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People who don't apologize.


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Does anyone here have trouble with this? I have someone in my life who seldom apologizes. I can't relate. Part of restoring a hurt relationship is acknowledging that you acted badly and expressing some sort of regret over that. 

I want to understand and I'm wondering if I'm making a big deal over nothing. But to me, that apology/making amends/expressing one's regret for their part of the problem kind of helps me move forward in the relationship vs. always wondering if I'm in the wrong, if it is my fault, or if this person is just fine with being not nice and hurting others. 

Help me understand. 

Please avoid labels like narcissism and stuff. 

This is an ordinary person who has decent relationships, but just doesn't often feel compelled to mend fences in this way.

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I have someone in my life who is this way, and thinks it is often shallow/petty/self-serving to apologize.  

He was raised with some people who made a show of apologizing without changing anything.

He was also made to apologize with siblings and it was not from the heart, and turned him off of the whole thing.  

But with that said -- I think he is less this way.

But he is overall someone who wants to just make up for things by action and by changing things going forward.  

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I pray for humility for myself and for the person in my life who is like this. I think that is a precursor to being able to see the problem, to own up to it and to ask forgiveness. I think that this is the model that the Bible gives us for going to people. There is also the model of going to someone privately first and then with witnesses when they have wronged you. 

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I know someone who has a difficult time verbalizing an apology.  She is a very intuitive person. I have come to realize that she often feels regret for something and is unaware of how that feeling isn't communicated to other people  She really isn't aware of how little she has communicated and how much she has "felt".  This same person will all of a sudden say "after that he went to the grocery store."  Everyone in the room will say After WHAT and who is HE?  And she will say, well I had said that Bobby went to the dentist--didn't you hear me?  I will have to say that I was looking at her and her lips did not move.  

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7 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I have someone in my life who is this way,.......

But he is overall someone who wants to just make up for things by action and by changing things going forward.  

I cut out the part in the middle of this quote, because that doesn't apply in my case/with my person, but that last.....that's how this person is in my life. Not a lot of verbal apologies (sometimes, but not often), BUT the behavior changes, repentance is shown if not verbalized, and work is done to make things right, even though it may not be said out loud. 

I similarly have a kid who has not ever, once, in 16 years verbally said to me "I love you, Mom" (not even "I love you too" when said to him), but his actions show it all the time. So I've gotten pretty good at learning to read those kinds of messages in the languages they're spoken in.....my non-apology person is an "acts of service" person, and that's the form his apologies tend to take. 

I don't think I could handle a person who didn't show an apology in any way, though. (well, in fact, I do have a person like that, who keeps every record of every wrong you've ever wronged them, zero record of everything you've ever done *right* to them, and every record of every thing they've done *right* to you, but zero record of what they've done *wrong* to you, and never apologizes for their wrongs to you, but by golly, you'd better apologize for all of yours, over and over and over again every time they get mad b/c even when their kid is 25 yrs old, they'll still remind you how your DH missed the 1st bday, b/c he was working, and really he should have tried to be there..... If you mean a person like *that* then I say run, or at least, set some firm boundaries, 'cause it sucks)

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I know someone who rarely apologizes.  I don't know if it's related, but he has ADHD and is a "Suck-it-up, Buttercup" type of guy.  He seems to be good at admitting errors in judgment that make problems for himself, but not for apologizing when that affects others.  I've never mentioned it because I am a bit conflict-averse with people of his personality type.  

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1 minute ago, klmama said:
6 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

What happened when you told this person that you were troubled by the fact that they don't apologize?

.  I've never mentioned it because I am a bit conflict-averse with people of his personality type.  

This.

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Apology entails BOTH admitting you were wrong/made a mistake in the past, AND committing to trying to do better in the future.

Some folks get stuck on the first part -- it's unpleasant, it gets wrapped up with ego, if there are power dimensions at play (parent-child, boss-subordinate, older-younger, asymmetric marital balances) it can get snarled by (unhelpful) concepts of "saving face."

Others get stuck on the latter part, which to my mind is vastly more important.  One of my loved ones has a really, really almost insurmountably difficult time articulating that they've erred.  I don't care nearly as much about the ritual of the articulation, than that we do better going forward.

