Apologize? No!

11/12/2014 2 comments

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I think everyone knows someone that never apologizes.  Ever!  They just won’t say I’m sorry, even when they know they are wrong, they simply cannot and will not apologize.   I wonder how that person manages to go through life without ever having to give an apology.  Don’t we sort of start learning that when we are toddlers?  The adults in our lives instruct us to “Tell your brother you’re sorry for taking his toy” or “Say I’m sorry to your sister for eating her candy”–that sort of thing.   So we do sort of learn to apologize even before we  have a full grasp of the meaning of an apology.

Apparently though not all people learn this lesson.  I know one such person, well I probably know a few of these unapologetic types but one person comes to mind.  I have noticed that this man spends a lot of time and energy always appearing to say and do the “right” thing, but I don’t think it’s because he’s trying to be a good person so much as he’s just working very hard at ensuring he never has to apologize for anything.  Even when he is wrong…dead to rights wrong…he will never apologize.

“Apologizing doesn’t always mean that you were wrong and the other person was right, but it does show the other person you value the relationship more than your pride”.

I actually find it annoying that this guy never apologies because he is really far from perfect.  As I’ve gotten older I have realized the value of an apology.  Even when I’ve done nothing wrong, it isn’t hard to say I’m sorry.  As in, I’m sorry you’re having a bad day;  I’m sorry you feel that way; I’m sorry things didn’t work out the way you planned, and so on.

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Interestingly, this man also does not accept apologies.  If you’ve done or said something wrong and try to apologize, tell him that “I didn’t mean to say that or I’m sorry I forgot to do that”, etc., he acts as if he just doesn’t believe that apology. He’s one of those that won’t accept an apology.  Sure, we all know it isn’t a requirement to accept someone’s apology but I think that says more about them than you if they don’t accept it.   Naturally, we can doubt the apology if they keep doing the same thing over and over…bad behavior for instance after apologizing for it would give evidence of a lack of sincerity.   I have pondered this question often over the past few years, especially concerning this one person.  I went looking to Google for possible reasons or an explanation…below is an article I found interesting.

5 Reasons Why Some People Will Never Apologize

It’s not just stubbornness. There’s something deeper at play.
 I’m sorry is one of the first things we’re taught to say as children, yet some adults refuse to apologize even when they’re clearly in the wrong. The question is: Why?

Elton John wasn’t kidding: Sorry seems to be the hardest word. Some people find it so hard to apologize that getting them to admit to even the smallest wrongdoing involves a major battle—and often a fruitless one. Although we might perceive the reluctance of these non-apologists as simple defensiveness or pride, often a far deeper psychological dynamic is at play: Refusing to apologize often reflects efforts to protect a fragile sense of self.

Apologies can vary greatly in their significance. When non-apologists bump into someone in a crowd, they might mumble a quick “I’m sorry” without giving it another thought. But the same person arguing about with their spouse about directions might yell, “I’m telling you the GPS is wrong, take this left!” only to find out the satellite system was correct—and still adamantly refuse to apologize, perhaps calling on excuses such as, “You take the wrong exit all the time, too!” or “That GPS is wrong half the time anyway—it’s not my fault!”

Similarly, when our actions or inactions cause someone actual harm, real emotional distress, or significant inconvenience, most of us quickly offer a sincere apology, both because it is deserved and because it’s the best way to garner forgiveness and alleviate the guilt we feel. But in these situations, too, non-apologists typically use excuses and denial to shirk their responsibility. Why?

