I had a friend of mine in high school during 9th grade who got caught up in the wrong crowd the following year. When we were freshmen, we weren't buddies but we got along. We were both very short and small which made us targets. The next year, though, he had a growth spurt and towered over me. He also started hanging out with some really bad people and began picking on me. He wasn't as bad as Moody was in the film, but even after high school he was a customer at the store I used to work at and he'd continue to harass me.
Flash forward about 20 years later and our 20 year high school reunion is about to come up. I always wanted to confront this guy about his behavior, but couldn't find him and when I did he was on Facebook. I sent him a long email basically telling him how I felt what he did was wrong and I didn't hold back. A few days went by and I got no response. Finally, he responded and sent me back an even longer email. He told me that he showed my email to his wife and she started to cry because she couldn't believe that he could be that mean. He then told me that a few years prior he was in a car accident that left him permanently brain damaged and wiped out almost all of his long-term memory. And he was extremely apologetic and remorseful for what he had done and how he behaved even though he said he couldn't remember anything. I took him at his word and believed him because the guy that I knew would NEVER have apologized. So I forgave him and told him let's start with a clean slate.
Slowly but surely we reconciled our friendship and he was going to visit some family in my area and he really wanted to meet me face-to-face and make the peace as we should have done a long time ago. Throughout this time, he was going through a major depression and he was in a lot of pain. I told him that if he was ever in any type of desperate situation and needed to call someone that he could call me. He appreciated that, but I never got the call. A few months after we had reconciled our friendship, he was dead. He was only 37.
I regret that we never got a chance to make the peace as we both wanted to do, but I'm glad we were able to reconcile our friendship. He didn't remember a lot of the things that he used to do to me and I had to tell him. He kept apologizing profusely and telling me how he was a devoted father and husband and couldn't imagine being that way.
One thing I've learned as I've gotten older when it comes to bullies is that karma eventually will get them. All the ones who bullied me including some of my friend's buddies, the ones in the wrong crowd, they're either in jail, prison or a cemetery. My friend told me that maybe it was karma that he got into that car accident. I told him that I'm sorry that it happened, but the only good thing that came out of it was that it did make him a better person. He was a very loving, caring husband and father whose wife and kids adored him. And, despite what happened in the past, he and I became friends again.
All of us are bullied in school. It shouldn't have to be that way. Kids got enough to worry about.
Thank you for sharing that. That is some story. Very sad too that the guy died
I lived in a group home and went to a special school for emotionally disturbed teens but took some classes in a regular highschool as well.
There was a punk named Jeff who kept goading and trying to pick fights with me but this was a VERY different situation than normal bullying because I was way tougher and way stronger than him and he KNEW I could easily beat him up but what he was trying to get me to do was beat him up so that I would get in a $hitload of trouble including losing the extra privileges I had earned (like taking classes at a public school). This angered me MORE than it would have had he been tougher than me.
Dude, even though your life story with bullies is way harsher than mine IMO, I think it is very relatable. Somebody I love told me once that our brains need closure to get over things like this. Its something that have been studied for years in psychology academia.
What happens is that we revive those moments and feel like they are happening again and we are there. We should really focus in making peace with those moments, we are no being fair to ourselves: it happened a very long time ago and we are not the same, even if we think otherwise.
The strategy to solve this is to write about a possible resolution or closure, with many details. It will work, even if completely fictional or violent; the more detail and dedication we put into it, the better. Our brains will make peace with that part of our past. It will remain in the paper and the intensity of the memories will fade away over time.
I'm actually about to write mine. I'll do it about every high school bully (and post-highschool, they are the same) I've ever encountered, even the ones that I merely had a one-time violent altercation in the subway. Bullies are simply violent people with lack of self-control, they are not worth more time in our memories, making us feel anxious.
I forgot to add... sometimes I see bullies from my past on the street. I live in a fairly big city so I can have my own life away from them, but there are not many places to go out here, so they appear. Some people get out of their hometown and try to forget what happened. I think you should make peace with your past instead of burying it for years. It is way healthier.
Imagine if I hadn't. I would have recurrent PTSD every time I see one of those entitled assholes.