Why some people are unable to say sorry?

Why some people are unable to say sorry?

There are those who see a challenge in asking for forgiveness even knowing that they have made a mistake. Why?

If we accept the fact that no one is perfect, we must also accept that on a day-to-day basis, no one lacks reasons to apologize. Either by making the wrong decisions, by incapacity, or by acting badly, it is very frequent that what we do causes discomfort in someone else, or has the capacity to harm them.

Normally, everything is solved by asking for forgiveness, and most of the time everything is solved in this simple way. However, there is a small portion of humanity that is apparently unaware of this possibility. Certain people are totally unable to say “I’m sorry” Why is this happening?

Why some people are unable to say sorry?

The inability to ask for forgiveness when it touches

Language is a wonderful thing: thanks to it, conflicts that could become entrenched and cause discomfort and fights for years are resolved with a brief exchange of phrases. This happens because through words we reduce the margin of uncertainty about what the other person thinks, something very important in the management of these kinds of problems.

Saying “I’m sorry”, for example, means taking a big step: someone recognizes that they have acted badly, to the detriment of the well-being of another person (or a group), thereby opening up the possibility of compensating in some way. Regardless of whether that opportunity is seized for compensation, a modicum of justice has been done.

However, for each time someone does something wrong and is aware of it, they would apologize, a condition that almost never occurs should be fulfilled: that rationality prevails over feelings. In practice, there are people who, even knowing that they should apologize, are unable to do so … without themselves knowing why.

So … why are there people who find it so difficult to admit to others that they have made a mistake, that they feel it when they know that it is so and they feel bad about it? There are different reasons, but they are all related and have to do with poor self-image management.

The need to preserve self-esteem

All people structure their own identities based on a series of ideas and beliefs about themselves. This set of descriptions of the “I” is called a self-concept, or self-image. This self-image allows us not to go blind when interacting with others and with the environment that does not surround us, having a certain idea of ​​what our characteristics, weaknesses, and strengths are.

However, the self-image is not a set of information collected cold and objectively. On the contrary. Since what is being talked about in the self-image is oneself, all these beliefs have an evident emotional impact on the person.

Thus, everything that indicates weakness, inability or unreliability when making decisions, has an impact on self-esteem, which is the evaluative aspect of self-image, what speaks about the value of oneself compared to standards that we look at (and they may be more or less successful). There are many situations that can compromise self-esteem, and often, asking for forgiveness is one of them.

A delicate self-concept

There are those who have such a delicate self-image that simply acknowledging a mistake can cause their self-esteem to waver, no matter how insignificant the mistake that was acknowledged may have been. In a way, if a part of us knows that we have been wrong and have acted in an inappropriate way, the self-image can remain protected as long as we do not acknowledge the error out loud. We can play to disguise the error of something else, attribute the blame to another person or, simply, not name that little feeling of guilt that we feel.

But if we ask for forgiveness, all those thoughts and feelings caused by the mistake made are automatically labeled for what they are: our responsibility. And, in a matter of a second, we have to deal with the fact that our self-concept cannot continue to exist as it did.

If the mistake for which we ask for forgiveness is small, this may mean that we are capable of making small mistakes that we do not give importance to and for which we do not apologize. If it is a serious mistake, it can mean a radical change in the way we see ourselves. Of course, most of us do not have too many difficulties when it comes to realizing that asking for forgiveness is something that speaks well of us and that, in part, mitigates the mistake. But there are those who cannot afford to put their self-concept in the spotlight, expose it to the slightest scratch.

Humiliation or cognitive dissonance

It is clear that there are those who do not ask for forgiveness simply because they do not think about the welfare of others or because they consider that, from an instrumental logic, saying “I’m sorry” does not bring them any benefit: let’s think, for example, of someone with a certain tendency to the psychopathy that when getting off the bus pushes someone whom he will never see again.

However, among those who are not able to apologize despite feeling bad about it, the most common is that one of two options is given: or they associate the apology with humiliation, with which their self-esteem could not bear to do something like that but They either have no way of expressing their regret, or they have a certain delusion of grandeur.

In the latter case, acknowledging the error so conflicts with your self-image that asking for forgiveness would imply rethinking many aspects of your own life and relationships with others from scratch: this is a phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance.

In any case, it is clear that knowing how to ask for forgiveness in an honest way is a card that people with high Emotional Intelligence play. You should not do it if you do not have reasons for it, but when you know that it is the right thing to do, expressing it becomes a simple matter of knowing how to manage your own feelings well (and knowing how to communicate that ability to others).


Why some people are unable to say sorry?