FAQ

Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Announcement Icon
You can win one of three $200 gift cards. Complete our survey by 5pm, 30 June 2024 AEST to enter the draw. Your response will be anonymous so you can't be identified.

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.

google

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?

TonyWK

37 Replies 37

Hi all,

I had an exH who never apologised for a thing, ever, and did the worst things imaginable. I know now that it was all intentional. But he was raised by narcs & he was worse.

He would say "how come when YOU do something wrong, the argument is over in a minute. But when I do something wrong, it goes on for ages".... I think he was talking about his silent treatment to me...

My reply was .... because when I do something wrong, I apologise immediately.
Almost always my mistake was unintentional.
And he could also be the life of the party in mixed company & I would think he's talking to me again but the second the last people left, he'd be straight back into silence. Yelling usually & then silence again. Horrible.

I don't think "sorry" was in my mother's vocabulary lol. She cut the end of my finger off whilst she made us both use the same chopping board to cut veg. No sorry, just anger that my blood came out.

The one thing that's worse than no apology is a "SOR-REEEE then" & "are you HAPPY now?".
Don't bother.
Yeah I'm doing cartwheels lol.

For me a confirmation that someone is actually sorry is that they avoid doing that thing again. Or try to. Sincerity is important in an apology, otherwise it's not a real apology IMO. I used to apologise for everything to get that behind us... but that's not a healthy relationship. I quit that.
Now I do apologise & always have when I know I did something wrong, or forgot something important etc.
But if it's a bit of an iffy apology then I frame the words pretty carefully like, "I'm sorry I hurt you by saying that, it wasn't my intention" if that's true etc.

Reading all this is making me even more sure that I can't do marriage again.

I had another exH that, AFTER we were married, just started merrily doing all sorts of stuff almost every day; drinking to excess, gambling till there was zero left in bank account, borrowing money from all & sundry, when he started staying out at night, & we had a young family, I was done. He'd say sorry (when he was found out) & expected I'd be thrilled with that?
The apology wasn't sincere because there was ZERO effort at changing anything.
He actually said "You'd never leave me, you NEED me" (that was his assessment of our marriage, clearly).
Hmmmm no I didn't. I needed that garbage like rocks in my shoes.
I left the same night and NEVER went back.

Another apology I can't stand is "You made me do it, but SORRY" seriously dealing with a toddler's attitude there.

EM

I thing sincere apologies are essential in a civilised society. They let the other party know that you didn't mean to hurt them (We are human and all make mistakes or say or do things which hurts the other person). or we are admitting to doing something wrong & saying we now realise it is wrong and will no longer do it. It is something which needs to be taught to children. Often when my kids and now grandkids hurt a sibling or break something etc I ask them to say sorry. Their reply is often I didn't mean it. I then explain that it is important that they let the other person know that it was an accident so they know you didn't mean to hurt them. This takes time but I see the effect with my adult kids who treat others with respect and do apologise when required.

We cannot change others but we can set an example to others including family members & friends. They in turn can choose whether to act like decent respectful adults or not. If not you need to choose whether to continue in the relationship. Nobody deserves to be treated like dirt particularly when they are doing their best to be considerate.

Hi RM

I think many will relate to your contribution

I was told by a partner that her closet drinking was due to putting up with my bipolar. Nice eh.

As for being turned off with another partner EM- at 53yo 11 years ago I swore I’d remain single. My best friend was a lady I’d matchmade to my then brother in law in 1988 and they had separated when I’d built my home. She was also my kids favourite auntie by marriage

Well I invited her up for dinner and veggie soup... we sat and I said “I’ve never told you what I really think of you”

reply “you can tell me”

”I won’t tell you- I’ll show you” I said

Then stood up and kissed her.

We married 18 months later, been married 9 years.But if it hadn’t been her it would be nobody, I’d run my course of relationships- they were too much work- for me.

My wife has depression and dyslexia and I bipolar, dysthymia and stuff. It’s easier when both have mental illness struggles as the empathy is always there. It’s only when both individuals are “down” that it gets tough as you both need each other and the other isn’t well enough to support. In those hours we often change our environment, climb in our vintage convertible car and go for coffee and cheese platter.

We have embraced the word “sorry” but always add a question or two to make sure it’s sincere.

In our early days we had to learn to control our tempers and introduce boundaries. The following thread depicts those boundaries

relationship strife?- the peace pipe

Elizabeth- oh yes, teaching young ones to give a sincere apology is so important

TonyWK

TonyWK you are such a romantic lol, how sweet that you two ended up together. Awwww.

Yes gotta love the blame game. I'm about the same vintage as you and I'm tired lol. I understand why you say if it wasn't her, it would not have been anyone.
We'll see how things go in my life - bf wants to marry but I'm reticent.

