When someone hurts us, physically or emotionally, we crave an apology. An apology rarely if ever fixes the problem, of course, but it does help. After all, an apology shows a willingness to change for the better.
Or does it?
The problem with apologies is that abusers know how much their victims want to hear them. To keep their victims nearby, then, they’ll make apologies left and right without taking any real actions to improve themselves or make amends.
These are not real apologies—they are manipulation tactics. Any counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist in the world will attest that an apology without change is manipulation.
How can you tell the difference, though? What differentiates real apologies made by someone struggling to change from manipulative apologies made by an abuser?
If you need help determining whether you’ve been given a real apology or if you’re just being manipulated, here are some red flags to watch for.
Why an Apology Without Change Is Manipulation
“An apology without change is just manipulation.”
It’s a pithy statement perfect for window decals and bumper stickers, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It also doesn’t make the phrase less scientifically correct.
For at least the past two decades, psychological professionals have understood that a sincere apology contains 4 distinct actions:
- Admission of a harmful action or behavior
- Statement of remorse regarding the action or behavior
- Realized promise to avoid (or attempt to avoid) that action or behavior in the future
- Offer to make amends
It’s important to note the language in that third point. It cannot be a blanket or empty promise—it must be a realized promise.
Types of Insincere and/or Manipulative Apologies
Not all insincere apologies are purposely manipulative. Often, they aren’t even purposely insincere.
That doesn’t make them acceptable, though, nor does it make a continued pattern of giving such apologies less toxic. It can, however, make it more difficult to determine when an apology is real and when it’s a manipulation. Feeling true remorse isn’t a fail-safe identifier of a sincere apology.
For this reason, it’s important to learn to differentiate the different rationales behind insincere and/or manipulative apologies.
What the apology really means: “I feel bad, and apologizing will make me feel better. It isn’t about making you feel better—this is about me.”
Whether we mean to or not, almost all of us are guilty of apologizing to appease ourselves rather than the people we hurt.
This doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person or a secret narcissist. It’s a common self-defense method to protect our own emotions and vulnerability. By verbally admitting our guilt, we release some of that burden and ease our own consciences.
We are also aware that, on some level, just offering an apology is often enough to improve how people perceive us. In a 2006 article from the Journal of College and Character, author Hershey H. Friedman notes that “an apology causes the aggrieved party to have more empathy for the offending party.” In other words, the act of apologizing itself can be enough to make the person we’ve hurt feel bad for us instead.
The Difference between Guilt and Shame
Friedman’s article goes on to explain that we desire this acknowledgment to assuage our own negative feelings. When we do something that we know has caused another being pain, most people feel one of two emotions: guilt or shame.
Guilt stems from the knowledge that we have displayed “bad” behavior. We have committed some negative action, and one of the consequences of that action is a deep discomfort and desire to make amends.
Shame is a deeper emotion that stems from poor self-esteem. Instead of labeling only the action or behavior as negative, people who feel shame internalize their discomfort and label their entire identity as negative. In other words, they think, “I’m a bad person,” not, “I did a bad thing.”
Feeling either of these emotions is like poison to a chronic manipulator. Whether their discomfort stems from guilt over an action or shame over their own identities, manipulators find the sensation even more unwelcome than the average human. That’s because shame and guilt serve as reminders that we have made a mistake by doing something wrong.
Manipulators cannot handle that realization, and they will do everything in their power to remove themselves from it. This means that they will gaslight their victims into thinking that the offense never happened and apologize without any true remorse.
What the apology really means: “I’m tired of arguing, so I’m going to tell you whatever you want to hear.”
This type of apology is given by manipulators and victims alike. At certain points, a situation or relationship can become so uncomfortable that the participants will do or say anything to put an end to it.
That’s where this apology comes into play. It doesn’t stem from shame, guilt, or any real sense of remorse. It stems from a desire to put an end to a confrontation, passive-aggressive behavior, and/or uncomfortable silence.
