It’s well understood (or at least, it should be) that apologizing is a good thing. But it only makes a real impact with someone, within your relationship, when you mean it. When you REALLY mean it.
There are a couple of ways that apologies don’t hold the weight of being genuine, and those kinds of apologies can look like this…
Type 1 – The Invalidating Apology
Saying things like “I’m sorry you feel that way,” “I’m sorry you see it that way,” or “I’m sorry if I upset you”. This kind of apology is the backhanded one where a person is sorry for the way that you feel, not for causing you (intentionally or unintentionally) hurt and pain. Even if you don’t agree that your action was wrong, this style of apology dismisses a person’s feelings and makes them invalid.
Type 2 – The Dismissive Apology
“Sorry”, “I’m sorry”, backed up with turning away, doing something else, or walking away. The apology that is said to dismiss the conversation, to negate feelings or responsibility. The submissive “I’m sorry”, designed to end a conversation in its tracks rather than be meaningful and constructive in moving forward, together.
Type 3 – The Aggressive Invalidating Apology
The “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand where you are coming from”, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand why you feel that way”, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand how you could say that or feel that way”. This kind of apologetic statement makes it all about the other person. It infers your feelings can’t possibly be right or true since they don’t understand how you got there.
All these kinds of apologies, plus any other “I’m sorry, but…”,
diminish a persons worth.
They are also quite dangerous within a relationship as they border on gaslighting, selfish tendencies (narcissism?), a lack of personal responsibility or a decreased desire in ownership, equality and co-creating a life together with your partner.
Gah! So how do you apologise and genuinely mean it? Well, the first step is to accept that your partner feels hurt.
- Validate your partners feelings by accepting that they are feeling hurt, distress and or pain from something that you intentionally or unintentionally carried out.
- Empathise with your partner’s pain. You can genuinely see they are hurting; empathise with the pain you have intentionally or unintentionally caused.
- Validation, acceptance, and empathy (if you are struggling with accessing them) can come more easily if you ask yourself this…”do I really want my partner to be in pain, hurt or distressed?” Surely you answer is a no, at which point you can begin to ask yourself how you can ease the pain.
From this place of acceptance and empathy, a real apology can have a significant impact. When you love your partner and hurt them (intentionally or not), you can always legitimately apologise for the pain you caused, regardless of your perspective on what you did or didn’t do, and you can do it with empathy and an honest desire to want to ease your partners experience of pain no matter who or what the cause.
There you have it. You are now officially armed with several tools that will help you develop, build and experience, healthy relationships.
Do you want more relationships tips? Follow along on social media @gemmaroseiam or use the contact page to request working with Gemma more closely.
With over 12 years experience in the spiritual, spirit & self empowerment industry, Gemma Rose specialises in helping others create balance & harmony within self, relationships, families & team environments. Gemma’s intuitive healing practice focuses on Holistic Health & Wellbeing through Intuitive Counselling, Coaching & Alternative Healing Therapies.
“Healthy Relationships Require Collaboration.”
© 2009 – 2021 Gemma Rose.
I acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia. I acknowledge traditional custodians of land, river and seas, and their deep cultural connection to country and community. I pay my respects to them and their cultures, to elders both past, present and emerging, and I pay my respects the the Biripi people upon which I reside, work and play. I also pay respect to my cultural heritage, people, land and waterways of the Kamilaroi.