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to still avoid the woman who bullied me in school?

(110 Posts)
Theicingontop Fri 08-Mar-13 17:44:22

I was bullied by one girl in school, she was the classic bully, very popular. Pushed me into muddy puddles, stole my things and threw them into bins, physically attacked me as well as spreading quite vicious (for our age) rumours about me. She wasn't pleasant to many people outside her loyal pack of friends, but I seemed to be her main target. It was completely unprovoked, based solely on the fact that I looked and dressed differently. It damaged my school life quite considerably to the point where for the last two years I barely attended, and though I went back a couple of years later to retake them, it ruined my chances at passing my GCSEs. I was an anxious, depressed mess.

Fast forward to our mid-twenties and we still live in the same town. I see her regularly in town, and I avoid avoid avoid. I won't make eye contact, I won't acknowledge her presence. She was in the queue behind me the other day and I didn't even look in her direction, I just don't want to see her face. It's actually still quite painful to think of all that she put me through, for nothing, just for her enjoyment.

I went to a gig with an old friend recently, a rare night out for both of us. This woman was there too, because apparently in recent years she's gotten over her aversion to 'disgusting grungers who don't wash and wear goff makeup', and has married the drummer in a local band that was playing that night. The woman came over to us, and hugged my friend. I realised who it was and walked away without a word.

Friend defended her, in her words "She's alright now, she's really changed. We get on really well now." Now, this woman targeted my friend too, albeit not as severely as me, so I'm at a loss trying to understand why my friend would suddenly want this woman in her life. Yes, it happened years ago, but I just don't understand the need.

Friend thinks I am being completely unreasonable, and living in the past. I don't think I am, in fact I've gone long ways to put the past behind me and never think about those terrible years. I just don't feel the need to have the woman that tormented me for years, in my life. So it seems this woman is part of the same social circle now. Am I being unreasonable in not acknowledging her?

BubblegumPie Fri 08-Mar-13 17:46:50

Don't let her win, by walking away you're letting her keep the power.

She probably has changed, but you don't want to be friends with her and that's completely up to you. Just smile and nod, don't engage but don't make a big deal out of it.

Meglet Fri 08-Mar-13 17:51:43

Yanbu. I'm 24yrs on from the crap some of the girls gave me at senior school but I don't acknowledge them and blocked their FB friend requests. They did huge damage to me, I left school at 14 and never had a normal teenage life.

Except one, we basically ignored each other at toddler group for months then she very nicely congratulated me on my DC2 when she was born. So we say hello if we bump into each other, although we've never mentioned school.

thezebrawearspurple Fri 08-Mar-13 17:53:03

Teenage girls can be vile, I know I was, it's still no excuse and youth doesn't lessen the victims experience. If she was genuinely remorseful she would have recognised what she did and apologised to you already. She may have changed, she might be worse, who cares? To you, she's the bitch that ruined your school life and that has had a horrible effect. You're entitled to ignore her forever if you wish, especially considering that she has made no attempt to right her wrongs. yanbu.

NotTreadingGrapes Fri 08-Mar-13 17:53:11

YANBU. I remember the girl who bullied me (40 yrs ago) and I certainly would not want anything to do with her.

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 08-Mar-13 17:53:57

I would be super nice to her, lull her into a false sense of security then confront her about her behaviour. Really, really embarrass her.

DameFanny Fri 08-Mar-13 17:57:45

Yanbu. If I ever run into Verruca Fantana* again from junior school I'll be doing the same as you. Or slapping her.

*made up name, natch

HavingALittleFaithBaby Fri 08-Mar-13 18:03:14

Did you ever have any counselling about this? It sounds like a very traumatic experience. It also sounds like you're holding on to a lot of hurt. I don't think it's unreasonable to want to avoid her but actually it sounds like you can't! Maybe you need to consider trying to move forward.

How would you feel if she apologised?

Theicingontop Fri 08-Mar-13 18:07:54

No counselling, no. Never thought about it to be honest, when I (officially) left school it was like a weight had been lifted, and I never looked back. I don't think about it but this I guess has brought it to the forefront of my mind recently.

I don't think her apologising would make the slightest difference. I don't believe for a minute that someone that hurtful could change their personality, I just think she's changed her social circle.

quesadilla Fri 08-Mar-13 18:08:37

YANBU. I am still in occasional contact through mutual friends with someone who treated me badly at school. Bullying might be overstating it, it only happened twice and didn't involve violence but was designed to humiliate. I have a couple of friends who are still in touch and swear she is a different person. Maybe. But until she apologises to me I'm fucked if I am talking to her. Don't care if that allows her to keep her power or that it was nearly 30 years ago. I wouldn't piss on her if she was on fire.

thebody Fri 08-Mar-13 18:11:54

Oh definatly tell her exactly what she put you through calmly and in front of a large audience.

That will make you feel better op and push out the hurt and pain back into her. I did this. It made me feel very strong and my experience was no way as bad as yours.

Then decide if you want to forgive and move on.

bangwhizz Fri 08-Mar-13 18:15:42

I was bullied at school , but get on ok with the bullies now.they were kids then and different people now (although we are all in our 40s now)

Overthehillmum Fri 08-Mar-13 18:19:08

I will probably be flamed for this but....when I was at school I was bullied, to the point that I tried to take an overdose (13), and then spent three years thinking every day about killing myself, I married very young mainly to get away from my home town, and spent most of my twenties in a total depression. I met the main culprit when I was in my late twenties, she was a mother of 4, each to one night stands, she was horrible, hard and obviously didn't have a happy life, she was embarrassed when we were introduced, I said something like "oh, yes, I know xxxx" and walked away. I was happy her life was shite! Obviously now I look back and think she took whatever was going on in her life out on "posh" children, but I will never forgive her or her friends for what they put me through. I am now happy, successful and acknowledge that they did toughen me up, but no, I still hate her. So You Are Not Being Unreasonable.

