As they say, what goes around, comes around.
Eventually, one must learn to face the consequences of their own actions. The sooner you find out you're the bad guy in a situation, the better--but for some people it takes years and years.
And hopefully the realization for them isn't too painful.
Here were some of the answers.
No Help From AdultsGiphy
I was always bullied growing up so when the new kid joined the drum line in middle school my friend and I made his life a living hell. He was really shy and his teeth were super crooked so he had a pretty bad speech impediment and he couldn't play the drums for. One day after we were walking out of the band room I saw him talking to the guidance counselor and he was basically snitching on us, trying to tell her all of the horrible ways we were putting him down since he came to the school and at first I was mad but then...the counselor...straight up ignored him. The look of defeat and hopelessness on his face when she just kinda said "yeah okay" and walked away made me feel so bad for the kid. I left him alone after that.
The Worst Kind Of Nickname
Accidental bully here. My friends used to call this kid Kool Aid because he was a tiny bit chubby and wore a red shirt once (you know how nicknames go). He seemed to embrace it. He even used it as his screen name for everything so we thought he genuinely liked it!
Then a few years later, he and I started dating and I learned the nickname absolutely crushed him and gave him a horribly negative body image.
Not A Moment Too Soon
I accidentally used to bully my younger brothers. When we were younger, we would get along really well because I'd teach my younger brother how to play games and stuff, and he'd understand and play the way I wanted. Then, as he started getting older, he started thinking more for himself, and I'd get really mad and frustrated whenever he didn't do something the way I wanted. Same with my youngest brother (though he's still in that stage).
I realized how bad it was a few years ago. My parents would often be gone and running errands while we stayed at home and did our schoolwork. I would try and make them do something with me, and when they wouldn't, or would want to change it up, I would get really mad. Sometimes I would even hit them. I noticed that they started acting scared of me in general, and would often try to avoid me as a whole.
At that point I was like, "wow I'm a bad older brother and they deserve better."
I'm 16 now, and I've been a lot better with them and we're pretty darn close now. I'm just really thankful that didn't permanently traumatize them and that they're happy to be my brother and spend time with me.
When You Don't Even Know It
When the teacher asked me to stay in class for another 2 mins to talk while my friend was waiting before the classroom and she straight up asked why i bully my best friend "Rene" , the guy who was literally waiting for me in front of classroom. I was speechless. I never realised it and changed it immediately. He was never really confident and i made jokes but well, apparently only i found them funny. Was in like grade 3/4 but i remember it to this day with pictures in my mind.
From Speech To Toast
I was constantly bullied growing up and somehow, in 4th grade, one of the school bullies decided I was friend worthy and I immediately accepted that chance to have a friend. A few days into school and she tells me to go talk to the new kid and tell him to say "Japanese beetles". Sure, why not? So I do and out comes "Jathanethe Beethelth". She laughed, I laughed, everyone but he laughed. He was just the most sweet, genuine kid that wanted kids to like him. 100% a real life Ben Hanscom. We made fun of him for years. I hated it and definitely knew I was a bully but I also knew if I wasn't helping the bully, I would be the one bullied.
A few months later he wrote me a love letter, asking if i liked him. I showed everyone and my friend crumpled it up and threw it away.
That was 18 years ago and that boy has been my husband for the last 8. That letter is folded up at my house.
Growing Out Of It
There was this kid I went to elementary with who was the twin brother of a girl I was close friends with. Turns out he was gay and felt more comfortable with girls as friends, but in 2nd grade none of us knew that. So he was always hanging around with his sister's friends, and as bratty girls we always tried to make him go away. I took part in making fun of his big, pointy ears, and in bullying him about not having any guy friends. I know we made him cry once, but I'm sure he cried in private on many occasions.
Later, as we all matured, we were more welcoming of him as a friend. He ended up being one of my closest friends by the end of high school, he felt like a family member almost. But I will always cringe in shame at being a mean bully girl to him when we were young.
It happened when I moved out of my parents house and was introduced to the real world. A lot of people in my family are jerks so I thought it was normal to act like a jerk. In high school I actually used to believe that everyone else was the jerk, which is something my parents also agreed on, because they never got along with any of my classmates parents... it makes a lot of sense now, but when I was a kid I just didn't see it. When I got to college everyone I met was really nice, so I was nice, which is how I slowly discovered everything is better when you're not a jerk. You have more friends, more positive experiences, less rage for me idk about others, and I like myself more now.
Fun New Tech
I had a friend that got a watch called a Kidizoom when we were in second grade. It was kind of like a kid version of an Apple Watch that you could play games on or take pictures. He was really proud of it, but I made fun of him for it. I teased him so much about it that he eventually just got rid of it.
I don't know what my problem was. It was a pretty cool thing for an elementary school kid to have, and I still feel awful and cringe about my behavior. I was a jerk.
Being True To Yourself
I was in the classic jock athlete group in elementary school. Just a total prick, and I wasn't even good at sports. I was just friends with that group. Like others have said, it was a lot of putting other kids down for the approval of my "friends".
Well on the first day of middle school a few new kids were on our bus. One had gone to catholic school and a few of my friends knew him and called him Wiggles for some reason. He sat alone and just tried to ignore everyone, but I still have no idea what came over me a few days later.
