Hey! You know what’s so great about getting an apology from someone that treated you like shit?When someone is horrible to you, it’s easy to think you did something wrong–that you must have done/said something to deserve it–(and let’s face it–sometimes you did.)
The heartfelt apology says, “its not you. You didn’t deserve to be treated like that.” Because honestly? Yeah, my go-to is to assume I screwed up and somehow deserved it. The apology helped me understand I didn’t do anything wrong. I actually get tears in my eyes thinking about it. I didn’t do anything to deserve to be treated so poorly. Incidentally, if I do, you can tell me, but I’m pretty decent at recognizing my own fuck-ups. If I don’t know what I did, I’m also pretty obsessive about rethinking every exchange I’ve ever had with you to try and pinpoint the thing that I did that made you treat me so badly. When you apologize, you take the responsibility for your behavior away from me. I know this is a symptom of past abuse–to blame myself, but I think there are enough of us that feel that way that it’s ok to mention it.
I got an apology today–and the whole “I’m just having a bad day” explanation. I get it. We all have bad days and we end up taking it out on somebody else. The problem with that is the person you take it out on may have been having a bad day too, but they didn’t take it out on you. And….well, if they weren’t having a bad day before, you just made sure they would.
I’m thinking about the broken plate metaphor today. If you haven’t heard it, it’s explaining what being awful to someone and then apologizing is like. Throw a plate on the floor and break it. Now, tell it you’re sorry. If it’s a really good sorry, you may glue it back together, but no matter what, it’ll never be the same. Apologies are nice. So is being a little more careful with the plate so it doesn’t break in the first place.