Why Apologies Threaten Non-Apologists

For non-apologists, saying “I’m sorry” carries psychological ramifications that run far deeper than the words themselves imply; it elicits fundamental fears (either conscious or unconscious) they desperately want to avoid:

  1. Admissions of wrong doing are incredibly threatening for non-apologists because they have trouble separating their actions from their character. If they did something bad, they must be bad people; if they were neglectful, they must be fundamentally selfish and uncaring; if they were wrong, they must be ignorant or stupid, etc. Therefore, apologies represent a major threat to their basic sense of identity and self-esteem.
  2. Apologizing might open the door to guilt for most of us, but for non-apologists, it can open the door instead to shame. While guilt makes us feel bad about our actions, shame makes them feel bad about their selves—who they are—which makes shame a far more toxic emotion than guilt.
  3. While most of us consider apologies as opportunities to resolve interpersonal conflict, non-apologists may fear their apology will only open the floodgates to further accusations and conflict. Once they admit to one wrongdoing, surely the other person will pounce on the opportunity to pile on all the previous offenses for which they refused to apologize as well.
  4. Non-apologists fear that by apologizing, they would assume full responsibility and relieve the other party of any culpability—if arguing with a spouse, for example, they might fear an apology would exempt the spouse from taking any blame for a disagreement, despite the fact that each member of a couple has at least some responsibility in most arguments.
  5. By refusing to apologize, non-apologists are trying to manage their emotions. They are often comfortable with anger, irritability, and emotional distance, and experience emotional closeness and vulnerability to be extremely threatening.  They fear that lowering their guard even slightly will make their psychological defenses crumble and open the floodgates to a well of sadness and despair that will pour out of them, leaving them powerless to stop it.  They might be correct.  However, they are incorrect in assuming that exhibiting these deep and pent-up emotions (as long as they get support, love, and caring when they do—which fortunately, is often the case), will be traumatic and damaging. Opening up in such a way is often incredibly therapeutic and empowering, and it can lead them to experience far deeper emotional closeness and trust toward the other person, significantly deepening their relationship satisfaction. Published on May 29, 2013 by Guy Winch, Ph.D. in The Squeaky Wheel

Yup, that #4 sounds like this guy I know and #5 sounds like him too.  I wouldn’t call him an anger ball necessarily but I am familiar with the sense of having to occasionally “walk on eggshells” around him so as not to make him mad.  I can say for certain he is more comfortable with emotional distance rather than closeness.  But that does seem sort of a sad and lonely way to live doesn’t it?

Now I suppose there are SOME things a person can say or do that an apology just won’t fix.  Oops!  I’m sorry may never be sufficient for crimes against people, child abuse or rape and murder, etc., but it sure would help the victims, maybe. It can’t hurt can it?  After all during sentencing of criminals the family members of the victim gets to deliver an “impact statement”.  Often the victims and/or their friends and family members remark that the convicted showed no remorse, he didn’t even say he was sorry!

In this society, people are often angry, irritable, even self-centered…but at times a very simple, quick and sincere apology can actually brighten one’s day.    For instance, imagine you are racing to work, running late and someone cuts you off, if they apologized for it, maybe that would be enough to prevent that road rage demon from rearing its ugly and dangerous head.  Or you’re really craving a freshly brewed cup of coffee while you are on a road trip, you arrive at the convenience store and they have just run out of coffee, they can make a new pot, but I’m sorry it’ll be about 15 minutes.  Would that make a difference to you and your mood?  Probably.

Does anyone else have a non-apologetic person in their life?

apologize-brave-forget-forgive-happy-Favim.com-448031

GRIEF HELPS US LOVE BETTER

11/11/2014 1 comment

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Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something, a spouse, a close friend, a beloved pet, even a plant… that has died.  I find it rather curious that society doesn’t pay much attention to this grieving thing.  Oh you have the first few hours after the death then the funeral that people do pay attention to.  But after that?  You’re pretty much on your own.  Grieving the loss of a loved one has physical, emotional, social, spiritual and even sometimes financial responses and dimensions.  least acknowledgedBy the way, bereavement refers to the state of loss while grief is the reaction of that or to that loss.  Often the terms become interchangeable, but for me they are both entirely different.

Its natural this grief thing.  Suffering from the loss of someone you’ve loved that is taken away.  Usually society connects grief with the death of a person, but people can also grieve in other ways, loss of things familiar to you, losing your job that you heavily relied on to pay your bills.  Loss of your health, or the end of a relationship that didn’t end in death.  I’ve felt many of those different types of grief, but the one I had the most difficult time…the one most challenging is the grief over the loss of my husband.  That one has been, at times, debilitating.  Even now on the anniversary of his funeral I feel the loss–his absence.

