Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm sorry, so sorry...

Gratuitous photo of some sculpture, with a stunning Seattle day in the background.

Two things. They are related i think, as it is the same person who said them to me.

1) My daughter made me buy ______ for her.

Really? She MADE you? Were there firearms involved? Blackmail?

2) I'm sorry, was i in your way? I'm sorry, i should have gotten that. I'm sorry, was that too loud? I'm sorry.

What is it about someone who cringes all the time that makes me want to hit them?

I was at lunch the other day with two mental health professionals, and i was talking about how uncomfortable it is for me to listen to constant apologizing. They were then explaining the victim thing to me, how some people are comfortable in the victim role, and they try to cast others as their victimizer.

And in looking back at the times when i have acted this way, times when i was totally beaten down emotionally, i was just trying to get someone to feel sorry for me, or to do what i wanted because they felt sorry for me. Pathetic.

Em does this sometimes. She is pushing that big red button on my forehead because she knows i hate it.

"I'm sorry," as an active lifestyle choice, it really is lacking.


Stucco said...

To quote the oft-misunderestimated Pee Wee Herman (from a Cheech and Chong movie, no less):

I"m sorry. I'm awfully sorry... [continued mumbling of sorry]

Then one minute later:


I usually just tell people at the outset that I meant it, and usually then have to ask what the hell they are talking about.

Buncha thin-skinned weenie people.

Dick said...

I think I find those who just blast on regardless of how their actions affect me to be more obnoxious. But I suppose if this kind of thing happens time after time with the same person it would get tiresome as well as making you start to question how sincere they really are.

Cold there, huh? We get back into that tomorrow at 22:50 when the plane lands. I think I could continue to enjoy this 87 degrees every afternoon, at least until it cools down to just the low 80s later this fall.

TTQ said...

I have a close friend who is stuck in the "victim" role. It really opened my eyes to how I want to be treated and perceived.

It made me think back to times where I had pulled the same thing, these days it makes ME cringe at how I acted.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Yeah, agreed. Passive-aggression and constant apologies make me crazy because I have to examine my actions very carefully to see what I may have done to hurt someone.

There must be a certain satisfaction in controlling by guilt because so many people do it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I hate the appologizers. I know a notorious one. Every time she says it I ask her why she is sorry? She also doesn't look people in the eye often. Its odd.

Liv said...

I don't mind people who say they are sorry. Go ahead and knock yourself out if you're wrong, but at some point, stop being an ass, wrong, stupid, hateful, or otherwise doing shit that you need to apologize for. Just stop.

Lynn said...

I think that the use of "I'm sorry" comes more from growing up and being told to be a "polite people pleaser" than from being a victim... I've never thought that people would use it to get someone else to feel sorry for them...I'll have to give that one some consideration.

meno said...

stucco, Poor Pee Wee. They are thin skinned and weenie!

dick, yes, that is annoying. This just happened to stike me today. Welcome home to the cool and crisp, at least for the next few days.

ttq, it does open your eyes to see someone else doing it.

hearts, that must be why it's so fun for some people, because it causes you to doubt yourself. Crazymaking!

my pool, that's what i say too, "Why?" or "What are you apologizing for?"

liv, what about people who apologize for nothing? I see it as a "please don't hit me anymore." (figuratively)

lynn, you'd know it if you'd seen it.

Schmoopie said...

We are working on teaching the children I work with to ask each other if they are okay vs. always resorting to saying "I'm sorry." The majority of the time saying "I'm sorry" doesn't seem sincere. My coworker says it all day long and it makes me want to scream!

Anonymous said...

Delurking after quite some time here Meno. Thank you. I really, really needed this today.

Lynnea said...

I emerge from my apologetic closet. I have been a notorious apologizer for every action I've made. Conversation could fairly be riddled with my apologies and the people around me must have wanted to plug their ears up with anything nearby however sharp to drown out my monotonous pathetic-ness. I worked on it for a looooooong time. I believe I do it very very rarely anymore. Why did I do it? Fear. I think. Growing up never knowing what you'd get in trouble for, what you actually did wrong most of the time. I guess I just got used to apologizing for everything I did. And then I remember as an adult being afraid that people hated me. That I was always offending them. Oddly I probably was, but because I was so damn aplogetic. I never thought of myself as a victim when doing this though that doesn't mean that was still an underlying theme.
Anyhow, thought I might be able to shed a little light. And, if you know, I ever did this to you, well I'm sorry. HAHAHA. Just kidding there.

Elliot said...

Most of the time, "I'm sorry" is either comes off as completely back-handed or way too late to avert damage. In light of that, when someone says "I'm sorry" to me, it sounds like they're mocking me. You know when someone is truly sorry -- it's apparent in their face and their actions. Saying "I'm sorry" is usually unnecessary. I've had honestly sorry people just say "Dude" or "Honey" to me, and that was more sincere than a thousand "I'm sorry"'s.

Unknown said...

You can't say something that often and actually mean it. It's manipulative even when you don't mean it to be. If you really are sorry it isn't the words that communicate it and if you aren't then why are you wasting my time???