AgentZigzag Fri 08-Mar-13 18:19:20

YANBU to be completely unnerved by having to face someone who caused you so much aggro in the past, your friend obviously hasn't had anything happen to her that's affected the very core of who you are it's been so bad.

You shouldn't have to spend time with her if you don't want to, and nobody should pressure you to.

But I would say that some kind of contact with this woman may let you come to terms with what happened, but you'd be in a completely different place to being at her mercy at school. You'd be in control and not powerless, and if the end game is making yourself feel better, it's possible it could do that.

Your friend's right though, people can and do change. I'm not the person I was at school (and I was also bullied all the way through it) and a lot of people who bully as children are absolutely disgusted at the way they behaved (sometimes for plausible reasons like a shitty home life (not that that excuses it)) she may be the same.

ENormaSnob Fri 08-Mar-13 18:19:55

I would be her bezzie mate whilst plotting my sweet revenge.

<cue psycho music>

BreasticlesNotTesticles Fri 08-Mar-13 18:25:49

Hmmm, one of my close friends is friends with a girl who bullied me (unsuccessfully really) at secondary school.

Bully knows I know what she is like. I have a better life than her so karma.

However, I do feel sorry for her because she had a shit homelife and that was why she was a violent cow troubled.

I have told my friend though what she did to me, and will only tolerate her for my friend,. Sure enough she is back to being a pain in the arse ad friend is now moving away from her...

People will find out what she is like.

DonderandBlitzen Fri 08-Mar-13 18:29:05

YANBU at all but i think your friend is being quite unreasonable actually to be unsympathetic and expect you just to brush it off. Have you tried to talk to her to explain just how it affected you? I think she is being pretty insensitive to expect you to hang out with this woman, just because the bullying she was subjected to was a lot milder and less damaging than yours. I tend to judge people a bit by the company they keep and my opinion of her would go down if she was pally with her despite knowing what you suffered.

Snoopingforsoup Fri 08-Mar-13 18:49:43

These bitches leave a nasty mark, no matter how long ago it was.
I agree with above that in a way, by avoiding her, she still holds that power. I wouldn't run from her now but hold your head high and hold a steady gaze. She owes you an apology. Maybe in the future she'll give it if she really has changed.
You know what she was like, and so does she! I always find the worst bullies are the most brazen in pretending nothing happened years on. A couple of teen tyrants I had to tolerate were the first to send chirpy 'how are you?' Messages on Friends Reunited!!!
Don't avoid her, but show your distaste for her by being indifferent.

Erimentha Fri 08-Mar-13 19:37:53

YANBU the girl who bullied me through primary and secondary school now lives in one of the houses opposite and has done for over a year. I refuse to talk to her or make eye contact (last time I did she beat me round the head) I do occasionally glare at her out the window from behind the curtains where she can't see me as she walks past. From all accounts she is still a horrible person and a bully.

ZZZenAgain Fri 08-Mar-13 19:40:33

it is fine, keep your distance from people who cause you this kind of stress. Your friend can do what she wants of course but you don't have to join in. However, I think if you are out and about with your friend and she is getting all chummy with the school bully, it will keep bringing it up for you and stressing you out, so I don't know if it will get it in the way of your friendship in the end.

theodorakisses Fri 08-Mar-13 19:47:55

No way, I was bullied many years ago by a male colleague on a child protection issue (I was pastoral head at a boarding school and objected to the head belittling and upsetting year 3s "to man them up". I ended up leaving and moving to Africa, Asia and the ME and am fine now but still fantasise about meeting him on a dark night. There is nothing wrong with wanting karma to take it's course as long as you don't let it make you the person you are today except when it makes you better.

lljkk Fri 08-Mar-13 19:52:50

I was bullied, too, and would find it hard to even be in the same room with my tormentors. 35 yrs ago now, eek!

There's no absolute right or wrong, OP, your mate doesn't get it because she wasn't the one bullied.

Snazzynewyear Fri 08-Mar-13 19:56:52

YANBU. If you want to walk away when you see her and not speak, then you do that - it's completely your choice and you do what you're comfortable with. Re your friend, I would say, if/when she brings it up, 'We see this very differently and I don't think there's any need for us to argue about it, but you need to respect my choices and I will respect yours'. If she persists, you need to keep saying this and then say you don't want to discuss it further. Don't feel you have to go further in justifying your feelings. You don't.

rainrainandmorerain Fri 08-Mar-13 20:03:18

I don't think you are being unreasonable in doing whatever makes you feel most at peace. (well - within legal limits, and without going crazy, obvs).

I can't see how you owe it to anyone else to behave in a particular way. It sounds as if your friend would like you both to get on to make HER life easier, but as it is something which caused you so much unhappiness and disruption, it's not realistic. If you are only in your mid 20s, school bullying isn't that much behind you, really.

It is probably worth taking a bit of time to be sure that you are responding to your former bully in the best way for you. Forget your friend, or what anyone else wants - you need to be confident yourself about how you handle the situation. It might be being cool and minimising contact - it might be 'facing up' to her - It depends what is right for you and your personality. It's not up to you to make anyone else happy though.

LatteLady Fri 08-Mar-13 20:22:09

I still avoid walking down a road where my bully lived... mind you, I also remember how she plucked her eyebrows to within an inch of their lives and have just realised that they probably no longer exist! grin

Just nod and move on, whilst remembering Eleanor Roosevelt, "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent"... and you aren't playing because you have a great and happy life to lead.

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