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Thread: How to handle an apology?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    How to handle an apology?

    I have a family member who can be really insensitive and offensive. She was an only child and very spoiled. She says she has only child-itis. I would call it narcissism; definitely very self-absorbed. Anyway, recently she went off on me and was really awful. She loves talking about herself and anytime a subject is brought up that is not about her, she doesn't like it. I was shocked and kind of horrified at her vile response. Afterwards, I had to do some self-care to get rid of all the yucky feelings from her outburst. Later she emailed an apology and said she was sorry.

    In the past I have tolerated this stuff even though she never apologizes; I don't think she's even aware of how her behavior affects others. But it has affected me, no matter how hard I try to do the "it's who she is" thing. She's the only family member that I have where we live so I've always opted to preserve the family connection.

    During the exchange, I was too shocked to cover my reaction to what she said. I made no effort to hide my feelings like I have in the past. I think this is why she apologized for the first time ever.

    I want to accept the apology and let the matter go, but I do not want to be cheery about it (which was my first impulse). I don't want to pretend that what she said was okay. How do I do that?
    Last edited by Geila; 11-9-18 at 4:28pm.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Here is my suggestion.

    Ask to meet her at a cafe or restaurant about a half hour from her house.

    Say you want to talk about the matter.

    Then pick a day and time to meet.

    Here is the zinger: You don't show up.

    When she contacts you just say: "Gotcha!"

    Then laugh and hang up.

    Sends a very clear message that you are not to be effed with.
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  3. #3
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    Here is my suggestion.

    Ask to meet her at a cafe or restaurant about a half hour from her house.

    Say you want to talk about the matter.

    Then pick a day and time to meet.

    Here is the zinger: You don't show up.

    When she contacts you just say: "Gotcha!"

    Then laugh and hang up.

    Sends a very clear message that you are not to be effed with.
    Well, you made ME laugh! Thanks for that.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    Here is my suggestion.

    Ask to meet her at a cafe or restaurant about a half hour from her house.

    Say you want to talk about the matter.

    Then pick a day and time to meet.

    Here is the zinger: You don't show up.

    When she contacts you just say: "Gotcha!"

    Then laugh and hang up.

    Sends a very clear message that you are not to be effed with.
    Oh geez UL, I hope you're not serious.

    First of all Geila, in my life (of almost 69 years), I have discovered that I don't need to be around anyone who treats me badly.....even if they're family. Being related to someone doesn't mean you have to be abused by them.

    It's your call if you want to chance accepting her apology, and continuing to associate with her. If you do sincerely want a relationship with her, then I would make it very clear that you will never tolerate this kind of behavior from her in the future.
    And if she starts it up again, even after this apology, then I would end it. You don't need this.

  5. #5
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    I agree with Cathy.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    I agree with UL!
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  7. #7
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    I've had periods in the past were I restrict the amount of time that I spend with her and it's possible that I might get to the point where I distance myself permanently.

    But, as you can all tell, I'm sure, I have a really hard time establishing boundaries. I'd like to take this opportunity to do that, for my sake. Problem is I don't have experience doing so. I'd like to write an email that:

    a. expresses my shock at her behavior.
    b. sets some boundaries as to being the recipient of that kind of behavior in the future. (not sure how to do this)
    c. ends on a calm/neutral note to allow the matter to be resolved. (this is for me; I don't want to drag this out our carry resentment over it)
    Last edited by Geila; 11-9-18 at 4:29pm.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    These narcissistic, mean-spirited people devoid of conscience are best dealt with by fighting dirty. It is the only thing they understand.
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  9. #9
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    These narcissistic, mean-spirited people devoid of conscience are best dealt with by fighting dirty. It is the only thing they understand.
    From previous experience, I would say that narcissistic, mean-spirited people devoid of conscience are all manner of dangerous things. And yes, this person did remind me of that type of personality during this exchange. A lot. I don't think that I'm ready to cut this person out of my life yet, but I do think I am ready to be pleasant but distant and create a wide boundary around my relationship with her and others like her.

    But I'm not willing to play dirty and stoop to their level (yet - I have to admit to myself that in my previous relationship with someone like her, I did indeed have to "go where they were" in order to get through to them. And it was pretty hard for me to do, but there was no other way). One of my core values is compassion (and I'm highly empathetic), but I'm finally realizing that I have to be compassionate with myself as well, and recognizing that being compassionate does not mean being in a relationship with someone. And it doesn't mean being a doormat either.

    I used to think that if I wasn't kind, I would be just like these people. And I would HATE being like them. It was very much a black & white perspective, all-or-nothing thinking. I'm now starting to realize that being kind to others does not mean being unkind to myself. It isn't either/or, its both/and. So I will accept her apology, AND I will take steps to protect myself.

  10. #10
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    As you say, stooping to below your choice of behaviour is not an option. What about choosing the times and place for connecting with this person.

    Self-care in very important. I had someone in my life, not a family member, who was being very intrusive. I reasoned, requested, etc for privacy and courtesy until one day, I had had it. I advised this person that I needed a break so was stepping back from further contact. She phoned a few times and I politely reminded her that I was tied up with other commitments and unavailable. That way, I did not condemn or judge her but took responsibility for my well-being. I have not looked back with regret about my choice or actions.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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