My Problems With Apologies
I have a problem with people saying “Sorry”.
When not used as an “excuse me”, but to express regret and remorse, “Sorry” on it’s own just doesn’t do anything for me.
Too many people have said “Sorry”, who then went on to behave in ways which made it abundantly clear that their remorse was as enduring and memorable as last year’s newspaper.
“Sorry” leaves me cold.
I think some people use “Sorry” as a way to smooth over a situation, even if they don’t know what they’re being sorry for.
I hate that.
And I think some people use “Sorry” to divert attention away from the fact that they are knowingly careless with their behaviour and how it impacts on others, and are solely concerned with their own goals, regardless of others.
I hate that too.
I have found that some people use “Sorry” as if it were a super-fix-it word which is all that’s required in order to invisibly and permanently repair any situation they broke.
I really hate that.
I could quite happily live my life without being offered a single “Sorry” ever again. To me, “Sorry” doesn’t tell me they’re going to fix whatever situation they broke, “Sorry” tells me that they’re trying to avoid having to endure any unpleasant consequences of their actions.
Small Related Rantfest About An Ex Partner
My last, final vanilla partner (before I discovered my inner kinkfest) used to make a whopping big deal out of saying “Sorry”. He’d go on and on about how hard it was for him to say “Sorry”, and how I was failing to appreciate how much he was suffering in order to tell me “Sorry”.
This is quite aside from the fact that I did not ask, nor require him to say “Sorry”.
This is also entirely aside from the fact that he was saying “Sorry” because he broke something.
So, you may imagine, that his suffering as a result of his self-imposed martyrdom of saying “Sorry”, which in turn was a direct result of himself having broken some situation, inspired microsopic (or less) amounts of sympathy from me.
Like, he wanted a prize for suffering through the saying “Sorry” for something he broke.
- Tra la!! Your prize is, you get to go very far away from me, and stay there.
Fortunately, he’s long gone. I’ve grown a bit since then and can now recognise such dysfunction (most of the time) when it pops up.
About My Apology Requirement List
I had a list similar to the one below at the time I was with ex-vanilla. But it wasn’t so clear or well defined at the time. I had three things on it, but I don’t think they were so concisely or clearly put. Being with ex-vanilla helped me hone that list to its current form.
Recently (within the last few months) I added the fourth item, just to round everything off. I’m happy with that list now, and I hope it won’t require modification for quite some time at least.
I’m imagining there will have to be some prit-tee spesh-ul (and scary) transgressionage going on in order to highlight any new element needed. :p
Apologies I Like A Lot
In order for any apology to be meaningful to me, I need it to include the following four things:
- Evidence of understanding the transgression
- Definitive acknowledgment of responsibility for the transgression
- An undertaking not to repeat the transgression
- An indication of why and how the transgression will not be repeated
I feel reassured when I get apologies with all those things in them. :)
Apologies I Don’t Like
I will disengage from any individual, automatically disregard, and immediately consider meaningless any “Sorry” said to me in conjunction with any one or more of the following:
- Attempts to blame me or anyone else for their transgression
- Attempts to blame me for objecting to their transgression
- Attempts to minimise the validity of my feelings about their transgression
- Attempts to minimise the significance of their transgression
- Comparing their transgression favourably to something worse
- Claiming their transgression was really for my benefit
- Any attempts to justify the transgression
- Any careless or deliberate repetitions of the transgression
Those elements are real deal-breakers for me.
I don’t need people to feel badly if they make a mistake which impacts on me. I’d rather they didn’t, actually. I don’t feel any better if I know somebody feels bad for something they’ve done wrong. Those feelings don’t help me. And feelings of remorse often seem to interfere with fixing what went wrong.
It doesn’t seem like anybody benefits from unpleasant feelings resulting from committing a transgression. So actual remorse isn’t something which interests me very much. I’m far more interested in some indication that a transgression won’t repeat.
I’m not sure at what point I realised that “Sorry” didn’t do it for me. I know some people regard apologies as some kind of formal requirement which will make everything ok. And for some people, maybe they do.
But for me, I need something more than a simple “I apologise”, or “I’m sorry”. And I know that I don’t feel comfortable with a person until I get that from them.
And when I do get it, I feel very much better. :)