Man Married Daughter’s Bully’s Mom, Is Confused Why The Kids Aren’t Getting Along As Siblings

Bullying is a downright nightmare. It makes you dread going into school, into work, outside. If left unchecked, it eventually makes you dread getting out of bed.

A Reddit poster told, quite frankly, a story that’s somewhere in between a rom-com and a nightmare. Her niece was being bullied by a girl. Naturally both of their parents talked about it and – you won’t believe what’s next – they started dating, got married and moved in together. So now the girl is living with her bully as if she was a sister.

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More info: Reddit

It’s hard to even imagine what you would do if your former bully became your stepsister

Image credits: cottonbro studio (not the actual image)

The poster of the story is the aunt of a 15 y.o. girl who had been bullied by another for a year

Image credits: u/Icy-Feature2309

When the girl’s and the bully’s single parents sat down to discuss the issue, they became close, eventually getting married and moving in together

Image credits: u/Icy-Feature2309

Now they expect the girls to live like sisters, even though the ex-bully once ripped up one of few sentimental pictures of the daughter’s mom who has passed

Image credits: u/Icy-Feature2309

The girl pushes back against her family and stepsister, coming  to the aunt for advice and emotional support

The general timeline of events in the original poster’s story goes something like this.

The girl, named Piper in the story, was 6 when the bully, dubbed Nancy, started teasing her.

When she was about 7, a whole year of bullying later, Nancy ripped up a picture of Piper’s mom that she had brought into school.

This prompted both of the girls’ parents to start talking about the situation. Piper only had her father, while Nancy – her mom. They became close, started dating and got married when Piper was about 8 or 9.

Currently it is 6 years later, making Piper 15, having lived together with Nancy for all of them.

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Nancy attempted to get closer to Piper and the parents thought that now they were “sisters” they would start getting along. Piper has not let go of the hurt and continues to mistrust Nancy while pushing away from her dad, which he just can’t grasp the reason for.

The situation is simply tragic. What’s worse, from the comments, it turns out that Nancy never apologized for what she did. The destroyed photo was one of few precious ones that Piper still had, with no copies of it. Piper’s possessions are safe now, as OP says that she’s been safekeeping them and Piper comes over to look at them.

The aunt, this story’s OP, also lets Piper vent about her troubles and tries to console her during this difficult time, which has been going on for years.

Fortunately, OP specifies in the comments that Nancy hasn’t been bullying Piper while they have been living together, but she just won’t forgive her for what’s happened.

Image credits: cottonbro studio (not the actual image)

To get a second perspective on the situation and gain a deeper understanding of bullying overall, Bored Panda contacted Dr. Jennifer Fraser, Ph.D., an expert educator and innovative strategist who strives to change outdated and incorrect opinions about bullying with up-to-date science.

When asked about the situation at hand, Jennifer says: “I think the healthiest response for the daughter who was bullied is to reframe the experience as medical, not moral.” She further states that the 7-year-old girl responsible for the destruction of the picture was exhibiting signs that her brain was very stressed, possibly even traumatized. This aggressive and harmful behavior should be a red flag that the perpetrator is unwell.

If we strive to respond to bullying in families effectively, this is a critical starting point. Parents or siblings must recognize that if someone in the family is aggressive and harmful, they need professional intervention.

“They need help because they are unwell,” Jen says. This behavior should not be responded to in kind, though, as it may “infect” family members with bullying, as it is infectious, and it harms the brain.

“We tend to tell children that if someone is bullying, it’s because there’s a power imbalance. In fact, among children, there isn’t really a power imbalance.” Dr. Jennifer says that one child may be bigger, older, or longer at school, but they don’t actually have power. Adults have power, especially when bullying children. Adults are utterly dependent on whether it’s parents, teachers, or coaches.

Jennifer believes it would be healthy to explain to kids that when someone is bullying, it means they’re under extreme stress and are trying to relieve it. They are powerless to deal with the stress in a healthy way and are out of control. Similarly to how animals react aggressively if they’ve been mistreated, so do humans assume they’re under threat, even if they aren’t.

“Aggressive acts are signs that the person feels under threat and is being driven by its sympathetic nervous system to “fight.”

When the sympathetic nervous system is activated, people also may have flight or freeze reactions. As mental health in children is very poor at the moment, young people are caught in fight (aggression/bullying), flight (depression/withdrawal), and freeze (anxiety/feelings of paralysis).

Image credits: Darina Belonogova (not the actual image)

Jennifer says that she wrote her book, The Bullied Brain, with a big emphasis on how to “Heal Your Scars and Restore Your Health.” In her book, each chapter has evidence-based strategies to help prevent and recover from our society, which normalizes bullying.

“Like the girl’s father who simply thinks she and the girl who once bullied her should now just be “sisters.” He’s normalizing the child’s aggressive behavior from the past and not understanding his fifteen-year-old’s fear.“

The bully, Nancy, isn’t necessarily a “bad” person, but was suffering from some kind of trauma – like her parents divorcing. Her want to be friends is powerful. If they could move onto a healthy and caring relationship, it would be best for both of their brains, says Jennifer.

Jennifer continues: “Many who bully do not understand that when they bully, they are harming their own brain, and at the same time, they’re hurting the brain of their target.” The harm done by bullying to brain architecture can be seen by scientists using brain scans. That being said, the brain is also innately wired to repair and recover when committing to evidence-based practices.

Jennifer’s findings are grounded in research. Dr. Michael Merzenich, one of the world’s most highly awarded neuroscientists has read her book and written the foreword to it. According to him, The Bullied Brain is “THE most completely scientifically thorough treatment of the subject on planet earth.”

Dr. Jennifer Fraser believes that science has the capacity to change bullying and help people become much more empathetic and compassionate with children and with one another. You can check her book out here and make sure to visit her website.

OP’s story got more than 14k upvotes and 1.8k comments. Lots of people in the comments supported Piper and her aunt, saying that the father was being foolish and misguided for expecting that the girls would ever be close. And if all of this talk about bullying has got you down, we suggest you check this Bored Panda list out about people getting sweet sweet vengeance on their bullies.

The community decided that the aunt wasn’t a jerk, but the father was and that his daughter was right for being distant from him

Image credits: Sandro Crepulja (not the actual image)

The post Man Married Daughter’s Bully’s Mom, Is Confused Why The Kids Aren’t Getting Along As Siblings first appeared on Bored Panda.


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