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Forums / Relationship and family issues / Apologies- within reason

Topic: Apologies- within reason

  1. white knight
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    22 May 2020

    I don’t know about you but over my 64 years I’ve met many people that don’t apologise for their wrong doing. Having observed this and was once married for 11 years to a narcissistic wife that never apologised once in all that time, I’ve come to conclusion that absence of apologies is excess of arrogance, stubbornness or both.

    Whatever the reason it leaves the more apologetic one with lots of frustration because they, like most, run their lives with apologies as a basic form of expressing regret which is a conventional method of healing so we can move forward. Without that you live a marriage where you question your own judgements when apology is absent. Imo that comes from greater commitment with knowledge that without carrying responsibility for your own errors, the future of the marriage is in jeapody.

    As my first wife and I had young children when we parted ways we still had to communicate for visitations and pick ups/drop offs and education concerns. This meant a continuous stream of talking flowed on so in effect that stubbornness went on for a further 14 years until the youngest was 18yo, when finally I needed to escape and severed all contact. That’s how bad an “attitude” can be.

    That was 10 years ago. Yet the scars live on. Now if a friend or relative is in clear error I do like some expression of regret- if it is shown then I click into forgiveness mode quickly- most times.

    What about an excess of apologies? Commonly found in people with low self esteem, these apologies reflect a domineering factor in your childhood whereby you were told “you are wrong” in an over domineering way- as an adult you continue to feel that guilt and guilt is s terrible backpack to carry around.

    google

    beyondblue topic guilt the tormentor

    Those “guilt” rocks in that backpack should be thrown in the river, revert to normality and apologise only when you are convinced you have made an error.

    Finally, I learned in training to be a young prison officer that in a group and you make an error (say you incorrectly made an accusation) then the correct action if possible is to apologise to that person in front of the same people. You might feel embarrassment but you’ll gain respect. In a jail it could save your life but respect is hard to gain amongst prisoners, that’s one way of getting it- is to treat people proper.

    What is your take on apologies?

    TonyWK

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  2. quirkywords
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    22 May 2020 in reply to white knight

    Tony,

    My name is quirky and I am an over apologiser.

    say sorry to anyone and anything.

    I am aware I do this but when someone says stop saying sorry, I say sorry.

    I see other people saying sorry a lot and can see it sounds insincere.

    For me it is genuine and a reflex action, I say sorry even when it is not my fault.

    Quirky

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  3. Guest_7403
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    22 May 2020 in reply to white knight
    As a prison officer myself, I have never had an issue apologising to a prisoner.

    I make mistakes as much as they do, and if I'm in the wrong I have no issue apologising for it to them.

    I am a mirror in prison, I give them what they give me. I am well respected in the units I work because of this philosophy
  4. white knight
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    23 May 2020 in reply to Guest_7403

    Hi Quirky

    Im sorry you say sorry even when you shouldn’t say sorry...

    Yes, it can be unground and habit forming.

    An interesting aspect.

    The Borderline

    It has been 42 years since I worked at Pentridge Gaol and the youngest ever recruited at 21yo. We were on the tail end of the old days of discipline even when not needed and poor communication. In fact when I ever apologised it was done quietly as older officers would interpret it as an undesirable act.

    Love your mirror analogy

    TonyWK

  5. geoff
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    23 May 2020 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony, to make an apology to someone is only good if the other person is willing to accept it, although it may relieve your own consciousness to do so.

    We learn from people's mistakes who should be apologetic but don't reply or acknowledge the fact that they are in the wrong that we don't do the same.

    To make an apology is not a sign of weakness because you have the strength to confront the person, whether or not they accept it, is up to them.

    In many relationships/marriages some people who are not at fault, make it a habit of just apologizing for the sake of saving their relationship, and that's what I can relate to, especially when I received the silent treatment.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

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  6. white knight
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    23 May 2020 in reply to geoff

    Hi Geoff

    You also Geoff, have the scars of apologising when given the silent treatment- my memories of doing that so my wife and I could return to a harmonious household is etched in my mind.