However, this loss of a love, one so important, so intimate, so deep also taught me something.  While grieving it occurred to me that we must love one another better.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, for starters I realized that the things Mike and I argued about were in fact just stupid.  None of the “issues” were worth fighting about, not in the grand scheme of things, and while we were bickering we were squandering time.   I learned this early on, after Mike’s diagnosis, but I didn’t apply what I knew until a few months later.

Where I live, the trash is picked up on Mondays.  Each and every single week I would remind Mike to take the trash out to the curb and each and every single week he would forget.  TrashCans_0521The first time I had to bring in the trash cans, after his death, I was dragging them up the driveway.  It was dark and cold and I was alone with nothing but my misery, my grief and my thoughts for company.  As I was dragging those trash cans up I remembered how many times I had complained to him, take them out!  You didn’t take them out!  This time though it hit me…it just doesn’t matter.  The trash gets taken out or it doesn’t.  So what?!  It isn’t all that important, not when you consider everything else.  I wasn’t immune to my stupidity while I was bringing the trash cans in…no, in my grief I loved Mike even more right then because once in a while he would remember to take the stupid trash cans out and that was a special thing. I thought…if only I could do it over again.  If only I knew then what I know now, that is just doesn’t matter.  I LOVE HIM and that really is all that matters! Now?  He will never take them out because he’s gone, but I know that it just doesn’t matter who takes out the stupid trash cans.

Loving better means, at least for me, to not sweat the small stuff, to not get riled up about the stupid crap that comes out of people’s mouths.  At work, I just don’t care that the people are unhappy.  I see their unhappiness as mostly self imposed and that there IS a better way of doing this life thing.  I am no expert at it and I’ve been failing lately at being forgiving, at being understanding and mostly at being able to ignore some people who just really have no clue, at all.

However, on the flip side is the possibility of letting too many things slide without attention.  Within my grief I’ve lost tolerance for some and gained tolerance for others.  Its a curious thing really.  I’ve had people in my life that have just really insulted me, hurt my feelings, disregarded  my very existence and I let them slide…in what I consider bad behavior.  Why do I do this?  Oh I don’t know entirely, forgive them because they are drunk and stupid and clueless I guess.  Or forgive them and ignore them because they simply don’t know, haven’t learned the lessons I’ve learned.  Those are lessons I don’t wish on anyone.  Or forgive them because if I don’t then I’ll have no friends?  Pfffftttt that’s a stupid reason to allow abusive people to stay in your life.  One person in particular that comes to mind has really been bothering me for a while…over 3 years.  You can’t say I didn’t give her a chance!  Even despite knowing what I know I think I have finally reached my maximum tolerance of this person.  I know she doesn’t know me, not really.  She didn’t know Mike and she didn’t know Mike AND Me so she sort of gets a “pass”…but she used that “pass” for over 3 years!  Oh she can be kind, generous and even charitable.  BUT she is also a self proclaimed alcoholic and she does drink…a LOT!   Once she has had about 10 or 18 cans of Natural Light in her system then she starts talking like she is Dr. Laura, which she is most definitely not.   But in my opinion, everyone has value, everyone has something to say….even if its slurred.  But at times she really talks but makes no sense.  Other times she’d down right insulting to me personally and while I’ve never exploded on her, its because I have gone through the states of grief and know that life is complicated and she doesn’t know that.stages of grief