 

I also don't much care for the expectation, in either direction, of asking for/ granting/ witholding "forgiveness."  That can put a lot of pressure on the harmed person, who may or may not be ready / inclined to reconcile in the particular moment. Restoration is a process, not a moment, and different people process at different speeds.

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7 minutes ago, Pam in CT said:

Apology entails BOTH admitting you were wrong/made a mistake in the past, AND committing to trying to do better in the future.

Some folks get stuck on the first part -- it's unpleasant, it gets wrapped up with ego, if there are power dimensions at play (parent-child, boss-subordinate, older-younger, asymmetric marital balances) it can get snarled by (unhelpful) concepts of "saving face."

Others get stuck on the latter part, which to my mind is vastly more important.  One of my loved ones has a really, really almost insurmountably difficult time articulating that they've erred.  I don't care nearly as much about the ritual of the articulation, than that we do better going forward.

 

I also don't much care for the expectation, in either direction, of asking for/ granting/ witholding "forgiveness."  That can put a lot of pressure on the harmed person, who may or may not be ready / inclined to reconcile in the particular moment. Restoration is a process, not a moment, and different people process at different speeds.

This is very good.

The bolded, for me and my relationships, is separate from the apology. I can choose to forgive, even if the other party doesn't apologize or even if they never change. 

And yes, restoration is totally a process. Even with apologies and forgiveness, it can take time to get there. Both the injured party and the one who wronged them must progress through this process respectfully and patiently. 

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I don't have a relationship with the person in my life who doesn't apologize. But they've never shown remorse or made things right through actions either. They just try to act like nothing happened or was wrong. I won't put up with that type of pettiness.

Sadly, it has effected my relationship with the spouse of this person, whom I really love and would visit regularly if not for their spouse. But I made the choice to distance myself and my family to keep them safe from emotional abuse, which that is what it is, and I stand by that decision.

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Not the same but related- I have people in my life (well they are a unit- more than one person but a group 🙂 ) who are very into demanding apologies. Like every small offense even between kids is a huge deal. Parents get involved and apologies demanded. Once the offender does adequate groveling everything is fantastic, perfect, all is forgiven. But no small offense can ever be passed over without a big production apology and forgiveness ask. 

But, while I am generally not confrontational and quick to apologize and make ammends, I really bristle at the demand for an apology. Once it is demanded I feel it loses value. I actually feel like I am owed an apology for being brow beaten. It would take alot for me to apologize and mean it when it is demanded. 

OP- I do not at all believe that this is your situation. Not a bit. Just thoughts on apologies and those who have trouble with them. I have alot of trouble with a demanded apology. 

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https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/apology-quiz/

The love language people have an apology language quiz that I found fascinating.  Some of the items to me feel like "how is that an apology?!??" It has been helpful to me to realize that we all give and receive apology differently.

*Maybe* your person is just a completely different language than you? 

If this is a person that truly is never repentant that must be so frustrating.

(hugs)

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I never apologized until I was married and it took me a long time to be able to do it and do it right.  Now I can express remorse and apologize.  My mother (a narcissist) never apologized for anything (no surprise).  

 

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I have a relative who does not apologize and also does not say "thank you" for help, favors, etc.  I *think* this person only acts this way toward family, though. This person also has a different philosophy with regard to how to treat family members than I do. Such as - if this person were coming to my area for a visit, they would not ask if they could stay with me - they would assume that they could stay, no request required. And it would be completely unexpected/offensive if I indicated that they could not stay with me for whatever reason.  As for apologies, there would be no reason to apologize because one can do/say anything to a family member and it's not supposed to be hurtful. 

Anyway, I'm going a little off course here, but that's my experience with a person who has never apologized to me. 

Edited by marbel
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First you have to clarify if the other person agrees that what they did was wrong. Too many people skip this important point when factoring in what to think, how to feel, and how to react. It isn't universally accepted that apologizing when you don't think you did something morally wrong for the sake of peace  is a good thing-quite the opposite.

If you're a personality type or someone raised in a culture where apologies are obligatory for the sake of smoothing things over even if the offender doesn't agree that what they did was morally wrong, you're not going to get an apology because the offender isn't going to lie to appease you-they consider lying to you about being sorry a morally wrong thing to do. In their value system honesty, sincerity, and integrity about their words reign supreme. To them it's doing a moral injustice to the person they insincerely apologize to whether or not the one receiving the insincere apology sees it that way or not. 

