April 30th, 2005

Life imitates art (“The Runaway Bride”)

The disappearance of Jennifer Wilbanks, originally feared to be a kidnapping-murder or spousal-murder case, has been revealed to be something altogether different. Less frightening, no doubt–it’s neither a case of random nor spousal violence–but profoundly disturbing nevertheless. It seems that the lady ran away because she got cold feet before an elaborate and expensive wedding.

So, is she a Julia Roberts fan, and did she watch “The Runaway Bride” too many times? Is it a case of life imitating art, by a woman whose sense of responsibility and awareness of the consequences of her own behavior is sorely lacking?

Behavior like Jennifer’s tends to be a mystery to psychology. Prior to this event, it seems no one knew a thing was amiss. I could throw around words like “character disorder,” “stress-induced dissociative disorder, ” “narcissistic personality”–but they aren’t necessarily relevant. The truth lies hidden, and may always remain hidden. My guess is that what happened is a mystery even–or perhaps especially–to Jennifer Wilbanks herself.

I have to admit feeling a sense of outraged anger on behalf of her suffering family and fiance, and all the law enforcement people and others who searched for her. Bad enough that her family and friends probably thought her dead, and that the images swirling through their minds for the last few days were the stuff of nightmares and horror movies. But now they must wrestle with something far more complex: the fact that their beloved daughter, relative, friend, put them through this experience either knowingly–realizing the horror she must be inflicting–or unknowingly, proving she lacks even the most rudimentary elements of empathy. How does a family recover from that?

7 Responses to “Life imitates art (“The Runaway Bride”)”

  1. Emmunah Says:

    That’s funny, but I though hypo-thyroidism too.

    What I want to know is when did it become a crime to “run away” from your family at 32? Not a bad mistake, and a tragedy, but a “crime”? “I went for a ride and never went back” used to be a common theme in songs…maybe the wishing was more than the reality, but still.

    I think she just got cold feet and went to Vegas right? A day or so later, when her head cleared she turned on the tv and WOWWWWWW!!! “OH AM I IN TROUBLE NOW!”…seems quite SANE to me LOL! Then, after they spend all of this money looking for her, and worrying, she decides she better tell the cop something….ummm..umm…ummm I was kidnapped…that probably lasted all of 10 minutes. Now “THIS” is the crime she actually did commit, but no money was expended looking for the kidnapper, the money was spent looking for her…therefore she could not have cost them anything by a 10 minute alibi session.

    It’s nice to be the story of the week if you really were kidnapped and all…but 1000′s of people just “go out for a ride and never go back”, and it wasn’t a slow news day, and the cops come and take a report. How was she supposed to anticipate this money, this pubicity, this utter craziness? I sure wouldn’t…and I’ve thought of “running away to join the circus” a couple of times. I would hate to think that my little act of “I’ve had it with you people” routine would turn into a crime at my age. I did not know I was actually answerable for my whereabouts to anyone besides myself if I were unmarried, even about to get married, is still unmarried. Reminds me of the middle east…that is what would happen to you if you ran away from a marriage there…only a bit worse, but same mentality.

  2. jj mollo Says:

    Bringing up this hyperthyroidism point is somewhat disconcerting to me, because I remember a little trivia about Graves’ Disease. Now, I am still nominally a Democrat, but I am not an enemy of the President. Is it not true that both of W’s parents have Graves’ Disease? Would it not be prudent the check the President? For that matter, wouldn’t it be prudent to consider the possiblity that this unlikely coincidence might have something to do with the environment in the White House?

  3. Pancho Says:

    From CNN: “associate pastor of Peachtree Corners Baptists Church, reported that her fiance, John Mason, said “everybody has a right to make a mistake.”

    Note to John Mason: if you go through with this wedding, remember these words!

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    I never thought of that one, Norma, but you actually may be onto something. Hyperthyroidism can cause all sorts of psychological symptoms. See here.

  5. Norma Says:

    When I saw her photo, I thought “hyperthyroidism.”

  6. Brad Says:

    I don’t want to make light of this, but when I saw the photo of her, my first thought was “she’s nuts.”

  7. THIRDWAVEDAVE Says:

    What an awful experience to put your loved ones through. The reason for her decision, I suppose, will reveal itself in time. My guess is her parents liked him more than she did and she allowed herself to be put in a corner she felt she couldn’t get out of. Whatever the reason, her choice of this tactic was a poor one, indeed.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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