Apologies have been on my mind, and in the air.

Rush Limbaugh says something totally offensive, and does a bullshit ‘sorry, but I didn’t do anything wrong,” apology.  Ugh.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of those.

In an article here on thefarschidside ~ Gina describes an apology she made to a coworker .  Gina hadn’t done anything wrong, and didn’t think an apology was necessary.   Mandated to do it, she purposely made it weak and less than heartfelt.

I’m thinking Rush is awful, but Gina’s all right.  Which leads me to wonder ~ how do we decide when to apologize, and how to frame it?   Lots of things to consider.

How much harm did we do, did we mean to, were we careless or reckless or downright negligent?  Should we have known better?   Was it really our fault?

How well do we know the person we’ve hurt?  Do we care how they feel?   Want them to forgive?   Or does it not matter at all?

What if we didn’t do anything wrong?  What if it was all a misunderstanding?  What if they don’t understand what we meant?

And so on and on, lots of thoughts, lots of factors, lots of things to consider and weigh.

Then something happened with a friend of mine and my feelings were hurt.   It  triggered some old hurts for me, and even though it might have seemed like a small thing, it felt huge to me.  I cried.

My friend didn’t know he’d hurt my feelings.  I knew he didn’t mean to.  But it hurt a lot anyway.  So I told him.  I explained what I thought and felt.  Then I held my breath.  I didn’t know how he’d react.

He could have felt defensive ~ he hadn’t really done anything “wrong.”  He could have said I was over-reacting.  He could have done a bullshit apology and I probably would have accepted it.  I might not have felt real good about it, but I could have talked myself though it.

But he didn’t. He did a real apology.

He explained what had happened from his perspective.  He said he was sorry.  He told me something  he was going to do that would make it less likely that this would happen again.

It’s rare to get that kind of apology, and I appreciated it.

I wish that were the end of the story. But ~

~ at the same time as Limbaugh’s bullshit apology, and my friend’s great apology,  I was involved in something that offended some people I’m close to.  People I care about a lot.  They were hurt and offended, and naturally they reacted to that.

It was an opportunity for me to come back with a great apology myself, and I’d like to say that I did…

… but I didn’t.  I was hurt and offended back.  Trying not to be, trying to stay open, but you know ~~

~~  It’s not like I’m Rush Limbaugh!  Didn’t they know I didn’t realize it sounded that way?  Didn’t they know I wasn’t talking about them?  That I wouldn’t hurt them on purpose?  Didn’t they know…

Yeah.  Not my finest moment.

And now I need to find my way to apologize. And make amends.  And try to heal the breach.


About Fausta

Trauma sensitive Consultant and Coach for Compassionate professionals who experience second hand trauma and are at risk of burnout so they can keep doing the work that matters to them and to the world.

Posted on March 11, 2012, in apology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. hugs
    we all have our less than shining moments
    I think the important thing is to either make amends
    or mend our ways



    • Dear G,

      Yeah, it’s just hard sometimes to let go of the ‘i should be perfect’ thing… even though you’d think i’d know by now!!

      “I think the important thing is to either make amends
      or mend our ways”

      I like that a lot. Thanks.


  2. This is an interesting question and I can tell that you are struggling with the situation. In general, I think the apology business can get to be a game really quickly, but there are situations when they are necessary. I don’t tend to apologize when I know I’m right, with one exception: when I determine that the hurt person doesn’t really have the capacity to understand me. The less hurt I can do in my life, the better, and if there is a shadow of doubt that someone understands me, I’ll apologize. I would rather spare their feelings than hold out for understanding that may never come. But when I know the person has the capacity to understand me, knows me, knows the language I speak, they can tell me I’m full of crap and that’s fine, but I’m not going to fall all over myself being apologetic just because I may have said something they didn’t like.

    When I know I’m wrong, and I have done something hurtful, I will apologize. I have the capacity to say vicious things when I’m angry. My sarcasm can be cutting. When I know that I have done one of these things, I will apologize. It may take me a couple of days to realize that I need to, but when I do, I take my lumps and offer the apology.

    The demand for apologies can be a power game that I refuse to play. In terms of Rushbo, I don’t want an apology from him. There is nothing that he could ever say to me that could make up for what he had done or justify his existence in my mind. I want him unemployed, in the soup kitchen, on food stamps, smoking Newports instead of those $50 cigars. In that context, the demand for the apology and the apology itself are just game tokens.

    In the final analysis, you have to determine if the apology is the most caring thing to do, and if you can do it with integrity. If not, tell them to go take a hike. (My actual language would be more colorful than that, but I don’t want to dirty your blog. 😉 )


    • Hey, Syd,

      Thanks for your comment! I appreciate you sharing your perspective on this. It really reminds me how complex our feelings about apologies can be.

      One of the things you said was that when you realized you had been wrong and hurtful you “…take my lumps and offer the apology.” And it’s interesting that there is that connotation of an apology being ~ what? Painful? A punishment? I know exactly what you mean, but I’m not sure what that’s about…

      More to ponder….

      And no, I don’t want Rush Limbaugh’s apology either – but repentance, transformation, and amends would be nice! {Ok, I know that’s not gonna happen!}

      Anyhow, thanks again for the input!


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