So beware,  insincere apologizers, that if you're apologizing even though you don't believe what you did was wrong, they view you as a liar who manipulates people for your own personal emotional comfort. Never apologize to that kind of person unless you honestly have the conviction that you did something morally wrong to them or they'll view you as someone who cannot be taken at their word.

Now if the offender does agrees that it was wrong and still won't apologize, then that's straight up a pride problem.

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My dh has a close relative who never apologizes. He was brought up the pampered golden child who could do no wrong in his mother's eyes, and then he married someone very meek and subservient who puts up with his nastiness. Whenever he is called on his awful behavior, he will lie about it. No matter how many people witnessed the awful thing, he will claim it never happened. It's pretty interesting from a psychological standpoint.

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I have a friend who swears she always apologizes when she is wrong.  The thing is, she is practically never wrong.  And even when she is wrong, you were so very much more wrong, and it was probably your fault she was wrong, so where is your apology, hmm?

In the rare case she does finally apologize (sometimes after literally years), she still doesn't change her behavior.  It's the same thing all over again.

Meanwhile, she is adamant that others apologize to her when they are wrong, when she thinks they're wrong, or when they caused her to do something wrong.  😛

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re "moral" qualification to when apology is warranted

22 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

First you have to clarify if the other person agrees that what they did was wrong. Too many people skip this important point when factoring in what to think, how to feel, and how to react. It isn't universally accepted that apologizing when you don't think you did something morally wrong for the sake of peace  is a good thing-quite the opposite.

If you're a personality type or someone raised in a culture where apologies are obligatory for the sake of smoothing things over even if the offender doesn't agree that what they did was morally wrong, you're not going to get an apology because the offender isn't going to lie to appease you-they consider lying to you about being sorry a morally wrong thing to do. In their value system honesty, sincerity, and integrity about their words reign supreme. To them it's doing a moral injustice to the person they insincerely apologize to whether or not the one receiving the insincere apology sees it that way or not. 

So beware,  insincere apologizers, that if you're apologizing even though you don't believe what you did was wrong, they view you as a liar who manipulates people for your own personal emotional comfort. Never apologize to that kind of person unless you honestly have the conviction that you did something morally wrong to them or they'll view you as someone who cannot be taken at their word.

Now if the offender does agrees that it was wrong and still won't apologize, then that's straight up a pride problem.

(I concur with you about the irritation and insincerity of coerced apologies. When my kids were young, I was always baffled by parents who coerced their obviously-still-furious kids to "apologize."  That accomplishes... what, exactly?)

 

I'm curious about how you seem (?) to be limiting the scope for apology to behavior that has a "moral" component. Do you mean to suggest that something purely accidental -- a misthrown ball into a neighbor's window, a fender bender, an umbrella whack on a crowded street, whatever -- doesn't warrant apology?

An awful lot of the ordinary irritations of family life -- somebody forgetting to take the garbage out on garbage day, spacing out on what time the kid gets out of karate, forgetting to wipe the toothpaste off the bathroom sink -- are to my mind more matters of omission, not commission.  I certainly wouldn't count them, myself, as "moral" matters. Yet a simple acknowledgment of oh, yeah, sorry 'bout that does indeed smooth relations.

 

(The thing I most often actually do apologize for, is losing my temper.  I'm not proud when I lose my temper; but I do not, myself, see it as a "moral" failing.)

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My Aspie ds will insist I apologize for things he views as hurtful but won't tell me what I did.  I'm more than willing to apologize if I did something wrong but I won't do it if I don't know why I'm apologizing. It's always a misunderstanding and DH has to get involved to figure out what grievance ds has (he's an adult) and then tell me and I figure out a way to apologize where I can be sincere and he will be satisfied.  Otherwise, he won't speak to me at all or will barely speak to me.  Fortunately, this doesn't happen often but it's awful when it happens - he is absolutely unreasonable.