The most unfortunate trait of this type of apology is that it often comes across as more sincere than other types of manipulative apologies. What may appear to be a heartfelt desire to put an end to a fight may actually be exhaustion and/or apathy.
While it is not recommended to “test” anyone with whom you’re in a relationship (romantic, platonic, familial, or otherwise), a good way to weed out this type of apology is to say that you aren’t done talking. If the other person walks away or tunes you out, chances are that they only apologized to end the argument. If they agree to listen, especially if they’re clearly tired or annoyed, the apology was more likely to be sincere.
Leading the Witness
What the apology really means: “By apologizing to you first, I expect you to apologize to me next. After all, it’s not really my fault—you’re to blame, too.”
In court, the term “leading the witness” refers to a manipulation tactic wherein an attorney directs the witness on the stand to make a specific statement. It’s basically a fancy way of saying “putting words in someone’s mouth.”
For example, during a murder trial, an attorney may show the witness a picture of the murder weapon while asking, “The Defendant owns a weapon just like this, don’t they?” If the witness says “yes”, then they have made a vital correlation between the Defendant and the crime. If the witness says “no”, even if they call attention to the nature of the question, then they are assumed to be lying.
That’s exactly how this type of manipulative apology works.
Like the Argument Ender rationale, apologies in this category don’t stem from genuine remorse. Rather, they come from the belief that making an apology will force the other person to apologize, too. After all, won’t they seem like a jerk if you apologize and they don’t?
This is, of course, a fallacy. While the phrase “it takes two to tango” (i.e., no one person is responsible for a negative situation) is correct for many conflicts, it isn’t correct for all of them. A victim of abuse, physical or verbal, is not in any way responsible for the actions of their abuser.
What the apology really means: “If you accept this apology, then it means I can do the thing that hurt or bothered you again without consequence.”
When children begin to experience autonomy, one of the first things they do is test their boundaries. “Mom doesn’t mind that I drew on this paper, so let’s see if I can draw on the wall.” “Dad put me in time out when I pulled the dog’s tail, will he put me in time out if I do it again?”
These are the types of activities that toddlers engage in. They aren’t evil, or narcissistic, or sociopathic. They’re just learning which behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not.
At best, that’s the mentality behind this kind of apology, too. No matter how old or otherwise mature the person offering this type of apology is, it stems from a very childish perspective.
Instead of viewing an accepted apology as a vehicle for forgiveness and personal growth, they see it as carte blanche approval to commit the harmful action again. If they were really mad, they wouldn’t have forgiven me, so that means it’s okay to do this thing again.
In this scenario, the person who offers the apology as a means of testing boundaries probably isn’t doing it intentionally. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Purposely manipulative people will employ the same technique to see just how far they can push someone.
What the apology really means: “I know that my apology will make you feel sorry enough for me or positive enough about our relationship to stay.”
This is what most people envision when they think about manipulative apologies. These are the sorries and promises that intentional abusers and manipulators make to ensure that their victims stay put.
In some cases, there is an additional intention behind this sort of apology. Namely, the person giving the apology is hoping to gaslight their victim.
The term “gaslight” gets thrown around quite often nowadays, so it is important to define what it actually means. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which the abuser attempts to convince their victim that their perception of reality is skewed. Examples of gaslighting can range from the innocent and noncommital, “It wasn’t that bad!” to the explicit, “You’re just lying, and you know it!”
When abusers apologize with the goal of gaining ultimate control of their victim, gaslighting is often the method they use. By apologizing, they place doubt in their victims’ minds. “They apologized to me, so they can’t be as terrible as I remember them being.”
The moment that doubt takes root, abusers know that their victims are susceptible to further abuse. They will immediately counteract any violence or negativity with a smile or a compliment or a gift. Such actions keep their victims guessing about who the abuser really is and whether or not they’re abusive in the first place.
Apologies humanize people, and abusers know that. They bank on it. If you notice that someone makes a habit of apologizing to calm you down or deflect your anger, take it as a warning sign that they’re using that apology to gain ultimate control over you.
