People Do Grow Up and Change

by admin on January 16, 2014

My cousin is marrying my most hated adversary from elementary/middle school. They want to me forgive & forget and come to the wedding. I can’t. I absolutely will not stand in the same room with this woman and pretend to be happy while she marries my cousin.

This woman, “Lisa”, made me miserable from grades 5-8. It all started over a poster. She was a big fan of a particular singer. My female cousin got to go to his show when his tour went through our state and she brought me a poster. I told Lisa she could have it since my favorite singer was someone else. Somewhere between home and school, I lost the poster. I rode the bus and I think someone helped themselves to it or I just simply lost it. When I told Lisa, she started screaming that I was a liar, I was keeping the poster for myself, I was being mean because I knew she loved this singer so much and I was the most awful person in the world. Um, not true. I had really lost the thing but, of course, 5th grade girls can be dramatic.

So it started with a poster and just kept morphing into other things for her to harass me about- my clothes, my shoes, my hair, my friends, etc. My parents could not really help because they were divorced, mom lived in another state and dad owned & operated a farm and was too busy to notice I was miserable.

Once we moved on to high school, things changed a bit. Lisa was no longer the big fish in a small pond and we hardly ever saw each other. The only class we had together, she actually had the nerve to ask me to copy my homework! (I said no) After that, she would occasionally take a swipe at me but I had made really good friends who had my back and Lisa was no longer able to get under my skin as much.

When I turned 16, I moved to live with my mom. Twelve years have rolled by. High school graduation, college, starting careers. Last year (2012) around Thanksgiving, my mom said that my Aunt had told her that cousin Brady had reconnected with a girlfriend from college, Lisa, and had been dating for about 6 months. Aunt Edie said it was quite serious and Brady was talking marriage. Never in a million years did I think it was same Lisa- it never crossed my mind. Brady has gone to college a state over from our home state and really, what are the odds?

Four weeks ago, the invitation arrived in the mail. Honestly, I was surprised to be invited. Brady and I got along well when we were kids, we would see each other at family events during the year but he went to a different school than I did as he lived a county over, and I wouldn’t say we were super close. I have not even seen that side of the family in about 3 years. The last time I visited home state Brady was not there, so it has probably has been over 5 years since I have seen him.

I opened the invitation, saw the last name and thought “no way” but when I turned the invite over- there she was- smiling and all hugged up on my cousin. I called Aunt Edie and she confirmed my worst fears- it was indeed that Lisa and she had told them she had gone to school with me but didn’t really know me. Like hell she didn’t know me. She did not know the real me, the person I had become but she knew who I was. How do you forget the person you tortured for 4 years because of a poster!?!

After talking to my friends about this, I decided to just decline the invitation. He obvious loves her, I will practically never see them and maybe she had honestly forgotten how awful she had been to me or maybe, just maybe, she has changed.

Brady & Lisa called a few nights ago and wanted to know why I wasn’t coming to their wedding. They really wanted all the family to come and be with them. I said I just couldn’t make it. They kept pressing and pressing. They even went so far as to say that they would pay for me to come if money was the problem (it’s not- I just do not like her), so I finally decided to tell them and remind Lisa exactly what she had done to me.

First, she completely denied it. Then she said maybe, but she really doesn’t remember. Next, it was, “Oh, we were just kids and kids do those things to each other.”  Finally, it was why can’t I just forgive and forget. Yes, kids do those things to each other but she really made me miserable and lowered my self-esteem with all her remarks.  Four years of remarks. So, no, I can’t just forgive and forget. Brady did not say much but I think he was surprised. She has obviously not shown him or the rest of the family her true colors.

Since then, Lisa has had my Aunt Edie, my Aunt Edna (mom’s sisters who still live in home state) and even my own Grandmother, call me and tell me I should forget about the past and move on. I don’t think she has told them the real story or how long it went on. Since I unfortunately opened my mouth, I am just trying to let it all die down. I wish, wish, wish I had continued to bean dip when Brady & Lisa called. I don’t understand WHY it is so important to Lisa that I am there. I think she just wants to torture me some more.

I thought this was the kind of thing that happened to people you see on talk shows. I’m just a small town girl from a small town. How did I get to be in the middle of this craziness? 1218-13

When I was 13,  there was a girl who bullied and harassed me to the point that I became an emotional wreck and had to be removed from school and taught by a tutor for several months.   As the years went by we bumped accidentally into each other in high school, in stores and other community related events and my tension level would be off the scale.   But something amazing happened.   We both grew up and became adults.  I discovered that her family life during those earlier years was horrendous and she was a very unhappy person who took her pain out on others.  She became a born again Christian and had a complete turn around of her life.  She is now one of the nicest people I know and we are friends on Facebook.   The moral of this is that people do grow up and stop behaving like children and people can and do change.   If we are to be adults, we need to give people the benefit of the doubt that they have indeed changed and matured.

It sounds to me that Lisa has moved on to being an adult and her efforts to reach out to you is an olive branch, of sorts.   She may never give you the apology you seek but how she treats you from here on out is the more important criteria proving that she is not the same stupid teenager you knew years ago.   You, however, are emotionally stuck at age 12 and as your family has noted, you have not moved forward into being a whole adult.   You are the one still suffering and living with baggage and to be honest,  you are not hurting Lisa and Brady as much as you are hurting yourself.   There must come a time in your life when you resolve to not let people live in your brain rent free and allow them to dictate your emotions and actions.   This would be a good time to start making that transition to evicting the memory of Lisa’s behavior, wiping the slate clean and giving her another chance.   That doesn’t mean you have to become buddy-buddy pals with her but it does mean you develop the adult life skill of being civil and gracious to other adults.

 

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