It’s Narcissist Friday!
(For my grandchildren, continued)
Ever notice how hard it is for the narcissist or other abuser to say he/she is sorry? We have all heard some very poor apologies.
I’m sorry, but it was your fault.
I’m sorry, but I had no choice.
I’m sorry you took it that way.
I’m sorry someone else did that.
Almost anything besides, I’m sorry for how I hurt you. It was wrong.
Abusers think apologies make them weak. It puts them in an inferior position in the relationship. This is especially true when they need to make a public apology. So, you will hear excuses in the guise of an apology or even accusations as part of the pretense.
Yes, I suppose it does take a strong person to apologize. But that strength comes from acknowledging the truth—and the truth sets you free. To be free is to be strong.
When you hurt another person, and we all do from time to time, think about what you did from their point of view. Think of how your action may have felt to them. Were you critical? Were you cruel? Did you disrespect them? Did you take something from them? Admit what you did from the other person’s perspective. Then, show that person you understand by how you apologize.
If you wrap blame in your apology, or excuses, you show that you neither understand nor care about what you did. Instead, say the words you would want them to say if they had done it to you. You might get it wrong, of course. Then you have to listen more carefully to what they say. That’s a good thing.
To be humble is to be strong. The abuser who cannot apologize, who cannot afford to look foolish or weak, is not strong. In fact, the one who can’t apologize is the weak person. To face your own sin or error is strength.
I learned this many years ago and found it to be both freeing and powerful. An appropriate apology, after listening to the hurt or accusation of someone else, cuts right to the heart of the conflict. It can heal a relationship, and that’s strength.
But listen: don’t lie as you apologize. You don’t have to admit to something you didn’t do or think. You can admit your real motivations without compromising yourself. If you didn’t mean to hurt someone, you can say that even as you acknowledge that you did hurt them. And, if you meant to hurt them, say that. Tell the truth. They will know when you are lying anyway.
And don’t grovel. That’s what the abuser wants you to do. That’s what he/she would hate to do. There is a difference between humility and self-degradation. The abuser sees them as the same thing, but you know better. Making a mistake, even committing a sin, does not make you less of a person. Admitting the truth reveals your understanding and acceptance of yourself in this world. That’s strength.
Live in humility and in truth. Remember that your actions and words can hurt others. Take responsibility for what you did or said without feeling weak and yielding yourself to more abuse. Everyone hurts others. Confessing that you do is simply admitting the truth. We lean toward selfishness, perhaps even cruelty. Admitting that allows you to rise above those things.
The ability to apologize is a power that reveals your heart to others and brings healing.