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Apologies- within reason

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

I don’t know about you but over my 64 years I’ve met many people that don’t apologise for their wrong doing. Having observed this and was once married for 11 years to a narcissistic wife that never apologised once in all that time, I’ve come to conclusion that absence of apologies is excess of arrogance, stubbornness or both.

Whatever the reason it leaves the more apologetic one with lots of frustration because they, like most, run their lives with apologies as a basic form of expressing regret which is a conventional method of healing so we can move forward. Without that you live a marriage where you question your own judgements when apology is absent. Imo that comes from greater commitment with knowledge that without carrying responsibility for your own errors, the future of the marriage is in jeapody.

As my first wife and I had young children when we parted ways we still had to communicate for visitations and pick ups/drop offs and education concerns. This meant a continuous stream of talking flowed on so in effect that stubbornness went on for a further 14 years until the youngest was 18yo, when finally I needed to escape and severed all contact. That’s how bad an “attitude” can be.

That was 10 years ago. Yet the scars live on. Now if a friend or relative is in clear error I do like some expression of regret- if it is shown then I click into forgiveness mode quickly- most times.

What about an excess of apologies? Commonly found in people with low self esteem, these apologies reflect a domineering factor in your childhood whereby you were told “you are wrong” in an over domineering way- as an adult you continue to feel that guilt and guilt is s terrible backpack to carry around.


beyondblue topic guilt the tormentor

Those “guilt” rocks in that backpack should be thrown in the river, revert to normality and apologise only when you are convinced you have made an error.

Finally, I learned in training to be a young prison officer that in a group and you make an error (say you incorrectly made an accusation) then the correct action if possible is to apologise to that person in front of the same people. You might feel embarrassment but you’ll gain respect. In a jail it could save your life but respect is hard to gain amongst prisoners, that’s one way of getting it- is to treat people proper.

What is your take on apologies?


37 Replies 37

Community Champion
Community Champion


My name is quirky and I am an over apologiser.

say sorry to anyone and anything.

I am aware I do this but when someone says stop saying sorry, I say sorry.

I see other people saying sorry a lot and can see it sounds insincere.

For me it is genuine and a reflex action, I say sorry even when it is not my fault.


Community Member
As a prison officer myself, I have never had an issue apologising to a prisoner.

I make mistakes as much as they do, and if I'm in the wrong I have no issue apologising for it to them.

I am a mirror in prison, I give them what they give me. I am well respected in the units I work because of this philosophy

Hi Quirky

Im sorry you say sorry even when you shouldn’t say sorry...

Yes, it can be unground and habit forming.

An interesting aspect.

The Borderline

It has been 42 years since I worked at Pentridge Gaol and the youngest ever recruited at 21yo. We were on the tail end of the old days of discipline even when not needed and poor communication. In fact when I ever apologised it was done quietly as older officers would interpret it as an undesirable act.

Love your mirror analogy


Hi Tony, to make an apology to someone is only good if the other person is willing to accept it, although it may relieve your own consciousness to do so.

We learn from people's mistakes who should be apologetic but don't reply or acknowledge the fact that they are in the wrong that we don't do the same.

To make an apology is not a sign of weakness because you have the strength to confront the person, whether or not they accept it, is up to them.

In many relationships/marriages some people who are not at fault, make it a habit of just apologizing for the sake of saving their relationship, and that's what I can relate to, especially when I received the silent treatment.

Best wishes.


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Geoff

You also Geoff, have the scars of apologising when given the silent treatment- my memories of doing that so my wife and I could return to a harmonious household is etched in my mind.

My feeling now about that is- we should be proud we made the effort. As you say - apologising is not a sign of weakness.


Hi Tony, yes many hours of the silent treatment and having to apologise on occasions when it was no reason to or certainly not my fault.

These were the times that I disliked so much in our marriage.


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Heoff

My ex wife once went 6 weeks without one word spoken... to me. In the company of others she’d talk normally to them. But commonly 7-21 days not talking.

I worked 3 jobs so she could remain a stay at home mum- her dream role. My old Zephyr had to drive 90 minutes one way to work and needed regular tuning. I arrived home one night to enter our home and asked what was for dinner

”what do you want”?

”anything at all, I have to tune the car”

returned 30 minutes later

”what happened to dinner”?

she replied “I asked you what you wanted, I didn’t say I’d cook it”

Hence my raised voice which ended with that silence.

she treated me in contempt. Yet hours later I’d apologise for raising my voice!! Nevertheless that occasion resulted in the 6 weeks of silence.

Silemce immediately following an argument is normal for short periods but used as s weapon (as I found in articles on google) is a form of control with narcissism

In hindsight my apology made her feel good and powerful


I had a partner who sulked so I would apologise as I could not stand the sulking. It would last for a day or two.

found when I stood up and didn't apologise if I had done nothing wrong the sulking did not last as long.

suppose the people pleaser in me just wants to avoid conflict .

My family had a red zephyr family car in the 60s, thanks for the memories.

Borderline I like the mirror analogy

Hi quirky

I find this “sulking” and subsequent apology scenario interesting.

I would assume the sulking is a continuation of ones childhood reactions. As adults we are expected to conform to adult behaviour which includes open discussion immediately or soon after a conflict.

As ultra srnsitive people (about 15% of the population) we aren’t able to sit down straight away, we need time for that hurt to subside. It isn’t a choice for us- it’s the way it is. But that isn’t in the league of sulking. As an ultra sensitive person I can take a maximum period of day 2 hours of letting that hurt drift before I crave for closure. Anything beyond say 4-5 hours becomes extra disruptive to the dynamics of the relationship when in our cases leads to an unwarranted apology - to speed up the recovery.

A most frustrating process.

So along with long periods of no talking and using silence as a weapon as in Heofg and my cases, there is periods of sulking that has the absence of using such as a weapon, maybe more so for attention? Like a parent would with a child. Either way leading to apology not justified but nevertheless a last resort.

I see these situations as means to force an apology (or similar expressions of regret). If we compare, it isn’t dissimilar to an argument leading to a physical event by one party eg physical threats, actions like driving off erratically then returning and these acts lead to giving them an apology to stop the escalation of the situation. Id label that- an apology given via fear.

I suppose the factor in all these examples is whether the person had plans of premeditation. Driving off erratically might be pure emotion not done to force apology.