Are You A Jerk For Not Accepting A Childhood Bully’s Apology?

(stock photo via Depositphotos)

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.

(source: Reddit)

4 thoughts on “Are You A Jerk For Not Accepting A Childhood Bully’s Apology?”

  1. You don’t owe them forgiveness. It’s your choice if you choose to forgive, not anyone else’s. Some people may feel the need to forgive to move on, some people don’t. It’s your choice. They have no right to expect forgiveness.

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  2. I think it would be funny for the victim to say, “Sure, I accept your apology, let’s meet out for a drink.” Then, meet them out for a drink, shake hands, and leave. Then, have a gang of thugs waiting for them when they go outside, who then break every bone in their bodies, then walk up to them writhing on the ground in agony and laugh and say, “Oops! Fooled ya! All out of forgiveness and fucks to give, assholes!” Turnabout is fair play. Let this be a lesson: GAYS BASH BACK.

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  3. Not accepting an apology does not make you a bad person, nor does it mean you are holding a grudge, it simply means you don’t accept their words as a suitable response to trauma you may have recieved in the past. If you are happy and have moved past those shitty high school years, and some tormentor from your past shows up and messages you. You have every right to say fuck off.

    We are talking about someone, for no reason, made it their mission to make you feel bad. Now they want to apologise and get some validation from you for “doing the right thing”, perhaps they should of done the right thing to begin with. If they are expecting something from an apology, they aren’t doing anything but trying to validate themselves.

    The people who call others toxic for not accepting an apology are likely the ones who bullied others anyway, same applies to the ones that say you should accept them for some pithy reason like “you need to not hold a grudge” etc. If it was me, I wouldn’t even acknowledge their existence, as much as saying fuck off would be equally satisfying. It doesn’t mean I am holding a grudge, but simply that part of my life is in the past and needs not to be brought to the present.

    There is also the fact that an apology does not negate or is sufficient for harm that may have been inflicted. We do not know the extent of people’s harm, physical, emotional etc.

    One last thing, “taking the high ground” is the most banal statement a person can make, since it implies that you weren’t already there. It’s basically borderline victim blaming.

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