How to Stop Apologizing So Much

Written by Angela Atkinson

“I am determined to offer an apology with my death.” ~Hideki Tojo.

Have you ever noticed that people who survived narcissistic abuse tend to apologize often?

If you’ve been feeling guilty because you said or did something that made another person upset, then you might need to rethink your approach. It’s natural to feel bad when you make mistakes, especially when they affect others. 

But apologizing for things you haven’t done isn’t going to help anyone.

Of course, as a survivor of narcissistic abuse, your people-pleasing ways can be more than just an annoyance; it can cause you to lose control of yourself and your life.

Do you apologize too often?

A heartfelt apology can be healing, but even asking for forgiveness can be taken too far – and for survivors of narcissistic abuse, it can become a really bad habit. You may need to cut back if you apologize when you ask to see a menu or bump into a chair.

You’re sorry. It’s become a habit. You can tell because you’ve been apologizing even if they didn’t ask you to. Or, maybe you apologized even if you believed the other party was wrong – and they heaped on more guilt.

And if you’re like me, you struggle to find the perfect balance between “too much” and “not enough.” But no worries. You can stop apologizing so much.

Finding a balance can be tricky.

After all, taking responsibility for your actions and making amends shows you have solid character and strengthens your relationships. However, when saying you’re sorry becomes excessive, you could undermine your confidence and annoy your friends.

Learn where to draw the line so you can express remorse without feeling guilty for insignificant things or beyond your control.

Use these ideas to become more aware of your behavior and find alternatives to apologizing.

How to Stop Excessively Apologizing

Has saying you’re sorry become so automatic that you don’t even realize you’re doing it? You’ll need to recognize your patterns so that you can change them.

Try these ideas:

Slow down.

Take a deep breath before you blurt out an apology. Give yourself time to think about what you want to do instead of operating on autopilot.

Check your motives.

You might be trying to gain security or appear agreeable. You might even be pretending to be sorry, so you won’t have to listen to the other person’s point of view. In any case, check to see if you’re really remorseful.

Learn how to say NO!

Saying “no” is an essential part of life. Sometimes we have to turn down opportunities that aren’t right for us. This is especially true when you’re trying to recover from narcissistic abuse.

Hold on to your boundaries. Don’t let others pressure you to say yes because they think you should.

Change your habits.

Maybe there’s something about your lifestyle that you need to confront. Are you often contrite after shopping binges or losing your temper?

Keep a journal.

Writing about your day can help you to notice your triggers and explore your emotions. Jot down what’s happening and how you feel when you apologize needlessly.

Lighten up.

Anxiety can make you prone to apologizing. Find relaxation practices that work for you, such as meditation or physical exercise. 

Reach out for help.

If you’re not sure if you’re going overboard, ask your friends and family for feedback. They can also support you while you’re trying to change.

If you find yourself constantly apologizing, ask yourself why.

  • Is it because you’re afraid of being rejected?
  • Or maybe you’re afraid that you won’t be able to handle what comes next?
  • Whatever the case, it’s time to stop apologizing so much.
  • It’s okay to admit that you need help sometimes.

If you think you need more assistance, you may want to join one of our support groups and talk with a professional narcissistic abuse recovery coach or counselor.

Do you feel sorry for the narcissist?

That’s the thing: narcissists will always find someone to feel sorry for and rationalize their bad behavior.

Stop feeling sorry for the narcissist and do something about yourself instead.

Watch this video if you find yourself feeling sorry for the narcissist.

What to Do Instead of Apologizing

Now that you’re ready to apologize for less, you can experiment with different approaches. You may even find yourself picking up new communication skills.

Try out some of these alternative strategies:

Express gratitude.

Saying thank you is often a more logical alternative to saying you’re sorry. Plus, it will probably make the other person feel better too. For example, thank a salesperson for suggesting an item that’s on sale instead of apologizing for not noticing it yourself.

Show compassion.

Saying you’re sorry about the misfortunes of others can just be a form of expression. However, if it makes you feel guilty for things that are beyond your control, you may want to phrase it differently.

Be direct.

Ask a question without apologizing first. It’s reasonable for you to clarify the details of an assignment at work or check the directions to a party. You’ll get the answers in less time and may be treated with more respect.

Try unconditionally accepting yourself!

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I want you to think about this – are you inadvertently “rejecting yourself” and your reality?

Maybe you don’t even think about the lies that the narcissist and other toxic people have been trying to tell you about yourself, but there’s something you can’t quite put your finger on that makes you just feel lonely and rejected if you spend too much time alone.

Or, maybe you hate your thighs, your ears, or even how tall you are (or aren’t). But whatever the case, learn to unconditionally accept yourself ASAP, and you’re one step closer to recovery. 

The good news is that if you can learn to laugh at your more unusual qualities or just feel comfortable with them, you’ll feel less need to make excuses for them.

And, as Henry Kissinger said, “Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything, You are you, and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.”

Assert your needs.

The biggest downside to excessive apologizing is that it may reinforce the idea that you’re unworthy of love and respect.

Do your affirmations.

Build up your confidence with positive affirmations and worthwhile achievements so you can be comfortable and competent at advocating for yourself.

Apologize if, and only if…

Save your apologies for the times when you’re sincerely remorseful and have done something that you need to make amends for. You’ll feel more confident about yourself, and your words will be more meaningful.

Takeaway

Whether apologizing for interrupting by saying “Sorry” or asking for something by saying “I’m sorry to ask, but…” we’ve all been there.

Our society encourages people to say sorry for practically anything. Apologizing is commonly accepted, but I think it can make us too sensitive. I always used to apologize, and you might be doing the same.

This can lead to the need to apologize again and again or even feel like you’re not allowed to ask for things because they’ll cause a negative impact. If that sounds like you, give the tips that I shared with you here another look, take the ones that resonate and incorporate them into your life. 

Use these powerful tips on how to stop apologizing so much to take back your power and start being the light-filled, amazing person you truly are – I promise you will never regret it!

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Author

  • Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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