    My feeling now about that is- we should be proud we made the effort. As you say - apologising is not a sign of weakness.

    TonyWK

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  7. geoff
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    23 May 2020 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony, yes many hours of the silent treatment and having to apologise on occasions when it was no reason to or certainly not my fault.

    These were the times that I disliked so much in our marriage.

    Geoff.

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  8. white knight
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    23 May 2020 in reply to geoff

    Hi Heoff

    My ex wife once went 6 weeks without one word spoken... to me. In the company of others she’d talk normally to them. But commonly 7-21 days not talking.

    I worked 3 jobs so she could remain a stay at home mum- her dream role. My old Zephyr had to drive 90 minutes one way to work and needed regular tuning. I arrived home one night to enter our home and asked what was for dinner

    ”what do you want”?

    ”anything at all, I have to tune the car”

    returned 30 minutes later

    ”what happened to dinner”?

    she replied “I asked you what you wanted, I didn’t say I’d cook it”

    Hence my raised voice which ended with that silence.

    she treated me in contempt. Yet hours later I’d apologise for raising my voice!! Nevertheless that occasion resulted in the 6 weeks of silence.

    Silemce immediately following an argument is normal for short periods but used as s weapon (as I found in articles on google) is a form of control with narcissism

    In hindsight my apology made her feel good and powerful

    TonyWK

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  9. quirkywords
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    23 May 2020 in reply to white knight

    I had a partner who sulked so I would apologise as I could not stand the sulking. It would last for a day or two.

    found when I stood up and didn't apologise if I had done nothing wrong the sulking did not last as long.

    suppose the people pleaser in me just wants to avoid conflict .

    My family had a red zephyr family car in the 60s, thanks for the memories.

    Borderline I like the mirror analogy

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  10. white knight
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    23 May 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi quirky

    I find this “sulking” and subsequent apology scenario interesting.

    I would assume the sulking is a continuation of ones childhood reactions. As adults we are expected to conform to adult behaviour which includes open discussion immediately or soon after a conflict.

    As ultra srnsitive people (about 15% of the population) we aren’t able to sit down straight away, we need time for that hurt to subside. It isn’t a choice for us- it’s the way it is. But that isn’t in the league of sulking. As an ultra sensitive person I can take a maximum period of day 2 hours of letting that hurt drift before I crave for closure. Anything beyond say 4-5 hours becomes extra disruptive to the dynamics of the relationship when in our cases leads to an unwarranted apology - to speed up the recovery.

    A most frustrating process.

    So along with long periods of no talking and using silence as a weapon as in Heofg and my cases, there is periods of sulking that has the absence of using such as a weapon, maybe more so for attention? Like a parent would with a child. Either way leading to apology not justified but nevertheless a last resort.

    I see these situations as means to force an apology (or similar expressions of regret). If we compare, it isn’t dissimilar to an argument leading to a physical event by one party eg physical threats, actions like driving off erratically then returning and these acts lead to giving them an apology to stop the escalation of the situation. Id label that- an apology given via fear.

    I suppose the factor in all these examples is whether the person had plans of premeditation. Driving off erratically might be pure emotion not done to force apology.

    TonyWK

    TonyWK

    TonyWK

  11. ecomama
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    23 May 2020 in reply to white knight

    Hi all,

    I had an exH who never apologised for a thing, ever, and did the worst things imaginable. I know now that it was all intentional. But he was raised by narcs & he was worse.

    He would say "how come when YOU do something wrong, the argument is over in a minute. But when I do something wrong, it goes on for ages".... I think he was talking about his silent treatment to me...

    My reply was .... because when I do something wrong, I apologise immediately.
    Almost always my mistake was unintentional.
    And he could also be the life of the party in mixed company & I would think he's talking to me again but the second the last people left, he'd be straight back into silence. Yelling usually & then silence again. Horrible.

    I don't think "sorry" was in my mother's vocabulary lol. She cut the end of my finger off whilst she made us both use the same chopping board to cut veg. No sorry, just anger that my blood came out.

