud!