Most of us face at least one bully in our lifetimes, especially during our childhood. We tend to do our best to move on and forget, and most certainly not associate with that person anymore.
But how could we possibly stay away from them if they married into our family, questioned a stressed “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor PrincessBirdley21 was facing an impossible choice while planning her wedding, as she already had to invite her childhood bully, who had married her brother, to her wedding.
But when her family started pressuring her to invite the bully to be a bridesmaid, too, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure how much more she could handle.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not giving my brother’s wife a role in my wedding?”
The OP was bullied terribly as a child.
“Getting married in a few weeks and this has become an issue.”
“Long story short my brother married Gemma 4 years ago. She and I have a history.”
“She was a bully in high school and I was one of her targets. She bullied me until it got to the point my parents changed my school because I was struggling.”
“I have a history of anxiety disorder as well as depression (that was later diagnosed as major depressive disorder). She made me so unstable and took joy in it.”
“From stuff about how I looked, calling me fat, ugly, disgusting, to mocking how I spoke, because I sometimes struggled to finish sentences or talk without a stutter.”
“Two years after I left the school, she got expelled for bullying other girls, one in particular that it got so bad, she was expelled. And then we ended up in the same school again and she went right back to targeting me.”
“At the worst, she said something unforgivable and disgusting and I ended up finishing high school at home because of it. I also started suffering panic attacks again after it.”
The OP was forced to have her bully in her life again.
“So it turns out she had a rough family life and she ended up having a breakdown a couple of years after we both graduated.”
“My brother met her again while she was ‘working on becoming a better person,’ and they ended up falling in love.”
“It hurt me deeply that my brother could fall in love with the person who did what she did to me.”
“He told me she was a different person, that she had changed and grown.”
“He made me listen to an apology from her and then it was suddenly like that should be it and we were now ‘family.'”
The OP was struggling with Gemma’s presence in her life.
“It’s not that simple for me. I can understand she had a rough past, and I can see that she does seem to be a better person.”
“But I still hate her for what she did to me. Mostly for what happened that meant I had to leave school and started having panic attacks again.”
“It’s also hard for me with my brother sometimes. Knowing he believes he can absolve her of what she did to me. Believing that I should treat her like I love her.”
And then the OP had to stress about Gemma being at her wedding, too.
“My wedding has now become a hot topic because my brother was asked to be a groomsman by my fiance and Gemma has not been asked to do anything. She’s just a regular guest. An unwanted one, admittedly, but one who is there all the same.”
“My mom and brother asked about Gemma being a bridesmaid, but I turned it down.”
“But what really started this is my brother found out my fiance had a couple of friends he would have asked to be groomsmen, but because we needed the numbers even and because I would never ask Gemma, he decided not to (my future BIL blabbed).”
“Now they are saying I’m an a**hole for not including her in some tiny little way and making it seem like she’s not part of the family.”
“My dad told them it was too much to ask of me, and that part of being a better person for Gemma is accepting that she and I will never reach a better place. So now my dad is in the doghouse too.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some wondered what had happened to the mother’s priorities.
“Your Mother and Brother are WAY out of line and are the ones putting themselves first. I would be kicking ALL of them out of the wedding.”
“And if your father does the right thing and continues to take your side and your parents split over it, it wouldn’t be your fault at all and maybe your father can find someone decent to spend his twilight years with, because I’ll tell you, this is completely inappropriate of your mom.”
“NTA.” – Throwawayhater3343
“No kidding. My daughter was bullied in HS and I hate the girl more than she does. That’s what a mom is supposed to do!!! OP is NTA.” – Muther_of_Tuna
“Whose wedding is it anyway? And can all these people who say they love you want to force someone who ruined your mental health into your wedding? Isn’t it enough she has come to your wedding?”
“And people who say she’s a better person have no idea the mental strength it takes to bounce back from what she did to you. You have every right to do what you feel is right for you and your mental health and your wedding don’t let THEM BULLY YOU into doing something you don’t want to do.”
“Surround yourself with people that love you and want you to have the wedding you want to have. Personally, I’d just elope and have a few people in the know come as well and be done with it.”