I think an insincere apology is worse than a fake one, why bother? Plus I think it's rude and as the saying goes, is an "insult to my intelligence".

I teach children that IF you say sorry straight away then people KNOW you're sorry.
If someone has to DRAG an apology out of you, then no amount of sorries after that will be as well received. Sometimes it takes a while to sink in... a character in it's development.

Same with if another person is NOT sorry. Don't say it. I would rather know the true person, than be misled by fakery.

EM

Hi EM

ARGH relationships... I’m sure the guy in this poems would have regrets not saying dorry

THE BLACK WIDOW


The male black widow spider
tried all his life
he tried to tickle the hairy legs
of his much larger black widow wife

Then finally he had a win
something at last to gloat
she began to laugh aloud
as his leg slid down her throat

Poor male black widow
was always going to get into strife
all because he didnt understand
the nature of his hairy wife..

TonyWK

Hi TonyWk,

My x cheated on me.I know because she gave me something I didnt want which proved It.My doctor told me so.

When I confronted her about it ,picked the right time place and in a calm manner.Refused to admit it and told me it was my fault because I had unprotected sex in the past.

After hours of me trying to reason,I ended up apologising for falsely accousing her.

Talk about going insane,I feel you

Tryin2

So many other examples I could remember but choose not too

l wouldn't say l'd end up apologizing for what wasn't my fault but if things were went sour l'd sort of volunteer my apology for my part in it if there was one, thinking that would encourage also one from her for her part in it but nope , it never did. lt wasn't marriage but a 4yrs relationship through which there were many many things , some quite big that she should've apologized for.

She had a foul mouth when things didn't go her way , or a very sharp tongue if she was just feeling like a bit of a spar . She could be incredibly loving and fun and beautiful but also mindbogglingly hard and nasty, often an under the table style nasty , a nasty while your not being nasty , or she could be down right viscous when really peed.

l don't think l could even remember one time , not one , where she'd apologized for anything, nothing.

She had an arrogance and self contentedness.

l've never liked a person that wouldn't willingly volunteer an apology, you know some people you know they just won't . Her of course it was for me obviously a mix of many other things and very strong feelings too , but just people or friends in general , a good person will apologize if needed imo. And an even better person will realize of their own seeing that they did something and owe you a sorry.

rx

Hi RandomX

Some wont say sorry- never. The word "sorry" means to them a failure yet to many of us its courage of self reflection.

There's different levels of apology. Some will apologise simply because they didnt mean to grate you which isnt apologising for the act but regreting the conflict perhaps. Nevertheless its still an honourable thing to do as it displays care.

TRYIN2 re:"After hours of me trying to reason,I ended up apologising for falsely accousing her." Talk about squeezing an apology out of you!. Well I suggest that disputes shouldnt last more than 30 minutes. There is a thread I wrote covering the best way to resolve a confrontation-

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/relationship-and-family-issues/relationship-strife-the-peace-pipe

Ecomama The immediate sorry is indeed the most genuine. I must say the older I get the more reluctant I am of offering one but yes "nip it in the bud" comes to mind.

Dear readers, what we have established here is the acknowledgement that apologies come in various levels of sincerity. Time taken to reach saying that word can vary for genuine reasons eg busy working, contemplating the conflict or other factors in the dispute. Time taken to say sorry can also be a sign of stubbornness, pride, the mentality of "well I wont apologize because you didnt apologize for ....".

I think if we own up to our misjudgements straight away regardless of the other persons shortcomings is our responsibility. If they dont apologize when you believe it is most worhty of one then you can reconsider your relationship, where its at.

Apologies is a very important part of human interaction. It's the grey zone, the "fluid" part of most of us. Not possessing the desire to ever apologize takes people out of the fluid zone towards an isolation self administered, which means they are unworkable. It can result in one party only keeping the relationship going.

Yes, one word, "sorry" can be pivotal towards happiness.

Sufferers of mental illness I feel, will need to apologize more often as our behaviour sometimes dictate our persona. I recall I read about "foot in mouth disease" and how those with ADHD and bipolar suffer from it. This is because we talk without thinking. That reduces with maturity though, but its hard not to be yourself and your illness is part of you. Apologies at times can be rejected though and thats where its hard to swallow. You can only try.

TonyWK

topsy_
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
Hi Tony, do you remember that movie in the mid 70’s - “Love Story”? It’s theme was “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”. I believe love means ALWAYS being prepared to say sorry!

Yeah l dunno wth that would've been about , ridiculous. Just yet another story out of some Hollywood writers head that means absolutely nothing.

You want to say sorry when you love , and things hurt 20x more when you love.

rx