I’m a compulsive apologizer.
I’ve known this for a while. Ever since I went to a therapist a few years back (I know. You’re thinking ‘You, Jamie? You saw a therapist – whatever for?!‘) and she mentioned that I apologize a lot – like more than anyone she’d ever counseled. Or met. Or read about in books. And I was like, “I’m sorry for apologizing so much.” And her eyebrows rose in a super judgmental way, “See?” And I was all “Yeah… sorry.”
Basically all of my sessions with her went like that. She would point out my less productive behaviors and I would apologize for them and then I would apologize for apologizing, followed by an apology for crying. “I’m sorry, *sniff* can I have a tissue?” Finally she said, “If I had a nickel for every time you say sorry…” And I was like “You’d make a whole lot less than what I’m actually paying you.” And she was all, “You’re right”. So I totally won that conversation.
Shrinks don’t know
shianything! (No offense to the many, many shrinks that read my blog.) But, for real, the one I saw had a giant spider web in a stand on her desk, and when she caught me staring at it, she was all, “Oh, that’s a Native American dream catcher.” And I was all, “No. That’s a giant yarn spider web that was made by an infant in China for about 8 cents and which you bought at Cost Plus for 22 dollars.” Then she wrote something in my ‘file’, and I was all, “Please stop writing. You’re making me SUPER uncomfortable.” And she was all “Let’s unpack that.” And I was all, “No that’s okay. Sorry I brought it up.” And then she was all, “You apologized again…”
Also. She thought Costa Rica was an island. So there you go. But she was right about the crazy, incessant apologies. And, to be totally honest, it hasn’t really gotten any better. I still say “sorry” all the time. It bugs people.
My friend has been staying with us, and I’m getting the sense that she’s done with it – done hearing that I’m sorry it rained, I’m sorry that dogs barked all night, sorry she can’t flush her toilet paper, sorry the coffee maker is so slow, sorry I’ve got a cold, sorry it’s too hot, too cold, too humid. Sorry it’s not perfect, that everything isn’t perfect at all times. I think it was her, shouting, “Would you STOP apologizing all the time?!”, that tipped me off to the fact that I’m doing it an awful lot. And that it’s super irritating.
I think I know why I do it.
It’s because everything in the entire world points toward me. I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure I am the center of the universe, so, naturally, if my friend gets rained on or stubs her big toe on an uneven Costa Rican sidewalk, it will reflect poorly on me. So I apologize to her because I’m obviously doing such a poor job of running the whole world and everything in it. Of course, I realize how ridiculous that is… so I apologize some more.
I need to stop.
I’m going to try exchanging ‘I’m sorry’ for ‘I’m grateful’ whenever applicable. And I’m going to quit apologizing for God’s creation, altogether. Also? I’m going to work on being more forthcoming with the I’m sorrys that are my responsibility.
So tonight when my friend gets back from her day trip and I might have said this: I’m so sorry about the rain today. It’s ridiculous how hard it comes down here. Sorry your stomach is bothering you. I’ll say something like this, instead: I’m so grateful for the rain today. Isn’t it awesome how hard it comes down here? How’s your raging diarrhea? I’m sorry I gave you food poisoning….
I think my friend will really appreciate the change, don’t you?
Do you know an unnecessary apologizer? Do the constant mutterings of “I’m sorry” make you want to strangle him or her?