Warning: I’m blogging whilst angry.
It took me until my adult years to learn the value of an apology. Or rather, how to apologize. I’ve always been the sort of person to basically let it go once a heartfelt apology has been offered. No one ever truly forgets, but you don’t have to let it hang around like a toot in church unless you really feeling like punishing someone – and that makes for a short life and very few friends.
I have a long-standing friendship with someone and recently, a mistake was made that could potentially affect his business. I am directly responsible for this mistake. I’ll say it again: this mistake. I’ve apologized. I’ve done everything within my power to fix it and now it’s in the hands of a higher authority. Unfortunately, my (potentially former) friend has mentioned this situation with increasing anger, exaggeration and cursing to anyone that will listen including myself, three times (the issue is only a week old). Each time he was ostensibly speaking to someone else, but did not hesitate to discuss the happening in detail with others as a very awkward and uncomfortable captive audience.
Perhaps my understanding and feeling of apologies has changed or maybe I never understood them at all. What I do know, is that every time this person brings it up with vitriol and in the presence of others where it goes from professional to personal, I don’t feel at all sorry.
Not that it was intentional and I’m glad this strife is occurring, but something different… not pride exactly, not like, “I’m glad this happened you passive-agressive, backstabbing jerk”. Rather, something akin to a sensation that is no longer identified as contrite or remorseful. I feel badly about the situation, I do. It could have been prevented and can be from now on but this time, this mistake has legs and it’s not being allowed to slow down one bit.
I used to say that once someone apologizes for real, I mean truly feels badly and it’s obvious, you treat the wrong like it never happened. You move on, rebuild. Especially in a friendship. However when the person receives the apology and proceeds to treat the other like it never came, then what? How long does a tail stay between legs? Exactly how long is a person supposed to feel bad about an accident when they’re constantly made to feel worse? What’s the shelf life of the apology then?
I hate to say this but I’ve been in abusive relationships, specifically passive-aggressive ones. I’m very well versed in that level of events. There are two people that stay in those situations: people that lie down and take it and people that do all they can to work it out or fight back. Sadly, the latter usually becomes the former. The sub-type is the one that doesn’t have much of an option and just sort of checks out. That’s me. It doesn’t jar my self esteem beyond causing me to take a healthy look at how I found myself there… eventually I’ll just shut off and not be affected by anything, good or bad. I can only presume the subconscious is saying, “well if my apologies don’t matter and our relationship isn’t worthy of respect especially around the earshot of others, then there’s no point in trying to make it better. From here on out, you are white noise”, Click.
I think it’s learning from those sorts of experiences which leads a person to, say, move a few states away on a whim. It means certain relationships are somewhat easily left in the dust. It stops attachment cold in its tracks. The only upshot is that for the most part, the people left behind while they may have served a great purpose at one point in time, ultimately reveal a true set of colors – none of which look good on me. Onward, upward and away from sucking disfunction. It’s nice to realize healthy change, but I’m going to be angry for a while. Can’t really help that, though I will take an apology into consideration.