Attack of the Sorry Monster

It’s been said that I apologize way too much.  In fact, that was said at my wedding, when I was apologizing for people helping me out and doing things for me that day.  We joked and laughed about it a little bit, but it’s definitely an issue I need to work on.

I’ve always overused the word “sorry.”  If I don’t hear what someone has said to me, rather than say “I didn’t hear you,” or “please repeat yourself,” I will often say “Sorry?”  I’m even so bad about it that when someone points out how much I’m saying that word, my response is . . . you guessed it . . . to apologize for saying it so much!

Drawn by Alyx Morgan

Times like that can be comical, but it does bring to light the fact that I turn into some sort of Sorry Monster whenever I worry that I’m going to bother someone, or that I’m asking to much of them.  Craig has even pointed out recently that I often put an apologetic phrase in my more controversial blogs, as a way to soften the blow of what I’m about to say.  I hadn’t noticed it until he told me, but he’s absolutely right.  Now I can’t not see it when I do it.

If you only know me via the things I write here, you might have a hard time believing that I apologize as much as I do–I’m very opinionated, I know–but I did this same thing back when I was in school.  I would often say “I don’t mean to be bogue, but . . .” before telling someone that I didn’t like something they said or did.

So why do I apologize so much?

Some if it is that I have an over-developed guilt complex.  I’m not sure where or when it became so developed, but it’s still rather strong with me.  I think another aspect is the collective opinion that girls/women should be pleasant and nurturing.  You know, the whole “sugar and spice, and everything nice” thing.  And I think I am nice and nurturing for the most part, but there are times when I have to put myself first, and feel the need to let my opinions be known.  I’m not saying or doing those things to be hurtful to anyone, but I tend to worry that people will be hurt because I’m not putting their thoughts/needs ahead of mine.  I know I shouldn’t be worried about that (at least, not as much as I do), and I’m definitely better about it than I used to be, but it’s still an issue.

The really bad part is that I often find myself apologizing when someone else puts me first, or does something very nice for me.  Not the everyday niceties, but more so with the big gestures.  It’s almost like I feel that I’ve put them out when they are giving of their time and energy.

What I’d like to do from now on in these cases is to say “Thank you.  I really appreciate it.”  Because I do.  I truly appreciate when someone thinks of me enough to know that I may not have time to fix dinner, or that I don’t have the brain capacity to think about paying for valet parking when I’m getting my hair and makeup done on my wedding day.  I need to realize that people feel good when they know they can help me, and to apologize to them is almost negating the good deed they just did, and I CERTAINLY don’t want to do that.

So I’m making a promise to myself (and to friends and family) that I will work harder to keep the Sorry Monster on a shorter leash, and not let her out for me simply being myself, or instead of thanking someone for offering to help.  From now on, I will make sure to only let her out when I’ve actually done something where an apology is truly needed.


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kaye george
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 07:12:59

    That’s the Universal Women’s Problem, I’m sure, being sorry, and feeling guilty, Alyx. As for forgetting to say Thank You, I’m the worst at that. I blame that on being part Scandinavian. If I do something well and someone compliments me on it, my natural tendency is to either point out how badly it was done, or just tell them I got lucky. My hubby reminds me to thank people–if he’s there. I’m trying very hard not to diminish the things I get complimented for and just to accept the thoughts–and thank people for them. It’s hard!


    • Alyx Morgan
      Oct 19, 2012 @ 08:12:23

      I used to be horrible at accepting compliments, too, Kaye. But then a boyfriend of mine told me that pooh-poohing a compliment is basically saying that person’s opinion isn’t valid or doesn’t matter, so that helped me get over it real quickly. There are still times when I’ll point out an error I see–& I still blush when someone pays me a nice compliment–but I’m much better at just saying “Thank You” than I used to be.


  2. cminichino
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 08:09:31

    Thanks Alyx and Kaye for this. I always thought I over-apologized because I’m Italian! I do think there’s a fine line though between a gracious Thank You and the appearance of entitlement. I can’t warm up to people who are overconfident and have such a great opinion of themselves that they think they deserve the compliment. (Wow, should I say I’m sorry about that?)


    • Alyx Morgan
      Oct 19, 2012 @ 08:37:41

      LMAO! Let’s not start a “Sorry” chain today, huh? 😉

      I think Kaye’s right that it’s some sort of female thing . . . trying to please everyone & all that, you know. But yes, the line between being gracious & being arrogant is quite thin. I’ve learned, though, that arrogance is usually masking a severe insecurity & they’re just overcompensating. Still, it’s hard to be empathetic to people like that.


  3. Dana Fredsti
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 08:29:20

    I think our Sorry Monsters should get together for a play date, Alyx!


    • Alyx Morgan
      Oct 19, 2012 @ 08:38:35

      LOL Do you think they’d ever be able to agree on a day & time? “I’m sorry, but I’ve got this…” “Gee, I’m sorry, could this work instead?” 😉


  4. Craig Smith
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 08:45:30

    That isn’t only a women problem either. Some men (guess who?) also have a sorry monster. I think mine is tied in a little with the middle child syndrome. I actually feel bad about myself sometimes when I miss an opportunity to put someone else’s needs before mine.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Oct 19, 2012 @ 08:48:25

      Yep . . . there’s the guilt complex. Welcome to the Sorry Monster’s club, Craig. Hey . . . we could all draw our own monsters & start a new Muppets gang. 😉


  5. Diana Orgain
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 09:08:40

    It’s so interesting that you wrote this post today, because earlier in the week I told my 9 year old daughter to stop saying “sorry”. I think she does it out of habit or thinks that it’s what is expected from her. When I told her to stop apologizing she seemed relieved. Great topic to blog about, Alex – thank you for sharing it with us.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Oct 19, 2012 @ 09:15:47

      I had no idea it would be so topical. 🙂

      I’m VERY glad you’re helping to rid her of that habit so young, Diana. I’m sure she’ll grow into a strong young woman with that kind of guidance. YAY!


  6. KW
    Oct 21, 2012 @ 12:38:24

    I overuse the word “sorry” as well and have been trying hard not to. But it’s such a difficult habit to break!


    • Alyx Morgan
      Oct 21, 2012 @ 15:31:10

      You’re absolutely right, KW. It IS a hard habit to break. But here’s hoping you’ll be able to lessen the amount of times you use it eventually.

      Thanks for visiting. 🙂


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