High school is not known for the compassion of the students.
Bullying is a well-known part of the experience.
So what do we do when the schoolyard bully finds you online…and apologizes?
Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Reily_Hendricks faced just this situation, bringing her dilemma to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for guidance and asking:
“AITA for blowing off my bully after he tried to apologize?”
She started off simply enough.
“I (18-Female) am in high school and was temporarily a victim of a bully, mostly for a lisp I had.”
Before laying out the villain of the tale.
“There was one guy who relentlessly made fun of me for it, even referring to me being like Mike Tyson (I guess he has a lisp, not too familiar with boxing).”
She tried to be cordial.
“I kept telling him to stop, saying it was not my decision to be born with the lisp, but he wouldn’t listen.”
Suddenly, a reprieve!
“After that first semester, I learned that he and his parents had moved out of state and therefore he changed schools. I immediately felt relief that I was done with dealing with him.”
Then came the unexpected.
“A week into that semester, that guy added me on Instagram, decided to message me saying how sorry he was for being ‘a piece of shit’ (quoting what he said), and that if I could forgive him.”
Her response was, perhaps, less unexpected.
“I told him to piss off and it’s far too late for forgiveness, and said it’ll be better for us both if we never contacted each other again, before blocking him.”
“I told my mom about it and she said I was out of line to say that to him and should’ve just blocked him.”
So she was left wondering.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some were succinct in their decision making.
“NTA- You don’t owe anyone forgiveness.” ~Subscriptiknight
“NTA. You’re not obligated to give him permission to feel better.” ~engineeeeer7
While others were a little more detailed.
“NTA Part of developing into a decent human being is acknowledging that people don’t have to forgive us when we’ve wronged them, IMO (In My Opinion).”
“Our primary motivation in these situations shouldn’t be being granted forgiveness for the sake of easing our minds, though I’ve been completely guilty of this in the past.”
“It’s up to the person who was wronged whether they accept the apology — they shouldn’t be pressured into prioritizing the feelings of the person who hurt them.”
“Your mother should support your decision.”~paul_rudds_drag_race
A few were bothered by OP’s mother’s input.
“NTA Your mother doesn’t get to tell you how to feel or who to forgive.”~Beautiful_mistakes
Some people suggested the apology had ulterior motives
“I bet he’s being bullied now and feels sorry or he wants to bully her online.”~lizraeh
While others pointed out OP’s feelings were important.
“NAH. Teenagers can be a**holes for sure, and hopefully it’s a good sign that he wanted to apologize. But you don’t owe anyone forgiveness.
“If someone causes you pain, it’s up to you how you handle it.”
“That being said, I hope you’re not holding on to too much anger and thereby allowing him too much power and control of your feelings.”~Elle_Vetica
“Forgiveness only helps him. You did the right thing. Your mom needs to be supportive of your decisions especially regarding someone who bullied you.” ~Adviceisonthehouse
While the vote wasn’t unanimous…
“ESH. I’ve had one or two people do this to me.”
“It takes a lot of courage to reach out and apologize so I always explain to them that I appreciate the effort it’s taken them, but am not comfortable communicating further, I normally wish them well in the future too.”
“It means they get the peace they were seeking and you know you won’t be disturbed by them ever again.”
“One of the people I didn’t get on with at school is now my best friend and bridesmaid, so sometimes you just have to give people a chance to apologize and explain themselves too!”~fleurmadelaine
“Probably an unpopular opinion, but your mom is kind of right.”
“You don’t owe them forgiveness. But at the same time, they are trying to be better where plenty of people wouldn’t.”
“A better bet would be to let them know just how much it hurt you.”
“Let them know so they can make a difference for how they raise their family and children, so if their children become bullies they can treat it seriously and really explain to them why they need to be better.”
“And it’s not too late. You can reach out to them and let them know how they affected you.”~Ineffable_Mango
…the verdict was pretty overwhelming.
“NTA an apology doesn’t fix what someone has already done.”
“You have every right to say what you did and it was very well put. My daughter has a little lisp and her dad does too he’s always been embarrassed by it yet I don’t notice and I think my little girls lisp is the best”~PeakCreative187
But what about the Mike Tyson of it all.
“NTA. Not relevant, but since you mentioned it.. surprised you’ve never seen Mike Tyson on anything.. I could absolutely not possibly care less about boxing, but he’s just been in a lot of random movies and shows over the years as himself lol. The hell with the bullies, you owe them nothing”~Sweet_Caterpillar150
While it can sometimes be a dream for the Bully to come to their senses, it sometimes isn’t so simple to forgive careless “Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself” is a sentiment that often means that forgiveness can bring you peace. Sometimes, though, we aren’t quite ready for peace.
Hopefully, OP has healed from the abuse she suffered due to her Bully’s actions.
More importantly, though, she has a whole subReddit to tell her that she was vindicated in standing up for herself, and telling her bully that she wouldn’t continue to let him control her feelings.