“Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.” – Nietzche
It’s because of a thing called “group behavior.”
It’s a fact that school bullies rarely get over the passionate hatred of their targets once they graduate and meet them again in the real world later. My old bullies are no exception. They may not admit it to anyone other than each other, but it’s still there- simmering under the surface. Not that I’m concerned about how they feel because I could care less. As long as they stay away from me, they can feel, think, and say whatever and however, they want. It’s of no concern to me.
What would concern me is that going to the next reunion would put me in physical danger. And let’s face it. People act much differently in large groups than they do on their own. In groups, humans will do things they usually wouldn’t do, and they’ll do it for the sole purpose of conforming.
Understand that a high school reunion will have at least fifty to a hundred people in attendance. And the bigger the group, the more compelled the people in it will be to conform.
For example: If twenty out of a hundred classmates attending this reunion decide to jump me, or even kill me, you can bet that for obvious reasons, none of those who stand by and watch would do a thing to help me. They probably wouldn’t so much as run and call for help.
Out of their loyalty for each other and hatred for me, the attendees would, more than likely, let me die. I wouldn’t put it past them. No way would they risk conflict and the possibility of being ostracized by the rest of the class. To be another, “usurper” like me. No way they would.
They’re didn’t years ago, and they wouldn’t do it today. It doesn’t matter how much older we are. They would value their status within the class more than they would the life of a person they never deemed a human being.
And people like them figure that if no one stops them, it can’t be wrong. Bystanders have a ton of influence. So, when they turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, they’ll likely become participants in it at some point. My classmates like each other and have a lot in common. And the one thing they share is their collective resentment and hate of certain people they decided weren’t worthy of human dignity. Therefore, this would only cement their collusion.
So, why would I even consider going? Going to this reunion would be suicide, and I value myself and my life way too much to put myself in that kind of danger.
The more people present when an emergency strikes, the more likely they’ll only ignore it. Any altruism they have will, more than likely, fly out the window when a person is a part of a large group. Even if cellphones have made it easier to call for help, we’ve seen video after video of vicious beatings and other crimes against fellow humans, where bystanders only stood around, laughed, and filmed the attack rather than use their phones to call for help.
Given the feelings of anger and resentment my classmates still have thirty years later, I wouldn’t put it past them to pull out their phones and begin filming in the event some of them attacked me. It’s precisely the mentality the majority of them still have, and it’s sad.
And most adults aren’t mature adults in this day and age. Adults today aren’t the adults of the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s. Many of today’s adults, 55 and younger, have no morals nor integrity. The world today is much more evil, and many people have let hatred and immaturity overtake them because, in the current climate, it’s easier to survive in today’s world if you go along.
It’s hard to go high when everyone else goes low. Few people want to be the square peg in a group of round ones because it’s much too risky.
And many of my classmates may not think they’d stand back and watch another human being getting pulverized. After all, we all want to believe we’d do the right thing. But human nature is a fickle thing, and the compulsion to conform to a group is more potent than we realize.
This kind of stuff has happened too many times down through history- others looked the other way while the most brutal of atrocities were being committed.
This is not to say for absolute certain that they would resort to physically harming or killing another person because they may not. But there’s no way I can know for sure. And given all this, especially their past behavior, I’m not willing to take that chance. So, the best thing to do is to ensure my safety by avoiding them altogether.
So, if you were a target of bullying in school and you know for a fact that your classmates never resolved their hatred of you, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to go to any reunions, much less bring your spouse and kids to one. Sometimes distance is the safest bet.
With knowledge comes empowerment!
0 thoughts on “A Few More Reasons I Won’t Go to My High School Reunion”
“Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.” – Nietzche
We call it in psychology, a folie a deux. Group psychosis. How common is this to see these days. That is on reason I stay away from where the flock rests. Thank you for sharing and reminding me of this valuable lesson.
You’re most welcome, Dr. Maples. And these days, more than ever before, you’re right. Group psychosis is way too common and it’s a sad thing.
Another approach might be to walk into the event looking great, head held high, smiling at everyone without stopping to chat, stay no more than ten minutes, and then leave. You will become the most fascinating person in the class. Alisa
You have a point! That might work for some people but would still be risky for others. Besides, I could care less if I ever saw any of them again. But that’s just me.
I find that largely a waste of time. Truth is in a day and age of smartphones, email and Social Media, you can keep up with almost anyone. Your first high school reunion people are usually around 28, so it is more morbid curiosity. The cliques are often still there and by then people have often started families or beginning to, are set in careers, and you wonder who grew up and who still is immature. You also often discover the type of people who have filled out, matured, etc and think to yourself you should have been better friends or attracted to them in high school. After the first one, fewer people start showing and you recognize the cliques groups never left town.
Bingo! The first reunion is rather interesting, the rest of them are pretty dull. And people tend to regress into children at school reunions.
One thing I meant to add- the reason the cliques never leave town is because they wouldn’t survive anywhere else. They stay because it’s where they have their big connections and get all the favors handed to them. They wouldn’t get that anywhere else.
I’m fortunate to have only had 26 in my graduating class. Your situation must have been horrible and my sympathies go out to you for the experiences that have scarred you so terribly.
Thank you so much! 💖 I forgive them but I could never trust them again. I don’t wish them any ill will, I just prefer they stay away from me and my family. Sometimes distance is best.
If you don’t feel like it, then don’t go. Here in Italy we say: “it was not your doctor who ordered that!”
Absolutely right! 💯 There’s no way I’ll go! They can have fun without me.
I avoid crowds also
Thank you. 🙂 I don’t mind crowds as I’ve grown very confident over the years. But I’ll avoid THAT crowd because they’re a bunch of drama-lovers and I have no time for drama.
I cannot imagine there are people like that exist in the world…. oh, wait, they do . I’m sorry you have actually encountered evil people.
Thank you so much, Ren! 💖 The good thing about being an adult is that I no longer have to associate or having anything to do with those people! And my life is much better without them around me. 🙂🌻
Group think genuinely freaks me out. I wouldn’t go back to my high school reunion either.
I don’t blame you there, Sara! People tend to regress into children at school reunions!
Cherie? What can I say?
Thank you so much, Lance! Much appreciated! 😊
I would never go either, for the same reasons 🙏🙏
I can’t say I blame you, Jim! 👍
I might go to see it burn to the ground 🤪🤪🔥🔥
Now, now, Jim. 🙂
just sayin’ 😇😇
There is a verse in the book of Romans says, basically, we are to live at peace with others as much as in us lies-or as possible as it is. And with some the possible only comes with distance. You must have been hurt very badly in high school. There are good people out there as well as bad. I hope you haven’t allowed the bad to keep you from finding the good.
Thank you so much. 💖 And I haven’t. I refuse to allow what they did years ago to cause me to mistrust people in general. However, I could never trust them. I forgive them, yes. And I have no ill will towards them. I just prefer them to just stay away from me. In this case, it’s best for me to keep distance between the OHS Class of 1990 and myself and my family.
Sometime that is the only recourse. God bless.
Thank you. 🙂 God bless you too. 🙏 💖
I don’t blame you one bit Cherie. Even if that junior high school I went to in the town I was so badly bullied in had reunions, I wouldn’t go. Not even to show them how much I have moved on in spite of them. Like your bullies, they would probably see it as an attempt to rub their noses in it. Like you say, avoidance is the best policy here.
I totally agree! Quick question. Do you think your bullies from way back would try to fit fight you?
They might or most likely, they wouldn’t have let me in on the grounds I didn’t graduate with them. If they had, it would have been in order to try to humiliate me like the old days. Have you read the part where the main character legally changes his name. That’s based on me because originally, I was born Milton LeFevre and after my parents divorced, my mother had my name changed to Michael. This happened when I was living in that awful town and even though the name change happened in the first few months I was there, everyone called me Milton as a way of bullying me. I am confident they would try the same thing again.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, Michael. And yes I have and they keep calling him Marvin. I’m so sorry that happened to you, Michael. It shows their lack of respect and withnlack of respect comes danger.
Thank you Cherie and that was the best thing after I moved out, people were calling me by my proper name.
Absolutely! I’m so glad you were able to move on to a new school and a new life! 🙌 👍🕊
I am on chapter 11 now and it’s beginning to escalate.
Good I won’t spoil it but you’re coming up to a break in the action.
Thank you, Michael! I’ll be looking for it. 😃
I went to my informal 11 year reunion.I missed the 10 year one as I was in med school.Funny,I did not see my best friends there.I did not recognize anyone,either.I got in touch with some close friends I grew up with a few days after because it was all a buzz on social media.Connected and then spaced away from even those people.Life keeps me busy.I can relate to all you share here.I got invited to 20 year reunion,yet never went to it….actually did something fun that time instead of the reunion cruise ship.Take the time to celebrate yourself and how far you have come since that time.
Thank you so much! It sounds like you have a lot going for you and I’m so proud of you! Wishing you all the best in med school and in your career! 😊🤗🌞
I love your empowered stance as well.I wish i read your blog post earlier. So many aha moments while reading your blog post.
Thank you so much! 😊🤗 This means a lot!
After having attended six different high schools before graduating I can say there wasn’t a single one of those classes I’d wish to attend a reunion for. I can only imagine how asinine they can be.
You have the right attitude. People tend to regress into kids again at school reunions.
The last “quote” made the read.
Thank you so much! 💖
Yes, group behavior is different from individual behaviour. I’ve experienced this phenomena a lot!
I can relate, Monika. I’m sorry you were on the receiving end of it. 💖
I agree with you and then again I don’t. My personal view points are always evolving. My husband is the kind of person who use to struggle with who he was and some of the people who use to bully me (not all) have actually grown into amazing people and close friends. Some have even apologized to me 😲! It’s true! To say that people don’t every grow or move beyond their core values is to say that human beings never change and that’s just not entirely accurate. I’m not saying that you should expect good things to come your way or that you forget about what was done to you but I am saying that I personally am nowhere near the person I use to be in high school and more than likely… you aren’t either. People ARE capable of change. ❤️🤗
Absolutely people are capable of change. However. I’ve run into these classmates since school, unfortunately. And they were just as psychotic as they were years ago and one even followed me around the supermarket a few years back. Also, when I wrote a.d published my memoir in 2017, I got a lot of backlash from them and had to block many of them. Yes, a few of them have changed but the vast majority haven’t. Some bullies do change and become better people, but most don’t. Thank you so much for your thoughts. Amd I’m so glad you were able to reconcile with the people who bullied you. That’s such a blessing. 💖💐🌺
That’s so scary to still run into them! I personally have not run into any past bullies.
It really is. I’m so glad you haven’t run into yours. The town I was bullied in declined in the 90s- drugs, gangs, shootings, all took over and now it’s a shell of it’s former self. Many of my bullies got into drugs, and several joined gangs. Many more lived unhappy and unsuccessful lives after high school. So they’re still very angry and bitter people.
And pardon the typo! I corrected it. I mean to say “I’m so glad you haven’t run into your bullies…” My mistake. 😂🤣
I was hoping that was a typo 🤣
😂🤣 It was. I hate auto correct! 😩
What is the name of your memoir?
“From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying…)” Thank you so much for asking. 💖
I saw a bad review on there. Do you think it is one of your bullies?
Absolutely it is. 💯 I saw that too but it didn’t bother me. I know that bullies and abusers always deny the abuse they inflicted and attack their target when they speak out, so it didn’t surprise me. 😁
Here’s something else I meant to add- sometimes a bad review or two can be a good thing. It arouses curiosity. 😁😁😁
Oh goodness well that’s a different story entirely. I’m so sorry you endured that!! Sounds like a piece of horror
Thank you. There are maybe 2 or 3 that grew into decent people. I like to give credit where it’s due. The town declined rapidly into drugs and crime after we got outbof school. I think that’s a huge factor. Many of my former bullies had been in and out of jail.
I’m so sorry Cherie!
Thank you sweetie. 😊 But they didn’t defeat me. They gave me the drive to teach targets how to better protect themselves. So, I didn’t just survive, I overcame them. I ended up being the Victor! 😃
Proud of you!
Thank you, sweetie! 💖🌹🕊
It is depressing to hear about your bullying experience. I wonder why they hated you so much and why you call yourself a “usurper.”
Fortunately and unfortunately, I don’t think our high school will have a reunion. Our class President don’t seem to have the interest of planning it, from what I heard. I would just go out of curiosity. I wasn’t bullied in high school but I was in middle school, but not as traumatizing as your experience.
The only things I can think of is that I didn’t start attending that school until the sixth grade and I wasn’t raised in the town. Also, I didn’t think like they did. I grew up an Army Brat and had lived all over when I moved to the town= I was different. That’s why I was bullied so badly.
I attended a small rural school and overall, felt blessed. There were a few bullies~but small town friends had small town parent friends who, for the most part, stood up for all of us. My worst bullying, and some times I still struggle with, occcured in my adult years, and at work~school surroundings. So much I was pulled into a lawsuit over telling the truth. I’ve been out of high school 34 years this year. I’m blessed to say that several of us remained close. And I’m still facing adult bullies~but with more wisdom on my part. ♥️❤️💛
I’m so glad your school experiences were great, Karla. But I’m sorry you were bullied at work. Workplace bullies are more sophisticated with their attacks then school bullies.
Thank you, Cherie. Yes indeed!
I don’t do reunions any more, did one at my 10th and not again. They expect the 1979 matriculant they once knew, but he died eleventeen deaths long ago. The new gent that could show up, is someone they never knew, one that doesn’t want to be known by them.
I completely understand and don’t blame you!
Was complaining about my Worker’s Compensation manager to somebody the other day and they replied, they would have been a bully at school
I believe them too. Most bullies in school grow up to be crappy managers, supervisors, and coworkers.