So what brought on this “final straw” with her?  She had a dog….a Husky come into her yard.  This dog was young and it got along rather well with her other dogs.  I should mention these dogs are part pitbull and rottweiler and something else…in other words, mean and not trustworthy.  She also has a German Shepard that has bitten me, causing deep cuts to the inside of my knee.  I did tell her that it was a good thing we were friends or her homeowner’s insurance would be paying a claim in 30 days.  Anyway, her dogs are old and cranky now and not entirely sociable so when this young Husky came bounding into the property, she decided to keep him/her.  I told her she can’t and she has a responsibility to find its owner.  She didn’t like that, but neither did I care.  Her mother posted on social network the dog and so did I…along with her contact numbers, cell and home.   For the record I didn’t post it in the public arena, only in local/private groups.  However, this absolutely inflamed her!!  She text me over and over and finally said….”lose this number”.  Ok, I can do that.  I can do that because I know now, in this grieving thing that life does not need to be this hard, this difficult, nor this toxic.  I’m ok with losing that number.

Its been a few days now and I’m still ok with losing that number although she did text and asked if she (and husband) could come over this past weekend. I said, naw, not right now.  I am just done.  I know the difference between love and indifference after all.

Grieving has taught me that life is short…way too short! For sure it is too short to waste on stupid people…not the low IQ sort, but the humanity sort of stupid.    That people I care about need to be respected.  They need to know I care about them and I try to tell them I care about them and I am grateful for our friendship.  Unfortunately, the people in my social sphere are not always privy to what I know so they don’t understand completely why I make a point of telling them I care about them.  Although there are a couple, Christina and Rene that are capable of hearing my positive affirmations of their character and that I deeply care about them without a sarcastic scathing comment in response.

Grieve makes us love better.   I do love this “friend” but I know she doesn’t love me.  That’s ok too, because I think I just love anyone now who gives me the time of day.  I didn’t before because I didn’t have to, but now I am alone and I find it essential to be nice, to be loving, even when I don’t feel like it.   Regarding this “friend” I don’t know if she knows the full meaning of love.  For that I’m sad.  Or maybe she does and she just doesn’t love me!  lol  If that’s the case I’m ok with that too.

I miss Mike and I love Mike, I think I love him more today then any of the days we were married.  I didn’t know that cancer would steal time, I didn’t know that our foolhardy arguments would squander time.  BUT I do know all of that squanders time and for that I am sorry, for that I regret not knowing then what I know now.

Ultimately I guess what I have learned consistently is that it just doesn’t matter. All these personality quirks or whatever they are.   I know that life really does revolve around love….whom we love, what we love, how we love and it IS the most important thing in life!

Important things in life…

11/05/2014 Leave a comment

I heard his voice today…

11/05/2014 5 comments

IMG8I took the day off from work today.  I simply did not want to go, more today than usual because I really hate my job.  Today is the anniversary of Mike’s death and I cannot help it, but it still hurts, especially on days like today.  I found myself teary eyed yesterday while driving to work, being at work and then on my way home.  I knew it would be worse today than yesterday.  Though its not as bad today as it has been in the past. That’s improvement, right?

Reviewing my previous posts I do note that I have not finished the Solemn Anniversary “series” and fully intended to work on that today.  Maybe even finish it…though that just might be a little optimistic at this point.

Having the inability to give myself the permission to just sit, relax and do nothing I decided that today might be a good day to start cleaning out the bedroom that was Mike’s office.  It has been unused for the most parts for several years.  The biggest piece of furniture is Mike’s desk.  It is full of things he used for work, files, ledgers, keys….so many keys that were used to open hundreds of locks.  I have no idea what they go to, but I’m sure none of them unlock anything in the house so they are for all intent and purposes trash.  Unless I wanted to re-purpose them and make something like a wind-chime made out of keys of different sizes, shapes, colors, etc.  Maybe I’ll get to that later or not, likely not, but its good to have goals.

I did run across a tape recorder, with a tape still in it.

cassette

It would be considered old-fashioned at this point with so many new gadgets available, but it did still worke.  I rewound the cassette and pressed PLAY.  I waited for a minute, heard nothing but static and rustling and then I heard Mike whisper, “good job baby.”  That was it.  I wasn’t expecting it as I had no clue what, if anything, was on that tape, but to hear Mike’s voice on the anniversary of his death made me just stop and stare at the recorder.  I played those three words over and over again listening to Mike whispering to me, “good job baby”.  I wonder if he’d still say that today after all the mistakes I have made with my life since his death.

