Please Accept This (Nonexistent) Apology

You are waiting for an apology. At some point you were wronged by someone. You were spoken to harshly. You were treated poorly. You were stood up, yelled at, knocked down, ignored, forgotten or otherwise mistreated. It could be any number of reasons. The fact is that you are certain that you deserve an apology, and chances are you have been waiting on it for a while now. The reality is that it is not coming.

Not what you wanted to hear, right? I did not want to hear it either, but it is what I finally had to admit to myself. I was forced to accept it in order to move on, to forgive, and to heal.

In my case it was a close friend, or at least I had believed her to be a close friend. She stopped speaking to me due to an edict issued by someone at my former place of employment which was where we met. I was not to be made aware of the pending sale of the business (a sale that had no impact on me or the company as I had resigned and was already employed elsewhere), and no employees were to tell me anything concerning said sale. And so she simply stopped speaking to me. After I learned about the reason why I understood. It became clear why for a time several former co-workers cut off communication with me, although a brave few had the decency to tell me the backstory. What I could not understand was why I never heard anything from her. After years of friendship, dinners out, listening to guy drama, and being there when she needed me this was how I was repaid. I would have accepted an email or a text saying something along the lines of, “can’t talk for a while, will explain later”. It was the nothingness that was a hard blow to take. I tried to reach out to her numerous times to no avail. My husband and other friends helped to absorb the hurt that I felt, but the lack of closure was an open wound. It wasn’t until nearly two years later that she extended a dinner invitation. While she seemed genuinely glad to see me the apology never came. When I addressed my feelings her response was that she “hadn’t hurt me intentionally.” Bam. That was it, that was all I was going to get. While we remain civil the friendship was never truly repaired. For a long time after that dinner I continued to feel like I deserved an apology, and a sincere one at that. I eventually had to make peace with the fact that it wasn’t coming. I have to let go of the need for the “I’m sorry” in order to let go of her and the friendship that never really was.

The reasons you may not receive the apology you are seeking may vary. The person might not even be aware that you are think you are owed one. He may not believe that he has anything to apologize for. And in the worst case scenario trifecta, he may not care. You can only control one of these things. You need to consider just how important it is to you to hear those little words of repentance. If you believe that it is possible the offender does not know how you feel then tell him, but only if you are prepared for the possibility that he may neither feel the need to apologize nor care that you think he should.

I gave myself a great gift the day I accepted the nonexistent apology. I acknowledged that I was doing damage only to myself by holding on to the anger and the hurt. I made peace with my friend without her ever knowing it, but more importantly I made peace with me. Subsequently I have been able to accept a few more of the “sorries” that I never received, and I cannot stress to you enough how liberating it is. If you are waiting on an apology I urge you to get one, not from the person you think owes it to you, but rather from you. Give yourself the apology you imagine you would someday get from the one you are seeking it from. Accept it as you would if it came from the source and allow yourself the freedom to forgive and move on.

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27 thoughts on “Please Accept This (Nonexistent) Apology

  1. Karen, this is beautiful. And just like Anne said, spot on. I felt this way about one relationship for quite a long time. Then I just decided I needed to forgive. Just like you said, I realized moving on didn’t have to be mutual or received from the offender. I could offer myself the peace I needed. I wholeheartedly agree with this post and love it! Thank you for this powerful reminder. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you come to a point where you realize the person you are hurting is you, and try as you might your feelings and actions will not effect the other person. That’s when you can finally let go… Thanks, as always, for reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so true; I fell out with my female best friend because her new boyfriend didn’t like me and for a year I wanted her to apologise for the way she ditched me. I saw her all the time and it made it really hard. One day I realised I didn’t need the pain in my life and decided to come to terms with it and accept that she had her own reasons for not apologising and the next time I saw her I asked her for coffee. It really was liberating. If I’m ever in that situation again I will remember your blog post 🙂

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  3. Beautiful! I love you you came to terms with her and others. Some people can never go where we need them to go with us. It’s always sad when you outgrow a relationship or you change and the other person stays the same. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s a great post and a great reminder, Karen! Some experiences are bitter and painful, but we must live through them to learn to forgive, to practice self-love that we don’t give from others and to learn ways to release pain and let go of negative emotions. I think you mastered that! 🙂

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  5. This is awesome. I needed to read it. I had a friend do something similar and we reconnected 10 years later, but it’s never been the same…I still don’t know why she dumped me and I’ve always wanted an apology….

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  6. It’s been 2+ years now since I was burned by a friend, and we still are not speaking. It’s very painful, but I really believe it’s past the point of no return/repair. I wouldn’t even know how to talk to her anymore. I’ve always felt that I’ve been waiting for an apology as well. I believe I deserve one. She may think the same thing for all I know. Ah well… maybe I’ll mature one of these days. Thanks. 🙂

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    • It sounds like we have a similar story (minus the work situation) as my friend and I did not speak for nearly two years as well. By the time we got together and somewhat reconciled it was painfully awkward. I don’t think you need to mature, though…because that would mean I do, too, and I’m not ready to acknowledge that! Thank you for sharing your experience! Karen 🙂

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  7. There’s so much truth in this. When I was younger, someone told me “expecting someone else to forgive you is like drinking poison and expecting them to die.” This was a beautiful expansion of that line.

    I hope many more get to read this, it’s healing.

    Liked by 1 person

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