    The one thing that's worse than no apology is a "SOR-REEEE then" & "are you HAPPY now?".
    Don't bother.
    Yeah I'm doing cartwheels lol.

    For me a confirmation that someone is actually sorry is that they avoid doing that thing again. Or try to. Sincerity is important in an apology, otherwise it's not a real apology IMO. I used to apologise for everything to get that behind us... but that's not a healthy relationship. I quit that.
    Now I do apologise & always have when I know I did something wrong, or forgot something important etc.
    But if it's a bit of an iffy apology then I frame the words pretty carefully like, "I'm sorry I hurt you by saying that, it wasn't my intention" if that's true etc.

    Reading all this is making me even more sure that I can't do marriage again.

    I had another exH that, AFTER we were married, just started merrily doing all sorts of stuff almost every day; drinking to excess, gambling till there was zero left in bank account, borrowing money from all & sundry, when he started staying out at night, & we had a young family, I was done. He'd say sorry (when he was found out) & expected I'd be thrilled with that?
    The apology wasn't sincere because there was ZERO effort at changing anything.
    He actually said "You'd never leave me, you NEED me" (that was his assessment of our marriage, clearly).
    Hmmmm no I didn't. I needed that garbage like rocks in my shoes.
    I left the same night and NEVER went back.

    Another apology I can't stand is "You made me do it, but SORRY" seriously dealing with a toddler's attitude there.

    EM

  12. Elizabeth CP
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    23 May 2020 in reply to ecomama

    I thing sincere apologies are essential in a civilised society. They let the other party know that you didn't mean to hurt them (We are human and all make mistakes or say or do things which hurts the other person). or we are admitting to doing something wrong & saying we now realise it is wrong and will no longer do it. It is something which needs to be taught to children. Often when my kids and now grandkids hurt a sibling or break something etc I ask them to say sorry. Their reply is often I didn't mean it. I then explain that it is important that they let the other person know that it was an accident so they know you didn't mean to hurt them. This takes time but I see the effect with my adult kids who treat others with respect and do apologise when required.

    We cannot change others but we can set an example to others including family members & friends. They in turn can choose whether to act like decent respectful adults or not. If not you need to choose whether to continue in the relationship. Nobody deserves to be treated like dirt particularly when they are doing their best to be considerate.

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  13. white knight
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    23 May 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Hi RM

    I think many will relate to your contribution

    I was told by a partner that her closet drinking was due to putting up with my bipolar. Nice eh.

    As for being turned off with another partner EM- at 53yo 11 years ago I swore I’d remain single. My best friend was a lady I’d matchmade to my then brother in law in 1988 and they had separated when I’d built my home. She was also my kids favourite auntie by marriage

    Well I invited her up for dinner and veggie soup... we sat and I said “I’ve never told you what I really think of you”

    reply “you can tell me”

    ”I won’t tell you- I’ll show you” I said

    Then stood up and kissed her.

    We married 18 months later, been married 9 years.But if it hadn’t been her it would be nobody, I’d run my course of relationships- they were too much work- for me.

    My wife has depression and dyslexia and I bipolar, dysthymia and stuff. It’s easier when both have mental illness struggles as the empathy is always there. It’s only when both individuals are “down” that it gets tough as you both need each other and the other isn’t well enough to support. In those hours we often change our environment, climb in our vintage convertible car and go for coffee and cheese platter.

    We have embraced the word “sorry” but always add a question or two to make sure it’s sincere.

    In our early days we had to learn to control our tempers and introduce boundaries. The following thread depicts those boundaries

    relationship strife?- the peace pipe

    Elizabeth- oh yes, teaching young ones to give a sincere apology is so important

    TonyWK

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  14. ecomama
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    24 May 2020 in reply to white knight

    TonyWK you are such a romantic lol, how sweet that you two ended up together. Awwww.

    Yes gotta love the blame game. I'm about the same vintage as you and I'm tired lol. I understand why you say if it wasn't her, it would not have been anyone.
    We'll see how things go in my life - bf wants to marry but I'm reticent.