The Last Resort
What the apology really means: “I don’t feel bad about what I did or said. I feel bad about the possibility that you might leave and/or never forgive me.”
Finally, manipulators may rely on an apology as a last resort for keeping their victim from leaving.
This last resort apology comes in two primary forms. The first is related to an apology with the goal of ultimate control. The manipulator knows that their victim will leave and/or have a negative opinion of them unless they apologize, so they do just that.
The second form is unintentional but no less manipulative for it. In this scenario, the manipulator issues a desperate apology borne from fear. This manipulator isn’t actively trying to gain control of their victim, they’re just doing whatever it takes to make them stay.
The first type of last resort apology tends to come from master manipulators, narcissists, and sociopaths. It is completely intentional, and the person making such an apology knows exactly what they’re doing and why. The second type of last resort apology stems from poor self-esteem, codependency, and a lack of proper boundaries.
At the end of the day, an apology is just an apology. “I’m sorry,” is just a string of words. No matter how close you are with someone or good you think that person is, an apology without change is manipulation.
That doesn’t have to mean that you should remove that person from your life, though, nor does it mean that your relationship is unsalvageable. As we’ve demonstrated here, plenty of people unintentionally offer insincere apologies because of their own doubts and issues.
That’s why Makin Wellness of Pittsburgh here to help. Whether you’re dealing with addiction, grief, emotional instability, or relationship breakdowns, Makin Wellness has an expert therapist on staff to help you overcome. Get started with Pennsylvania Online Therapy. We serve the Greater Pittsburgh, PA area, the Philidelphia, PA region, and the entire state of Pennsylvania. To learn more about how we can help you, start your healing journey now.
This Post Has 30 Comments
Thank you for this article.. I am currently stuck in this circle of empty apologizing.. He even says he knows what is needed but never acts … Then says sorry …
Hi Shelley, Thank you for your comment. It sounds like the relationship could benefit from some new communication skills and techniques for change. It’s can be frustrating when change does not occur after the apology is given. Our office would be happy to help with that. Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or 1-833-274-HEAL.
What about someone demanding you to accept their apology and if you don’t they punish you.
Thank you for your reaching out, April. This sounds like a rather serious form of control. It can be hard to gain back a healthy level on your own. We have experienced professionals who work with individuals just like you. You are not alone. Give us a call at 833-274-4325 and we can help.
How do I explain to my husband why saying “I’m sorry I don’t live up to your expectations” or “I’m sorry I’m such an @hole” isn’t an actual apology? Because he seems to think it is and he gets upset when I basically ignore the so called apology or suggestion that, that’s not really an apology or if things have already tested my patience, I tell him to grow up. (I know that one doesn’t help)
This tends to happen when I ask him to do something differently like throw the empty poptart box in the trash, not on the kitchen table (pick up after himself) or not to take his frustration out on me when he has a bad day. Something dumb like that. I know… I have really high expectations (eyeroll)
Or telling me he’s not yelling when I tell him not yell at me, especially when he’s upset about something that has nothing to do with me.
Hi, thank you for your response. Sometimes significant others create an apology that contains things that they think the other person wants to hear. While this may seem condescending to you, he may feel it is appropriate. While these responses can trigger anger, it is helpful to try to breathe and respond to their apology with questions about why they feel that way. We can help you come up with better forms of communication and find the answers you are looking for. Give us a call at 833-274-HEAL or join us at our next Facebook Live Q&A. We hope to hear from you and wish you the best.
