I am a serial apologizer.
I apologize for everything. Mistakes, failures, missteps– and more often, when I absolutely don’t need to.
It’s strange, really. I never noticed how much I actually do it until Jake pointed out that I apologize, all the time, for things that make absolutely no sense to apologize about, to the point of ridiculousness.
It usually goes something like this:
Jake: Hey, want to go out tonight and do something fun?
Catie: I’m sorry, I’m just really tired and I don’t feel like it. I’m sorry.
Jake: It’s okay, you don’t have to apologize.
Jake:Really, it’s okay, you don’t have to say you’re sorry. We’ll do something else.
Catie: I’m sorry.
When my back hurts (well, more than it usually does), I apologize. If I need help with something, I apologize. If I feel that I have, in the slightest way put someone out or caused them the smallest inconvenience, I am wracked with the senseless need to apologize.
I don’t get it. Well, I mean, I do. I apologize for things like not wanting to go out or feeling shitty because, in my mind, I am ruining a night’s plans because of my bastard back or something. I feel bad that I have to constantly be aware of what I’m doing and for how long– yeah, my whole movement disorder thing isn’t usually a big issue, but I hate that it affects my life in any way.
In some ways, I think my apologies are a denial that what I deal with is a “thing”– an apology means that it’s temporary, that it’s something that will clear up in a week and everything will be fine. “I’m sorry we can’t go to the amusement park today, how does next Tuesday sound, because I’ll be fine by then!”…except next Tuesday, I still might start twitching if I ride the wrong roller coaster.
In other cases, it’s simply a way to avoid conflict. I hate yelling. I hate angry confrontation and that sickly grey-cloud-over-my-head-knotted-stomach feeling that happens when I know someone is mad at me– so I immediately apologize. Even if the other person is in the wrong. I back down and apologize because it’s easier. But it never is. Because hurt feelings stay hurt if you don’t talk about them, and an instantaneous apology doesn’t help to fix that part of the problem– it just ends the conversation, and, more often than not, that’s the exact opposite to what I want to happen.
I also realized that I have started apologizing for being honest– I do it all the time, and I realized that I had started apologizing for being honest here– on MY blog that I write and control—but still, apologizing nonetheless to a faceless public who– might be offended that I occasionally break from my whackity-shmackity daily antics and open up about the more serious parts of my life?
The biggest realization I had was that for some reason, I still don’t think I deserve the things I’ve been given.
I don’t think it’s a leftover ‘catholic school kid thing”– the guilt I feel isn’t nessessarily connected to some unseen deity, it’s deeply rooted to my sense of self-worth. I’ve gotten a lot better about self-acceptance, but what I didn’t realize is that self-acceptance isn’t nessessarily the same thing as self-worth. I accept myself for who I am, but that doesn’t mean that my definition of who I am isn’t flawed or skewed by my guilt at not being able to meet the expectations I ascribe to myself.
I’ve never been a person to flaunt my successes. (Well, most of the time). Occasionally, I will get fired up about something and pull out my “look at how successful I am” card, but in daily life, I’m far from a braggart.
I know that I should be proud of what I’ve accomplished, and not apologize for being good at something– the thought of offending someone because I mention my success is almost ridiculous when analyzing it, but in daily conversation, I do it all the time. I’m a good writer– I always have been– but I often apologize for it, and downplay my success.
I don’t feel like I deserve the success of this blog, or my amazing boyfriend or really, much of anything. What have I done, really, to earn this? Most of my successes involve writing of some kind– something that has always come to me so easily– I was born this way, with this skill. I haven’t worked at it, or really done anything to develop it–it’s just always been there. So why should these successes be deserving of a celebration? Instead, I apologize for bringing it up, mentioning that I have an awesome talent and skill that I would love to share with people.
I wish I understood why I feel so guilty about enjoying things or asking things of others. Jake has never hesitated to give me a back-rub when I’ve been particularly hurty, but I always feel a twinge of guilt asking him. I know he’s more than willing and that he doesn’t mind, but in my head, I’ve decided that it must be a horrible inconvenience for him and he’s probably counting the days until he can dump me and find someone who doesn’t ask for back-rubs during movies all the time.
^^ I just typed that without thinking. Literally. My instinct for sharing something about my life or the way I feel was automatically followed by an apology. It’s strange, looking at it objectively (well, objectively as I can). Sometimes writing on here kind of lays everything out and gives me some perspective.
I don’t know if this is one that I can nessessarily get a huge amount of perspective on, but I do know that it’s something I want to look in to. The first step, I suppose, is trying NOT to apologize all the time for things.
I don’t have an end for this one. Not yet. I don’t want to make any bold promises about a magical shift in attitude, nor do I want to act like everything is fixed.
Sometimes, I just like to type things out and see what happens.