Wedding Woes

Revenge is sometimes better not served at all

Dear Prudence,
I was pretty badly bullied in high school for my appearance and being two years younger than everyone else. In college I started lifting weights, “blossomed” into my looks and life got much better. But the emotional scars remained. Earlier this year I started a new job and discovered the administrative assistant for my group was one of my bullies from high school. I know she recognized me because she made a joke about how much I’d changed and said we had to “catch up sometime.” I was cold but polite for the sake of our professional relationship, but she must have mistaken it for forgiveness, because last week at a work happy hour, she apologized again that “everyone” was so rough on me in high school—then she hit on me.

I was so infuriated that I ended up being very cruel and mocked her until she left in tears. It turns out revenge doesn’t feel so good after all, and I’ve been avoiding her entirely. I’m afraid my boss is going to start asking why I’m wasting time on things the admin should be doing. Still I don’t feel like apologizing to her, because what kind of jerk hits on someone they used to treat like dirt? Should I tell my boss what happened? I know he values me highly, so he might be willing to let me work with his administrative assistant, but I’m afraid that might come off as childish.

—Did I Bully My Bully?

Re: Revenge is sometimes better not served at all

  • edited May 2017
    LW is way out of line and may have seriously jeopardized their own job. They absolutely need to apologize and get some counseling/therapy because this is not a healthy way to deal with emotions. Bullying is terrible and what this woman did in high school sucks, but many people are assholes in high school and they grow up and she apologized. Time for LW to do the same. 

  • Joney said:

    Wow. He sounds like an arrogant ass, and too self involved to see how this looks to an objective outsider. "Can I use your administrative assistant because I mocked mine to tears and don't want to apologize."

    This is exactly what I was thinking. 

    This dude seriously lacks professionalism. First he brings his personal baggage into the work environment, making his admin cry. Then he thinks a viable solution is to borrow someone else's admin because he doesn't want to apologize, make his own copies, or schedule his own meetings. Pfffff... get a grip LW.

  • bleve0821bleve0821 The Shire member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I was bullied as a teen, and I've been bullied as an adult.  Being bullied sucks. It's so much worse to be bullied by an adult as an adult.  If the scars from being bullied as a teen were so fresh, LW should have been overly sensitive to how that feels.  I know I am.

    It's one thing to stand up for yourself, disengage yourself from conversations and explain why.  But to go so far as to bully back in retaliation... That makes you an even bigger bully because you couldn't learn from your experiences.  That isn't revenge, it's a vendetta. 

    I hope LW faces some kind of consequence for his actions.  I can't be sympathetic to him at all.

    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

  • Whelp, it's too late now.  But I think his "revenge" would have been better served by being as polite and cold as possible with her.  That would have carried more weight.  Like, to the apology, "I will work with you in a professional manner.  But your bullying was a very big deal to me and I won't forgive you for it.  We also will not be discussing the past any further."  Or, when she hit on him, in a stoic, cold tone, "I'm not interested."  However, now, the admin can justify in her own mind that this guy is a "jerk" anyway.

    For the sake of his job, he needs to apologize for his behavior, even if he is not sorry.  He could even put it back on her a little and say something like, "I apologize for my behavior the other night.  It was unprofessional and came from an ugly place because of the years of bullying I suffered in school.  I should not have stooped to that level, especially as an adult.  It's fine we don't like each other, but we do need to work together.  In the future, I promise to behave professionally with you and will not be unkind.  I ask that you do the same."

    And, yeah, he's lucky he hasn't already lost this new job.  If I were him, I'd also double check any important work she does for him, just to make sure she doesn't try to sabotage him.

    This is probably a UO but, if she hadn't been a coworker and they had just happened to bump into each other at the bar, I would have been gleeful for him.  I'd also have no qualms telling someone off who had hurt me.  My only caveat with that is WHAT he said.  If he gave her both barrels over what a horrible person he thinks she is because of her high school behavior, I'm good with that.  But if he made fun of her for something that was not behavior related, ie how she looks/speech impediment/whatever, than he's just lacking a lot of character also.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • There's a lot of baggage here.  It's not just that LW bullied her back, it's also that I think LW has a self-image issue still.  I'm not quite sure I believe she hit on LW, TBH.  I feel like admin just being friendly was going to be the trigger for this.

    LW absolutely needs to apologize for their behavior, promise to be professional moving forward "and I expect the same from you," and then STFU.  Adding anything about "like" or "dislike" or looking for more apologies or offering explanations is just going to add to the fire.
  • GBCKGBCK member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper

    Story though.  y'all know that my new job has me work with 'the public'.
    I am an asshole who knows how to hold a grudge--I don't have a long list of people I hate, but if you told me 'hey, we need to put bad mojo on people because *insert comic book magic reason here*.  write down 10 names of people you think deserve this bad mojo--people who were at least 18 when they were assy and where there was no romance to blame", I'd probably be able to make a list.

    Person who would have made the list ran into me at work and was EVER so nice updating me about life.  I totally wanted to cut and run, but I was mostly cornered.
    I couldn't be an asshole because 1-work (polite and professional) and 2-where I work--this person's kid was there, so even if I hadn't been at work, I couldn't have been all 'uh, why are you talking to me?  I wouldn't spit on you if you were on fire". 

    I am annoyed that I didn't get a chance to go into a good telling off.  damn adulting.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards