I know this isn't what you asked, but my view is from a former bully’s perspective… I apologise in advance for my former behaviour.
I say I was a bully but I was never really that bad. I've always been a well built lad, at six foot five from the age of about 17, so I just made use of what I had.
So anyway, there was one particular boy at my school, nothing seriously wrong with him, short, average looking, well spoken (I went to a rough school and this was a bad thing); he was just an all round average guy. For some reason there was something about him that just infuriated me, looking back on it now; I think it was that whilst I watched others bully the guy, he never ever stood up for himself, which for some reason pissed me off.
So, I made the next few years of the guy's life a living hell. I regret my behaviour every single day during this time period, I'd trip the kid, verbally abuse him; it got physical fairly often.
Towards the end of school my attitude had started to change, I was in reoccurring trouble with the police, to the extent that when I was arrested and taken to the station, the officers there knew me by name; even worse was the effect it was having on my single mother… I think I must have just realised it was time to grow up and stop being such an idiot.
At this point, I had a ridiculously low attendance record at school, so instead of bunking off and doing whatever illegal stuff I felt like doing at the time, I started going. I was still a bit of a knob to some of the other kids, but hey, it was early days. I managed to leave school with fairly high GCSE grades, in a class year that was branded “the worst in twenty years” with over 60% going ungraded or failed altogether, which I think made me realise my potential.
Amazingly, I got accepted into college… a good college as well. I now saw this as a chance to reinvent myself, none of my friends made the cut to get into further education; the majority failed, it was just me with the sky as my limit.
So, the first day of college arrived and I went to get the coach that transfered us to the nearby town, excited to meet my new peers and to start afresh. My heart literally stopped when I saw the kid that I had bullied for years, let's call him… Jeffy, stood at the stop, happy as hell with a great beaming smile on his face. He obviously saw this as his chance too, he could be someone other than my punchbag and free money source.
Where I had been concentrating on school for the last few months, I hadn't seen the guy literally at all; as he noticed me, his face dropped. I remember feeling absolutely terrible, no person should be made to feel like that, I had no right whatsoever to do this to the poor guy. So the first time ever, I apologised, sincerely apologised. Amazingly Jeffy accepted the apology pretty much straight up, perhaps partially due to fear, but I like to think it was because he could truly tell that I meant what I said. We even sat next to each other on the coach, and talked on the way there; it turned out that the damn guy had lived almost directly opposite me for the last sixteen years, I had had no idea!
From here, we generally sat next to each other on the way to college; on one of these such trips, I invited the guy round to play Xbox with me and a few of the lads from our old school. He didn't turn up. I didn't think much of this, so I went and knocked on his door thinking he had forgotten… it turned out, although I don't really blame him, the guy thought it was a trick, that me and the others were going to beat him up when he got to mine. Again I felt incredibly bad, the fact that I instilled such fear in him. I assured him, that wasn't the case, and that if anyone gave him any stick, I'd be there to stick up for him. Which was fortunate, seen as the other guys apparently try hadn't made the same decisions as me and pretty much immediately started to bully him… which ended with me getting in a tussle with one of my long term friends and throwing him out, I felt I definitely owed the guy that much.
From here, Jeffy was pretty much my constant companion, at first I took a lot of stick from my stupid friends (almost none of which I'm still friends with) for having him around, until they actually chilled with the guy and realised that he was a genuinely nice bloke, what they had taken for weakness was just absolute kindness, the guy was a Saint… it took quite a long time, but eventually, the lot from my area came to accept him. There was still an element of bullying, but it was more… a friendly type if there is such thing.
With myself, I still wound him up quite often, but it was because I was trying to get him to stick up for himself, it still killed me that he literally just took it… until one day Jeffy flipped the f*** out, and let me tell you; the guy had some serious bear strength. As I said, I'm a solidly built 6foot5, he was about five foot eight? But the tiny hulk literally picked me up, turned me upside down, then dropped me on my head. After this, he returned to his normal passive state, mixed with an element of panic as he apologised profusely; I found it absolutely brilliant, I was laughing as I shook the guy's hand, I told him it was a good thing that he had reacted that way.
Obviously from this point I layed off, I think he understood that he needed to do something about it if someone else treated him like dirt, plus the dude was hella strong and he had nearly destroyed my damn back. Ten years later, he's still my best friend, we rent a place together and he, for better or worse, takes no sh*t from anyone, even me.
I know you might see this as a twisted warped view of things, but he actually thanked me one day for the way I treated him, he told me that he had had depression probably from the way people treated him, including myself; but from being around me he learned to, well… grow a backbone. People no longer picked on him, he was more confident, he was a different person. He told me he was the happiest he had been for as long as he could remember.
Don't get me wrong, I regret the way I acted in my youth, but I've since turned it around, it took a while, yes, but I got there in the end. I often work as a volunteer in the local youth offenders centre to councel the kids there… most of my friends are now in jail or worse, and I could have easily ended up the same way… I feel if I can change the path of even just one of the kids, then it's worth my time.
Sorry about the essay, thanks for reading.
Edit: reading this back months down the line I've realised that the last part of this confession was very me me me, self centered sounding and to be honest it made me cringe.
I didn't actually mean that I was this great saviour that brought about change with the wave of his bullying hand… Or fist. No, what I meant to put across is that I was, and am, completely horrified with my past actions and my behaviour back then, I was a disgusting person that did disgusting things to the extent that I still feel undeserving sometimes of the good things in my life, for surely the bad still outweighs the good and more than likely will do even with me constantly trying for a very long time.
I originally was going to just edit the part of my answer that I dislike, but I found the idea of it dishonest maybe even fraudulent to an extent, so I've decided to leave it almost like a badge of shame.
This wasn't supposed to be a way to glorify myself as it ended up being, it was meant in the hopes to make people realise that there IS hope even for the worst of us. Hopefully to serve as inspiration for any kid that followed in my shoes and is looking to make a change, or the single parent like my own mother that's going through hell, sat up late at night wondering if the next phone call is going to be the police saying their son or daughter has been arrested… Or even worse, killed. This was supposed to be a message to not give up hope, that maybe that prick that picked on you when you were younger is out there and he's trying to make up for what he's done.
Of course no one can be perfect, our egos often rule our conscious thought, as proven above by the definite change in tone the longer my story progressed, and for that I apologise.
Thanks for reading an even lengthier explanation.