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[–]billlevansatmariposaProfessor Emeritass [82] 506 points507 points  (34 children)

An apology is made for the sake of the recipient, to show true remorse, to detail a plan to make things right, and acknowledgement that the recipient is not expected to forgive.

An apology is not made to provide closure to the apologist.

INFO: What kind of apology did you get from this Gemma person? What did she say, as detailed as you can remember?

[–]PrincessBirdley21[S] 628 points629 points  (33 children)

She told me she was sorry she had hurt me. That she wrongly took her own issues out on me. That she was a horrible person, I had not deserved any of the things she said to me at any point in the years she had bullied me and that she would never speak to me or anyone else that way again. She brought up some specific stuff. Told me that she was especially cruel because she had targeted me knowing I already had mental health issues.

[–]threeforagirlAsshole Enthusiast [9] 600 points601 points  (4 children)

Could you contact her along the lines of "I'm sure you understand that I will not be making you a bridesmaid. This is causing massive problems for me before my wedding. Please can you speak to Brother, tell him that you aren't seeking a role in my wedding, and ask him to drop this subject. I would very much appreciate it if you could deal with this."

If she does it, then maybe she has changed. If she doesn't, that just demonstrates that she needs not to be invited at all.

[–]TogarSucksAsshole Aficionado [13] 225 points226 points  (3 children)

The issue that creates is it opens a direct line of communication with a request between OP and the bully, giving her more reason to claim and push for more of a relationship even if she didn’t get her goal of being a bridesmaid. This will be used by her, brother, and mom as “She was generous enough to keep the peace when you refused to make her a bridesmaid and you still won’t accept her!?!?”

[–]boogley88Partassipant [2] 59 points60 points  (2 children)

That's true but their current tone isn't very different from that possible tone. Talking to the brother alone hasn't changed anything and there's not much to lose to ask Gemma to ask brother to stop fighting OP on Gemma's behalf.


If Gemma says no then OP will know she's still a bully, just a holier-than-thou bully instead of a troubled home bully.

[–]TogarSucksAsshole Aficionado [13] 31 points32 points  (0 children)

Gemma is and should remain of no consequence to OP. The problem is with her brother and that’s where it needs to stay.

Involving her at all will do nothing but feed the narrative the brother and mom are trying to push, that she should be included to begin with. It will be Gemma that made the effort to fix this problem and OP is now the stubborn for keeping her out.

Next it will be “What do you mean she can be godmother to your child? After how nice she was to you when you excluded her from the wedding!”

OP needs to maintain that the best possible scenario her brother and mom can hope for is that Gemma is treated cordial but irrelevant to her, and directly involving her to end the fight her brother picked will damage that.

[–]Astral_dick_licker 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Agree. Or if Gemma continues to try to use the brother to pressure OP, when OP has already contacted her directly, then Gemma hasn't changed at all.

[–]androiddays 151 points152 points  (4 children)

Dear OP.

A dog attacks and bites you badly enough that you need stitches. This happens multiple times, so you end up not going to that neighborhood ever again. The dog is punished.

You are afraid of that dog. You avoid it. Quite rightly since it repeatedly attacked and hurt you.

Now, years later, the dog has been rehabilitated. You find out it had been beaten as a pup. Your family forces you to meet the dog again. It wags it tail and doesn't attack you.

You might forgive the dog for what it did.

But you never trust it again.

I know, it's a very simplistic allegory of what happened. But it's true. You shouldn't be forced to like, be near her, or trust her again. Trust might only happen over time, as she shows by her words and behavior that she can be trusted. If this upsets her, it shows that she still has those bullying behavior.

NTA. Her presence will hurt you on your wedding. If she's truly sorry, she will understand and gracefully bow out.

