I hate apologizing and tend to avoid doing so. As a kid I was forced to apologize when I didn’t feel that I did anything wrong. I was forced to accept an apology when I was still upset and accepting the apology meant accepting whatever had been done or said and “letting it go” when I wasn’t ready to.
When I’m upset I tend to say things I don’t mean. Terrible things, deliberate things meant to hurt because I can be a vindictive bitch. If I’m hurt I want to hurt the people who hurt me. If I’m miserable, I want them to be miserable too. I’m not as bad now as I was when I was a mess of puberty and emotions but occasionally I lose it and I use my gift with words to hurt people I care about.
Often there are outside forces at play. Bed-bug induced insomnia, hormones, feeling valued relationships threatened by things beyond my control… The problem I find when I try to apologize is that every reason that contributed to my freak-out is genuine, to me, but I worry it will sound like an excuse. (Another thing drilled into me during childhood. What’s the difference between a “reason” and an “excuse”? If it’s what your parents/teachers/friends want to hear, If THEY think it’s a viable reason, or not.)
So, I accept the consequences of my words and I try to be more careful of what I say in the future. I can’t take back the things I’ve said and, to be honest, I’m so lost in the turmoil of my emotions that I don’t even recall what I’ve said, just hours later, but words have power. Words can wound, especially when flung with vindictive deliberation, but words can also heal.
Is “I’m sorry.” a healing phrase? A balm that will make everything better? I don’t think so, I’ve heard too many hollow apologies spoken just so the person can move past it without dealing with the consequences of their actions, of their words. “I said “I’m sorry.” what more do you want?” But saying you’re sorry and being sorry are completely different.
For what it’s worth, I am sorry. I just don’t often say so. I don’t do empty apologies, but having grown up with so many I find the words “I’m sorry.” just sound superficial and hollow. I’m not sorry, I’m remorseful.
How do you say that to someone when “sorry” isn’t enough?