Apology PSA

Call me a politician, call me a PR-spinner, but there are a few things I’ve learned to delicately say over the years.

You don’t tell a woman she looks beautiful (it implies that whatever she did on that particular night, like if she’s just dressed up for a special event, it’s temporary), you tell her she is beautiful.  Same goes for a handsome gentleman friend.

If you’re not sure if you’ve met someone before, you tell them it’s great to see them (not meet them, not see them again).

If you apologize, apologize, don’t apologize that someone feels a certain way.  They’re allowed to feel their feelings.  Apologize that you made them feel that way, apologize for your actions or words or whatever the case may be.

Even though “I’m sorry,” sounds like an apology, when it’s followed with “you feel that way,” it’s more like a slap in the face.

Backing up, my family is not confrontational.  We don’t talk about things, we wait for them to disappear.  My dad gets away with the worst behavior simply because the women in my family allow it.  This issue was important enough to me that I couldn’t sit on it. He needed to be called on his shit, so I went to dinner at their house on Tuesday with the last of my family that is still in town from the wedding (and I waited until after they went back to their hotel).

I had my whole spiel, I felt strong, but when the time came, my heart was racing and half a sentence in, I was crying, but I was getting the words out and the short spiel turned into everything else I wanted to tell him about how hurt I was.

His reaction was not surprise or anger or regret or anything really.  With no emotion, he apologized that I felt that way.

I didn’t tell him he won, I just said what I needed to say and then went outside to talk to my mom a bit before I left.  She kept trying to figure out how she could fix it.  She took on a bit of blame because she knows she’s let him get away with his misbehavior for too long. I’ve been telling her it’s not her charge to fix it ever since.

The next morning (Wednesday now), I got an email from my dad with a more legitimate apology, another lame excuse and a request that if there is anything he can do to let him know.

Honestly, I’m not sure why it’s my responsibility to teach a 61-year-old man how to behave when he’s wronged somebody.  He supposedly raised me and I learned it, but now I need to tell him?  It wouldn’t mean anything if it was prompted and as more and more days go by, it will mean less and less if he actually gets around to it.

Emotionally-fueled, word vomit posts kind of bug me and I usually click away, but  I needed to get it out so thank you if you’re still around.  And if you are, let me know what you would do please!  How does your family handle conflict?  Are there things you’ve learned to spin when you say them?


5 thoughts on “Apology PSA

  1. Oh girl, I’m still so sorry about this. It makes me hurt for you to see you going through this. I really hate it when family members act like butts and expect you to deal with it or tell you (even nonverbally) that it’s your problem and not theirs.

    My family doesn’t do conflict well. I mean, my immediate family is okay, but my extended family sucks at it. They are, however, kings and queens of passive-aggressive behavior. If they’re upset with you or want to snub you, they’ll just show up late to the dinner/party that you’re hosting. If they don’t approve of what you’re doing, they’ll ask how they can pray for you and talk about it with other people, not you. I deal with it by seeing that side of the family as little as I can, which I can get away with since I live in another country.

    B and I actually talked extensively about what we would do if someone from either family didn’t like or treat one of us well. Mostly when I mentioned being nervous about meeting his family. I’ll never forget what he told me, he said, “Babe, if they don’t like you or treat you nicely, then we just won’t see them very often. They’re going to have to deal with the fact that you are part of my life and if they can’t then they are choosing to not be a part of my life.” It blew my mind. And we’ve stuck by that. If people don’t treat one of us well, then we cut down on the time we spend with them.

    Of course, that’s a lot easier with friends and more distant relatives. It’s a lot harder with your own father.


  2. I think it’s very brave that you went and said what you had to say … I guess that’s the most you can do on your part. The rest is up to your father.

    My family doesn’t talk about deep issues much – it’s kinda like, if we ignore what’s happening, maybe it’ll go away. Unfortunately I adopted this attitude as well, until recently. I’ve just realized that life is too short, if there’s something I need to say or something that needs to get sorted out, then I’ll say it. I won’t be disrespectful or rude – but I’ll be honest and as tactful as possible, without being vague. It’s not easy, but I definitely feel better for being more vocal, even if I haven’t always received the results/response that I was hoping — but I did my part.

    That’s what you have to remember – do what you can for yourself, and hopefully the other party will come through for you too.

    • I think direct is the way to go too. It’s not easy, but I like what you said about, you do your part and then see what happens. You’re kind of left with whatifs if you keep it all in.

  3. Pingback: That’s What She Said « The Next Moment

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