There are words we can use that will truly make someone’s day. We never know what has happened in someone’s life before we encounter them, so being a person who is mindful of that will help us in having a good day (if it started out that way) ourselves and making someone else’s better. When we communicate with others, we should keep in mind who we are talking to and what we are saying. Not everyone is going to hear what we are saying the way we mean for them to. Emotions and experiences are filters and we hear what we think we hear and respond or react to it.
Words mean so much. Just hearing someone say “Please” or “Thank you” can bring a smile to anyone’s face. They are not words that we hear as often as we should and there are many adults that do not even teach their children to use the words anymore. Now another set of words that we rarely hear but we need to in relationship is “I’m sorry” or “I apologize”. Now those are words that will NOT come across the tongue of some people no matter what the circumstance. Why is it that some people just cannot let the words come out? Do you know anyone in your life that has done something to hurt or offend you and they do not feel that they have to apologize for anything? Are they good at passing the blame or explaining away what happened? Then they expect you to move on like nothing ever happened…..
You may think, just like I did, that someone who doesn’t apologize is just displaying pride or defensiveness but many times it is a reflection of their fragile sense of self. Apologies are very important to many of us. They show us that the person did not intentionally try to cause us hurt or harm. It shows us that they would like to reconcile with us and get back to a good place in the relationship. If you know someone that does not like to apologize, you have probably seen them mumble a small “sorry” if they bumped into someone in the mall but they refuse to be accountable to your hurt and will come up with an excuse or use the blame game without blinking an eye.
When most of us offend or harm someone, we quickly offer up our apologies because we know that the person deserves it and we can feel better because we are forgiven and the guilt of the offense fades. The one who does not like to apologize is dealing with fears (conscious and unconscious)that they will avoid like the plague. Here are some reasons why your loved one may be avoiding apologies…
- They cannot separate their actions from their character so an admission will cause them to think that they are bad people, selfish, ignorant, or stupid. They already have issues with their identity or self-esteem and the apology can cause them to throw themselves another punch.
- They are so down on themselves that they feel like once they give you an apology, you are going to pull out a long list of offenses that you have been holding onto, waiting for the moment to spew them out.
- They think that if they apologize, they are taking full responsibility for everything and you are being let off the hook. Somewhere in their brain, they are thinking that the apology stops you from being a part of the disagreement…(that is just crazy to me).
- They use the silence and non-apology to attempt to manage their emotions. They may feel like apologizing is too emotionally charged so that silence that you receive is where they are comfortable; that is where they can be at home in their anger and emotional distance. They are protecting themselves from feeling hurt, humiliation, and sadness themselves; they are not really concerned with your feelings at the time.
- The one who will not apologize may be a perfectionist and may be hard on themselves. Because they turn everything inward, they will not feel guilt about their actions, but they will feel ashamed of them. Feeling shame is so much more hurtful than guilt.
Opening up, apologizing, and relieving yourself of the guilt of hurting someone can be very therapeutic for everyone involved. You may even experience a deeper relationship, emotional closeness and trust for the person after all is worked out. Do yourself a favor and do not try to force him/her to apologize because that could cause more problems than you want. No one should walk around with the burden of the missed opportunity to apologize and get the relationship back on track; it is a heavy weight. We all know that no one is perfect so after the intense emotions subside, if you love each other, all things can be worked out for the good. A huge emotional goal for us all should be to want to be happy and fulfilled in our lives. Our actions should always move in the direction to do what it takes to be there.