apologies–sometimes saying ‘I’m sorry’ just isn’t enough

The genuineness of an apology is directly related to the extent one is willing to acknowledge that one’s words or actions have caused harm, even if the self-disclosure makes one vulnerable to criticism and attack…
-Ken Newberger

Have you ever had someone apologize to you but then immediately follow it up by explaining why they behaved poorly? Something like this..

I apologize for saying all those things. But, if you can try to understand….

Statements that use words like ‘if’ and/or ‘but’ show you that the person knows they upset you, they know the right thing to do is take responsibility for it, but they can’t quite go all the way. They’re trying (lamely) to apologize but they’re also trying to ease things on themselves rather than making things better between the two of you. It ends up creating more tension and makes it that much more difficult to accept the apology.

It’s insincere.

Insincere apologies have the power to end or damage relationships. As if the risk of ending a relationship wasn’t enough, insincere apologies also come with expectations that the offended person will get over whatever was said quickly. The person apologizing may not understand (or even care) that more time might be necessary to work through feelings of disappointment and hurt. This is where you might end up with statements like this…

I already said I was sorry. How many times do I have to apologize before you get over it already? 

An apology helps, but it won’t erase what happened and the words that were said.

While I absolutely shudder at the thought of it, I understand that conflict is bound to happen at one point or another in our lives. Where there are two people in a relationship, there will be disagreements and changes but both sides usually want the issue to be resolved. I really want to believe that for the most part, hurting someone else is not done on purpose.

So what happens next? What do you do when someone apologizes (even if it feels insincere) and you aren’t quite ready to get over whatever offended you? Do you need to forgive them? How do you do that when your feelings are deeply hurt?

A line has been crossed. It’s not the first time I’ve been verbally berated (I’m not sure if attacked is too strong a word) by my ex and his wife (and I feel like it won’t be the last) but this time it went too far. At this point, I want absolutely nothing to do with either of them.

I still have not responded to anything that was sent to me. Part of me is afraid that if I do I will say something I can’t take back and everything will escalate beyond what I can control. Even last night when my ex called I just handed the phone to M and didn’t talk to him at all.

A 9 year-old being upset is understandable (although his aggression and choice of words is not) but for two grown adults who profess to have it all together, to go off on another person and say those awful things? That is not, and never will be, okay.

I’m stuck. I don’t know what it is that I do need, but a half-assed sorry is not even close to being enough right now.

4 thoughts on “apologies–sometimes saying ‘I’m sorry’ just isn’t enough

  1. Unfortunately I understand what you’re saying completely. An apology with a proviso is hurtful on top of the original thing they’re apologising for in the first place. Not least because it’s not a sincere apology at all! I hope you’re ok after what sounds like a horrible situation you were forced to deal with and that things have calmed down now. xox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I’ve still not responded to anything that was sent to me (apologies and other things). My feelings are hurt. It all felt so deliberate, calculated and very, very personal. What little trust I might have had that the situation would one day get better has flown out the window…


      • I’m not surprised hun, I’d struggle to reply in a way that wasn’t angry to things like that and then I’d worry about it making things worse (have this sort of issue with my sister). Might be needed to put a rule in place that you only communicate essential information and nothing else….either that or get a mediator involved if you really have to! Some people just aren’t worth having to deal with them :/ xx

        Liked by 1 person

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