As a counselor, I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is to hear clients say things like, “I just want them to say they’re sorry.” Does this sound familiar? Have you been waiting, for what seems like an eternity, to hear the same thing? Maybe you found your way to my website because you want answers and you’re looking for a sincere apology, too. You simply want the person who hurt you to say they are sorry and mean it. I understand that desire and you are not alone.
We’re taught values from our parents when we’re growing up like respect, honesty, determination, responsibility, kindness, compassion, integrity, and justice, just to name a few. These values act as our moral compass and help guide us on our journey throughout life. What happens then when behaviors and actions conflict with these values? For example, what happens when someone hurts us? We fall back on our value of justice, which means doing and acting correctly and making amends through a deserved punishment.
When I was a child and my brother pushed me down and hurt me, my parents comforted me, had a harsh talk with him explaining why what he did was wrong in order for him to learn empathy, told him to apologize, and then asked him to go to his room for timeout. Was I still physically hurt? Yes. But, did I feel better emotionally? Yes. Why? Because the punishment fit the crime. The punishment that affected my brother didn’t make my scraped and bleeding knee go away, but it did make me feel emotionally better. The bottom line is, Lady Justice prevailed, and all became right in my world.
The Hard Question
We are all seekers of balance and harmony, especially when it comes to our emotions. As adults, if a past hurt is heavy on our hearts, we still may be looking for our offenders to right the wrong. That creates the balance and harmony we so desire. An apology is what is deserved and therefore an apology should come, right? In a just world, yes, that is true. Unfortunately, we all know this is not always a just world, Therefore, the question then becomes, are we really waiting on an apology that may never come? That’s the hard question. That’s the question that is so painful to deal with emotionally. That question leads to big inhales, closed eyes, dropped shoulders, and very often, tears. And the answer is…you may never get an apology. As hard as it is to hear, that may be the answer. And, yes, it’s sad. It’s heartbreaking. It shouldn’t be. Not in a just world.
The Waiting Game
As simple as an apology may seem, it may not be so simple at all to those who have caused the hurt. Why are those two words, “I’m sorry,” so hard to say? It’s two words! Two. Doesn’t the value of justice warrant an apology? Yes. But you may wait for a lifetime and never get the apology you so rightly deserve. That’s the hard truth. Much of it has to do with cognitive dissonance. I’ll write about that in my next post. For now, keep reading and I’ll explain what you can do to move forward.
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t rush a river”? We all know, for the most part, a river does as it likes. The same goes with people as it pertains to awareness and change. We cannot make someone be a certain way and we can’t rush growth. One reason you may never get an apology boils down to the fact that the person who hurt you may not be emotionally mature enough, no matter their age. The only thing we can do is process the emotions that are holding us back, establish healthy boundaries, and begin working on ourselves.
The heartbreak of never getting an apology may be your painful reality. I’ll end with this question: is it now time for you to end the waiting game, to release some of the pain you’ve been holding on to, and begin your own self healing journey? There is light at the end of the tunnel. It comes in the form of balance and harmony. I would be happy to walk hand-in-hand with you on this new path, gently leading the way. Contact me today to set up an appointment.