What if youre truly apologetic
but you say somethings which give off a bad aura? but you dont mean it, at all
i fear thats the reason my life is like this
I have been going through the same thing….for 12 years. It began over different things. But over the past two years, it has been over the same thing…and has gone from once every 6 months to every 2-3 days. It has destroyed me. I’m pretty sure he’s a narcissist…and I KNOW he gaslights me. I went from a confident, joyful, outgoing person who loved life and had lots of friends….to a recluse who has no self esteem, and who is being hurt by someone who never deserved me to start with….and by that, I mean….he has NEVER contributed a dime to the relationship despite promises to pitch in;hasbinvaded my privacy, been violent, horri ly verbally abusive, and does unspeakably cruel things….then disappears, and resurfaces with apologies….and usually a request for money and then repeats the behavior. He has cost me jobs, family….my joy. These days, I literally have pain in my chest daily from the hurt. It’s been like that for the past 5 years now….and each time he goes silent, I decide I must not let him back to hurt me more. But I’m so devastated and isolated now that when he does appear with a vague, insincere apology that I KNOW isn’t real, I’m so desperste to not feel the heartache, that I end up choosing to ‘pretend’ it’s sincere….just for those few moments of relief. It reminds me of my childhood: choosing to believe my alcoholic dad daily, when he’d promise each morning for years on end, that he wouldn’t come home drunk and violent again….knowing deep inside he would. Believing let me get through the day. He was drunk every single night.
Anyway….point being, I’m in another “silent treatment”….what he did this time is the worst yet (in terms of blatant cruelty-)….and despite feeling gutted, I REALLY want to keep him out when he inevitably shows up again. I just hope the lure of the momentary relief from the sadness doesn’t win this time. Logically, I’m aware of exactly what’s up. I’m no fool. But I recognize I’m stuck, totally stripped of everything by this man, and am running on fumes for self motivation and perseverance.
Worst of all, when I met him 12 yrs ago, his stepmom was just like me now: housebound, empty, depressed….his dad was a total monster to both of them (but of course, my partner seemed different-)…she warned me to get out….that the men in this family were all monsters, and Ibwould end up like her – basically waiting to die in order to be rid of the pain. I felt sorry for her, but thought it would never happen to me. The son (my partner) was so charming! 12 yrs later, I’m a shell of my former self. Unrecognizable to myself. Alone. Hurting. Desperately sad and alone, and feeling worthless. (And clearly, sleepless, as I’m writing this at 3AM!)
I hope you managed to stay strong. Praying for you.
I have totally been there, since my first boyfriend at 15 and the 4 or 5 or maybe it’s 6 or 7 now relatiomships I’ve had during the following 20 years. I know exactly how you feel… Like you gotta quit fooling yourself, cuz you Know the likelihood that you’ll fall for it next time, and you’re embarrassed to keep lying to yourself or anyone else when you say you’re done.
What I finally did w most of these relationships to get really done w them was getting with someone else when they were away doing their silent treatment bullshit. You know the saying to get over somebody got to get under someone else…. However usually the people that would be the kinds that I would be attracted to are going to be the same ones I was trying to get away from So usually I just started a whole new relationship with another narcissist by doing this. I’m at the point right now though where I know that I can do that and it’s easier to not be so attached for so long where I don’t get so worn out and worn down by them anymore. Actually what makes this possible is by dating people who are totally emotionally unavailable, The guys who are obvious cheaters or multiple women kind of guys, or already in relation ships (that “are ending”) or ones at their midlife crisis who know how to be mature and over their horny younger days but are actually just reverting to the same behaviors, just w less attwntion (and therefore less competition) from other women
It isn’t what I want, of course. I need to break away and not keep myself distracted all the time w always having some shitty relationship that I need to get over but I just fall for the good everytime.
I think I might have borderline personality disorder. I did some pretty terrible things to my 76 year old Aunt in the hopes she wouldn’t leave me. She did- she blocked my email and phone. I apologized as sincerely as I could many times. I really feel awful about lying to her and manipulating her emotions. I love her and fear she might be go e from my life forever. I keep reaching out to her by opening new email accounts but she doesn’t respond to my messages. Is there anything else I can do? I am having a hard time trying to respect her wishes not to talk to me. I really wish I could turn back time. It is awful to lose someone you truly care about and to have to admit my behaviors are what caused her to permanently cut me off. Should I keep apologizing? What if she never talks to me again? I’m heartbroken.
