Do bullies ever change?

There is no frase more frequently thrown at bullying victims than, «tHeY WerE jUst KiDs!»

What these apologists are saying is that the bullies were too young to be able to identify with other individuals and recognise all people around them have the same range of emotions as them. That the bullies simply didn’t understand that they were hurting their victim. That their lack of empathy was due to a not fully developed brain, not because they enjoy cruelty and seeing other people in emotional or physical pain.

Which of course is nothing but bullsh*t. Bullies knows perfectly well what they are doing. They know they are tearing apart the very soul of their victim. They know they are causing irreparable damage. And they still do it. Because they think it’s fun.

And they never change. People who bullied other children, will continue to do so as adults. They become the tyrant in the office, the Karen harassing hospitality staff.

People who use the «just kids» excuse, do it to absolve themselves and society of any wrongdoing. It’s just something kids do!

No, bullies never change. They will never grow empathy or feel shame of what they are. I have a personal example:

The people I went to school with were organizing the 10 year reunion. I was the only one not to receive an invitation.

I would never attend of course – I have no wish to see any of these demons ever again – but that’s not the point. The point is these people are still excluding the bullying victim. And they were all adults in their 20s at this point. It was already a long time since they in any reasonable way could be referred to as «just kids».

Some apologist will probably argue they simply forgot about me. It was nothing personal. Oh really?! The girl they tormented on a daily basis for their own personal entertainment, the girl they gossiped about and made up rumours about, the girl they stole from and sexually abused, the girl they were still gossiping about years after graduation, just happened to slip their mind?

Naw, it was fully intentional. But I’m glad they did what they did because it proves my point. The 20 year reunion is coming up. For some reason I doubt there will be an invitation waiting for me.

It has been a long hiatus

I didn’t intend to be away for so long. I have struggled with depression and bad thoughts, and the beer bug that swept the world only made it worse.

I lost my job last summer, and was forced to move countries and move back in with family. In many ways this has been good for my mental health. I have other people around me on a daily basis and have someone to talk to and spend time with. It also helps that my parents own a property of some size, so I can actually spend time outside, even if another lockdown is to come.

The downside is that I am not living far from the Stepford hellscape where I grew up. My biggest fear is to run into any of my abusers.

They are out there, and I know several of them are living pretty close to me.

Living in Stepford

The suburban neighbourhood I grew up in was a very typical one for that area and time period. Think well off but not upper middle class and lower middle class.

On the surface a quiet, nice area perfect for families with children. The school was close enough for all the students to walk there, and we had several shopping malls at a short driving distance.

And the concensus was that this area was just so nice. If someone dared to mention how there had been several instances of creepy guys trying to lure kids into their car under the pretext of driving them home (happened to one of my classmates), that teenagers would stop second- and third graders on their way to school and not let them get there on time (happened to my sibling), or that kids would try to push one of their peers into the road in front of a fast moving car (happened to me), people would just shrug and brush it off with “That’s awful, but that happens everywhere.”

I realise these examples are pretty tame compared to what happens in other areal in other parts of the world. I will not play the game of “Who’s worst off?”.

But it was just so nice, you know? Everything was just picture perfect. Everyone knew, if not each other than at least of each other, and everybody got along just great. In school all the children got along just great and my school scoret brilliantly on the wellness check they did every year, so there.

We all got along just great. It was great. It was fine. Just smile.

I think it was this environment that made me allergic to hypocrisy and false niceness. I simply can’t stand it. If I get as much as a whiff of someone turning a blind eye to a problem or brush off real issues because they find it unpleasant, I immediately despise that person.

Some may call it harsh. I call it realism. So far this immediate distase has never been wrong. Any person who display such behaviour has turned out to be as fake as their niceness later on.

This is the only positive effect I have found from my years of relentlessly being bullied. I learned not to give such people my time.

It has saved me a lot of trouble.