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I think many people who do not apologize are just very insecure people who have created a world where to apologize is to admit weakness. My mom does not do apology well.  If at all. Not for the simple things like @Pam in CTmentioned above that are omissions and certainly not for big things.  Not that she does a lot of big things to apologize for.  I remember once dh had some good news and within 12 hours, before dh had a chance to call his own mother, my mother called her and told her!  I was so annoyed!  Her apology was pretty weak if at all.  I have learned to just let it go.

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Generally people who refuse to apologize do so because:

1) they seriously "don't get" they did something for which they need to apologize.  iow: they're dense.  (could be insecurity, arrogance, or "just plain dense".)

2) they see apologies as a sign of weakness. 

3) insecure people will project a "tough" façade to hide their insecurity, and that includes being unable to ever take responsibility for their own failings because that would require them to admit a failure.   

and extra credit - are all the "non-apology" apologies of "i'm sorry you were offended when I ___". . . . that's NOT an apology.  that's blame shifting to the person that was offended/injured.

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Pam in CT said:

re "moral" qualification to when apology is warranted

(I concur with you about the irritation and insincerity of coerced apologies. When my kids were young, I was always baffled by parents who coerced their obviously-still-furious kids to "apologize."  That accomplishes... what, exactly?)

 

I'm curious about how you seem (?) to be limiting the scope for apology to behavior that has a "moral" component. Do you mean to suggest that something purely accidental -- a misthrown ball into a neighbor's window, a fender bender, an umbrella whack on a crowded street, whatever -- doesn't warrant apology?

An awful lot of the ordinary irritations of family life -- somebody forgetting to take the garbage out on garbage day, spacing out on what time the kid gets out of karate, forgetting to wipe the toothpaste off the bathroom sink -- are to my mind more matters of omission, not commission.  I certainly wouldn't count them, myself, as "moral" matters. Yet a simple acknowledgment of oh, yeah, sorry 'bout that does indeed smooth relations.

 

(The thing I most often actually do apologize for, is losing my temper.  I'm not proud when I lose my temper; but I do not, myself, see it as a "moral" failing.)

You seem to assume there isn't a moral component to minor things-I think there is.

How is apologizing for a ball through a window, accidentally whacking someone with an object, and getting into a fender bender not moral a issue? Whether intentional or not, if you do even minor harm to someone or something, you're morally obligated to apologize.

I think there is a moral obligation to maintain your responsibilities even if failing to do so results in consequences aren't earth shattering.  I agreed to take my kid to practice when I signed her up, so I'm morally obligated to follow through on it in a timely was out of respect for her and everyone else at practice. If I fail to do that I'm morally obligated to apologize.

It's morally wrong to make work for other people because I'm being careless and didn't meet my responsibilities to clean up after myself for the sake of others in my shared space.  If I don't do that I should apologize.  Now I'm not into big dramatic apologies over minor moral issues like those above. A sincere apology can be, "Oh, sorry about that, I'll wipe it up now."

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I straight up told the person who didn’t apologize that aside from culpability issues on whether the individual had or had not offended and whether that offense was by omission or commission that I needed an act of relationship restoration. Apologizing is what we do when we want to restore the relationship back to a place of goodness.

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re ethical obligation to restore, vs "morally wrong"

15 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

You seem to assume there isn't a moral component to minor things-I think there is.

How is apologizing for a ball through a window, accidentally whacking someone with an object, and getting into a fender bender not moral a issue? Whether intentional or not, if you do even minor harm to someone or something, you're morally obligated to apologize.

I think there is a moral obligation to maintain your responsibilities even if failing to do so results in consequences aren't earth shattering.  I agreed to take my kid to practice when I signed her up, so I'm morally obligated to follow through on it in a timely was out of respect for her and everyone else at practice. If I fail to do that I'm morally obligated to apologize.

It's morally wrong to make work for other people because I'm being careless and didn't meet my responsibilities to clean up after myself for the sake of others in my shared space.  If I don't do that I should apologize.  Now I'm not into big dramatic apologies over minor moral issues like those above. A sincere apology can be, "Oh, sorry about that, I'll wipe it up now."

I largely agree about all of this -- I think we're just using language somewhat differently.  I tend to view my own conduct with language like "obligation" and "duty" and "responsibility."  I would characterize the kind of stuff in the bolded as "failing to uphold my responsibilities" -- I concur with you that I good ethics / good manners oblige me to take responsibility / repair the window / etc. 

