When is it Helpful to Apologize?

09_0006_Layer 95

“When it is helpful to apologize?” asked Patricia, a client of mine, in one of our phone sessions. Her husband, Brent, often expected her to apologize and she was confused about when it was appropriate.

The answer to this question is a little complex, because there are two different reasons that people apologize:

  • Sometimes people apologize to try to have control over the other person. If the other person has indicated that they expect an apology and you give it to them, whether or not you feel apologetic or feel that you have anything to apologize for, then you are trying to have control over how the other person feels about you.

The problem with apologizing with the intent to control is that you have to give yourself up to do it, and this will always make you feel badly inside. Giving yourself up gives yourself the message that how the other person feels about you is more important than being true to yourself. So, even if the other person is happy with you that you apologized, you may feel some depression as a result of compromising your own integrity.

  • The other reason people apologize is because they genuinely feel badly about something they did. They apologize because it is loving to themselves to acknowledge their own unloving behavior. They apologize out of caring for themselves and for the person they are apologizing to. This apology is coming from a sense of integrity and leads to feeling peaceful within.

“Patricia, while it may seem helpful to apologize to appease Brent, in the long run it is anything but helpful. While it may calm things for the moment, in the long run it sets up a codependent system where Brent is making you responsible for his feelings. You have to apologize for him to feel okay or feel loving toward you. It is not your responsibility to care-take his feelings.

“On the other hand, if you have behaved in a way that you are not happy with, then it is taking responsibility for your own feelings to sincerely apologize to Brent.”

“So it is loving to apologize when I’m doing it for me, but not when I’m doing it for him?”

“Well, it is loving when you are doing it for both of you, but not just for him. When you are doing it just for him, then you are allowing him to control you and you are being compliant as a way to control him, which will never make you feel good inside or foster a loving relationship.”

“But what if he demands an apology before he will be loving to me?”

“Then he is making you responsible for his feelings, and by apologizing, you are making him responsible for your feelings. You are abandoning yourself to try to get love, rather than being loving to yourself. If you genuinely feel that you didn’t do anything for which you need to apologize, then it is loving to yourself to let go of whether or not he is being loving to you and accept the responsibility of being loving to yourself.”

“Oh, I get it! If I apologize to get him to be loving to me, even when I feel that I haven’t done anything wrong, then I am abandoning myself and trying to control him instead of being true to myself. No wonder I feel so badly when I do that! It’s been confusing because it’s very easy for me to apologize when I’ve been hurtful to him and it makes me feel good to do that, but apologizing when he is demanding it and I know that I have done nothing to apologize for makes me feel awful inside. Thanks for the clarity!”

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® healing process. Are you are ready to discover real love and intimacy? Learn Inner Bonding now! Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding Course, and visit our website at www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at http://www.innerbonding.com. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at http://selfquest.com. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *