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 life and never from anyone who owed me one. When all else fails, pretending nothing happened works pretty well. Amnesia is the backbone of many relationships. When coupled with denial, it’s powerful stuff. I think our entire country is going through some level of amnesia coupled with a hefty dose of denial.
But I digress.
Especially when whatever happened was stupid, no one can remember what it was about anyway. Sometimes, right in the middle of battle, you can’t remember why you’re fighting. That’s a sure sign you should quickly and efficiently change the subject. Watch some television. Maybe something with demons and secret agents.
I am 70 years old today. No one has apologized for any of the awful things which were done to me. All the people who should have said something are dead, or gone. It’s never happening. I probably would have fainted with shock had anyone said they were sorry and by now, I’d merely find it embarrassing. Thanks for everything and please, go away.
The people who do horrible things worthy of a full, groveling apology will never apologize. They are people who don’t see what they do as wrong. Who feel they have the right to do it because (a) “I have to do what’s right for me,” even if it’s wrong in every other 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. In my experience, feeling guilty and being guilty are not the same. Some of us have a high guilt level from birth. It’s part of our 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. 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 or she was wrong and oh, they are so terribly sorry … can you ever forgive them?
Don’t hold your breath.
Apologies may be transformative experiences. I wouldn’t know. It’s not an experience I’ve had.