    I think an insincere apology is worse than a fake one, why bother? Plus I think it's rude and as the saying goes, is an "insult to my intelligence".

    I teach children that IF you say sorry straight away then people KNOW you're sorry.
    If someone has to DRAG an apology out of you, then no amount of sorries after that will be as well received. Sometimes it takes a while to sink in... a character in it's development.

    Same with if another person is NOT sorry. Don't say it. I would rather know the true person, than be misled by fakery.

    EM

  15. white knight
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    24 May 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Hi EM

    ARGH relationships... I’m sure the guy in this poems would have regrets not saying dorry

    THE BLACK WIDOW


    The male black widow spider
    tried all his life
    he tried to tickle the hairy legs
    of his much larger black widow wife

    Then finally he had a win
    something at last to gloat
    she began to laugh aloud
    as his leg slid down her throat

    Poor male black widow
    was always going to get into strife
    all because he didnt understand
    the nature of his hairy wife..

    TonyWK

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  16. TRYIN2
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    13 September 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hi TonyWk,

    My x cheated on me.I know because she gave me something I didnt want which proved It.My doctor told me so.

    When I confronted her about it ,picked the right time place and in a calm manner.Refused to admit it and told me it was my fault because I had unprotected sex in the past.

    After hours of me trying to reason,I ended up apologising for falsely accousing her.

    Talk about going insane,I feel you

    Tryin2

    So many other examples I could remember but choose not too

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  17. randomx
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    17 September 2021 in reply to TRYIN2

    l wouldn't say l'd end up apologizing for what wasn't my fault but if things were went sour l'd sort of volunteer my apology for my part in it if there was one, thinking that would encourage also one from her for her part in it but nope , it never did. lt wasn't marriage but a 4yrs relationship through which there were many many things , some quite big that she should've apologized for.

    She had a foul mouth when things didn't go her way , or a very sharp tongue if she was just feeling like a bit of a spar . She could be incredibly loving and fun and beautiful but also mindbogglingly hard and nasty, often an under the table style nasty , a nasty while your not being nasty , or she could be down right viscous when really peed.

    l don't think l could even remember one time , not one , where she'd apologized for anything, nothing.

    She had an arrogance and self contentedness.

    l've never liked a person that wouldn't willingly volunteer an apology, you know some people you know they just won't . Her of course it was for me obviously a mix of many other things and very strong feelings too , but just people or friends in general , a good person will apologize if needed imo. And an even better person will realize of their own seeing that they did something and owe you a sorry.

    rx

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  18. white knight
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    17 September 2021 in reply to randomx

    Hi RandomX

    Some wont say sorry- never. The word "sorry" means to them a failure yet to many of us its courage of self reflection.

    There's different levels of apology. Some will apologise simply because they didnt mean to grate you which isnt apologising for the act but regreting the conflict perhaps. Nevertheless its still an honourable thing to do as it displays care.

    TRYIN2 re:"After hours of me trying to reason,I ended up apologising for falsely accousing her." Talk about squeezing an apology out of you!. Well I suggest that disputes shouldnt last more than 30 minutes. There is a thread I wrote covering the best way to resolve a confrontation-

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/relationship-and-family-issues/relationship-strife-the-peace-pipe

    Ecomama The immediate sorry is indeed the most genuine. I must say the older I get the more reluctant I am of offering one but yes "nip it in the bud" comes to mind.

    Dear readers, what we have established here is the acknowledgement that apologies come in various levels of sincerity. Time taken to reach saying that word can vary for genuine reasons eg busy working, contemplating the conflict or other factors in the dispute. Time taken to say sorry can also be a sign of stubbornness, pride, the mentality of "well I wont apologize because you didnt apologize for ....".

    I think if we own up to our misjudgements straight away regardless of the other persons shortcomings is our responsibility. If they dont apologize when you believe it is most worhty of one then you can reconsider your relationship, where its at.