As I said upthread, what I mostly actually *do* apologize for in a serious way is for losing my temper -- again, I feel I have an obligation to be a grownup, and part of that is self-control, so (however aggrieved and RIGHT I may feel about the underlying prelude) I take that pretty seriously.  The other stuff -- sorry I didn't return your call yesterday, sorry I forgot to pick up the dry cleaning, sorry I took so long to get this project done -- the *regret* that I lapsed in my responsibilities is sincere; but I wouldn't call those issues "moral." 

I think it's mostly use of language though, because I do see taking responsibility for the small stuff, and repairing relationships for small as well as big stuff, as an obligation.

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I had a weird relationship with apology, as a result of frequently being told to apologise by/to my mum during a period in which she was physically and verbally abusive to me. That screws with your head. I both under and over apologised as a result. 

I am ok with it now, but it has to be self-motivated ie I need to have had time and space to go through a process of self-examination and decide that I owe an apology. I am most motivated when I owe my child/ren an apology, but that's not my sole motivational context. 

I do not respond to demands or requests for apologies - my experience with that shows me coerced apology is worthless. I trust myself enough to know I do apologise when I am at fault...but that I'm not always at fault. Demands or disappointment that I am not processing my own culpability fast enough to make someone else happy leave me very cold. 

Ok. Long lead in to questions. Does the person have any coerced apologies in their background? Do they have trouble processing emotion? Is lack of apology being used to shield against introspection? Do they disagree on their role in the conflict? Do they see apology as something that is non-verbal?

Or do they generally have issues verbalizing an internal state of mind? This was actually one of my problems.- my theory of mind is a bit screwed up - in some ways I thought if I felt sorry, the other person would Intuit it. It took.a long time to understand that others are not me. We don't share a mind. 

There are many reasons apology may not come very easily - or at all - to a person.

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Well, I think you ought to speak to them openly and frankly about this. But if you're not willing to do so then I guess the question is this: are they really a good person you want to associate with, or do they not mind (or even enjoy) hurting others and not making amends in any sort of way?

You can't know anybody's internal feelings and motivations, but you can observe their behavior and see if they their actions look like somebody who tries not to harm others and feels remorse when it happens accidentally.

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Haven't read any of the responses. 

 Twins speech pathologist mentioned THEROY OF MIND yesterday. 

I haven't had a chance to look into it yet, but I think it has to do with a person's inability to realise that others may think differently to them, or even that others think at all. It is connected with the ability to feel empathy as well. 

 

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Talking about parents apologizing ... I can't imagine expecting an apology for my mom under any circumstances.  😛  She's Mom.  It's not because she's a jerk or anything.  It's just not the kind of relationship we have ever had or ever will have.

I do apologize to my kids in certain situations, but it's more because I want to model apology than because I need to apologize.  😛  My kids might disagree.  Not sure if that is modern times or what.

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9 minutes ago, SKL said:

Talking about parents apologizing ... I can't imagine expecting an apology for my mom under any circumstances.  😛  She's Mom.  It's not because she's a jerk or anything.  It's just not the kind of relationship we have ever had or ever will have.

I do apologize to my kids in certain situations, but it's more because I want to model apology than because I need to apologize.  😛  My kids might disagree.  Not sure if that is modern times or what.

Man I apologize to my children regularly enough. Not because I want to model it but because I need to apologize. Anytime I overreact to something or jump to conclusions with some issue that gets pinned on them to later find out I didn't get the whole story, etc.

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The person in my life who doesn't apologize is not someone I can reason with as that leads to a lot of dysfunctional nonsense. So it is someone who is basically toxic or a narcissist maybe or what have you. I don't like playing armchair psychologist, but it's someone who is very functional in most circumstances but has some deeply dysfunctional behaviors.

When I decided to allow this person to stay in my life despite having done some really hurtful things, I had to decide that I was okay with never getting an apology and that I had to let go of ever expecting one. That meant also letting go of the possibility of ever really trusting this person. And being willing to just draw a boundary line and disengage whenever they act in dysfunctional ways, but also to move on and just forget it when they decide to re-engage in a more healthy fashion.

