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I have 6 girls I can confidently say are my best friends. Our friendships span 10-17 years. I’ve always been proud of these close relationships and know they are rare. My friends have seen me go through a lot in my life. I never would want to harm any of them or jeopardize any of our friendships.
That said, one of them had a baby shower yesterday. This friend is good friends with a girl I used to work with. This girl, along with two other girls I worked with 10 years ago, regularly bullied me, put me down, and called me names. We worked at this college bar, and we received certain shifts and promotions based on our sales. I’d always have great sales and loyal regulars.
Well, this girl and her two other friends (my coworkers) did not like me. This is the only reason I can really think of as to why they went out of their way to be cruel. They were pretty mean in general, to be honest. Looking back, having my boss pit us against each other with our sales didn’t create the healthiest environment.
Well, these three coworkers had a nickname for me… it was first name with “tard” at the end. They had this inside joke between the three of them that I was air-headed. The main girl, who was the cruelest, would tell me all the time, “Wow! You are so pretty!” I’d tell her thank you.
A coworker of mine later told me she would say this and mean “I was pretty dumb”. Her and the other two girls would laugh about it behind my back. I also did a swimsuit photoshoot for a radio station because I trained for a beauty pageant and won a “best in swimsuit” award.
I was really proud of that, because I trained and ate very healthy for about a year to earn that. They were posting about it online and on social media how pathetic it was that I thought I was attractive enough to “model”.
Another good friend of mine started working there and got really drunk and started crying one night. This bully pulls out her phone, starts filming her, and laughs. I got so mad I slapped her phone out of her hand. She screamed at me I could have broken her phone.
These are just highlights of multiple things she did. I worked at this job 2 years and quit when I moved to finish my training for nursing school. With all of this, I regret so much not standing up for myself. I just pretended like I didn’t know what they were saying about me or that I didn’t get their jokes.
I’d just smile and tell them thank you. I didn’t do anything because I was a doormat. I wasn’t new to bullying, and I was always afraid to stand up for myself. I did cry quite a bit after shift for those 2 years. After I quit, my now very good friend (the one having the baby shower) started working there.
That’s how we met and became friends. But she also befriended this coworker who was my main bully from work. She knows I have issues with her, but I’ve never detailed exactly what she’s said and done to me. Plus, my friend is the type of girl who always sees the good in everyone. That’s why she’s so loved.
Fast forward to present-day, 30-year-old me. I saw my bully at my friend’s wedding and now baby shower. Twice in 10 years. She loves my friend so much, that she wants me to like her. Because I’m not going anywhere. She’s always overly nice every time I’m around.
She knows she messed up. I’m cordial, but I do not go out of my way to be nice to her. She’s mentioned a few times we should “hang out”. It pisses me off she’d even suggest that.
I’m no longer a doormat. I speak my mind a lot. I also do trauma surgeries and am working on my doctorate of nursing. I work in a field where you have to speak up and be confident. I don’t let anyone screw with me.
Finally, I’ll tell you about yesterday. I’m at the baby shower with my other best friends. They do not like my bully, either. It’s so awkward being around her. But other than my baby-shower-friend, she has no friends. We’re kind to her, but none of us like her. It’s time for pictures. My other friends call me over and call me my nickname.
As I walk over, my bully says, “Isn’t that just part of your nickname?” I freeze. I quickly reply, “Hopefully you mean a nice nickname?” My bully knows she’s messed up. She gets nervous and says, “Well, why wouldn’t it be nice?” “Well, I’m just thinking of the nickname you used to call me when we bartended together. I have no other nicknames.”
She gets defensive and says she doesn’t know what I’m talking about — I cut her off and tell her, “Let’s discuss this at a different time and place.” She goes over to the table and cries. Some of the girls at the shower go to comfort her as she repeats, “I don’t know what she means… what could she mean. She’s upset about something I did 10 years ago.”
She knows. I’m not going to comfort her and give into her bullsh!t manipulation. Instead of talking to me like an adult, and apologizing, she just sucks up to me. That doesn’t erase everything. I thanked my friend and left. I didn’t mean to make her baby shower awkward. I just could not not say something.
I got in the car, and as I drove away I felt this weight lifted off my shoulders. My other friend called me and said my bully just sat there crying to everyone at the shower after I left. She said she was annoyed at how she was playing victim, and told her in front of everyone she wasn’t nice to me. And if it bothered her, she should talk to me.
I doubt she will. But who cares. Maybe I’ll call my friend when she’s up and apologize for making her shower awkward and tell her the truth about everything.