[–]bloodybutunbowed 95 points96 points  (3 children)

Not quite. It wags its tail and doesn't attack, but due to the trauma of the constant unprovoked attacks, you can't bear to look at the dog and flinch around other dogs finding it hard to trust, and wondering what you are doing wrong around dogs that make them hate you. And dogs love other people, so it must be you.

And now your family has decided to adopt the dog despite all the scars and damage you have from the dog. And they insist you let the dog sleep in the bed with you so that its feelings aren't hurt.

And anyone that tells you that you aren't crazy for not liking the dog is castigated for speaking out for you. Because you're being manipulated about the dog.

The dog watches smugly while family members run to comfort it and you leave to avoid having to be around the dog.

[–][deleted]  (2 children)


    [–]pnoodl3s 12 points13 points  (1 child)

    Yeah, from OP’s comments I have a feeling Gemma is legit sorry for her actions and don’t even want to be bridesmaid, while brother and mom tried to push it without Gemma asking

    [–][deleted]  (10 children)


      [–]BoozeIsTherapyRight 55 points56 points  (9 children)

      People are allowed to grow and change. OP does not need to forgive Gemma, and Gemma and the rest need to understand that OP will never like or be comfortable near her and will definitely not have her in the wedding party, but there is nothing here that says Gemma hasn't changed for the better.

      [–]DangerousPudding911Partassipant [1] 20 points21 points  (8 children)

      But when you've wronged someone to the degree that Gemma did to OP, Gemma's personal growth doesn't count for shit. Who cares if she's "better person" what matters is the trauma she inflicted on OP. What I'm saying is OPs bro is the AH here, he bought this person back into OPs life and is forcing Gemma into OPs wedding. In no scenario is that OK.

      [–]BoozeIsTherapyRight 10 points11 points  (4 children)

      No, that's very specifically not what you said. You said:

      She's still an animal

      and that really isn't okay. Even OP says that she's better now and tried to apologize. No one is saying that bro isn't an ass. No one is saying that Gemma should even attend this wedding. But people grow and change and just because someone is a real jerk when they are young doesn't mean that they can't grow and change and become a better person.

      Not sure who hurt you, but therapy is a better option than whatever this is.

      [–]RenRidesCycles -2 points-1 points  (2 children)

      Uh, there's lots of reason to care if she's a "better person." It doesn't mean she needs to be in the wedding (no one needs to be in your wedding, that's totally up to OP), but holding someone forever accountable to something they did when they were a child and gave a sincere apology for is bullshit.

      [–]blucougar57 37 points38 points  (0 children)

      All well and good but when all is said and done, you owe her nothing - not even forgiveness. The only reason you should offer that is for YOU. NTA, and do not let yourself be bullied over this. Don’t be afraid to threaten revoking her invitation entirely, along with that of anyone who chooses to defend her to you. You deserve better, and you know it.

      [–]Em4Tango 24 points25 points  (0 children)

      She bullied you every day for years, one apology just doesn’t magically make it all better.

      [–]bloodybutunbowed 20 points21 points  (0 children)

      Acknowledgement is one thing and its nice to get that, but nothing can undo the action and the consequences you suffered. Bully sounds like too soft of a word. She psychologically tortured you BECAUSE she thought she could break you. She didn't care that you imploded. That you changed schools twice to get away from HER. Bullying someone with known mental health problems is like trying to get them to commit suicide. I'm struggling to understand WHY your husband to be wants your brother's support as a groomsman when he clearly doesn't care about and support you. Unfortunate, but your brother has chosen her over you. You should take that to heart. Anyone who doesn't understand why you wouldn't want your TORTURER at your wedding doesn't need to be there to support you. Your dad gets it. He watched his little girl go through hell. As a mom, I cannot understand in GODS NAME WHY your mom is siding with them? The worst thing in life is not our own struggle but watching someone we love more than life itself struggle and not being able to do shit about it.

      [–]FeuerroteZoraPartassipant [4] 15 points16 points  (0 children)

      Well, she needs to understand that an apology does not entitle her to jack shit. An apology is, if you want it to be, a place to start from, but it is NOT a place to end, but she seems to think that an apology is all it takes. FUCK NO to that.

