Sorry, Not Sorry
I was recently helping my 10-year-old grandson clear out his backpack at the end of the school year, and found an “apology” note he was obviously required to write to one of his teachers. I brought it home and my husband and I were falling down laughing as we read it. I’m sharing the highlights below. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. After the good laugh, it got me to thinking about how hard it is for many of us to express a sincere apology and how we actually escalate the very situation our apology was supposed to mitigate. So, I thought why not use “D’s” apology note as an example of what we’ve all been guilty of.
“I’m sorry Miss C for only skipping half of recess. I didn’t know I had all of recess off, even though I did nothing wrong. It was Mrs. F’s mistake, not my fault.”
This starts off well with the acknowledgement of what he did wrong, but then goes into it wasn’t really my fault, and then deflects the blame.
“I do apologize for skipping 20 minutes, not sitting down doing nothing, and though the evidence is in, it is clear you took the adults side, you never pick a kids side.”
The apology now starts to go downhill – first by turning the “offense” into a stupid issue in the first place and then turns the heat up on the offended one.
“Though it was an honest mistake on me and Mrs. F, I will suffer any kind of punishment but I won’t accept your lies and the fact that you don’t show any speck of sympathy and you can’t win a war without a fight. But I suffer the consequences.”
Martyrdom at its best. I “might have made a mistake”, but you don’t listen, and it’s basically your fault, and now I must suffer!!
It’s actually a quite brilliant sorry, not sorry response. You acknowledge you did something the accuser didn’t approve of, although you think their point of view is frankly ridiculous and then you turn the blame on them.
So let’s use this “Sorry, not sorry” example in a grown up apology.
Wife to hubby:
“I’m sorry I called you a f*ing idiot in front of the kids this morning for putting the garbage out last night with the lid off so that racoons could have a midnight dinner leaving the remains scattered all over the driveway this morning. I know you had a lot on your mind, like not missing a second of last night’s game, and that you were in a rush this morning to get the train and couldn’t clean it up. I do apologize, but then I was the one who had to clean up the driveway and then had to rush to get showered, put a load of laundry in the washer, make the kids lunch (which you forgot to do), take something for dinner out of the freezer, drop the kids at school, and race to catch my train! (And BTW, you forgot to put gas in my car when you took the kids to their games and it’s on fumes and I’ll probablly run out of gas driving home tonight.) Do I get any sympathy from you? Hell no. But boo hoo, I hurt your little feelings by calling you an idiot. So sorry. I will make sure to tell the kids that Daddy is not an idiot and Mommy should not have used the “f” word. And by the way, it only takes a second to secure the lid on the garbage pail.”
Signed….Your loving wife….sorry, not sorry!