Posted in the Chicago Forum
Since: Jun 09
#1 Jul 7, 2013
DEAR ABBY: I was bullied from second grade all through school. In junior high the abuse was both emotional and physical, and it happened on a daily basis. My parents' response was that maybe I was the problem -- and if I wasn't, people would stop picking on me.(That's a letter for another day.)
What would have been my 10-year high school reunion was two weeks ago. Needless to say, I didn't go. Since the reunion, however, I have received more than 30 messages via Facebook from former classmates. It seems I was the main topic of conversation at the reunion, mainly because everyone apparently wanted to apologize to me.
Abby, I don't know how to respond to these people. While I don't doubt the sincerity of their apologies, I truly don't want to have any contact with them (even on Facebook). At the same time, I don't want to be rude and just ignore them.
So far, I haven't replied to any of their messages. I want to know if I must, and if so, what I should say? To be honest, I'd like to tell them all to go to hell, but I'm trying to be nice.-- LOST FOR WORDS
DEAR LOST FOR WORDS: You do not have to say anything to any of these people, and you do not have to be "nice." Silence sends a strong message, and it is the one I'm recommending.
Understand that by apologizing they are trying to make themselves feel better. It's also possible that maturity has caused them to realize what they did was wrong. However, you are not obligated to accept their apologies if doing so will make you feel worse.
DEAR ABBY: I am a single mother struggling with my 12-year-old daughter. For the last three months she has been withdrawn, uncommunicative, rude, mean and treats me with contempt. We have been in counseling and are going back again, but I can't ask people to stay with her while I go and recharge my spirit because she's so rude to them as well.
I need to know, Abby, what do other parents do to make it through this incredibly painful period in the lives of their teenager and themselves?-- SINGLE MOM IN CANADA
DEAR SINGLE MOM: Any abrupt change in behavior should be regarded as a red flag. Your daughter should be evaluated by her pediatrician to be sure there isn't an underlying cause. Could she have been molested, be using drugs, pills, alcohol, etc.? Do her friends act this way? Does she have friends?
Changes like this don't usually happen overnight. Was this behavior tolerated when she was smaller? If a child of mine behaved that way, she would be grounded and her cellphone and Internet privileges canceled until she was 30.
As to whom you can leave her with while you "recharge," does this girl have a father, an aunt, a grandparent who can give you respite? That's how some single parents get a break. But if those resources are not available, you will have to deal with this (with the help of a more effective therapist than the one you were using) until your "problem child" becomes an adult.
#2 Jul 7, 2013
"Understand that by apologizing they are trying to make themselves feel better. It's also possible that maturity has caused them to realize what they did was wrong. However, you are not obligated to accept their apologies if doing so will make you feel worse."
Harsh. A sincere apology is much more than just an attempt to make oneself better. Sure, the LW is free not to accept the apologies, but it seems boorish to do so if she/he does not doubt their sincerity. Of course, she/he can remain silent and ignore the messages. That's fine. You can also respond with a message saying that you don't doubt the sincerity of their apologies, and you accept them, but you have moved on with your life and prefer not to have contact with the people from the past, so thank you for respecting your wishes and not messaging you again.
LW2 - Talk to the daughter's teacher(s) too. Don't indiscriminately ground your kid all the time without doing your darnedest best to find out what is causing her behavioral changes.
“reign in blood”
Since: May 09
#3 Jul 7, 2013
1- "It seems I was the main topic of conversation at the reunion, mainly because everyone apparently wanted to apologize to me."
Get over yourself, tubby! And give me your lunch money! You could stand to skip a meal!
Then get over it. Kids are stupid and cruel. Then they grow up and don't dwaddle on their behavior as immature teenagers. Let it go. Four-eyes.
Since: Dec 09
#4 Jul 7, 2013
LW1 - Abby's answer to the letter writer is perfect. The LW doesn't need to even acknowledge any of these people, and shouldn't. Why should he or she care to be nice to them? Why should he or she even care that the bullies are still on the planet? Let them stew in their own juices. I agree with Abby that their apologies are offered to assuage their own guilt and will not do the LW any good at all. I can just hear the lame excuses that will accompany the apologies. Ignore, ignore, ignore.
“Where is Tonka?”
Since: Feb 09
Neda, stay with me! Charlie
#5 Jul 7, 2013
Maybe LW2 is a 12yr old LW1?
#6 Jul 7, 2013
LW1: Abby's answer completely ignores the most troubling aspect of the LW's post (oh,*there's* a shock). LW, you say that your parents told you at the time that YOU were the problem. What effing rotten parents. And, as your former classmates are now, en masse, asking for your forgiveness, it shows even more what miserable sh*ts your parents were/are. Have you ever had it out with them? I'll bet not. Tell them to go to hell.
LW2: O.M.G.!!!--for the last 3 months your 12-yr-old daughter has been "withdrawn, uncommunicative, rude, mean and treats me with contempt." Welcome to the world of pre-teen girls. Deal with it, moron.
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