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  • Writer's pictureGeorgina Sturmer

Why am I always apologising?

'I'm sorry'. Sound familiar? Apologies are important. They offer us an opportunity to explain our behaviour and offer our regrets when we have done something wrong.  They help us to soothe arguments and nurture our relationships.  Apologies can also be a helpful way to show our vulnerability which can help us to build connections with other people.  

But why do we keep apologising for things when we haven’t done anything ‘wrong’?  

I spoke to Business Insider all about this topic for an article that looked specifically at a mum who was always apologising for the state of her house. Even when she had just tidied it up. Click here to read the full article.

What really struck me, is that our apology isn’t really an apology.  It’s a defence mechanism.  It’s a way to protect us from how we might feel if someone else sees something that we feel sensitive about. It might be the way we look, or the state of our home, or something else entirely.

This defence mechanism presents itself as a way to protect us from anxiety, fear or embarrassment.  Based on the idea - real or imagined - that someone else might perceive as lazy, or failing, or not ‘good enough’.  If left unchecked, these feelings become about something much more damaging than the state of our home or our appearance.  They can lead to a sense of shame, that the situation reflects who we are as a person, and that we are ‘bad’ in some way.  

It can also be an attempt to silence our inner critic, and stem a tide of negative thoughts.  

When we offer an apology it is an attempt to mitigate this feeling, and control how someone else perceives us.  

But it's important to remember that, try as we might, we have no control over what other people think about us. Instead, I’d suggest noticing what it feels like when the urge to apologise comes over us.  And thinking about how it would feel to find a different way of coping, and of reassuring ourselves.  

Keen to explore more?

I love working with people to help them to understand themselves.

If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch. Click here to contact me or click here to book a free 30-minute introductory chat.

Why am I always apologising?

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