How many of you find yourself apologizing over and over again to someone for things you did not do to at all? Have those apologies worked? Has the relationship changed? Do you wonder if you are going crazy?
Today I want to talk about apology in healthy and unhealthy relationships. Apology can be a very good thing in a loving relationship or it can simply be part of a cycle of violence and abuse. I will start with apology in a loving relationship so you have a good comparison.
Apology in a loving relationship allows for us to be wrong and not be made to feel bad about it. Apology opens the door to discussion and working on the issue or problem, not blaming anyone or destroying anyone’s self-worth. Apology initiates a guilt-free and shame-free start over, if you will, in a healthy relationship. Apology can actually draw two loving people together. Apology allows one or both partners to lay down their pride and look out for the other’s interest in order to make the relationship stronger. Apology leads to the primary goal, forgiveness, in healthy relationships.
Now, let’s look at what apology does in an abusive/violent relationship. Apology in this type of relationship is simply for appeasement and survival on the part of the abuse victim. The abuse victim is hoping that one more apology will soothe the savage beast that they are living with day in and day out. The abuser uses apology, the victim’s apology mind you, to make themselves feel better about what they are doing to the other person. They use it has a means to manipulate and control the other person. It can also be used to destroy self-confidence and to do what is called gas-lighting, to make the victim think they are crazy and things aren’t as bad as they “imagine” them to be in the relationship. The abuser themselves may apologize for certain things but there is no meaning in that apology, it is simply a means to an end, the end being to keep the victim around so the abuser can continue to hurt them. An abuser will also pretend to accept an apology but then rehash the situation later on, when the victim is least expecting it. An abuser does not forgive, uses guilt and shame, and has no intention of fixing any problem. They are simply using their own “apology” and being sure you apologize to them to feed their inner savage beast or as my counselor called it, the monster in their pocket. They don’t know what honesty and authenticity are, even if the victim is trying to be honest and work with them to solve problems. They are simply not capable of empathy, sympathy or real love of any kind.
Ladies and gentlemen, I lived to apologize in my last marriage. My late husband used this to his advantage. He used my honest apologies, for some of the most ridiculous things I might add, as ammunition for later arguments and to give him a reason to say and do what he believed I deserved. He did not do a lot of apologizing, in fact, I don’t remember the honest, heartfelt, “I’m sorry” coming from him very often at all. My 1000th apology was not going to appease the evil that he was letting control him and me. Do you see why now your 1000th apology is not going to appease evil? That 1000th apology will not change your situation nor will it appease that person. They will simply use your 1000th apology to further their own agenda and get their needs met at the cost of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Have you ever wondered if you are going in circles? It took me three years to realize I was on a merry-go-round and not a happy one. Some of you reading this article it took 20 years for you to realize this fact. Others of you are still going in circles with an abusive person. I am in no way judging you. I am telling you it is time for this to end because you can end it.
End this merry-go-round of apologizing and shame. End this assault on your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. Stop apologizing for things you know you did not do. Stop accpeting false apology that is followed by the exact same behavior they just apologized for (for some of you this includes hitting you or your children). They don’t mean what they say. They are not capable of a healthy relationship with you or your children. The only One who can save them and change them is Jesus. Your 1000th apology will not save them and it won’t save your children from the damage they are doing to them either. Some marriages and relationships you can’t save at all costs. End this crazy cycle for you and your children!
You deserve better. You are better. You are so much more than you have been told in the past for you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God Himself. You deserve a healthy, loving, guilt and shame-free relationship and so do your children. You deserve to know what real love is for you and your children. You deserve the best life, an abundant life.
Appeasing evil no more,