People Share What Happened When They Ran Into Their Childhood Bullies As Adults
Anyone who was bullied as a kid knows it can really impact a person's life, long after the bullying has ended. These Redditors encountered the person who mistreated them many years later as adults, and some of the reunions went better than others.
[Source listed at the end of the article.]
I was bullied by this massive guy when I was 15. He had a foot and a half on me, easy. This went on for about a year and then kind of fizzled out. Nothing too harsh, just the occasional bloody nose.
5 years later I wander into a new hairdresser in town to get a standard trim and the guy is standing there with a comb and scissors. He was incredibly apologetic and explained how he'd been so confused and angry because he couldn't admit to himself that a massive, tough guy like him could be gay and want to be a hairdresser.
I met a handful of the people who bullied me in high school while I was working at Subway. They were rich and still jerks.
In third through sixth grade, this punk named Lenny made my life horrible. He even had a gang that followed him around the school.
Fast forward to just after college, and I'm making real money for they first time. I go to a shop to buy a high-end sound upgrade for my new car and who do you know is there. Bad shirt and tie and all.
Lenny the Salesperson shuffles up to me and I say, "Hiya, Lenny. I'm here to buy, but not from you." I walked over to another salesperson and requested his assistance instead.
I spent over twice as much as I intended to, sort of my way of sticking it to him. The look of hatred on his face as I pulled out the credit card made the bullied 8-year-old inside me very content. Worth it!
A girl and her clique bullied me quite badly when I was younger, and at the time I resented it a great deal.
10 years later she added me on Facebook out of the blue, and we actually had a really nice conversation about our lives and what we were up to these days. She somehow turned into a pretty decent person, and the unpleasant past was not mentioned once by either of us.
I have never really been good at holding grudges, and I do believe that people often grow into someone very different than who they once were.
I saw a bully from middle school at my local grocery store. He had a lot of problems. His mom had recently had a heart attack, and he was in a car accident and suffered serious back injuries.
When I first recognized him, I exclaimed, "I remember you! You were such a jerk to me in middle school!" We laughed, and he told me the above. He apologized for acting like he did. He even said he felt like this stuff happening to him might have been karma for how he treated me, but I was nice and I denied it.
I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I WAS the bully. I was a completely different person in middle/high school, angry at my parents and such. I wasn't a huge "stuff you in a locker" type of bully, I never hit anyone and never made them cough up their lunch money. But I did take every opportunity I could to verbally assault some people.
I realized as I got out into the real world and became a father, just how much what I'd said hurt others. One of the victims of my verbal attacks is a good friend of mine now, after I apologized to him. And any others, when I see them I go out of my way to take them aside and apologize for the way I treated them so long ago. I know it was wrong, and I can't take it back. But I always tell them that I'm deeply sorry and that I am nothing like I used to be now.
One bully is now a close friend whilst another deals drugs, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him on a Jerry Springer-style talk show in a year. Life works in odd ways.
In middle school I was absolutely tormented by this girl - she spread nasty rumors, manipulated other girls against me, did the whole "cold shoulder-refuse to acknowledge-and ostracize" deal. Eventually led to a host of social anxiety and insecurities that took a long time to recover from.
Years later, I ran into her at a coffee shop. I was the one to approach her - not aggressively but it felt good to be the brave one, as I could tell she was nervous and uncomfortable. I spoke positively and congratulated her on getting into a great school. It felt great to take the high ground.
I was flat-chested all of middle school and early high school. One guy was relentless when he picked on me.
Years later he ended up trying to flirt with me at a party I hosted. I guess having a large chest made the difference for him. I am a bit glad he's balding at the age of 25... Is that mean?
Was bullied for about 5 years by a guy we'll call Kenny for now. I had switched schools, and was doing much better, and actually had some good friends.
About 4 years after I had last seen him, there was a volleyball-tournament between different schools, and his apparently was one of the competing teams, as was mine. And so it turned out, we matched against each other. The moment he saw me, he shouted: "Oh that's [my name], we're definitely going to win now!"
What he apparently didn't quite grasp was that in those 4 years he hadn't seen me, I had changed from a small and skinny guy, into a 6'2, 165 lbs guy with a 124 mph tennis serve.
The first time I saw his face again, all the memories came back to me, and for a bit, I was scared again, until one of my friends reminded me, after I had explained who Kenny was, that I was now taller and stronger than him, and that it was time for some revenge.
Every time I had the opportunity to smash a ball when standing at the net, I would aim for him. The 124 mph tennis serve meant that I had an incredibly strong smash as well, which terrified him.
