Most of us had at least one bully as a child, and our feelings of anger or hurt from those experiences are perfectly valid.
And whether we wish to forgive these people or stay away from them later in life is totally acceptable, too, affirmed by the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor throwawaugh678 decided going no- or low-contact with her past bully was the best way to go.
But after receiving mixed feedback, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she should have helped her bully.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my family they couldn’t help a girl who had bullied me, when she texting asking for help?”
The OP had a bully in high school.
“I am 18 and just finished my senior year of high school.”
“A girl I’ll call Emma went to school with me and she was really a homophobic bully to me. She was a year ahead of me and had graduated.”
“My parents know her family from church and at the time I hadn’t told them about the stuff going on at school.”
While getting pizza, the OP’s mother received a text from the bully.
“This weekend, my family was going to get pizza, and I was driving everyone in my new car.”
“My mom got a text from Emma, asking for a ride away from a party where she’d gotten too drunk to drive.”
“It was kinda a surprise. I guess she didn’t want to tell her parents and didn’t know anyone else who was sober and could get her home.”
“I said no way, and told my mom that Emma had bullied me in school and I wasn’t having her in my car or anywhere near me now that I was old enough to decide for myself.”
“My mom said that she wasn’t ok leaving a girl stuck between being stranded and drunk driving.”
“I said, ‘Fine, let’s call her mom instead. We don’t have to leave her but I’m not having her near me.'”
“My mom agreed to that and I also didn’t wanna be around when she made that call, but from what I heard after, her parents were really mad and my mom wished she’d just gone to get her herself.”
“I said I understand that musta been a hard conversation to have, but I wasn’t ok with having someone who didn’t treat me like a person around.”
The OP’s father didn’t view the situation the same as the rest of the family.
“My mom, brothers, and I went home and my mom told my dad about our night.”
“He was upset with me for not being more forgiving and for making a big deal out of high school drama, that her family is friends from church and we help each other.”
“I said I was doing the opposite of having drama.”
“I knew this girl saw me as garbage and I felt that I was avoiding drama by avoiding having any interaction with her let alone having her in my car, and as an adult now, that was now my choice to make, and that I didn’t have to bring people into my life or my darn brand new car unless I thought it was a good idea.”
“My dad thought I was being selfish and resentful and honestly, I don’t feel like that.”
“I feel like I’m over it, I’m over her being in my life, and I’m not resentful. I’m just ready to move on with my life and forget about it.”
“AITA for not helping a girl who bullied me in the past?”
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 said the OP had every right to put herself first.
“NTA. Agreed, mom respected her boundaries, and dad just wanted her to completely ignore them to be a ‘good person’.”
“You’re no help to others if you’re hurting. Keep Treating yourself with kindness. You are absolutely right to not want someone that hurts you in your life.”
“And as much as your father wants to be the good Christian, does he think your well-being is less important than Emma’s? Because I don’t see how forcing his daughter to interact with someone that hurts her is a good thing” – docasj
“OP, you’re NTA. You stood up for yourself & held your ground. Good for you! Who knows what seeing her again would have done to your mental health.”
“I too was bullied in school & thankfully I’ve since moved 2 hours away, but when I do go home I get that moment of panic of will I run into so & so.”
“Your dad is being a huge jerk though. He sounds like mine. His favorite saying growing up (and still is now that I’m almost 40) is ‘do as I say not as I do’.”
“He is respectful to no one but everyone should respect him. He can be a total asshole to someone just bc he feels like being macho, but if you stand up to someone who deserves it & it makes him look bad then you’re a horrible person.”
“My advice – let him be mad. If he keeps pushing tell him all of the most hurtful things that she did to you, how it affected you. Throw it all at him at one time. Just spout it off.”
“Don’t pause, don’t let him talk in between. Bc I know she didn’t let you breathe & collect yourself when she was harassing you. Maybe then he’ll realize why you feel the way you do about her.”
“Yes the Bible says to love our enemies & to help them & pray for them. Your mom got Emma help, just not the way wanted it. Your mom is awesome.” – MsPeaches-2846
“NTA. It very much IS comparable bc when his ex wife ‘tried to ruin his life’ doesn’t he realize the same thing could have happened to you?”
“Kids are mercilessly bullied every single day and sometimes when they see no way out, they (try to) take their own lives because it’s too much to face their abusers for even one more encounter. He could have lost you and he doesn’t even see it.”
“No, two wrongs don’t make a right but you are not required to go out of your way to help someone, especially not when you offered a fair and safe solution by getting her parents involved. Who probably would want to know ANYWAY if their child was in danger! They need to be given the chance to parent.” – Roxanimal91
Others questioned the father’s reasoning.
“Your dad is minimizing/dismissing your valid feelings, and gatekeeping the concept of ‘anger.'” – ManifestDestinysChld
“So what he’s saying is that his pain and feelings are valid but yours aren’t.”
“You’re NTA but your dad………. Kudos to mom though for accepting your decision and finding a solution that you both could live with.” – Marmenoire
“Lol, I love how he’s like ‘that’s different; it’s wasn’t tOxIc or anything.’ OP, your dad clearly has no idea what it’s like to be a teenaged girl and be harassed by another teenaged girl.”
“Hell hath no fury…” – VLdemon3
“He sounds like the type who weaponizes “Christian values” to manipulate and abuse” – Udeyanne
A few also pointed out that the OP’s parents shouldn’t assist someone else’s drunk child.
“Can you imagine how mad Emma’s parents would have been with OPs mother for helping to cover up her drinking? Does her dad really think they should be covering up this misbehaviour and interfering?”
“This is what happens when you are horrible to people, karma. No way your family should be getting involved with some other kids problem drinking anyway. NTA” – FlatwormDangerous
“Your parents should have told her parents regardless as she’s underage and drunk.”
“This girl was safe still. You didn’t let her get hurt and made sure she got home safe and sound and Alive. You did your duty as a good human. Nothing more required.” – FireInsideOfMe
The subReddit was in agreement on this one that the OP shouldn’t have felt obligated to help her bully out of a tough situation.
As some pointed out, the bully could have planned ahead better to avoid the situation entirely, and also, the OP and her mother didn’t leave the bully in an unsafe situation anyway.