Suddenly I just...felt bad for him. So I sat next to him on the bus one day and said hello, he replied with "I thought you hated me?". After that day my entire life changed. We hung out every day as his house was a 3 minute walk from mine. I stopped playing sports and got into video and board games. We'd go biking for miles and miles almost every day. I had zero interest in being around any of my old friends. Why play poorly at basketball when I can play Halo and WoW?
I'm proud to say that nearly 15 years later we are still friends. In fact I'm sitting around his table at his apartment playing Gloomhaven with other friends I met in middle school. Takes a couple of us up to 2 hours to drive here, but we try to do this at least once a month. They're easily the best part of my life.
Just To Fit InGiphy
When I moved to a new town in the third grade, I joined in with a group of new friends and we took to making fun of this one kid. So many people did it that he ended up getting home schooled for a few years. One time, he had to go to the restroom in class, so we just kept getting up one after the other to get to the restroom before he could, preventing him from using it. For some other incidents, the school ended up suspending four of us for a few days.
He ended up entering the public school system again in middle school, and by that time with some distance from the situation, we knew we had all been monsters to him and apologized.
I had begun to get bullied by some other frenemy in the group around then, and after moving away from the area bullying continued in other schools, and I regretted it more and more. After college, I actually forgot that we apologized to him and was seized by guilt about the whole thing, then ended up messaging him out of the blue to apologize again. He reminded me that we'd already made amends in middle school and said it was all good.
I hadn't actively led the bullying, but I'd just done whatever the group did to fit in, and later, after the tables had been turned on me, I felt more and more like going along with the group in that way at someone else's expense was just such a spineless way to operate. It made me recognize (and be sickened by) that dynamic in other groups.
Bully To Bullied
I was mean to a girl who used to be in my dance class. I basically ignored her when she said hi to me because I was talking to someone cooler.
Her mom accosted me a few days later, which, looking back on it was incredibly inappropriate because I was a kid and she was an adult, but it woke me up.
I was bullied in high school by my former best friend and girls i played sports with so maybe that was my karma coming back to get me.
I also was bullied in college by a work friend who had serious mental health issues but she was straight up a c u next tuesday and I was not here for it. Gave her a taste of her own medicine by really telling her what I thought of her and although I regret being mean, it stopped her relentless bullying and I felt like I stood up for myself, when I didn't really do that in high school bc I was too hurt and insecure.
There was this kid in my PE in sixth grade. He was a little fat and had round glasses with very thick frames. He was one of those outcasts who isn't even friendly when you try to be; he's just immediately defensive because he assumes you're trying to mess with him.
And we all did.
I'm very ashamed of this. In PE when we were dressing out, I would wait until his shirt was off and I'd get a running start and smack him in the back. Not sure how many times I did this before one day he just turned and yelled "Stop!" and he was starting to cry. This instantly broke my heart. I had been doing it to make the other assholes in my class laugh, now I was the worst one. For the rest of my time in school I always tried to be inclusive to the nerdy outcasts. I hope that kid is okay wherever he is.
No Real Friends
There was this below-average kid in my 8th grade algebra class. He wasn't stupid, just a below average. I was a jerk to him about it. I had been bullied absolutely relentlessly from 2nd grade onward, and I believe it's not only the cause of that, but also my introverted, abrasive, and aggressive nature today, and I still struggle with making friends in high school. I don't bully anyone today, I keep to myself, as most friends I ever got have either backstabbed me or abandoned me. I'm that one kid who sits alone at lunch with that sort of resting mean face, and in class my language is stoic and firm. I still have really low self confidence and am somewhat anxious. I know it's not my fault but the facade I put up to stop the bullying has become intertwined with my true self.
In fourth grade, I used to bully this kid that has Asperger's. I used to just make his day miserable every day at my old after school program. I'd just go out of my way to make him angry.
One day he told a supervisor there, which was relayed to my teacher at school. I don't exactly remember what he said, but I stopped after that. I apologized to him once they talked to me about it. I did a few other times after that first time they made me do it (in high school).
To this day, I still feel like a piece of garbage and I can't forgive myself for that. It was such a stupid thing to do. The fact that I couldn't comprehend that I had done anything wrong until I had to have it spelled out for me is just... I don't have any words for it.
I'm Not, Yet I Am
I was a bully and I didn't really know it. I don't really know why I did what I did. I think I was angry, because my mom wasn't there for me when I was a child and when everyone else would talk about their mom, I felt intense jealousy. I realized I was the bad guy, I don't remember when, but when nobody would speak to me, or if they did, they would sound scared. In a way, they made me feel how I made them feel. Isolated and alone,. Everyone was scared of me for multiple years. I still go to the school with the same people, and some people still hold grudges with me about being an elementary school bully, and I'm in high school.
In 4th grade, my class went on a field trip. The teacher had us break into small groups with different parents as chaperones. No one wanted one particular girl in their group, and she ended up in mine, much to my dismay at the time. My dad was a chaperone and our group leader. He noticed right away none of us were talking to her. He also noticed something that the rest of us didn't. She didn't have a coat or gloves or a scarf. It was the middle of winter. I'll never forget how he gave her his coat and how small she looked in it. I was so ashamed. It turned out she was from a really poor family. That was the first time I realized how incredibly lucky I was and that I should always treat others with kindness and compassion. This was one of the defining moments of my life. My Dad passed away a couple years ago after a short battle with cancer and I miss him every day.