Hi Jennifer. Processing the past and dealing with our life choices can be a difficult thing to deal with. We would love to talk to you more about what you’re walking through, you’re always welcome to schedule an introductory call with one of our team members. We’re here to help.
I feel stuck in this relationship staying with someone who doesn’t change at all or make anything better just talks about it. I am 5 weeks pregnant and i have a 1 yr old daughter . I’ve been trying hard to stay and make this work but i am tired of the constant hurt. I never get dealt the same hand i give him. I want to leave in fact i’m always letting him know i want to leave to see if he will change but see i’m here writing this so no no changes at all just empty statements and promises.
Hi Simone. We are sorry that you are struggling with these things in your relationship. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members if you feel like you need help.
I had to cut this toxic manipulative person out of my life. Around 35 years and misconduct repeated and evaded consequences this way, never learning to change. She blameshifts, will not see herself as the creator of conflicts.
So my wife was in an abusive relationship. I understand that. No matter how many things I try to change it seems never good enough. She points out things to me that don’t make sense but I’ll just do it. Example being all your shoes are down here in a complaint format. I take then to our room on my side of the closet. I’m an alcoholic since I was 15 or so. I’m 37 now but quit drinking for 3 or 4 years now. We moved fast and I have one child who mom abused heroin while pregnant with another guys baby and gained full custody for two years now. We always co parented great. So my one and her two. She always shows favoritism towards the boy. When I ask for something only common sense shows I shouldn’t need to ask, she creates this drama and starts saying I said it this or that way. She tells me what I felt and what I meant by it. No matter how I change the way I approach the situation its always the same. I get to a point where I don’t talk to her for days. She then apologizes and says we need to learn how to communicate. Everytime and everything I ask about always comes with a bout and she turns it into right or wrong. Then insults me as in my person but says I said something mean when it was changed to what I meant when I said it. I explain even for the future that if I’m asking about something then that’s all I’m asking. Every time she gets defensive, plays victim or has excuses and starts telling me what I said. I explained to her that I’m trying to talk with her using us, we, our, and she finds a way to flip it and then I told her that when we talk she doesn’t talk to me she talks at me. Instead of I feel like when you said this it was that. It goes more like I got defensive because you said this like that and it hurt me. Like how are you going to say what I meant and said for me as to why you felt something or she will say when you said this it made me feel like you are doing this. Like so I made you feel a way. Nothing about herself. She scoffs all the time which we talked about and she says sorry but it never ends. She scoffs and says your mad. I’m always saying why am I always mad when I’m just talking. She left me barely any food and asked if I needed more. I explained she cooked and doesn’t eat as much as us 4 do please do. She rudely says I was gonna have it anyway. Seemed like a joke but usually you say just kidding. Whatever though I don’t care. She apologized like 5 times saying are you sure your ok? So I say if it isn’t I can just go get myself something to eat. She scoffs and another we agreed not to do. She scoffs at me in front of the kids. I say what was that? What are you scoffing at me. She goes cuz your all mad about it. So I say why are you just saying. Shhhhh not in front of the kids. Like I’m a b word.like she is better than me when it’s always this start to a fight I never started and then act like she is the bigger person and I just need to quiet. She has not been supportive of anything at all and seems more like she really just pretends to be so ill shut up. She once said to my face she wishes I had friends to talk to so I didn’t talk to her about stuff. Then tries to discuss makeup. Now I’m really standing up for myself and it’s always the same with she is sorry and then says this we stuff and it’s like and I accepted this when I was drinking. I said for the first 2 years I accept that I caused a lot of issues but I’ve changed and proved it. I said and then we had issues with parenting for about a year and I’ve worked so hard not to worry about all the little things. Now it’s just been then victim excuses always siding with her son. My girl and hers are fed up with him and she blames them and babies him. He randomly goes in there room and trash talks and she yells at them and blames them. Her son used to do dishes and has a bad arm but did them just fine and excuses him from doing hand washed dishes. She blames the arm. Yet he plays