Know anyone who is unable to apologise?
Why can’t they apologise? Is there something in their psychology that stops them from being able to take responsibility for their actions and simply say they’re sorry?
People who don’t apologise may appear to be strong but they don’t apology not because they are strong it is because they are weak. It is too psychologically threatening and uncomfortable for them them to apologise, so they don’t. Someone who is self secure will apologise when they do something they know is wrong or when they cause harm.
People who don’t apologise when they know they did something wrong are usually weak, not self secure, have low self worth and are too fragile to admit they did something wrong. Apologising implies they caused harm to someone in someway which can bring up feelings of shame, low self worth, guilt and fear. Due to their fragility, not apologising is a defence mechanism. They may even change the facts of what happened so that they don’t have to apologise. They may blame others or circumstances, deny what happened or change the facts, as this can make them feel empowered rather than weak and small.
This defensiveness mechanism may look like strength from the outside but it it is rooted in psychological weakness due to trauma. They need to be perfect and apologising for something they did will be admitting that they are not perfect, this is too much for their fragile sense of self. It is too painful and uncomfortable for them psychologically so they avoid it, ignore it or deny it.
In order be able to apologise, they need to take responsibility for their actions, need to be self secure as this enables them to sit with the psychological discomfort of admitting they did something that harmed another or that is wrong.
The best thing to do in such situations is to make your point as calmly and concisely as possible, including what you need from them. If it turns into an unproductive argument disengage. Sometimes after something like this they may show extra care or go the extra mile in others ways, instead of apologising, as this is less threatening to their fragile sense of self. So look out for this, as this is their way of trying to balance the situation without apologising.
We all do this sometimes but when this behaviour is habitual it is a trauma response. The trauma could be receiving conditional love as a child, being neglected, being abandoned , rejected, reality being invalidated to name a few things. So it is important that trauma is not only things like going to war or having an accident or experiencing physical abuse and such like.
It's not uncommon after experiencing a trauma that they start to see themselves as lesser than in some way. They may tell themselves they're weak for letting it happen or that it happened because there is something wrong with them and such like. As with many trauma-related beliefs, they are often are more critical of themselves than need be. Traumatic experiences can create much fragility and vulnerability in their psychology that they are unable to apologise.
If it is habitual behaviour for the individual you know, the best thing you can do is accept that this is how they are and do what you need to do in healthy ways to reduce and your feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, disappointment that come up with you experience this. Remind yourself that it is a sign of a fragile ego and a very weak sense of self worth, rooted in trauma. Saying that, because it is rooted in trauma and you are aware of this, it does not mean you negate your own needs and your self care. If this is unhealthy for you and affecting you, it is important you seek help for yourself.
If you or someone you know, is in this pattern who would like to address what is going on, please get in touch. We can organise a discovery call where I can share what I offer, answer questions, and we can see if we are a good fit to work together.
Author: Dhriti Mehra is a trauma informed Quantum Energy Coach, helping and empowering individuals to heal layers of trauma, rebuild resilience, step into more of their potential to create and live a they truly love.