So lets talk a little about apologies…..

13 Apr

…or should I say, let’s talk a little about bullshit apologies.

Right now, something my son and I are really working on is apologies.  We’re not so much working on having him apologize for things he has done wrong (because he does that just fine)- but to really UNDERSTAND what he’s done, the reasons why it hurt someone, and to not do it again.  To apologize for something is not only recognizing that you were a shitbag- but a promise to not be a shitbag anymore ( or at least in that same way again).  Because if you apologize for something, and then continue to be a shitbag again and again…. you lose people’s trust, respect, and their view of you as a sincere and caring person.  You are seen as shallow, and so self-centered that your own needs are put before someone else’s feelings.   In my book, that makes you someone that I would like to avoid.

There are a couple different types of socially acceptable “apologies”, or ways to get out of apologizing that I think are BULLSHIT.  Let’s take confessionals… like in the church.  You go into a little room, spill your guts to a holy man… “I cheated on my wife”…”I stole from my best friend”…etc.  And then it’s better?  The people who were wronged don’t get a say in this?  That’s fucking LAME!!  There is even a website based on this concept… JoeApology.com.  I fucking hate this site so much I want to find the guy who started it and smash his toes with a hammer.  Basically, it’s where people can anonymously post apologies for the shitty things they have done to others, because they’re too weak and pathetic to own up to their own actions.  There are some mild ones on there, as well as funny ones… but the ones that talk about sleeping around on their wives/girlfriends, being bad parents, being an abusive spouse/parent, stealing from loved ones, etc.  It makes me want to vomit.  They hurt people, get to purge the guilt on a stupid fucking website, and then THEY get to feel better while the hurt party still gets to feel like shit, or is in the dark about what a loser douchebag they are. This seems pretty fucking unfair.

The last one that really gets me is the AA/NA “making amends”.  I don’t know which one of the 12 steps this is (nor do I care), but I think it’s a total crock of shit.  Now, I’m going to preface this by saying I have tons of people I love that are in AA/NA, and I think the program can really work for some people… and it’s the only thing that has worked for the ones I love that are in it.  So whatever keeps them from continuing to get loaded- then yay.  BBUUUTT  this one little step makes me sick to my stomach.  They make a list of all the people they’ve wronged, and then they go to the people and apologize… now, there’s nothing wrong with that.  That’s pretty fucking decent.  BUT if the person doesn’t accept their apology- the wrong-doer still gets to walk away as if they’ve done some big noble thing.  WHAT?  So let’s say I date someone who would get drunk and beat the shit out of me; then they get sober and come to apologize; and I say no way, fuck you…. then they get to say, “Well, it’s your choice to not forgive me” and walk away all purged and light as air.  Aaannnddd if they did something REALLY bad, like cheat on their spouse/significant other and are still with that person, they don’t have to made that amends at all because that would cause serious harm to the relationship.  BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT!!!!

Basically, what I’m trying to teach my son with all of this is that you have to be really careful with your actions, and to put other people’s feelings before your own selfish impulses.  To make a mistake once- ok, you’ve made that mistake.  Own it, apologize sincerely, and DON’T EVER DO IT AGAIN.  If the apology isn’t accepted, find out what it would take to make it a little better for that person to cope with how badly their feelings were hurt- and do it.  No matter what it is.  And if the apology still isn’t accepted- they you don’t get to be rid of that guilt until it is.  You carry the pain the same way they do.  Let it be a reminder that you shouldn’t act like a selfish piece of trash.

I’m lucky, because I don’t have to deal with any of this.  Because I don’t ever do anything wrong.  HA!!!!!

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6 Responses to “So lets talk a little about apologies…..”

  1. whitney April 13, 2008 at 10:31 pm #

    i love your blogs with little lessons in them.
    if GI Joe cartoons were still around, i think they would have to find a way to convert your blogs into one of their PSA things they show at the ends of each episode.
    basically what i am saying is that your little “rants” are very enlightening.
    wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  2. Lemissa April 14, 2008 at 5:26 am #

    ahhhhh but some people will never forgive…it is their little way of holding on to you and your transgressions…sometimes it is o.k. to let go and forgive yourself, even if they will not.

  3. Kristen Ferrell April 14, 2008 at 8:09 am #

    for the smaller stuff, i can totally understand forgiving yourself when someone else doesn’t forgive you. but when it comes to the big stuff (abuse, adultery, etc), i don’t think that someone should get freed of that guilt if the hurt party is still in pain. if someone did something to shatter another person- then no church or 12 step program or whatever gets to give them a moral “out”… or at least until the shattered person heals. it’s just wrong.

  4. Cassie April 14, 2008 at 8:39 am #

    I am working on this with Lily as well. For as smart as she is she just doesn’t grasp the entire concept. Any tips would be much appriciated!

    I just wish more people were up front and honest, then we wouldn’t have to deal with a good percentage of the crap people trow at others day to day.

  5. Kristen Ferrell April 14, 2008 at 9:19 am #

    i can accept it when someone makes a mistake. that’s fine… it happens to the best of us. but it’s when someone lies, doesn’t own up to it, or makes that same “mistake” over and over again- that’s what makes me see red. you’re supposed to LEARN from your mistakes, and having to face someone and apologize should make that lesson sink in a little deeper- right?

    as far as getting this to sink into a little one’s brain- it just takes lots and lots of explaining and really staying on them about it. it’s a hard concept for kids to grasp because their “empathy abilities” aren’t fully formed- but at least if they get into the habit of good behaviors, then they will be there when the ability to empathize fully catches up.

  6. Cassie April 21, 2008 at 9:13 am #

    I cant wait for her to grow out of her “shiny object syndrome” she has aquired when we are talking about something she doesn’t want to discuss.
    That is a harder to deal with than the not quite grasping the poing of owning your actions and apologizing.

    Dang kids!

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