Did she overstep? Was this wrong time/wrong place? Or iconic and empowering?
You didn’t make the shower awkward, your bully did when she started to cry and draw attention to herself. That said, I do think you should reach out to your friend anyway. Perhaps briefly explain the actual history. The bully is clearly a very insecure person, then and now.
If she had grown, she would have reached out to you privately to own up to and apologize for her behavior back then. You don’t have to be friends, but at least then you could have had a shred of respect for her. The fact that she denies the cruel nickname and in the same breath talks about how you’re mad about something she did ten years ago is something.
Tell your friend you’re willing to be civil if you’re together again but you won’t pretend the past didn’t happen. She can own up to it or accept you won’t ever like or respect her.
The cherry on top would've been if you said to her, "You're so pretty." Well done. I admire your self-restraint, actually, because I would've had more words for her.
She tried to use the DARVO methode that abusive people use. She is a grownass women and should have learned by now how to regulate her feelings and be able to reflect at her past actions. Aka she should have controlled her emotions like you did (to not be the center of attention at your friends party) and approached you afterwards privately.
I met with my trauma therapist the day before I met up with my friend. We have scheduled sessions once every two weeks. I told her what happened at the baby shower, and my mixed feelings about everything. I told my therapist I had been going back and forth about reaching out to my bully to talk to her about everything.
My therapist asked, “So what is your goal when you talk to her? What are you hoping to gain out of that interaction?” Ugh, good point. Me reaching out, sitting down with her, and telling her that she was cruel to me in the past… would that have the outcome I was hoping for? There’s no way it would. My bully would never respond well to that.
My therapist also pointed out that I wasn’t out of line when I responded to her comment. I told my bully we could discuss it elsewhere. It was my bully’s choice to go around to everyone at the baby shower and cry to all these strangers.
If she was upset, she had the choice to go to go somewhere alone and deal with her emotions. But she chose to make it bigger and tell everyone what happened.
(When I responded to my bully’s comment, there were only 5 people around us. 5 minutes after that, my bully had told everyone at the shower (25-30ish people) who weren’t present when I said what I said). These were all points I had not considered.
I met with my friend the following day at a coffee shop. She was very kind and greeted me with a hug. I got right to the point. I told her that I was so sorry I made things awkward at her baby shower. It was not my intention. I had been thinking about it all week, and I told her I hoped I hadn’t ruined it.
She told me I hadn’t ruined it at all. She had a blast. She said my “bully” did cry for quite a long time after I left to the other guests. She said she was actually more worried about me. She said I seemed bothered when I left. I told her I was fine. I just felt bad and was angry.
I explained to her that my “bully” had a really cruel nickname she would call me regularly. At the baby shower, my bully said out loud she remembered me having a “different nickname”. I got angry and assumed my bully was referring to the nickname she used to call me to put me down.
When I told my friend what the nickname was, she gasped. She said she understood why I was upset, then. It was fine I got upset and said something. My friend said she had no idea my bully used to treat me so badly. She knew I had mentioned she had been mean in the past.
I told her that I was not sure if I read the situation correctly…. Maybe my bully was referring to something else. My bully did look genuinely “shocked” when I snapped back at her.
I also told her I do think my bully has changed over the years. She does seem to be trying. I am cordial when she is around, but I don’t think I can ever go out of my way to try to be her friend. It would be hard to force a friendship with someone who used to treat me and others so cruelly.
My friend agreed. She told me she honestly only sees my bully once a year, anyway. This surprised me. My bully considers my friend one of her best friends. I really do think my bully is lonely, and has created the life she lives now. I think she know that.
I was so glad my friend and I talked. I do feel better. If my bully does reach out (which she has not), I’d be happy to chat with her. Honestly, I doubt she will. I do not think my bully is the kind of person who is capable of facing conflict and admitting to all the people she has harmed them.
That is fine. I’ll continue to be kind if she is around, but I’m not going out of my way to nurse her insecurities and emotions.
You've handled this spectacularly from start to finish OP and you should be proud of yourself.
You handled this situation very well and did the right thing standing up for yourself in the first place. Nothing to worry about at all. You clearly have a good friend in regards to the person who was having the baby shower, as she has been understanding and supportive.
If it was the other way around would you be angry at her? I doubt it. I think you may have regretted it more if you didn't say anything back... Well done again for standing up for yourself
Congratulations for standing up to yourself. Honestly, you handled it better than I would have. As for your bully, let her be miserable for the rest of her life. "Forgiveness is a privilege, not a right!"
Sometimes the high road isn't the best road!