A thread on the AskGayBros Reddit raises some questions about being bullied in school and how to respond to an apology years later.
One Reddit user posted, “My former high school bullies apologized to me for being homophobic and I told them to f*ck off. Yet for some reason my friends told me I’m being an a**hole. Why?”
The post goes on to say the bullies “tormented” him through high school making his life “a living hell.” He adds that he landed in the hospital twice due to the bullies’ behavior, admitting one hospital visit was the result of a suicide attempt.
When asked how the apology occurred, the poster shares that it came “out of nowhere.”
According to the poster, the bullies “‘claim’ they’re no longer homophobic and they ‘claim’ to be incredibly sorry” for their treatment of the poster back in high school.
The posters’ friends said they understood his anger acknowledging he didn’t “have to forgive them” but also that he didn’t “have to be an a**hole about it.”
He concludes writing, “If you apologize with the expectation of forgiveness, you’re truly not sorry.”
Responses on the thread were split.
“You don’t have to accept their apology at all,” replied one commenter. “I do agree that grudges can hold people back. But are you thinking about this person all the time that it hinders your ability to function normally or grow? If not, then I don’t think it’s a problem.”
“If you want to forgive do it for you, not because people or society made you feel bad for not giving your bullies the peace of mind they stole from you.”
“You don’t owe it to anyone but yourself. If their apology made you feel better and if you would feel relieved forgiving then you do it. If you want them to f*ck off your life then you tell them, like you did.”
On the other side of the equation, some folks felt the original poster’s response was over the top.
“I agree with your friends,” shared one Redditor. “You do not need to forgive them, but you should’ve taken the high road in just telling them that what they did was wrong and you cannot forgive them for the pain they put you through.”
“I agree with your friends,” said another. “You do not need to forgive them, but you should’ve taken the high road in just telling them that what they did was wrong and you cannot forgive them for the pain they put you through.”
And this advice was offered: “You don’t want to be stuck in the past, or tormented by memories of the pain and humiliation you suffered. It is not good for you to hang onto grudges. By holding onto that pain and need for revenge, you are allowing them to continue bullying you. every time you revisit those memories, you are just injuring yourself over and over. You DO need to forgive them.”
While we don’t have all the details as to the extent of the bullying the original poster experienced, it does raise some questions about how people move past bullying some LGBTQ people encountered in their young lives.
Is it ‘holding a grudge’ to not accept an apology?
One commenter pointed out that several people called the original poster out for being a “toxic person,” but said that is missing the point. That the original poster’s anger is a product of being bullied.
Does hanging on to anger allow the bullying experienced years ago to continue to drag us down?
Readers, what do you think? Have you ever had someone from your past who hurt you reach out years later with an apology?
If so, how did you react? Let us know in the comments section.