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 Post subject: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:15 am 
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This seemed the most appropriate forum for this topic.

Could you apologize for hurting someone's feelings, if you weren't sorry for telling them the thing that hurt their feelings?

To me, this would be like slipping some e coli into someone's lunch without regret, and then telling them you were sorry they had an upset stomach. It just seems hypocritical to me.

To me, an apology takes responsibility for one's own actions, rather than expressing sympathy for another person's state of mind.

edit

I could have sworn I was in Tol Eressëa! That is where I meant to post this. Perhaps someone could move it, if you agree that forum would be more appropriate.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:40 am 
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Will do, Cerin.

Edit: Have done.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:03 am 
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If "I apologize" means, "I acknowledge that I caused you grief and I ask your forgiveness for doing so" then I suppose you could apologize without feeling sorry for what you did.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:15 am 
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What narya said.

Question: why do you not regret hurting this person's feelings?


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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:52 am 
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narya wrote:
If "I apologize" means, "I acknowledge that I caused you grief and I ask your forgiveness for doing so" then I suppose you could apologize without feeling sorry for what you did.

Asking for forgiveness without feeling sorry? That is a strange notion to me.

An apology would mean, 'I realize I did something I shouldn't have done, and I regret doing it, and regret the hurt it caused you'. But I don't believe I did something I shouldn't have done, and therefore, I don't regret doing it. If I'm owning the action, I just don't see how I can apologize for its consequences.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:05 am 
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Can the apology mean, "I did something I felt was right, and I regret the pain you felt as the result"?

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:18 am 
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Passdagas the Brown wrote:
Question: why do you not regret hurting this person's feelings?


This person (a family member, involving an incident entirely within the family) had done something that struck me as offensive and very out of character. It being a family matter, I thought she should know how I felt about it. If I believe it was right to tell her -- if I would do it again -- how can I legitimately apologize for the consequences?

It brings to mind drone strikes. We regret the killing of innocents, but we don't apologize for using the drones. That's rather hollow, isn't it? I regret that your feelings were hurt, but . . . I'd do it all over again. ????

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:24 am 
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Oh, it's a family thing?

* decisively stays out of it ;) *

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:29 am 
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Frelga wrote:
Can the apology mean, "I did something I felt was right, and I regret the pain you felt as the result"?

What you say there in quotes, is it. But I always thought the acknowledgement of wrong was the crux of an apology.

edit, cross posted

Frelga wrote:
Oh, it's a family thing?

* decisively stays out of it ;) *



Indeed. :roll:

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Last edited by Cerin on Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:47 am 
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I forgot to say, thank you, Prim, for moving the thread! :hug:

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:43 pm 
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I think you can be sorry for causing pain without being sorry for what you did to cause it. I believe these are two different things.

Imagine giving child an injection to prevent illness. You are sorry it will hurt him, but not sorry for doing it.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:10 pm 
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Language is (or at least can be) flexible. I do think that you can be sorry (and say so) for hurting someone's feelings, without regretting the action that you took. I myself have been in that position, and apologized to the person(s) involved, and not regretted doing so.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:25 pm 
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That way lies the nonapology apology so beloved of public figures ("I'm sorry if anyone was offended"). But if you genuinely regret someone's hurt feelings, I do think you can genuinely apologize even if you believe the act that hurt the feelings was right and necessary. You don't have to say "I wish I hadn't done that" or "What I did was wrong" if that isn't the case; just "I'm sorry that what I did hurt you."

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:34 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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I'm gonna say, in this situation, I don't think an apology is a good idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:03 pm 
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JewelSong wrote:
Imagine giving child an injection to prevent illness. You are sorry it will hurt him, but not sorry for doing it.

That is certainly true, Jewel


yovargas wrote:
I'm gonna say, in this situation, I don't think an apology is a good idea.

And just when I was warming up to the idea! Can you say why you don't think an apology is a good idea in this situation?

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:02 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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Because I believe there is an important difference between "I'm sorry you're hurt" and "I apologize for hurting you". If you believe what you did was the right thing to do, your apology would be insincere even if you genuinely wish the consequences of your actions were different.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:35 pm 
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Thank you, yov.

I thank everyone for your input. It is very helpful.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:36 pm 
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Are you sorry that the person ended up with hurt feelings? If not, then, no, given what seem to be your personal strictures, you probably can't apologize. Whether or not you should be sorry for hurting someone's feelings is another matter. ETA: I'm not saying that in an admonishing tone. You are the one in the situation and know what's appropriate here and what's not.

That being said, I don't look at apologies like this as being insincere. I very rarely want to hurt someone. (I would say never, but I can't be absolutely certain of that. So I won't.) For the sake of peace and harmony, I will often apologize even if I don't think I did anything wrong. If I did something wrong, I definitely apologize; often, I can find something. For example, I could apologize for not thinking through the full implications of my actions or words before saying whatever it was I did or said that ended up hurting someone. IOW, when I'm looking at a situation logically and the other person responds emotionally, then I do often feel the need to apologize for not fully taking those feelings into consideration before speaking or acting. Feelings are not logical, and I know this full well, too. I don't always respond logically or in a level-headed manner. I can have feelings with the best of them. (INTPs, in fact, experience emotions more deeply than many other types; we just have a huge problem figuring them out and dealing with them well.)

All of that to say, that I would definitely give an apology of the sort you described ("I did what I felt was right at the time, but I am sorry that I really hurt your feelings."), and I would do it for the sake of peace, harmony, love, grace, and forgiveness. Things like this, especially in families, can become a lasting, pernicious issue that leads to a poisoned relationship. That's not worth it to me just to be able to say that I was in the right about something. (I'm not saying that's what you're doing, Cerin.) That's just my two cents.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:33 pm 
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Lalaith wrote:
Are you sorry that the person ended up with hurt feelings?

Yes, I am sorry the person ended up with hurt feelings, but that is the almost inevitable result of offering frank criticism to someone who you know values your good opinion. I understood this when I made the decision to speak.


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For the sake of peace and harmony, I will often apologize even if I don't think I did anything wrong.

But you would apologize for the result, not for doing the thing that you don't think was wrong? You would say, 'I'm sorry your feelings were hurt by what I said' (even though it could hardly be otherwise, given human nature and our relationship), rather than 'I apologize for saying the things that hurt you'?

So it's a question (for me) of whether expressions of concern and regret that don't qualify as apologies (because they don't acknowledge a wrong done), have a moral basis and might still be of value. I think the idea of 'sorry', or regret, is the problem for me. It pains me to cause pain to someone I love, but if I choose to do it in spite of that, am I really 'sorry'? Can I really say I regret the suffering the baby goes through from getting the shot, if I'm willing that he get the shot? I'm not sure that is consistent, logically or ethically.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologies
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:29 pm 
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I lived with a passive aggressive man who had this pattern: I'd suffer silently about something he did on a regular basis that really bothered me (such as not bathing) but eventually I'd tell him, then he'd be insufferable to be around. After a horrible, loveless week of being pointedly shunned in front of the family, and remarked about in the third person to the dogs, I would break down and say I was sorry I brought it up and didn't really mean it, and he'd eventually deign to kiss and make up. Those apologies I eventually made expressed my genuine sorrow for having hurt him, not because of sympathy for him, but because it resulted in 10 times the pain for me.

If he apologized for his rejecting behavior it was always a stiff "I was just protecting myself and I apologize if you felt you were hurt by it".

Neither of these is a good example of an apology. :(

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