I think this is all a little different from the situation in the OP. But thinking this through helped me understand some things about apologies and their core importance to having a relationship that's really one of equals in a basic human sense.

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12 hours ago, happi duck said:

https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/apology-quiz/

The love language people have an apology language quiz that I found fascinating.  Some of the items to me feel like "how is that an apology?!??" It has been helpful to me to realize that we all give and receive apology differently.

I was very surprised at some things that it included as apologies, too.  I ordered the book from Amazon in hopes of better understanding some people in my life.  

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I remember vividly the first time my dad (who was very abrasive at times) apologized to me as a child.  It made a very deep favorable impression on me.  In fact, as a Christian, this is one of the ways that I really really saw God working in his life. 

I believe strongly in confessing my sin to God and then also apologizing to the people who I have wronged.  Neither is a substitute for the other. 

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19 hours ago, happi duck said:

https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/apology-quiz/

The love language people have an apology language quiz that I found fascinating.  Some of the items to me feel like "how is that an apology?!??" It has been helpful to me to realize that we all give and receive apology differently.

*Maybe* your person is just a completely different language than you? 

If this is a person that truly is never repentant that must be so frustrating.

(hugs)

That was a fascinating quiz. I apparently lead with “making restitution.” I can see how true that is in my life. Trustworthiness is such a supreme value for me; it makes sense that it is not easy for a person to restore that with me if they have blundered in a big way. 

 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

That was a fascinating quiz. I apparently lead with “making restitution.” I can see how true that is in my life. Trustworthiness is such a supreme value for me; it makes sense that it is not easy for a person to restore that with me if they have blundered in a big way. 

 

I found it equally fascinating. I hadn’t given it much if any thought before but, yes, my primary apology language is “accept responsibility”. If I’m not accepting responsibility or the other person isn’t...it’s not really an apology to me.

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1 hour ago, saraha said:

This doesn't actually answer the OP's question, but I read this a couple of years ago and found it interesting in making myself more aware of what apologies mean to people.

https://www.amazon.com/Five-Languages-Apology-Experience-Relationships/dp/1881273571

This is the book that goes with the quiz I linked upthread.  The book @klmama linked is the update of the apology language book.  Interesting stuff!

Edited by happi duck
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We also have to keep in mind that some people assume they're entitled to an apology based on how they react to someone's behavior. Some don't grasp that just because they feel hurt, angry, or disappointed, it doesn't necessarily mean someone did something wrong to them and owes them an apology, maybe they and maybe they don't. Personality differences, cultural issues, unclear phrasing, miscommunications, misunderstandings can easily fuel negative reactions, so it's worth it to get clarification first before assuming something is an issue requiring an apology. 

This requires answering clarifying questions, and I notice many accusers  bristle at that. That's so weird to me.  Someone is putting in the effort to really understand what's going on on the other person's end, but the other person is in such a state they can't or won't respond.  Well, then what's the accused supposed to do? It's very easy for the accused to just assume the accuser wants to be upset when they won't answer clarifying questions.

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I was thinking about this. There is a lot in life that doesn’t seem to need an apology. Or at least an “official “ one. The relationship isn’t broken in those cases and we move on. A person’s loving demeanor is enough of an apology. But there are other times one is needed to move on. Perhaps it is when trust is broken in some way?  But anyway- the person actually wronged me or I wronged them. Maybe I should take that quiz. 

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20 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

You seem to assume there isn't a moral component to minor things-I think there is.

How is apologizing for a ball through a window, accidentally whacking someone with an object, and getting into a fender bender not moral a issue? Whether intentional or not, if you do even minor harm to someone or something, you're morally obligated to apologize.

But there can also be situations where the person really did nothing wrong and the other person still feels hurt. So I apologize for causing the person to feel hurt, without acknowledging that what I did was intrinsically wrong. It was *perceived* as wrong, which is very different.

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I apologize to ds regularly, every time I feel like I need to.  My dad has never apologized to me, and he really should.  I didn’t want to make the same mistake with my kid.  
 

edited to add: on the flip side, ds apologizes to me, also.   He has no problem coming to me and saying he’s sorry for snapping at me or whatever.  

