Most apologies aren’t.
“Well, I’m sorry,” is not an apology. Neither is ” Well sorry to bother you!” On the domestic front, most mid-battle apologies aren’t worth the paper on which they are not printed. As in “Pardon me for living” and “Sorry, but you’re a fine one to talk!” These rank very low on the sincerity scale.
I have received very few heartfelt apologies in my lifetime and never from anyone who owed me one. Most of us would rather show we’re sorry than say it. Words are cheap. Changing your behavior is a lot harder. When all else fails, pretending nothing happened works.
Amnesia is the backbone of many relationships. When coupled with denial, it’s powerful stuff. Especially when whatever happened was stupid and no one can remember what it was about. Sometimes, right in the middle of battle, you can’t remember what it’s about, a sure sign that you should quickly and efficiently change the subject and watch something involving demons and secret agents.
I’m trying to take this challenge seriously and failing. No one apologized for any of the awful things that were been done to me. I probably would have fainted with shock had they done so. The people who do awful things worthy of a full, groveling apology are people who never apologize. They are people who don’t see anything they do as wrong. Who feel that they have the right to do whatever they do because (a) “I have to do what’s right for me,” even if it’s wrong in every other possible way … or (b) I’m always right (and you’re not).
The rest of us? Depending on our ethnic and religious background we feel varying levels of guilt. However, in my experience, feeling guilty and being guilty are not the same thing. If you’re Jewish or Catholic, you have a high guilt level from birth. It’s part of the cultural package.
Most of us are sinners in a small “s” way. The great big “S” sinners — the really bad guys — won’t be doing any apologizing. Probably ever.
If you’re waiting for your evil former boss, scumbag ex, or abusive parent to — as seen on TV — come to tell you he or she has seen the light? That you are right and he was wrong and oh, he is so terribly sorry … can you ever forgive him …. ?
Don’t hold your breath.
Apologies may be transformative experiences. I wouldn’t know. Not an experience I’ve had.