"They were detached from recognizing me as a person," she tells PEOPLE
During Monday’s Women Tell All special, Kelsey faced plenty of hostility from the ladies – Tara and Ashley I. in particular.
“In every group there’s a scapegoat, and then there’s the bandwagon effect,” Kelsey told PEOPLE following the Tell All taping. “I mean, we’ve all watched Mean Girls. That doesn’t go away after high school, and that’s something I witnessed in the house – not just with me, but I think Britt experienced it, as well. There is an element of feeling ganged-up on.”
Ever the guidance counselor, Kelsey added that “some of the things they said were their emotions being expressed, and I want to make sure they feel validated in what they’re feeling, so I don’t want to cause tension and I don’t want to fight. But at the same time, I want to be heard, respected and accepted.”
While Kelsey does not necessarily regret having told her (“amazing“) story, she told PEOPLE that the way it aired “was very difficult to watch. I was shocked by what I saw on TV.”
On the Tell All, Kelsey confronted Ashley I. for calling her a “black widow”; when asked about it, Kelsey agreed that “it was mean. It was very mean and I think, at that point in the season, that they were detached from recognizing me as a person and as a person that’s had emotions and been through something really, really real.”
We also asked Kelsey how it felt to have Kaitlyn, Carly and Whitney pull her aside and call her out for being fake – unsurprisingly, it didn’t feel good. “How would you feel if three girls pulled you aside to tell you that you were condescending and a fake person?” she asked. “It’s reprehensible in the adult world – I think it’s reprehensible in high school – and so I want to be treated with respect, and I want to show people I respect them.”
That said, Kelsey told PEOPLE that she wishes the girls could have understood her better. “I think that would have helped us bond. The last thing I wanted was for them to feel negative feelings. I didn’t want them to feel little, and I wish that they would have come to me earlier rather than later.”
Added Kelsey, “If I could go back and change things, I would find a way to better bond with some of the girls – not all of them,” she revealed, more than likely referring to Ashley I. and Carly.
Finally, she’s betting on Whitney for that final rose. “I see how her face lights up when she’s with Chris, and I see how his face stays like that, too, and I think they bring out the best in each other, and I’m rooting for them.”
The Bachelor finale airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
• Reporting by NICOLE SANDS