“Weddings are always drama because there’s always someone or multiple someones who try to force THEIR will on the bride and pretty soon the wedding is no longer the bride’s. Be strong and force your will on them and stand your ground!! Your wedding your decisions.” – Prestigious-Fan-5530
“If Brother and Gemma don’t understand this, same with Mom, they don’t need to be there to support you.”
“And everyone can get an explanation that Gemma is the person who bullied you all thru school, that you appreciate that she is working on becoming a better person, but apparently that doesn’t extend to being okay with you not wanting her in your wedding party, something your mother and brother similarly had a problem with.”
“So the 3 of them are celebrating the day, together elsewhere.” – rak1882
Others also thought Gemma wasn’t as “changed” as she made herself out to be.
“OP now is the time to put your foot down. Stick up for yourself! This woman destroyed part of your childhood. You absolutely do NOT need to invite her to ‘keep the peace.'”
“This is the beginning of the next chapter of your life. So what makes YOU and your fiancé happy. You do not need to compromise here.” – AcadiaNo6831
“It’s great she worked to better herself, sure. And ok, so she was a bully because her life was s**t, better than just being straight-up evil, I guess, but NONE OF THAT MAGICALLY SENDS YOU ALL BACK IN TIME AND ERASES YOUR PANIC ATTACKS, OR THAT YOU HAD TO SWITCH SCHOOLS, OR FINISH SCHOOL AT HOME.”
“SORRY FOR YELLING, I’M UPSET WITH YOUR FAMILY (except your dad, he’d get a ‘#1 Dad’ mug from me if we knew each other in real life).”
“None of that changes what you endured, but your AH family members are acting as it did.”
“You do what is best for YOU, OP, and hug your dad, he rocks. Congratulations on your wedding!” – MadoraM91919
“Like, if I accidentally hit you with my car, it doesn’t matter how sorry I am, or that I didn’t mean to do it, or that I’m normally kind to puppies (or whatever). YOU STILL GOT HIT. I can apologize until I turn blue, but it won’t un-break your bones or heal your bruises.”
“I SHOULD still apologize, and show real remorse, and do what I can for you (making sure my insurance pays your medical bills, stuff like that*). But it’s up to the person who got hurt whether or not forgiveness even enters the picture.”
“*Like in OP’s case: if I were Gemma, and really wanted to be a less awful person, I’d be trying my hardest to stop my husband and MIL from forcing my inclusion in the wedding party. I’d probably come up with a reason to be out of town the day of the wedding, too, so that OP doesn’t have to be the ‘bad guy’ that disinvited me.” – Ok-Rabbit1878
“I would sit the two of them down, maybe with Dad as moral support, and say, ‘I understand that Gemma has changed and apologized for her past behavior, and while I appreciate that, it doesn’t change the fact that she made my life hell for x number if years with her bullying. There are just some wounds so deep that they can’t be magically waved away with an apology.'”
“Then add, ‘I’m sure that Gemma, having changed, can understand that some of her victims were traumatized almost beyond repair and she would do ANYTHING to avoid adding one ounce more of any pain or trauma to them, right? You are invited to the wedding; that is as much as I’m comfortable with at this time.'”
“And you would probably rather she not even be a guest. I would make sure she’s placed at the far edge of any family group photos so she can easily be photoshopped out. NTA.” – Strong-Sense7679
Some thought the brother and Gemma had some kind of co-bullying dynamic brewing.
“The brother is a major AH for marrying the bully and likely retraumatizing the sister on multiple occasions.” – One8two
“I don’t really feel like bully has changed all that much because all she’s done is an apology. The biggest difference is that now brother has also become a bully.” – madlyqueen
“She hasn’t changed. She has just found a new and more sophisticated way of being a bully.” – CutePigs2222
“It is a bit suspicious. Gemma, if she was really changed, should be doing everything to make sure OP isn’t upset and that includes making sure the family isn’t pushing her into a bridal party inappropriately.”
“Why is your mum of all people really worked up about her being involved? Had she been manipulated? Surely at one point, her own daughter came first and she despised this Gemma? I don’t get it.” – Legitimatecat1977
While she was facing pressure from most of her family to include her childhood bully in her wedding, the subReddit was disgusted that she was expected to do such a thing.
Her bully hardly should have been invited to the wedding at all, and her marriage into the family was questionable at best. But including her in the wedding party? Absolutely not.