Apologize for childhood bullying?

posted 3 months ago in The Lounge
  • poll: Is there any point as an adult to apologize for childhood bullying?
    Go ahead. It can't hurt. : (67 votes)
    54 %
    Forget it. This stuff is too far in the past. : (55 votes)
    44 %
    Other (explain) : (2 votes)
    2 %
  • Post # 46
    203 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: City, State

    I voted other because – personally – if someone reached out to apologize i would react in 1 of 2 ways. 

    I’d either still think they’re an awful person and not capable of understanding the level of damage caused, and i would resent them bringing up old hurts OR id probably have not thought twice about it and knew they weren’t trying to be a bad person and i have long since moved on. 

    I was bullied a lot, and i have moved on from 90% of it. The 10% is the stuff that i couldn’t forgive because i know the people are still nasty awful people. As we grow we naturally mature to understand these things better. 

    Post # 47
    363 posts
    Helper bee

    I first read the post thinking, well what is the harm…

    Then I literally looked at this from my own point of view and thinking about those who made my life a living hell and thinking about them contacting me and it made my heart hurt JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.

    Don’t reach out if theres anyway it could cause harm, and as you DON’T know the lasting effects of your actions, Don’t reach out.


    I don’t want to hear from these people ever again unless it’s their obituary. (which thankfully is the only communication I have received so far.)

    Post # 48
    1079 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2019

    From the responses, you know there is at least a good chance it could cause them more harm than good by you apologizing. So why would you even take that risk? You may have good intentions, but at this point, if you reach out, you are deciding to risk hurting them further just to resolve your own feelings about it.

    Post # 49
    2496 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: December 2009

    Not too long ago, my husband admitted to me that he was a bully as a youth.  We have been together almost 11 years and I did NOT see this in him.  I was truly shocked (and apalled).  My husband is a champion of the underdog and always goes out of his way to make sure the loner feels included and friended.  He’s just an all around caring and good man.  With that being said, his past wrongs of being a bully were weighing on him heavily and he came to me asking my advice on if he should reach out to the victim.  I told that yes, he needed to reach out and apologize.  Who knows if this individual cared about the apology, but it was important to my husband to apologize for these actions and to let them know he was truly sorry.

    Post # 50
    1326 posts
    Bumble bee

    The best course to take is to leave these people alone and be a kind & aware person now.  

    Post # 51
    249 posts
    Helper bee

    I don’t know. I was more the bullied than the bullier. I was harassed frequently in elementary school for being caucasian (yes it happens). Middle school I was bullied for being “fat”. Highschool I was bullied for “she used to be fat in middle school” or because I was in marching band. Hell I have been bullied in my early twenties.

    Altogether, I just don’t want to talk to those who ever bullied me regardless of why or what. I am not still mad or anything. I just feel that they are probably still crappy people (and they are) and I don’t think anything would change that apology or not. I lived this long without them I can keep going. 

    I say nothing has changed only because I have been apologized to by adults who were bullies… but ended up back to them still being a jerk in the end. So… no biggy. Apreciated for sure… but I am not gonna try and be your friend now. 

    Post # 52
    7776 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    Not super related, but I googled my grade school bully one time and the first thing that came up was a mug shot lolol. I felt weirdly validated.

    Post # 53
    476 posts
    Helper bee

    daisy123 :  OMG I feel the exact same way! I was always bullied and it continued into high school. The bullying of me for being smarter and being fat and dorky stayed with me for many years and played a major part in my insecurities as a person. Took me a long time to get over it.

    If any of those people reached out, I’d have the same response – ‘F#$% you’ and leave it at that. These people were well aware what they were doing in high school so I have no room for sympathy or acceptance for them now.

    You feel guilty? Too freaking bad. Your own fault and you have to live with it. I’m not going to give you the satisfaction to make yourself feel better.

    Post # 54
    210 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2018

    Anonymous1063 :  I think it depends on what your definition of bullying is as it can be overused.

    If it was a kid you were mean to a couple of sporadic times, while it’s mean, well I think that’s typical kid behaviour, even if it was hurtful to them.  I personally wouldn’t say I was ever bullied, but I did have kids from time to time do the whole “we aren’t talking to you today” and similar, which I think most if not all kids go through at some point. 

    If it was someone you targeted mercilessly for x amount of time, then that is the definition of bullying and is a lot more harmful than being mean a couple of times.  If you did do that to someone, I think it would be appropriate to reach out and apologise.  

    Post # 55
    905 posts
    Busy bee

    Anonymous1063 :  Just saying, most people that are bullied remember who has bullied them, and how. They keep the memories even if the bully/aggressor does not. 

    I would reach out warmly. It would be very considerate. It really would not hurt. Shows it bothered you and youa re thinking about them. 

    I was never really bullied much but I know people that were constantly. They deserve an apology even if it seems long past due, its not. They may react to it well, or poorly, or seem indifferent. Either way that will be the next imprint you leave on them instead of the day you bullied them.

    Good post!

    Post # 56
    2901 posts
    Sugar bee

    I’ve not got an answer here but I did see an interview with actress Julie Walters (she played Mrs Weasley in the Harry Potter films) who did precisely what you are suggesting – she contacted those she’d bullied at school and apologized. It was a positive experience all round.

    I think with a bit of tact and care it could be positive for you and those you wish to contact too. 

    Post # 57
    432 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2018

    Anonymous1063 :  My husband bullied a few kids in school. He had a really tough life – mother neglected him, then got married and the step-father abused him so he ended up taking it out on other kids. He did end up apologizing to a few of the people years later. The bullying happened around ages 11-14 and he apologized at 19. Basically he felt the need to apologize to his best friend’s sister and felt good about it so he apologized to a few others. They were all people that still had connection to him in some way – His friend’s friends, siblings friends, stuff like that. I wouldn’t recommend apologizing to people you have no ties at all to. 

    Overall the apologies went well, guys would just say “don’t worry about it man” girls said they appreciated it, except for one that interpreted it as romantic interest and tried to kiss him lol which he dodged and felt bad explaining that that wasn’t the point of his apology. 


    Post # 58
    141 posts
    Blushing bee

    Anonymous1063 :  I don’t think you’re going to get a consensus on this one. As much as we want the world to be black and white, we often find ourselves living in the grey. I think this depends on what you’re hoping to achieve. We all can look back at something in our past and wish we got a do-over. 

    If you’re looking to get this off your chest, here’s something I’ve done in the past: Write a letter to the person who you hurt. Write out everything you would want to tell them. Then, burn the letter. I have done this before when I needed to be able to forgive myself, but I knew that telling the person would only hurt them and would be a selfish act. Doing this has helped me free up mental space and move on myself.  

    If you’re looking to make some sort of gesture or amends for past actions, perhaps donating your time or money to an anti-bullying non-profit organization would help. 

    If you’re looking to make a public statement to hold yourself accountable for past actions, perhaps sharing an anti-bullying organization or article on Facebook, along with a statement on how you’ve realized your actions in the past were not always right (not naming specific names or to specific of details) and what you’ve learned/how you’ve changed could help.  

    Post # 59
    160 posts
    Blushing bee

    I got bullied a lot. I think for me….. If someone were to reach out I would appreaciate it but also be a little salty. I’d probably thank them and let them know that the way they treated me had a profound impact on my developement as a young woman and my self esteem. Just because someone apologizes doesn’t mean that they are 100 percent off the hook.

    I never bullied. I did get peer pressured once by the group of girls who were the bully-ers to invite and then uninvite a young girl to as party. I still to this day want to cry when I think about doing it. Be kind!

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