Our relationships can suffer when our apologies lack authenticity. Yet, why is apologizing more difficult than a root canal for some people?
As a psychotherapist, I’ve found that saying, “I was wrong,” “I made a mistake,” or “I’m sorry” is directly related to the shame we carry. Burdened with a deeply ingrained sense of being flawed or defective, we mobilize to avoid being flooded by debilitating shame.
When we’ve said or done something offensive or hurtful, we may notice an uncomfortable feeling inside. We may realize we’ve broken trust; we’ve done some damage. Our response to violating someone’s sensibilities may go in three possible directions:
1. We Don’t Care
When our personality structure is rigid and hardened, we don’t register others’ pain. Having cut ourselves off from our own uncomfortable feelings, we have a blind spot to other humans’ suffering.