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coquin

Can You Forgive The Bullies?

9 posts in this topic

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I was talking to my sister the other day about my school days and the vicious verbal abuse I received by students and teachers alike. During those years I was passive about the bullying thinking I deserved it due to my ugliness.

Since I've been in psychotherapy for over 20 years, my self-esteem has had a chance to take root. But at the same time I've developed a temper and realized that I hold grudges against those who tormented me. The anger is real and I know that holding grudges is a vice. My sister told me that she was persecuted at school too and that our late Dad, who was a clergyman, taught her to forgive those people. She very much wants me to forgive those bullies and put it in the past. It's easier said than done for me. Last year I went to a school reunion. I wanted people to see that I had blossomed from an ugly duckling to an attractive, poised woman with a handsome, wonderful husband. But there was a darker agenda. I wanted to confront my art teacher who bullied me relentlessly for 8 years. She was there, I had my script to tell her off all ready. But my husband, much to his credit, told me not to do it. That if I did go through with my attack, I'd feel good for 10 minutes, then the sweet feeling of revenge would quickly fade. So there was no attack. I approached her told her how glad I was to see her, introduced my hubby and showed her my engagement ring. My hubby was right -- a revenge attack would have backfired.

So how do bullying survivors feel about forgiveness? Is it possible or impossible?

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Posted · Report post  

Hi coquin,

I believe that forgiveness is always possible; it's the forgetting that we should avoid. Bullying has serious, negative effects on us, but it shapes our personality. We strive to succeed both in spite, and despite, the bullying we were subjected to. Holding grudges benefits no one, and cannot change the past. We will never know if those bullies have changed for the better; they may completely regret their actions, and they may be entirely different people now. But I also think that we should not forget our negative experiences, because rude, mean people will always exist. It is best to be realistic, and realize that not all people are kind and courteous.

I am glad that you changed your approach during your reunion. You definitely showed how strong of a person you are, and that you persevered. The way you handled yourself shows strength, and I can only imagine how good it felt to stand tall, and still be respectful.

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Posted · Report post  

I was talking to my sister the other day about my school days and the vicious verbal abuse I received by students and teachers alike. During those years I was passive about the bullying thinking I deserved it due to my ugliness.

Since I've been in psychotherapy for over 20 years, my self-esteem has had a chance to take root. But at the same time I've developed a temper and realized that I hold grudges against those who tormented me. The anger is real and I know that holding grudges is a vice. My sister told me that she was persecuted at school too and that our late Dad, who was a clergyman, taught her to forgive those people. She very much wants me to forgive those bullies and put it in the past. It's easier said than done for me. Last year I went to a school reunion. I wanted people to see that I had blossomed from an ugly duckling to an attractive, poised woman with a handsome, wonderful husband. But there was a darker agenda. I wanted to confront my art teacher who bullied me relentlessly for 8 years. She was there, I had my script to tell her off all ready. But my husband, much to his credit, told me not to do it. That if I did go through with my attack, I'd feel good for 10 minutes, then the sweet feeling of revenge would quickly fade. So there was no attack. I approached her told her how glad I was to see her, introduced my hubby and showed her my engagement ring. My hubby was right -- a revenge attack would have backfired.

So how do bullying survivors feel about forgiveness? Is it possible or impossible?

Thanks for sharing your story. I do believe in forgiveness and have forgiven those who have wrong me including the person who sexually abused me. I have been in therapy for years and worked through those issues. The memories are still there and I have to deal with them but I feel so much better that I have released the grudges, resentments, and hate I once felt toward them. My life is so much better having let go of that baggage. It was only holding me back in my recovery. I agree with you that its easily said that done but it can happen if you want to be free. Holding on only affects you and not them because they have gone on with their lives.

Lindahurt

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Posted (edited) · Report post  

I sorta just let it go, its not forgiveness per see but I just stopped letting what happened control my life.

Edited by Valk0010i

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Posted · Report post  

Y'know, I really wanted to be able to forgive them, but I can't. I just wish that I will never meet them again, and if I meet, I won't talk to them. I discovered the worst part of them, I just wish they met mine, and then they wouldn't have done what they did.

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I was bullied in school though to a much lesser extent than you were. It was more a constant low level thing that went on for years which made my self-esteem go lower and lower.

I don't forgive the people that did it really. I was really angry about it for years and how it affected me but that has lessened a lot as years have gone by. I would recommend discussing the anger with your therapist as I think anger can be healthy sometimes but I often find a long-lasting anger and grudge can be quite exhausting and not worth the effort.

At the same time another incident I am angry about happened more recently and I feel like physically harming the person responsible quite often. I never would and it doesn't fit in really with who I am as a person but I can't help it. It feels like a righteous anger and so is quite difficult to get rid of.

I have met the people who bullied me around and I have had conversations with them. I don't like them but don't really give off that impression, just give a neutral impression. They probably have no idea how much their comments affected me. To be honest I don't think that they would care if I told them, I get the feeling that admitting would make me feel weaker instead of stronger, admitting that I let these people have power over me. I feel angry thinking about it now, so I guess the anger hasn't completely dispersed. But it does get less with time. I forgive them in part, putting it down to ignorance. But I feel that a part of me never will forgive them. And I don't really think that it is necessary to do so. But perhaps others would disagree.

Kind Regards,

Fitz

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Posted · Report post  

I just want to say you just forgive them...

Forgiveness is not something we do for other people, We do it for over selves to get well and move on..!!

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You don't have to forgive them, but you must let the anger/resentment go and try and grow a person.

I'm still angry with my tormentors, but am much more successful than all of them (2 have died, 1 works in a gas station, 1 doesn't have a job etc.).

It seems their lives were so horrible that they had to take it out on someone.

Unfortunately, I was that someone.

I haven't forgiven them, haven't forgotten what they did.

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