To The Bullies Who Have Caused Pain, We’d Like An Apology

Dear Bullies,

Maybe you were too young to remember, or you didn’t know better. Maybe torment is all you knew, and if it was, I am truly sorry for that.

But see, I’m sorry for that – even though I didn’t do anything directly to make that happen to you. I’m sorry for that, because I’m sorry that something was real and it made you feel emotions, experience consequences no one in the same body as you would comprehend.

But, you – you are not sorry for anything you said or did to me. Even if you were drunk, even if you were 5 or 15 and didn’t know at the time – you would still feel remorse for something you specifically caused. Even if it you weren’t fully accountable in the eyes of the law or the minds of others, even if you didn’t inflict that pain deliberately – you would still be aware of how it could hurt me.

You wouldn’t try to justify it or hide behind excuses of your own issues. And even if you did to explain why you tortured me with that reasoning, I would understand but still expect a genuine apology. Years later, I would hope you know the difference between right and wrong.

Reasons of mental defect and disability may be considered valid factors in affecting your knowledge of this, and I get that. But when you are a fully functioning person who is well aware of what they did and held that particular intention of harming my mind, body and soul, I don’t. I can pray for you and carry the conviction that you need kindness the most, since you’re just as or even more scarred – targeting the “weak” or putting others down to bring yourselves up. But when that 10 year reunion draws near, when that encounter finally occurs – I would want you to mature or at least move past the experience and greet me with a civilized “Hello! How are you doing?”

…So I can move on too. That’s all I need. That’s all you would require. A few words of peace, if not an apology. I decipher the humiliation, the shame, the upset of confessing and reconciling what you did. It reminisces the excruciation, the years of abuse you put me through.

Because that’s simply what it was and still is. Abuse. It could’ve been emotional, psychological, or even physical and sexual. You could’ve been a friend, boyfriend, relative, employer, employee, or just your textbook schoolyard bully.

Before you minimize, invalidate and escalate the situation and years of repressed emotions even more, consider this. Telling me to “get over” bullying can be just as difficult as telling someone to get over any “abuse”. Of course, this may depend on the intensity of the abuse and other factors; but it’s been statistically proven that bullying can produce similar reactions to that of war trauma. Exaggerated much? Well…

Not only can bullying literally impact the way we are, but it can pave the way we live – where we go, what we do. We may avoid certain places, our hometowns or events; because of the fear that we might run into the so-called “demons” from our past. While by doing this, we are inadvertently giving our bullies control and letting them win without their consent, confronting those skeletons again are like reliving that trauma. If we do become comfortable visiting bars or locations we know you’re frequent, perhaps we’re subconsciously seeking the approval and closure we never really got from you.

If you didn’t have a strong support system or friends you still continue to hold precious to your life, it eats at you. We eliminate the toxic “friends” in our life, yes. But we never really recover.

Instead, we have to resort to desperate measures to attain everything you seemed to have been spoonfed or earned so effortlessly. Perhaps it’s a job, significant other, or body. We secretly dream of running into you years later and seeing that we won at the game of life; that in comparison, we’re more athletic, more attractive, more successful – and just more, more, more!

We’ll succumb to the pressures, the imagined virtual conventions of social media and Photoshop. We’ll confide in fad diets that convert into eating disorders, alcoholic beverages that turn into addictions, casual sex that leads to promiscuity. All because of the inescapable emptiness, to have power or a voice or a choice over something. To be free and feel good for once. All because we don’t think we’re good at anything, all because we don’t believe we’re enough, all because you bullied us.

Or we may try to cope, be the best we can be. Go to that job interview, but fail it because we can’t look people in the eye. Drop by that party all your friends are at, but stimulate awkward silences because you blink every time someone makes a joke you think was directed at you. Every time a guy or girl rejects you as a potential romantic partner, every time someone makes a snide comment about your appearance, every time a position of authority reprimands you…You can’t move forward, even if you try – because no matter what you do, your body and mind is preconditioned to retaliate, to react to everything been said or done to and around you. You are constantly trapped in “survival mode”, because your body – your brain – remembers why you’re always anxious. Even if that specific object, place, person, comment or idea isn’t what you specifically confronted, it seems like everything and everyone reminds you of your abuse – because you were bullied, mistreated, demeaned, degraded, neglected, abused.

And that is why you need to move on. That is why you need an apology.

We can go to therapy or self-medicate with self-destruction, but that will only freeze the burn for a bit.

But, maybe you understand this. Maybe you are actually sorry, but you are too ashamed to admit it. Maybe you do feel guilt, but you don’t know how to say it. Maybe you do know how you made me felt, because you felt it too.

So if that is what you need too, if what you need to do is say sorry – do it. Tell that person how you feel, before it’s too late. Life is too short to be upset. Whether you assaulted their well-being in revenge of something they did or you have no vendetta and you just didn’t like their appearance or mannerisms, apologize. Write a letter, send a Facebook message, or – if you’re even more brave – tell them to their face.

Because when you say sorry, we can finally move on – and maybe you can too.

Thank you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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