Can you overdo an apology? (DW# 779)
Jun 17, 2020
Can you overdo an apology?
Absolutely! It is one thing to express remorse for what we have done, and it is quite another to share the depths of shame and remorse we might be feeling with another person to the extent that they feel the need to take care of our emotional distress.
Apologies like this show up in sentences like:
I am sorry I am a horrible person
I can never get over what I did to you
I feel absolutely terrible
Apologies like this seem genuine on the surface and they might be. The problem is that the focus is not on the distress of the offended person but rather on the feelings of the offender.
We need to be careful about making the offended person feel bad about how bad we are feeling. Processing our feelings of guilt and remorse is ours to process and does not belong in the apology process.
So, if we are feeling awful about what we have done, let us practice sitting in that distress after we have expressed remorse rather than putting the burden on the offended person to make us feel better.
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