    Apologies is a very important part of human interaction. It's the grey zone, the "fluid" part of most of us. Not possessing the desire to ever apologize takes people out of the fluid zone towards an isolation self administered, which means they are unworkable. It can result in one party only keeping the relationship going.

    Yes, one word, "sorry" can be pivotal towards happiness.

    Sufferers of mental illness I feel, will need to apologize more often as our behaviour sometimes dictate our persona. I recall I read about "foot in mouth disease" and how those with ADHD and bipolar suffer from it. This is because we talk without thinking. That reduces with maturity though, but its hard not to be yourself and your illness is part of you. Apologies at times can be rejected though and thats where its hard to swallow. You can only try.

    TonyWK

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  19. topsy_
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    17 September 2021 in reply to white knight
    Hi Tony, do you remember that movie in the mid 70’s - “Love Story”? It’s theme was “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”. I believe love means ALWAYS being prepared to say sorry!
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  20. randomx
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    17 September 2021 in reply to topsy_

    Yeah l dunno wth that would've been about , ridiculous. Just yet another story out of some Hollywood writers head that means absolutely nothing.

    You want to say sorry when you love , and things hurt 20x more when you love.

    rx

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  21. white knight
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    25 September 2021 in reply to topsy_

    Yes Topsy, I recall it. I also recall the song by Elton John and Kiki Dee - sorry seems to be the hardest word

    Random,

    it all does hurt 20x more but if the benefits didn't outweigh the negatives people wouldn't pursue love. I'm suggesting most people feel the risk of hurt is worth it. However, if we are ultra sensitive or scarred, then it's understandable we will run from the pursuit of love.

    Life is short. We should protect ourselves from harm. If that means keeping away from love so be it. But I believe than isn't what the majority want to do.

    What do you think?

    TonyWK

  22. geoff
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    26 September 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hello Tony, life is too short and only if we knew what we know now, some 30 - 40 years ago, I wonder how our life would have turned out, I know that my situation would be completely different to what it is now, but no one can say whether or not we would have struggled with any type of depression, hindsight is a wonderful word but it doesn't guarantee a happy existence.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

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  23. Ggrand
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    26 September 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hello Tony...and everyone...🤗,

    When I first moved into my own home, 6 years ago..my neighbour was so nice, made some donuts and coffee for us the day I moved in....The next day my dogs got under the fence and chased her chickens..okay she had a right to be upset but not to the extent she did...fast forward a couple of years...I had a couple of friends over, when I passed out...I came home a couple of days later..I was hanging my clothes out when my neighbour verbally attacked me because she wasn’t involved in with what happened to me a couple of days prior....

    Anyway through time and patience with my neighbour we are getting along good....The only reason this is...is because I keep apologising to her..even for her own mistakes..You see, my neighbour is never wrong....After years and years of a way to self protect me, by apologising to keep the peace..I am doing the same with my neighbour...Am I wrong in doing this?...Yes probably, but it’s keeping the peace..

    Yesterday, neighbour was painting her lattice work on the veranda, so I went over to help her...she thanked me and said to come over today for lunch...I have recently changed my eating habits, so I thanked her and said no....Well did she get upset...yes very much...she wanted to repay me for my help...I helped her because I wanted to..not for any repayment of my time or help....So I ended up apologising and said yes..I will come over for lunch tomorrow, which is now today....Right now I’m not looking forward to it because as I said earlier she is never wrong...and I feel exhausted by her conversations, because if I disagree with her....she can get loud....so I sit their like a little door mouse...agreeing with her every statement....

    Is it so wrong to agree with her all the time and apologise for my wrong words in our conversation to keep the peace?...Most people would probably say yes...but I’m well and truely over any more conflict in my life....and will do anything to keep the peace and my neighbour happy...

    Would love to hear thoughts on this....should I unlearn the way I protect myself...and start to disagree without apologising to her when I know she is wrong?...and then leave me open to an unhappy neighbour?..

    My kindest thoughts everyone..

    Grandy..

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  24. Sleepy21
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    26 September 2021

    Hi grand, I think it's different if someone is abusive.

    If the neighbour is friendly but has some struggles being always right I can get letting it slide

    I guess no one's perfect and we do let things go at times. The ability to say sorry is a good thing. I don't feel that I ever want to say sorry to ppl who abuse or harm, though

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  25. Sleepy21
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    26 September 2021 in reply to randomx

    Hi rx, I think it's a bit of a red flag with ppl who would never offer an apology

    We all make mistakes

    My parent was like thay, never ever would say sorry and I found it mind boggling as a way to live. Like even for so,ethimg tiny, like being late etc, some ppl can't even say sorry. It seems to break their ego .

    I think that's poor form, and a bit sad. I think sorry are allowed and OK in any healthy relationship.

    It doesn't have to mean begging, grovelling, or extreme putting oneself down, but just saying one made a mistake, is healthy in my opinion.

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  26. randomx
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    26 September 2021 in reply to Sleepy21

    l'm sorry they don't sleep. lt's crazy the way some people take themselves admitting a mistake or saying sorry so heavily , it doesn't have to mean anything like that. To me it's actually the bigger person that can say sorry.

    Hi Tony. Most def' l'd prefer to love , love comes with risks , but it comes with many beautiful things too. for sure.

    What l meant is that for good people with good hearts , it hurts you , them , to see you've wronged your loved one. lt's hard to see your loved one hurt especially if knowing you've accidentally or carelessly hurt them, and so that good person will want to say sorry.

    l'm like this myself and the sort of person l love is exactly the same normally , although my ex had a lottttt of trouble saying sorry. Actually l'm not even sure if she ever did. My partner now has a far more sensitive and loving kind of nature and she could never not say sorry. My daughters the same , both beautiful hearted people.

    Hi Grandy . That neighbour def; sounds like a problem child. Don't think l'd be apologizing too much she's obviously riding your good nature. How to handle her God l don't know , l know how l'd handle her , l wouldn't bother with her. l'd just be vaguely polite enough with someone like that enough to exist next door to them and go on with living my own life . Maybe they start showing a bit of respect maybe they don't , l'm lucky like that l wouldn't care which either way it went . But that's me.

    rx

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  27. white knight
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    white knight avatar
    9163 posts
    27 September 2021 in reply to Ggrand

    Hi Grandy

    The last paragraph of rx post would be my choice.

    Hello, goodbye, lovely weather...is the extent of my communication with someone like that.

    Thanks Geoff, sleepy and others.

    TonyWK

    2 people found this helpful
  28. Ggrand
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    Ggrand avatar
    8908 posts
    27 September 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hello Tony, RX...🤗..

    I wish it was that simple to do that....but it’s not..

    Thank you both...

    Kind thoughts..

    Grandy..

    2 people found this helpful
  29. Elizabeth CP
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    Elizabeth CP avatar
    2407 posts
    27 September 2021 in reply to Ggrand
    I think you have to be true to your values and do what you feel is in your best interest long term. If being nice to people and apologising even if it isn't deserved fits with your values of treating everyone with respect then I think you are doing the right thing Grandy particularly if that enables you to feel more comfortable living near this neighbour. Of course if the situation changes and you are being pressured into doing things you really don't want to do then you do need to stand up for yourself.
    2 people found this helpful
  30. Sleepy21
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    Sleepy21 avatar
    4077 posts
    27 September 2021 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hi Elizabeth, that's a really great point.

    Not sure if anyone here is into Acceptance Commitment Therapy?

    It's all about living in line with Ur Values, ie the person u want to me, assertive, helpful, inclusive, welcoming

    I think I'd understand peaceful as a value some may hold.,,

    It is okay and understandable to do things to get closer to that value.

    It doesn't sound so black and white to me, we do sacrifice sometimes being right to get along, but being abused also takes a toll on us....if we are always apologising for things we didn't do, I wander if inside it may lead us to feel more sad...I do think apologising is generally a great trait. It's just sad in the world that some ppl may take advantage of this, inherently beautiful, trait. I know I have been abused by others because I apologised often and was keen to please .

    Any thoughts ?

    1 person found this helpful

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