Thursday, February 22, 2018

I won't apologize if it's not my responsibility, except, I'm really sorry you're late.

I'm not exactly sure where or when this thought process came from. It's one of those things that just seems like it's always been a part of me, but I also know people aren't born believing they have to take responsibility for everything all the time.

Here's my example:
Todd had an appointment today at 10:30. It's thirty minutes away, so to be on time, he had to leave at 10. At 10:08, I looked at the clock and said, "You have to leave. Like, now!"

He thanked me for paying attention, and I apologized for not noticing it sooner and for making him late.

As he rushed out the door, he said again, "Thank you. I wasn't paying attention. The proper response to that is, 'you're welcome.' Love you."

I cried. I cried, because I really deep down believed it was my fault he was running late. I really deep down believed it was my responsibility to pay attention to the clock and make sure that he left on time. I really deep down believed, I deserved to be yelled at for not doing what I was supposed to. I really deep down believed that I was not good enough. I didn't anticipate his needs (without being naggy or controlling, because that is even worse than making him late...)

If I go deeper, I was afraid of being hurt for not doing what I was supposed to be doing. My failure creates intense fear. I know that wasn't there when I was a kid. As a kid, my failure might result in someone else getting hurt, but I wasn't afraid for my safety.

My safety became a fear by being in a marriage with someone who couldn't take responsibility for himself. He couldn't handle his own emotions, and I paid for that. I still cower in fear while also being unable to explain the fear.

I don't think this is who I am.
This is not who I am, which means that with time, work, self-awareness, and whatever else it takes, I won't be afraid, and I won't feel like I have to apologize for something that isn't mine to apologize for.


  1. I still struggle with this! I'm in my late 40's and I still struggle with this! And it's not just home life. This permeated into everything, including my professional life. In fact it really doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing. And it's doesn't even need to involve anyone. I'm at work in my office and a door down the hall will slam shut because of the wind. And every time I will feel that hot flush of shame and anxiety and a lingering since of dread that someone is going storm in my office and screen at me for something I have nothing to do with or can't control.

    1. First, HI! I miss you!
      I'm sorry you deal with it too. I was able to recognize it this time, but it's so hard to change those automatic reactions. I think it permeates into everything too, I just haven't noticed it or been able to put words to it. Ugh.