Edited by WildflowerMom
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Re quiz... OK I NEVER take online quizzes because Cambridge Analytica, but y'all seduced me and I did.

 

The first thing that struck me was that a number of the examples were things that in my world would register as ordinary irritations or mere differences in style; and would never rise to a need for restoration...

5 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I was thinking about this. There is a lot in life that doesn’t seem to need an apology. Or at least an “official “ one. The relationship isn’t broken in those cases and we move on. A person’s loving demeanor is enough of an apology. But there are other times one is needed to move on. Perhaps it is when trust is broken in some way?  But anyway- the person actually wronged me or I wronged them. Maybe I should take that quiz. 

 

The second thing that struck me were how many of the apology-alternatives thrust the ball into the (putatively) harmed person's court: "What can I do to to fix things?"  "Will you forgive me?" "Tell me how I can make amends" or -- to my mind, even more potentially manipulative -- "I know I don't deserve your forgiveness but I hope you can..."  all of which, honestly, kind of give me the uggies.  It's putting the burden of relationship restoration on the person who's been harmed, rather than the person who's done the harm.

 

3 hours ago, Quill said:

That was a fascinating quiz. I apparently lead with “making restitution.” I can see how true that is in my life. Trustworthiness is such a supreme value for me; it makes sense that it is not easy for a person to restore that with me if they have blundered in a big way.

 

1 hour ago, Sneezyone said:

I found it equally fascinating. I hadn’t given it much if any thought before but, yes, my primary apology language is “accept responsibility”. If I’m not accepting responsibility or the other person isn’t...it’s not really an apology to me.

I also came out strong "accept responsibility," with restitution as solid runner-up.  Which as it happens is precisely the Jewish construct of teshuvah, though it's hard to parse out if the teaching informed my worldview or the other way around.

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21 minutes ago, regentrude said:

But there can also be situations where the person really did nothing wrong and the other person still feels hurt. So I apologize for causing the person to feel hurt, without acknowledging that what I did was intrinsically wrong. It was *perceived* as wrong, which is very different.

I don't think the wrong is on your part in that situation, so there's no rational reason for you to apologize. The other person is the one responsible for their own hurt.

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14 minutes ago, Pam in CT said:

Re quiz... OK I NEVER take online quizzes because Cambridge Analytica, but y'all seduced me and I did.

 

The first thing that struck me was that a number of the examples were things that in my world would register as ordinary irritations or mere differences in style; and would never rise to a need for restoration...

 

The second thing that struck me were how many of the apology-alternatives thrust the ball into the (putatively) harmed person's court: "What can I do to to fix things?"  "Will you forgive me?" "Tell me how I can make amends" or -- to my mind, even more potentially manipulative -- "I know I don't deserve your forgiveness but I hope you can..."  all of which, honestly, kind of give me the uggies.  It's putting the burden of relationship restoration on the person who's been harmed, rather than the person who's done the harm.

 

 

I also came out strong "accept responsibility," with restitution as solid runner-up.  Which as it happens is precisely the Jewish construct of teshuvah, though it's hard to parse out if the teaching informed my worldview or the other way around.

Yesss!! Many of the responses struck me as manipulative in nature. I don’t really care what someone says about their future behavior because that’s much better shown than said but, in the moment, it makes me feel better to have someone accept responsibility and, in the case of some of the workplace incidents, tell the people who heard otherwise that you screwed up, not me. Like, put on your adult undies and go make it right. You don’t need to tell me that to gain cool points. Just doing it shows what kind of person you are.

Edited by Sneezyone
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33 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

I don't think the wrong is on your part in that situation, so there's no rational reason for you to apologize. The other person is the one responsible for their own hurt.

I think we need to clarify what "apologize" actually means. In the above situation, I felt extremely bad for causing the person distress (even though I still do not believe I was in the wrong) and profusely apologized for it, because I was deeply sorry to have inadvertently hurt them. Now, does that count as "apologizing", or is this akin expressing one's sorrow at a misfortune that befell the other person? I feel the line is blurry. Sure, everybody is responsible for their own emotions, but at the same time, we can feel (and express) sorrow for triggering a negative emotion even though, objectively, we did not commit an offense.

Edited by regentrude
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