Marshamlow said...

When I am around constant complainers I used to always listen and murmur the occasional I'm sorry to show my support. The constant complainers sometimes get viciously upset at the words I'm sorry and their head spins around and they say cruel things like, why are you saying sorry, is it your fault? I just don't know what to say to people when they are unloading all their crap. I guess I will change my phrase to, that sucks or how awful. Or maybe, please excuse me, I have to pee.

Schmoopie said...

Oh and Happy Halloween, Meno!

Unknown said...

Oooo...that's West Seattle isn't it? Hi S&S!

1) Just the other day, the mom of a boy down the street said that her son was 'making' them buy him an xbox AND he was demanding 'Halo'. The kid is FIVE. And the little brat had the nerve to say to me, 'D is the boss of you isn't he?' out of the blue. I said, 'No, but it sounds like you're the boss of your mom.' Sheesh.

2) What's the saying? 'It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.'

I have a tendency to apologize reflexive to people I've just met and have to work with, aka lab partners. Insecurity, I guess. It goes away though. Then I'm sorry for NOTHING! ;-)

Princess in Galoshes said...

Huh. I've never thought about it as assuming the victim role, that's really interesting.

I used to do that a lot, as a way to take the edge off my mom (menopause was AWESOME) thinking that if I quick went ahead and took responsibility for everything that went wrong, she'd get mad, but then get over it, instead of dwelling on it and letting it turn into something huge.

Fortunately, we're past that phase.

meno said...

schmoopie, see, repeated applications of "i'm sorry" make it lose all meaning. I think it may translate into "fuck you".

caro! I was just wondering where/how you were a few days ago. I was listening to your CD. Nice to hear from you, and you're welcome.

maggie, it's okay to come out of the closet here, it's a safe place. :) I think fear is pretty accurate statement. I know when i have been feeling like that in my life. it's time to figure out what i am cringing from. And, I'm sorry too. NOT REALLY!

jeremiah, my daughter has a way of saying sorry that really means "i hate you and fuck off." When she really means it i can tell, because it's not often.

wng, i agree. Loses all meaning, especially when you apologize for EVERYTHING.

marsha, i like it! I find that faking death is a good way to end these conversations too.

schmoopie, Thank You! And back at you. Are your kids dressing up? Please take pictures, i love kids in costumes.

nancy, it's across the bay from West Seattle, pretty close to where we were stomping around. Those parents are in deep shit when their child gets a little older. Grow a spine people.

princess, WHAT DO YOU MEAN ABOUT PEOPLE BEING TOUCHY DURING MENOPAUSE?? EXPLAIN YOURSELF THIS MINUTE YOUNG LADY! I think it implies the victim role when you do it habitually with everyone, not just to keep OLD BAGS happy. :)

amusing said...

Raising my hand here.

Not so much for the apologizing (I probably do it on occasion, and certainly on the tennis court, until both sides just agree we won't apologize for hitting shots out anymore).

I am certainly guilty of the victim thing. Like Maggie, I suppose it is a long habit formed by moving and being unsure if people liked me or hated me. But the thing is -- (and I'd put this in italics if I knew how to do that) I never realized that I was doing it until it was pointed out by a friend a few years ago. I denied it up and down at first, then awareness dawned and ever since, it's a habit I try to catch myself in (preferably before I've blurted something victimy) and to break.

(Imagine the wallowing a "victim" does post-divorce! Yuck.)

egan said...

I went out on a couple dates with this sorority chick in college. She really wasn't my type, but she did make a great observation. She told me I say "I'm sorry" too much and I was a changed man after that. It really does say something about a person when they are always apologizing.

Nice picture yo!

Scott from Oregon said...

Yeah, I am with Stucco... A bunch of sorrow-weenies...

Anonymous said...

I had to read this again to hear the "I'm sorry's" right. Now I get it. And, yeah, it would annoy me. it sounds exactly like "fuck you."

The other day, tony got mad because I skipped a meeting and the initial explanation I gave was, "Lorenzo didn't want to go." What I meant was... I didn't really want to go, and when I started to get Lorenzo ready, it was TOO MUCH work because he was being uncooperative. So I bailed" What a long explanation. See, everyone's asleep now. Shhh.

meno said...

amusing, i think it annoys me so much because it reminds me of the times i have done it. You are a recovering sorrier. :)

egan, good for you for making that change. Most people wouldn't have.

scott, you pig-licking pervs always stick together.

de, yes, it become obvious after a while. Just a polite cover for animosity. I liked when i had a young chile using her as an excuse too. Use it while you can.

thailandchani said...

Geez, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to annoy anyone or .. anything. Um. Wow. (slinking away)


Liv said...

did I also mention that I reserve the right to snap: "you ARE NOT sorry." at anyone who falsely professes to be??

luckyzmom said...

Does this mean that love doesn't really mean "never having to say you're sorry"?

Well, I am a victim, so SorrrrEEE@!&%$#

egan said...

Thanks for pointing that out Meno.

crazymumma said...

I am sooooo trying to teach my girls to be unapologetic about the small shit yet own the big shit.

hard balance.