basketball just fine and emptied the dishwasher just fine. Now he does trash and she tells him to leave it in the garage and just expects me to take it. She does all these things in the house and sometimes when stuff isn’t done I’ll do it but I said hey you do too much and that I’m more than willing to help but my whole day is work so I need you to say or ask so I know and you can relax. She complains whenever there is a chance in anything where she did wrong and says she does everything. She uses Word all the time, you never, I always have to and you do nothing. Everytime I’m telling her how that hurts my feeling because I do help especially when I’m off and the kids are home off school and it’s so she can be alone and relax. Then she says sorry and how she needs me and blah blah just to do it again later. If I say you shouldn’t leave cans here and the trash is closer it’s just all this crap I didn’t say or mean she made up I did and it’s like a huge deal. She says she wants to talk and I’m at this point I just walk aways and now I say to her she doesn’t want to talk because I was trying to and you(she) just gets mad and insults me and says what I said and meant. The girls have been telling me they are sick of her antics. Anyway the one time I say maybe I should get paperwork because she won’t accept anything and keeps saying me. I’m like I’m sick of being told I need to change when I see nothing from Her. She still acts the same. Scoffs at me. Insults me and makes up what I meant and said that insulted her I never meant or said . One time I say it she sends me a pdf of paperwork and says she wants me still but respects my choice. Then says we should do counseling. She will give excuses for her son and reacts like a b word to my daughter and her mom just stopped seeing or hanging out with her after 13 years of being the primary care provider. Her ex has been back and fourth with multiple kids from multiple mothers and acts like my daughter doesn’t know the struggle let alone her own daughter. I just want to explain and let you hear what I’m dealing with because I want somone to see what I’m dealing with. She won’t even call her family for advice because one time while at her fams I explained something and they all explained how she can be. She acts like being a single mom was executed without help but all her family helps all the time. I come from a loving family but with a lot of background problems we all dealt with and grew from but I don’t have any family or help. Mom and dad just we never talk and they don’t do that kinda stiff and I have a brother in another state with his own kids and marriage. I’m just me. My daughter and I are just us. We have nothing to turn to and I love her but I feel like I allowed too much power and now am the punching bag for all her exes abuse and she learned some manipulation tactics along the way to enable a way to show no remorse or emotion until it’s a victim card I’m supposed to feel bad about and I’ve had a rough life some I chose and some not but it’s like the small years of that can never amount to it or the mother card which I can’t have because I’m a male. I don’t mention anything like that anyway because it’s my own dealings and you either suffer with a crutch or work it into calcium around the break and become better. I don’t need to talk about it because it helped me grow and that’s it. She seems to always wanna say that like I’m supposed to pity it but you use the same excuse for anything it begins to lose its meaning. Please help!
Thank you for sharing valuable insights on this sensitive topic. I am coping with a family member who is repeatedly doing bad things to me and others, apologizing, but then making zero effort to demonstrate change. Total insincerity. You called it for what it is. I needed this. It validates my own emotions and helps me frame up my own thoughts on the topic. I finally told her I was done listening to the “I’m sorries. I am paying attention to the actions … not the words anymore.” She was pissed, but I’m not here to be popular. I think back to what Maya Angelou said about when people show you who they really are, believe them the first time.”
Hi Dana. Thanks for sharing your story. We understand how you feel. These situations with family members are really hard to deal with.
Great article, though strongly disagree with the part about “testing” their willingness to keep talking. Conversations should be consensual–if a person is burnt out and doesn’t feel like talking anymore, (they should say so, and not lie with a fake apology, but) you’re not entitled to keep talking at them (which will only push them to lash out or further shut down.) Nagging is a form of abuse, too. I highly advise against it, and even traditionally “feminine” argumentative tactics can be just as toxic.
Married for 34 years, to a man who has used all the apology angles in this article. For years I didn’t recognize it. My mother actually years ago said she appreciated that he apologized frequently even when he didn’t feel he was wrong. I thought it odd then and even more so now.