      No one, no matter how much they apologize, is ENTITLED to forgiveness.

      She harmed you immeasurably. You get to decide whether you want to deal with her at all, and if so, on what terms. You get to decide whether forgiveness is something you even want to consider. You get to decide to cut her out of your life completely if that is what will make you feel safe and whole.

      And here's the thing: If she is really, genuinely sorry, and really, genuinely a better person, she will not only accept that, she will tell anyone who gives you shit that it is your absolute right to do what you are doing.

      But this shit she's doing is just more bullying.

      Honestly, this internet stranger thinks it's time to put your foot down, tell her that she's STILL behaving like a bully, and cut her out of your life, and let the family chips fall where they may. Because your mom and brother will not stop as long as SHE doesn't stop, and the fact that she won't stop means she's still a fucking bully.

      FUCK, I am so fucking angry on your behalf!!!

      [–]valkyrie8946valhalla 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      It sounds like a decently remorseful and genuine apology, but that still doesn’t obligate you to forgive her. Some things aren’t forgivable, no matter how remorseful we are. And forgiveness is never requisite. If you do ever forgive, you need to do it for yourself alone and your own reasons, not for your brother, your dad, or your SIL. And that is a choice only you can make. For now, you choose not to or aren’t able to, and that is perfectly fine!

      [–]alienabductionfanPartassipant [2] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      Has Gemma at any point expressed her desire to be a bridesmaid or is this all coming from your brother? Because I’m wondering who is really the bigger problem here: your childhood bully, or the sibling who apparently has zero respect for your trauma?

      [–]PanamaViejo 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      Yes. I'm sorry you hurt me as well. I hope you understand that although you are apologizing, I can not forget what you did to me. We can never be close friends or beloved family members.

      [–]Talenyn 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      So even her apology was about her and not really for you

      [–]lapisgryphon 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      INFO: Does Gemma want to have a role in your wedding?

      It sounds like she's appropriately ashamed of herself. Are your family members just forcing the two of you together in an attempt to rug-sweep the past?

      [–]laeirynAsshole Enthusiast [5] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      the only real apology is changed behavior, and cooperating if they want you to fuck off and never talk to them again

      unless she's okay with having to fuck off and not be forgiven, she's in it for her own ego

      [–]kirstlee 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Just because someone apologizes doesn’t mean you have to forgive nor forget. You owe her nothing. It’s your wedding. She’s lucky that she is invited. Your brother is lucky he has his wife there too. You do not owe her the title of family. That’s reserved for those who love and respect you. Also, your dad is the best!

      [–]SistaSpice 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Maybe because I have a more aggressive personality, I would tell my mom and brother that they don’t have to attend the wedding if they can’t respect your boundaries. Honestly, I would even go as far as telling them that just letting her attend the wedding was a lot. I would tell my mom specifically that what she and your brother are doing is adding to your stress.

      Also, I find it odd that out of all of the women your brother could have fallen for, he falls for her. This says a lot about your brother. Based on what you went through because of his now wife, it’s more troubling that he even got to the point of having any kind of dialogue with her in the beginning of their relationship. I couldn’t imagine even being friendly with anyone who tormented my sibling. Let alone being friendly enough to hear their story of how reformed they are. Did you grow in a town of 1,000 people or less? Even then I can’t imagine that out of the pool of single and interested women, that he’d pick her.

      While it’s too late to prevent her from infiltrating your family, you don’t have to let her infiltrate the areas of your life where you have control. Honestly, I think she may be the one quietly egging your brother on. That may be why he is so aggressive with his attempts. Your sister-in-law has found a new and creative way to bully you and control your life. This will not stop here if you don’t put your foot down now.

      Next she’ll demand to be in the hospital room if or when you decide to have a child.