I left the recorder with its cassette on the desk. His voice…if I could only hear his voice one more time–that is what those that are grieving, including me, think and say and feel.  And suddenly I did hear his voice!

I used to call his cell phone to hear his voice, but since it was a company cell phone his boss deactivated it.  No warning to me, he just did it and Mike’s voice was forever gone for good.

Hearing those three words, I was immediately engulfed in emotions that I cannot even begin to identify.  When just for a moment the pain made me catch my breath, when briefly the heartache rose up to the surface of my heart and thoughts of missing him, I let all that sit there in that room, on the desk and walked out of the room…to deal with another day.

.Mike and me, 2 weeks before his passing...

I thought of you today….like I do everyday.

09/30/2014 3 comments

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…and I thought about you yesterday and all the days before that too.  I think of you in silence and talk to you in my mind.  I often speak your name. But all I have are memories and a few pictures in a frame.  But your memory is like a keepsake for me, one from which I will never part.  I have you in my heart…

I never went away…

05/04/2014 Leave a comment

I’ve been lurking, reading everyone’s posts for about a year now. I have not given back. I have not posted a thing. Why? I’ve got TOO much to say so much so that I don’t know what to say first…I want to write, I crave writing. I have so many topics I could post, but some strange affliction has keep me from putting into words that which I’m dealing with. THIS is my first post, and my attempt to try to get past that crippling hurtle…

July Is Rough

07/21/2013 3 comments

July is a tough month for me.  It’s the anniversary of our independence day in America.  It is my son Austin’s birthday month, but I don’t know where he is.  Haven’t heard from him in almost 4 years now and that’s hard…but that’s subject of another post someday.  July is also the month when Mike was born.  July is also the month when Mike was first diagnosed—with death, aka pancreatic cancer.

Our wedding anniversary is in July and my mother’s birthday is was in July.

It’s a curious thing that this month has so much weight, so much importance to me yet no one outside of ME knows it.  I wonder if it shows…how this month hurts.  I wonder if it shows that this month is significant but I keep it to myself because it seems to me that its only significant to me so why bring it up?  If I mention it at all, its with disconnection…I tick off the days one after the other as if they happened to someone else and I’m merely relaying a story that belongs to someone else.  No emotion, no feeling, no thoughts about the dates because they are only significant to me.  Besides, no one really cares about what used to be my life.

When August begins I breathe a sigh of relief and give thanks that I got through what I know is a tough month.  I also think, all I have to get through in August is the day of my dad’s death which was two days before his birthday.  I can handle that!

I’m finding myself thinking about Mike a lot more often these days.  I wonder if he’s looking down on me from Heaven and just shaking his head and the stupid things I’ve done since he died.  I wonder where my son is and I wonder if he’ll ever come back.  I think about my mother too but not much as she had a tendency to be mean.  I understand what may have caused that meanness…her parents sending her to boarding school when she was young and never letting her come home, her parents caring more about her brother than her…she was misunderstood and it turned to anger and bitterness.  But I get that, I guess.  I wonder if she’s found peace and quiet and acceptance in Heaven where I know she is today.

I have found myself talking to Mike…in my head…more now than I have ever done before.  I still miss him very much to this very day.  I miss that one person that knew me so well–maybe even better than I knew myself.  I miss that person that loved me completely, faults and all, and loved me in spite of them or because of them.

I miss my best friend.  I miss my champion.  I miss my husband.  I miss him, still.  Even now I miss him.  But its been too long to talk about anymore. Its been too long for it to be a matter of fact of my life.  Its been too long for most people.  But it feels like yesterday some days.

Its been long enough that it is a private affair now, between me, God and Mike.  No one knows what I mean unless they’ve been through it, are in it and that’s alright with me, sort of.  But it does give me a sense of extreme loneliness sometimes that I live in a world of what could have been, what should have been and what isn’t…and that hurts.

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