What I would love is for someone – any therapist (we have been to 4) to give me the tools to respond to his lack of change and empty apology’s. I don’t know what to say and all I know is to be silent.
At this point walking away seems my only avenue and I don’t relish the thought of Divorce.
Honestly not sure which is worse – continue to hear the empty apologies or the legal battle.
Hi Renee. We are sorry that you are struggling with these things in your marriage. We understand finding a therapist you can connect with matters. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one our team members we’d love to match you with someone that can help you move toward healing in your relationship.
I am struggling as a parent and a behavior analyst to demonstrate to the school counselor that having kids apologize forcibly does not lead to any behavior change or learned skills. Is there specific research that demonstrates this?
I have a close friend who I met in High School when I was 14 years old. She is married and in an abusive relationship and in the process of getting a divorce.
At my 60th birthday party, which my daughter beautifully planned for me, this friend of mine got intoxicated
And ruined the party. She became very verbally and physically abusive.
The scene that she caused was horrible.
When we spoke the following day, she was crying and apologized and when I tried to tell her how horrible she made me feel and that she had embarrassed me in front of my family and had ruined a milestone event that had taken my daughter months to plan and prepare for.
She then cursed at me and said “ Do you even know what I went through that day?” She had to go to court and testify regarding her husband and the divorce
And the abuse.
My question is Should that excuse her actions?
And how can I move forward with her if she refuses to take responsibility for what she did?
But keeps repeating that she is going through a rough time?
Hi Suzanne. Thanks for sharing your story. We understand how hard this situation with your friend must feel. If you want to talk more about this feel free to contact our Makin Wellness team today.
Thank you for this article. How do you deal with someone that is NEVER willing to offer an apology. I have been with my husband for 17 years and he refuses to ever apologize for hurting me or take responsibility for his actions. He once said by apologizing to me, it makes him inferior to me. When I communicate to him that he has caused me great emotional distress, he becomes annoyed and then follows it with the silent treatment until I eventually just get tired and in the end I apologize to him for expressing my feelings. I recently learned the term gaslighting and I feel he does that to me. A lot of times he denies saying things to hurt me or telling me that I make up hurtful events in my head. He often tells me that I just need to stop reading into things and stop overreacting. The problem isn’t him, it’s me and my own insecurities for always feeling hurt.
I know it’s me. I just don’t know how to change his way of thinking. The will to stay in this marriage is coming to an end. Living a life of heartache is not a way of life. But I can honestly say my husband is such a good person to everyone else. He cares so deeply for the relationship he has with his mom and siblings. This is how I know he actually has it in him. However, that deep love has never been given to me.
Hi Marisela. Thanks for sharing your story. We understand how hard it must feel. We’ve found that therapy goes a long way in moving toward healing and gaining health coping skills. Contact our Makin Wellness team today as we’d love to help you develop a plan to find joy in life again.
This is a very helpful article. Well written by making clear the types of apologies, their meanings and the applications in situations.
Hello, thank you for your feedback!
I have a very dear friend who I met in high school. We have been friends for over 40 years
She has a drinking problem, and has gotten
Violent and verbally abuse at social events.through the years. My friends and I have tried an intervention in the past but it did not work. At my 60th Birthday, she got drunk , violent, verbally abusive to me and ruined the party. She sort of apologized in a text , but said she was having a rough day because she is going through a divorce and had to appear
I’m court that day. She did not really take responsibility for her actions and has refused to meet with me in person. I have decided
To tell her that unless she gets help I cannot be a part of her life. I am not sure if I am doing the right thing. She has gotten angry and said I am a horrible friend.
I am so sorry you’re experiencing this! That sounds frustrating and hurtful. Expressing boundaries is a form of self-care and self-respect, so kudos for expressing your boundary clearly. Addiction is incredibly tough for those who suffer from it and those who feel the effects of the addiction from their loved one. If what you’ve been experiencing with your friend is causing you ongoing pain, remember to reach out to talk to someone. You don’t have to deal with this alone!