Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bullies of the Past Have Facebook Accounts?

Okay, so it’s no big thing, right?

I just saw one of my high school bullies on Facebook.

I mean, I didn’t SEE him, but I saw his photo and his comment on a mutual friend’s status. This guy…I knew his sister was on Facebook (even though we’re not “friends”), but I’d never seen him on there.

In reality, I guess I’ve just been extraordinarily fortunate not to have run into this bully (or any of them, really) since high school – in real life or even online.

I told myself that I was 30 years old and to just GET OVER IT ALREADY. I mean, we are talking over 15 years ago that he ridiculed, debased, and disgraced me.

So, if I’m so over it, why did it take everything I had not to post a scathing comment after his?

I wanted to say, “Well, it’s SO nice that you went on with your life after carelessly leaving me scarred and emotionally battered in your wake. Thanks SO much!”

Hoping, of course, he would pick up on the sarcasm. I think he would, considering he worked it wonderfully when he was shaming me in the halls of our high school.

He’s the one who came up with my “Moby Dick” nickname and the cafeteria stunt that left me shell-shocked.

I found my fury was still very much intact. I had to take a deep breath and try VERY HARD to remember that it all happened in the past. I had to remind myself that forgiveness is a greater power than bitterness, and I have tried to forgive all my bullies.

Still, it distressed me to see his name, to know he is out there living his life, blissfully unaware (or uncaring) of how he ruined mine for a short time.

To be honest, up until now, I have been living under the happy delusion that all of my bullies graduated from high school and were promptly sent to prison. I know it’s not true, but I found it extremely comforting.

I realize now the real delusion was thinking I’d never run into them again. We ARE all from the same hometown, so it’s pretty fanciful for me to think I’d never see them again or that we wouldn’t have made at least some mutual friends in the course of our lives.

However, it still stung when I looked at his photo. I was instantly transported back to high school. To his humiliating me in the hallway, making my insides a shaking, quivering mess. For a split-second, I was 15 again and being told I was disgustingly fat, horrendously ugly, and a “worthless waste of space.”

Nice guy, huh?

And here he sits, making witty comments (he always WAS very funny and sarcastic – he just released a constant torrent of it at my expense) on his friend’s status.

I was disgusted thinking we even SHARED a friend. This was not a person with whom I want to share the ozone layer.

After I calmed down, talked myself down off the edge of the cliff, I gave myself the “forgiveness speech,” and reminded myself Jesus forgave me – of far worse than bullying, I might add – and in gratefulness, I am supposed to forgive those who have “trespassed against me.”

So, I have emerged relatively unharmed from the whole experience. Even if my psyche feels like it has been riding a roller coaster of emotions.

Thankfully – I’m pretty sure – the Bible doesn’t say I’m not allowed to write about the experience.

If you haven’t checked out my Bully Chronicles, I highly recommend reading them to explain my strong sentiments on this encounter. Particularly:

The Last Straw: Part 1 & 2


Laura Brown said...

I realised recently that one of my FB "friends" is the sister-in-law of my worst school bully. I sometimes wonder what I would do if the bully joined Facebook and added me as a friend (because honestly, a lot of people seem to add folks just to get their count up -- I get "friended" by people who never spoke to me in school). I think part of me would still be tempted to accept the request and leave a really scathing wall post for the world to see. But I hope I would manage to be mature and just ignore it.

Alice said...

I actually don't believe the "forgive and forget" thing is necessarily what the Bible is prescribing. I would recommend an awesome book to you called "Unpacking Forgiveness" by Chris Brauns. Here is a great quote, "Human forgiveness, then, is a commitment by the offended to pardon graciously the repentant from moral liability and so to be reconciled to that person, although not all consequences are necessarily eliminated.”

God does not automatically forgive people who show absolutely no repentance, only those who do. Yet somehow Christians have gotten the idea that we're supposed to and because it will make us feel better. I really really recommend this book (it's a fascinating read too). I think it would provide a lot of clarity on the horrible injustices that were done to you and how you can biblically find healing.

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Alice, I agree with you. Not every one is adopted into God's family and forgiven.

Ann-Marie, I never experienced anything remotely like that, although I had one friend-turned-bully in high school who publicly humiliated me more than once, and even physically attacked me when she thought I was after her boyfriend. Oh, the ridiculous drama of high shcool.

To make matters worse, she dated my husband before I ever met him. Well, now she is a hair dresser in this little hometown of mine, and one of my now-best-friends was going there for months before I made the connection. Oh, it still stings, and I believe I can understand (at least a little bit) how you feel.

She's on facebook, too, by the way. And we also have mutual friends. Ugh. I hate bullies.