My team ended up winning the match, after which I shouted:"Hey Kenny, i thought you were so sure you were going to win?" That once sentence, that one time of getting back at him was enough to make him snap. He went berserk, and almost stormed at me but one of his friends held him back. I think he was secretly glad that his friend prevented him from getting into a fight with me.
I used to get made fun of in grade school for my clothes and shoes because my parents couldn't afford to buy me anything new. There was one guy, Miguel, who was the worst about it. Around this time last year I went to a fast food chain and saw him behind the register.
I had just gotten freelance work, which could potentially lead to getting hired, at a company I really liked. He didn't recognize me, but I definitely knew it was him, especially because of his name tag. I didn't confront him or anything, because it was years ago and we were kids, but I thought it was interesting how different our lives were.
This girl I knew in high school never bullied me but she pretty much bullied everyone else including my friends. She was really popular and talkative. Very stuck up though. I remember she had perfect bleach blond hair and perfect skin. She would always wear her cheerleading outfit and she was constantly doing cartwheels and backflips, very energetic. Even though she could be really mean she had a certain glow about her and seemed very happy.
Anyways, I wound up leaving that school and completely forgetting about this girl. 6 years later I'm walking down a bad neighborhood late at night to get some food at the gas station. I see her with some scummy-looking guy staring at an ATM machine. I stopped for a second when I saw her. Her hair looked unwashed, it was a dull brown, her skin looked awful and she was in jeans and an oversized sweater. What really struck me was the look on her face. She looked miserable. I kind of feel bad for her, but mostly it was just really weird seeing her like that.
I wasn't popular in high school, but in college I sort of blossomed and to be honest, I am now pretty conventionally attractive. It took some getting used to. I was still in the "unattractive girl" mindset.
Visiting my hometown, I saw the popular girl from high school that used to tease me about boys not liking me. She was in line at the store and looked a lot different. Tired, worn out, and way older. She looked like an adult, like a mom. But not a happy one. I couldn't believe we were the same age! I guess I'm an adult technically, but I don't really feel like it.
I checked out her Facebook. Turns out she's divorced with two kids from different guys. And she works at a paycheck loan place.
Mines kinda sad. I was bullied by this kid in high school pretty often. I was small, he was big, and in his mind that was all it took to mean I was worth tormenting. I constantly just went with the non-reaction technique, I avoided most of the problems this way compared to others he bullied simply because no reaction from me meant no fun for him.
But I watched him do the same to my friends who reacted more strongly, and because I was with them I was just kinda on his radar until eventually I transferred schools.
Flash forward to two years ago: It's ten years later. I'm successful, independent, healthy and happy. I'm working in my home town's ER now. We get a patient found down out in the bushes, and I'm asked to see him. It's this dude. He's looking kinda rough, puked on himself, covered in leaves, but still huge.
I don't miss a beat. Vitals, line, labs, fluids, everything you would do given the situation. Hours later he's sobering up, were talking about his situation and he stops and just stares at me mid sentence.
"Oh, I remember you now."
Cue me thinking, "Great, I thought we weren't gonna bring this up."
But then he went on and said, "Man, I am so sorry for how I treated you in high school. I was a horrible person, there is no excuse. But I really want you to know I regret who I was and I'm not that person anymore."
Well my jaw basically hit the floor. It gave me a lot of hope for people to change. I'm glad he had a chance to, but his alcohol addiction was probably now covering the same pains that caused him to be such a broken person a decade before.
Three months later he came in again as my patient, this time he was in a coma because he had choked on his own vomit. He never woke up.
I had since grown up and become a successful IT pro. He was working the counter at a Pizza place me and my GF at the time had ordered from.
I acted like I didn't recognize him. He recognized me though...
I was scrawny and was picked on in elementary school until 5th grade when I grew way bigger than the kid that always had something to say.
He didn't leave me alone right away though. He tried to push me in the cafeteria one day, which resulted in him being thrown over a table. Never got bullied from anyone after that.
I had a bully in elementary/middle school. He continued to be in my classes until senior year of high school. During this time, he reigned in the bullying and just turned into your run of the mill jerk.
Last day of senior year, he asked me to sign his year book, which I thought was odd given our past. I wrote this long diatribe in his year book, paraphrased something like:
Remember when you were my friend and then you turned into my bully in middle school? You'll be happy to know that you're not a bully so much as a lowlife now. I can't really stand to be around you. Have a good life,
The kicker is that he went to my college. We ran into each other on campus once or twice and it was always super awkward, because he was really civil, and I can only think about the yearbook and wonder why he's being really civil to me. I guess my comment really got to him.
I was bullied by this mean girl all through elementary and middle school. Senior year of high school we had a mutual friend and were sitting at the same lunch table.
