Why saying sorry can sometimes be more harmful

Why saying sorry can sometimes be more harmful

Saying sorry indicates remorse from actions or mistakes. Sincerity plays a huge deal, but so is the commitment to do things that can lead to saying sorry for the same thing. They say saying sorry can heal a person's wound and everything will be better after, but does it really heal both afterwards? When would you know if an apology is sincere?


Insincere apologies

There are apologies wherein the offender is literally saying sorry, but the following statement takes all the responsibility of hurting the other away from them. For example, saying “I’m sorry you were so upset by my comment at the party” is saying that the one offended is too sensitive. Saying “I’m sorry but you never asked me if I had kids” puts the blame on the other because they didn’t ask something they didn’t need to ask. When one removes the responsibility from one’s self, it also negates the effect of the apology.

These are the times where just saying “I’m sorry” could be enough.


Follow through

There are times when an offender really did mean saying sorry, but it only lasts that moment. Once they have been forgiven, they revert back to the same actions or habits they have done that placed them in that position in the first place whether it’s too much drinking or coming home late from work.

The person may sound authentic or sincere in those passionate expressions of remorse, but what really matters is whether that person follows through. An endless string of apologies signals a failure to change one’s behavior and also diminishes the effect their sorry have.


Hang in there

After saying sorry, the offender can’t expect that they are already forgiven. Saying sorry doesn’t take all the pain away from a person especially if the wrongdoer’s actions broke trust. When brought up again, an offender might say “I already said I’m sorry.” It may come from the guilt of past mistakes or irritation that they have not been fully forgiven yet, but this line may hurt the other once again because it may take away the sincerity from the apology.

Saying “I’m sorry” does not substitute for the hard work of healing a betrayal and doing whatever is necessary to rebuild trust.


How to make-up

After saying sorry for what you did there are a few ways too on how to make-up for what you did:

  • Accept fault when necessary - Sometimes people do things that are just not cool. When you do something that has a negative effect on someone else, be willing to admit fault in the situation.
  • See the other person's viewpoint - When you take on another person’s viewpoint, you broaden your understanding of that person and the issue at hand.
  • Validate the other person - Simply to see the other person’s side is not enough. You also have to validate their opinion. Acknowledge that, even if you are right, they are not wrong simply because they see it differently.
  • Agree to disagree - You have to realize that your value as a person is not tied to your opinion on an issue. That way, when the other person disagrees with you on the issue, it does not feel like a personal insult or attack. Allow the other person the room to express their opinion open, and take the same liberty for yourself.
  • Put it on the past - Make sure that you don't bring up the same issue twice especially when you guys are done discussing things about it.
  • Rekindle what you have - Continue what you have and make new memories again. It may be hard for some, but you can get through it as long as you have broaden your mind about issues that may pop up in the future.


Not all apologies are sincere. Saying sorry sometimes can be offered out of the blue and without sincerity at all. Saying sorry also sometimes can just be said to get one out of the situation or out of reflex. Saying sorry doesn’t always clear the air and help the relationships grow. It has to be meant, followed through and doesn’t demand immediate forgiveness.


Source: Psychology Today

Also read: How to say sorry to your spouse and really mean it

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