The Apology You Want That Never Comes
Have you ever been cheated on?
It's one of the most gut-wrenching experiences to go through. My ex-husband cheated not once but twice.
When someone you love and trust does something horrendous, like have an affair that causes your marriage or relationship to implode, you may never get an apology. In her book "The Power of Apology," Beverly Engel outlines the types of people who will probably never say "I'm sorry" for even the slightest wrongdoing or hurt feelings.
- the macho type who can never be seen as wrong
- the perfectionist
- the always right type
- the judgmental type
- the projectionist, the person who projects their own faults onto others
- the narcissist
- the deeply-shamed as a child type
- those unable to empathize
Without an apology, the person who's been wronged, (maybe that's you), may experience feelings of anger, resentment and revenge. And these feelings fester and ooze out of you in the words your speak and through your actions. And all you do is create more festering anger and before you know it, you're heart becomes a big black pit.
According to Engel, if you're the wrongdoer, giving an apology is important because
- apologizing shows your respect for the person;
- apologizing shows you're responsible for your actions;
- apologizing shows you care about another's feelings;
- apologizing shows that you are considerate and can empathize with another's feelings;
- apologizing often quiets the other person's anger.
In my case, my ex-husband didn't respect me. He very rarely, if ever, took responsibility for his actions. He certainly didn't care about my feelings. Empathy was a quality that missed him entirely. And without any kind of apology, I just stewed in my cesspool of bitterness.
What's a cheated-on wife (or husband) to do?
10 Ways I Moved Forward Without an Apology (and You Can, too)
I had an amazing best friend who didn't always wallow with me. In fact, years before we both went through our respective divorces we made a pact to not wallow in collective misery. We allowed each other what we called our Five-Minute Pity Party. If one of us needed to bitzch about something, we'd declare the five-minute rule in effect. That helped keep the wallowing and woe-is-me to a minimum, and it helped us figure out what to do about whatever had our knickers in a bunch.
I moved. I sold the marital home and moved six miles down the road. I had the means to move, and I realize not everyone has the financial means to do so. But a house is a house is a house. It's a thing. And while my old house was super awesome with the most gorgeous field stone fireplace and open floor plan, it simply contained way too much negative ju-ju. There wasn't enough cleansing, sage-ing, smudging, whatever... to get rid of the emotional crap that hung like a dark cloud over the house. So, I moved. And the house I bought, I bought on my own and I'm still here.
In 2005, I started writing. I took writing classes through writers.com and I was blessed with the right teachers and the right lessons. Laurie Wagner and Marc Olmsted were angels disguised as poets and essayists. Writing, along with my yoga practice, helped me put things in perspective. And for the record, yoga and writing still help me put things in perspective
I surrounded myself with positive people and began to focus on the awesome people in my life rather than the one person who I allowed to turn my life upside down. My posse helped right my ship.
I read... a lot. The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz, The Gift of Change, by Marianne Williamson, Divine Intuition, by Lynn Robinson, and The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff. These are just a few books that helped see me through.
I let go of the emotionally toxic and co-dependent relationship that was my first marriage. When I came to the stunning realization that my ex didn't like me and I didn't like him all that much, I began the process of disentangling myself from him. I began the long process of un-knotting the binds that kept me bound to him in anger, resentment and bitterness. This did not happen overnight. If you are stuck here, I want you to know I was, too. It's mui importante that you get out of your head space and into your heart space. I've got more tips on quitting your overthinking addiction here.
I said good-bye to the nice girl who made it her mission to have everyone like her... even her ex. As a recovering people-pleaser I learned a stunning life lesson at a business workshop and it goes something like this: You know 100 people; 99 of them love you to pieces. One can't stand the sight of you but you make it your mission to win them over, ignoring the 99 who love you. I decided to flip things around and focus my time and attention and energy on the people who loved me. I disregarded and discarded the one who did not.
I traveled. The month my divorce was final I took my daughters to Washington state to see my mom and to see the Pacific Northwest. Mt. St. Helen, Mt. Rainer, Mt. Adams, and I took my girls snowboarding in July on Mt. Hood in Oregon. A year later I took them to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. In 2005, we went to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Traveling is in my blood. This year alone I've been to San Francisco, Colorado, Ireland, Orlando, Florida and in two weeks, I'll be in Key West for eight blissful days.
My yoga practice literally saved my sanity. I honest-to-God believe yoga can help anyone who's alive and breathing. But I get it, yoga may not be your thing or even on your radar. That's cool. Take up walking or running or Muay Thai Kicking. I'm cool with Zumba or salsa dancing, too. The point: Do something, anything, to get yourself moving and outside of your head. Your head is the last place you want to be.
I accepted the reality that an apology from my ex would never, ever, ever come. As long as I thought he should apologize, I was at war with reality. The truth was (and is to this day) he didn't apologize. As soon as I let go of the notion that he needed to apologize, the weight of a thousand worlds dissolved into nothingness. In that very moment I freed myself from the suffocating suffering I created for myself.
Peggy Nolan is a sacred bad-ass warrior, vanquisher of fear, slayer of doubt and she loves helping others move forward. She's a published author, yoga teacher, second degree black belt, wife, mom and GiGi. Peggy loves peanut butter, science fiction, beer, unicorns, dragonflies, the color purple, the beach, traveling and naps. Peggy lives in Derry, NH with her husband, Richard.
If you liked this article, you can download Peggy's free eBook, 30 Ways to Boost Your Positivity and Increase Your Happiness."