Dear Abby: I received a Facebook invitation to my 35th high school reunion. I was bullied constantly in every grade. I had no friends in my class, and the memories I have are not pleasant. I composed a letter expressing the hope that the attendees enjoy reminiscing, and then added that I have no desire to see any of them again. In the letter, I called out by name several former classmates with specifics on their bullying and cruel treatment. I told those who were the “nice kids” I felt invisible and like a nonentity. I ended the letter saying that I have a good life, and as an adult one would think the past would be the past. But that invitation triggered all the rejection and pain, which had lasted for years. I wrote that if any of them are parents, I hope they taught their kids and grandkids to do better.
Bullying has long-lasting consequences, and that pain never really goes away. I shared my letter with a friend who suggested I send it in Facebook Messenger to the organizer. I’m afraid to do it. I thought sharing it with my friend would be cathartic. I don’t know what good it would do to share it with my former classmates. They didn’t care then, so why would it matter now? What do you think?
Invisible in the West
Dear Invisible: Feeling as you do, I think you should show up at the reunion with a friend, if you can stomach it, and deliver that message in person. Whether your former classmates care or not, they should know that having been bullied and excluded carried lifelong consequences for their target. Some of them may even offer you an apology — 40 years late — now that they have matured.
Dear Abby: I’m a single mother of a 2-year-old girl whose father has been absent for most of her life. He comes and goes. He’s in a much better place financially now than he was before, and he wants to be a part of her life. He was verbally abusive and, on one occasion, physically abused me. My siblings and I grew up without a father, and it upsets me that my daughter must experience the same. My ex says he’s grown up a lot being away from her and says he’s willing to make it work for her sake. I’m unsure since he’s broken so many promises, but I want my daughter to grow up with her dad in the picture. My family, who I live with, knows the hell I went through when I was with him. They are against him being around, so now I feel like I have to sneak around when he wants to see her. Deep down I want him in her life but, on the other hand, my family’s opinion matters to me since they stepped up when he chose to step down. Advice?
Torn Mom in California
Dear Mom: That your ex has matured enough that he now wants to be a part of his daughter’s life is laudable. But allow it only if he’s willing to get counseling for his anger problem. If he does that, it will then be time for you to find the courage to quit sneaking around, inform your family you want your daughter to know her father and proceed from there, hoping he won’t flake out again.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.