I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 2.5 years and she asked me about it. She then told me that I was too good for him and he didn't deserve me. It felt really good. No animosity towards her ever again. I'm a forgiving person, I know.
There was a kid in high school who wasn't much of a cool kid himself (he was really into anime) but he had a nasty habit of 'playfully' hitting people, me especially. One day in biology he hit me in the wrong spot in my stomach, causing me to lose my breath and stumble back onto the girl I had a huge crush on.
When I turned around he was picking up a stool to further screw around, so I grabbed the stool and pushed him right off his feet. It was so sudden that nobody even noticed and he just put his head down for the rest of class.
Didn't put his hands on anybody after that and we've been friends since. I didn't talk to him much after we graduated, and I just learned he's going into the military.
Through my later years of high school I was bullied by this guy incessantly, and he always knew just what words to say to cut me in the worst way. He knew and understood me better than most people, and he had a knack for using that knowledge against me.
What's funny is that we lived in a small town and our families had always been rivals. Our grandmothers are frienemies. They have attended church together for decades and laugh and hate each other. His mom and my aunt were always pitted against each other by their parents in school. His sister is the same age as my cousin. His brother against my sister. This lasted up until he and I were put against each other. What was the competition, you ask? Well, who was better in school? We competed against each other in the academic realm.
I'm a sophomore in college after winning valedictorian in high school. Me and my former bully? It turns out, we're both gay, and we had always liked each other. After running into him a few years ago, we're now dating and discussing marriage. I know it sounds like a movie, but it's true!
I didn't so much encounter my bullies as I did to seek them out. I told them exactly how they made me feel and (some of them have kids now) asked them, "How would you feel if your kid came home in tears, telling you someone at school is being mean to them and calling them names? For no reason."
One of them cried. Another told me I was so right and he apologized and wished he "hadn't let football cloud his judgement" because he "could've been friends with a really awesome girl." The other told me he refuses to acknowledge my statements and told me to step off because he was "never rude to me" and if he was it was my own fault.
That last one was the guy who chose to bully me by tricking me into thinking he and a few of his friends had a crush on me, only to laugh in my face in front of everyone when I said something about it.
Went into a Denny's once. One of my former bullies was the waiter. He actually said he was sorry and that he couldn't believe he was such a jerk in middle school.
I still didn't tip him, though.
This is kind of a mutual bullying thing. A girl used to bully me in 6th and 7th grade. For example, one time on the bus she unzipped my backpack while I wasn't looking and then went out of her way to get everyone to laugh at me when all my stuff spilled out and rolled around the bus. In 6th grade it didn't really bother me because I had my own friends, but in 7th grade depression hit me and I had a much harder time coping with it.
In 8th grade I started making friends again, and she started her usual stuff and I snapped and retaliated by posting flyers about "Lost pig - (bully's name)" all over the school (she was a bit overweight). Then a few months later on a ride home she said something rude to me and all of my friends started laying into her about her weight, calling her names, etc. The comments were really mean, and while I didn't join in, I didn't stop them either. She left the bus crying and we never saw her in school again.
Every time I thought of her during the next 15 years I felt really guilty about my part in her leaving the school, but then a couple of months ago I went into my bank to make a large bank transfer for an upcoming vacation, and she ended up being my teller. She had lost a fair bit of weight and I honestly didn't recognize her at first beyond thinking she looked familiar. During the chatting she seemed very insistent on letting me know she also went on large expensive vacations, but I didn't think much of it until I left and saw her name at the bottom of the receipt.
It turns out she messed up my bank transfer. I'm not sure whether she did it on purpose, but I ended up complaining to a manager, very politely, and getting all the resulting fees refunded. Not sure if she got in any trouble, I hope not.
My high school math teacher was my bully. In my freshman/grade 9 year, I got straight A+'s and she loved me. Then she happened to teach me again my senior/grade 12 year and I was really struggling. Instead of trying to understand what went wrong, or if there was anything going on in my life causing school to be less of a priority (there was), she called my parents and told them I would never succeed in life.
I just heard back from several Ivy League graduate schools, and I plan on passive-aggressively sending her one of my acceptance letters. I know it's a little petty, but I bet she has no idea how much her words impacted me.
I ran into one guy who used to bully me, in a bar a few years after HS. He kept buying me beers and apologizing. It was an interesting experience. He wasn't anywhere close to being one of the worst bullies. On the other hand, it all had an impact, so I appreciated the gesture.
In most situations, when you're hurt by someone, it can be best to just forgive and forget. However, there are some people that can't help but hold grudges. Sometimes it can just be petty, but other times, it can be for very valid reasons.
HeySistaBrutus asked: What are you STILL mad about?