One of the hardest things about my marriage recovery has been facing the fact that I was so wrong. I am always right! I don’t do “wrong.”
I have never found apologizing or forgiving easy. That was not something I saw in my childhood. But I also didn’t learn to trust my perceptions of my own experiences and feelings and didn’t learn how to identify when an apology was appropriate. And because I didn’t see apology, I also didn’t learn forgiveness.
When I do realize that I make a mistake, I’m not able to distinguish between the action and my core self. I did not grow up in a family where it was okay to make mistakes. When I messed up, it was brought up time and again for years–not to be intentionally hurtful, but because my mistakes became part of the family lore. It became part of how I felt my family saw me. Although the intentions were good, sometimes my family’s actions and words hurt me.
Even at this point in my life, when I realize I made a mistake, I am filled with a deep sense of shame and failure. Apologizing feels like admitting to someone that I am worthless. I’m working on pushing through those feelings to apologize anyway, but it is hard and I don’t always get the words right. (I know. The words “I’m sorry” shouldn’t be so hard.)
As I have been making this journey of sexual healing, I have been learning how much I still have to work on in myself.
How many of us are there who do not know how to apologize, how to forgive–or how to accept forgiveness? Life is a journey. We’re bound to stumble now and again, and so are those with whom we walk.
If apologizing is hard for you, too, pick up the challenge I am laying in front of myself today. Think of one thing you’ve done over the past few weeks to which your husband reacted as though he had been wronged. Really think about it…could your actions or words be experienced hurtfully (even if your intentions and reasons made complete sense to you)? Say the words, “Honey, I’m sorry I said xyz. I know I hurt you. I apologize.” It takes 15 seconds. You can do something hard for just 15 seconds, right?
I’m going to make myself do this when I get home today. Even though like to think I don’t do “wrong,” I know that I do need to learn to do, “I’m sorry.”