Logically, if someone does something that hurts or disappoints you, they should apologize.
But, in reality, receiving an apology is a luxury that most people never get to enjoy.
Because there is more than one perspective involved in every interaction with other people. From their viewpoint, they may not think they did anything wrong.
Guilt and Shame are also barriers that prevent people from owning up to what they have done. It can lead people to avoiding or suppressing their desire to make amends.
We are all on different levels. You may have no problem admitting your faults while someone else may be more protective of theirs or unable to see their part in the problem.
You can’t force someone to apologize even if it would make you feel better, but you also shouldn’t let that apology keep you stuck in the pain of the action.
But, people do.
Some people limit their lives carrying the burden of what happened to them and needing someone to blame for it.
The tragedy is without the apology they may never move forward and learn how to trust or have real intimacy.
I was one of these people. I carried a lot of hidden anger that I didn’t acknowledge. I buried the disappointments, betrayals and heartaches and walked numbingly through life.
It took years before I would connect the problems with my relationships or my inability to really commit to anything to these hidden holes in my heart.
But, when I did, I decided that I didn’t want to spend my whole life being angry, feeling slighted and unsupported while trying to avoid trusting anyone.
How Did I Accept the Apology I Will Never Receive?
First, I was resistant. I turned my anger inward and self-destructed. I dedicated myself to people who were bad for me. I imploded my whole life trying to control and manipulate everything to fit an image in my mind. I drank a lot and abused my body with food. I was apathetic. And, I wasted a lot of time and energy doing things that wouldn’t get me what I wanted, which was to feel heard and loved.
And, then I got really depressed.
When I finally snapped out of it (thanks to treatment and therapy), I started researching and reading spiritual books and finding people who were on the same quest for inner peace. My coping mechanism became spirituality, psychology and quantum mechanics.
The answer wasn’t easy to hear because it required thinking about what the person who hurt me must have been going through.
I know, right? I wanted to be pissed. I wanted to rage and place blame. I wanted to feel vindicated. I wanted to be right.
But, that wasn’t the way out of my pain. All the reasons I made myself right were the bars to my prison.
So I sat with my anger and I thought about the person. I came up with reasons why they weren’t able to give me what I deserved.
They were abandoned by a parent.
Maybe, they didn’t feel worthy of my love.
Maybe, they feared intimacy.
Many of the reasons I came up with why they couldn’t apologize were the same reasons I felt I couldn’t give someone else what they needed from me.
And, then, I felt compassion for them and compassion for myself.
I changed my view of them as someone who refused to give me what I needed to someone who was incapable.
No longer were they holding something that I needed. Instead, they were never in possession of it in the first place.
If you go to Walmart for a certain item and they don’t have it, you can be mad, but ultimately you have to accept it and go somewhere else.
We get stuck standing in the aisle and wishing the empty part of shelf will magically produce what we need.
I apologized to myself for them. And, I accepted. Not because they deserved it, but because I deserved to be freed. I deserved to be able to feel love from someone else.
They had already moved on and were living their life anyway. I was the one stuck. I was punishing myself for a crime someone else committed while they lived their life with no awareness of my pain.
So, I let them go.