He was confused because the chirpy tone of her correspondence was in stark contrast to the memory of this teacher being "an absolute monster."
Not knowing how to proceed, the Original Poster (OP) asked Reddit if he should ignore the message or face his tormentor from the past and tell her how he really feels about her.
"I recently got a friend request from my 5th-grade parent's teacher. I am 30 now."
"She sent me some happy message with excitement and 'hugs, hugs, hugs!', and it's left me very confused."
"This woman was an absolute monster to me when I was in her class. She would go out of her way to humiliate me or punish me for things that I had nothing to do with."
It wasn't a very good time in his life while he was a student in her class.
"During this time my mother was getting treated for cancer and had to get surgery, my father fell back into alcoholism, and my parents marriage was falling apart."
"Every day I dreaded going to class. Literally have panic attacks."
"She would single me out and look for things to put me down for. I'd never screamed at a teacher in my life, but I lost it on her when I had to leave early to go to the hospital for my mom and walked in to get my things during break, which she didn't allow."
"She immediately screamed at me, started writing up a detention slip, kept screaming, and I snapped and lost it, she kept yelling at me and putting me down even after I explained I was going to the hospital."
The OP gave another upsetting example of the way she treated him.
"Or when I was having anxiety over having a tooth pulled and when my dad came to pick me up, she jokingly/menacingly yelled "THEY'RE GOING TO RIP ALL YOUR TEETH OUT!". And that's just some of the things she did."
"She was literally the reason I told my parents that I refused to ever go to a christian or religiously based school again, and it was living hell for the year I had her."
"Now she thinks we're friends?"
"I don't want to attack her, but I am tempted to at least confront her on it, say I forgive her, and move on. Shouldn't an a**hole be held accountable? Or is there a statute of limitations over childhood trauma?"
Many readers suggested for the OP to respond to her message, but this Redditor advised him to "just block and move on" if he struggles with guilt after unloading on her.
"Honestly, if you would benefit from it, by bringing you some kind of closure or retaking of power you didn't have as a child, f'king do it."
"But if you would feel guilty afterwards or have nothing to gain, then just block and move on."
"I would want to tell her how monstrously she treated me but I would feel guilty about it because I'm f'ked in the head, so I'd just ignore it and move on with my life." – acid-vogue
"She sounds messed up. Tell her what she did to you. After that, don't keep in touch with her." – WholeExplanation9
This Redditor said he should proceed with caution.
"Piggy backing on this to say: don't let her gaslight you or walk on your feelings either OP!!"
"The thins you're about to tell her will make her hostile most likely, be prepared for her to be horrible again." – FailureCloud
Ignorance can be bliss.
"Or just ignore. Sh**ty people feed and thrive on negativity." – staytrue1985
This person might be on to something.
"Honestly she's just doing it because she probably feels guilty for doing what she did. Drop. Her."
"She doesn't deserve any sympathy for what she did. If you went to a religious school she's probably in that phase where 'Oh sh*t I'm going to die soon I might as well repent.'"
"Don't give her that satisfaction. Tell her the sh*t that she's done to u, wait for a reply or two then block her."
"EDIT: I say wait for a reply or two because I (weirdly) love hearing people make that last plea. It's so satisfying to hear them wanting to keep arguing with you or show their true colors before you finally say 'b*tch bye.'" – stressedashelll
In a separate thread, the OP provided an update to say he made the decision to respond.
"So, wow. Firstly, I wasn't expecting such an overwhelming amount of messages and responses. I've been trying to catch up with all of them, but today was 4/20 and I work at a cannabis dispensary, so I wasn't able to update earlier."
"What I have read so far has helped me better weigh the pros and cons of responding, and the support from you guys is really comforting and has helped me feel not quite as alone."
"I was fuming last night, as I'm already dealing with a lot, and her message took me there, so I held off until I could process it a bit more and not take the low-road and get vicious."
"She absolutely deserves for me to and it'd definitely make me feel empowered, but I know that would quickly fade into 'wasn't worth it' territory."
"I was civil but I called her out on it. I've decided to post screenshots, not to exploit this, but maybe you guys can perceive this differently."
"I feel like it's not really an apology, and the whole her representing Jesus poorly thing and turning it into something about religion is a cop out."
"She doesn't even take responsibility, especially in how she says 'if I was a bad representation of Jesus, which it sounds like it..', is the understatement of the year."
"I did this on my one ten minute break, and man could I have said more, and part of me wants to, but I probably shouldn't let this escalate."
"Also, her being the mayor just blows my mind. Of course she is."
Below is a series of screenshots he posted on Imgur that included his response and her followup.
Redditors commended the OP for his calm response and condemned the teacher for her non-apology.
"Actually, you handled that really well. Facts only, straight to the point, polite and calm."
"Sad to say (or not!!), her response was the opposite. Flailing about and refusing to account for her actions by claiming she's "flesh". Okay then.
"I really dislike how she's turned your points and frustrations back on her to try to make out that she's the victim as well (when you said your dad passed and she said she's lost hers too). Nobody cares. Jeeez. Smh."
"Anyway, well done. You should be proud of yourself on how you handled this cringebucket of an individual." – redbus_greenbus
"So, I came across your post earlier just on random scrolling and it's good to see that you went through with a reply."
"Sorry if her reply wasn't what you were looking for. I feel like people who respond in an overly religious way to criticisms are using it as a crutch to get out of guilt."
"If you decide to reply, and if I was in your position, I would be polite, as you were earlier, but let her know that she should work harder at upholding her values and that as an adult and as an educator she is supposed to be someone that children trust and look up to." – Jammora
"OP, your response was well thought out and calm and to the point. Hers was full of deflection and excuses."
"No surprise there and if she's a mayor of a city right now, geez those poor people. At least she's not teaching children any longer. She found a better way to do damage as a politician I guess."
"If I had to hazard a guess from her overly bright and happy enthusiasm to 'gosh, won't you think of the Jesuses, what about the Jesuses' response I'd say she's maybe sweating what the afterlife might hold for her right about now."
"She clearly wanted something from you and was upset she didn't get it. Typical narcissistic/abuser response to try and make you feel sorry for her."
"At the end of the day OP remember you grew up to be someone with empathy who knows the real difference between right and wrong. She, sadly clearly never has. That's on her."
"Block her and be done with it. Nothing good will come of any further action and I think your lack of response and allowing her to make further excuses will hurt her far worse than any response you could make back." – landho54
This person could detect insincerity from miles away.
"I can't imagine how disappointing it feels to receive an 'apology' like that. True apologies don't include the words 'if' or 'but.'"
"They also don't dodge responsibility or shift blame, as she did with her argument that she's only human. Yes, being human means that you make mistakes...but it doesn't mean that it's ok to brush it off and act as if there are no consequences."
"Honestly, after reading her response, I felt like she was really overly-fake and syrupy sweet. Personally, my guard immediately goes up when people talk like that. It feels so fake that I wonder what their motives are, what's hiding behind those 'nice' words."
"No advice to give regarding where to go from here. That's for you to decide, because you know what you're comfortable with and how to best protect yourself. I don't think you'll get anything more that this fake apology, so keep that in mind."
"Best of luck to you, OP. You showed great maturity by waiting to cool off before responding, and by choosing your words carefully when you did respond." – nakedwithoutmyhoodie
While the OP did not get the apology he was hoping for, maybe the response would provide some sense of closure.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the Relationship Advice link below.*