Have you ever had an “oops” moment only to be found out, then later called to task on it? And not just called to task, but shamed and then hunted?
We all have oops moments whether it’s making a bad joke at someone’s expense, gossiping, talking behind someone’s back etc. People with a conscience will turn around and do the right thing – apologize.
It’s one thing to apologize and move along but another to apologize only to be grilled. Why did you say it? What prompted you to do that? Why you of all people who I thought was in my court? Etc, etc, etc. You get the picture.
While making bad jokes, gossiping etc. isn’t nice most of us do it from time to time. I am not justifying it by any means. It’s not right because it’s harmful, but in the big scheme of life, it’s relatively minor. If you’re caught out, most people would accept your apology, maybe drill down a bit for an explanation, then move along, maybe even laugh it off if it was a joke, albeit a bad one.
Some people, however, can’t. They’re like a dentist drilling deeper and deeper. They can’t stop until they see your gums bleeding to follow that analogy. They won’t let it go because they just can’t. It goes beyond a few questions to being obsessed with getting to the truth.
They take it to a whole new level. Shame. They shame you for doing what you did. For most of us, we feel bad enough that we said what we did, then got caught saying it. We don’t need shame piled on top of that. “Alright already, I get it, I cry uncle! JUST STOP!” But they carry on – relentlessly.
Being Hunted like Prey
That’s when you feel like the scared rabbit who’s in the crosshairs of a shotgun or bow and arrow. Sorry to use that analogy, I go with what I’m shown as I write. I do not promote hunting because I care about the animal. But this analogy works here.
When the offended person whips out their shot gun and runs after you, that’s when you feel like the scared little rabbit running for dear life. This has gone beyond a silly joke gone bad to persecution and being hunted down. They can’t and won’t let it go until the inevitable happens. I draw the line here with the hunting analogy. You get the end result. I don’t have to spell that one out and I won’t. It ends badly for you.
So not only do you feel bad for saying what you did, then getting caught, but now you feel ten times worse because you were shamed for what you said. Then you were manipulated into fear because you were hunted down to get to the bottom of why you said what you did.
When an Apology Isn’t Enough
How can you possibly apologize (again) now? You were just hunted down! Now you’re running for your life with wide eyes. You’re in survival mode. Apologies don’t buy survival. Especially not when someone’s standing over you with a shotgun so to speak. You thought it bought you some time and ended the conflict. Nope, it was just the beginning for the offended person.
There is nothing you can say or do at this point to get the offended person off your back. They can’t and won’t buy your apology. They can’t let it go. The tables have turned from you apologizing and offering your remorse to sheer survival. It’s not just survival of the moment but very possibly survival of the friendship or relationship.
It depends on the situation and nature of the people involved, of course. With most people, I would say time. Let it cool. Let the offended person cool off and hopefully come to their senses and see that it was a minor thing that they turned into a much bigger thing. (And that you did apologize!) If they can’t see that, then no explaining from you will help them see it.
Most people aren’t very self-aware. That’s not a criticism, just a fact. They don’t see their behavior and how it affects others. Or themselves. The only way for them to become more self-aware is to want to. Most people as we’ve said many times, don’t change unless something big happens in their life to force a change.
Bottom line with unaware people is they won’t see what they did. You’ll be beating your head against a wall trying to explain it to them so spare yourself the headache and let it go.
Do This Instead
Instead, send them good energy in hopes that one day they’ll begin to see the error of their ways. Send them love and light. Let go of any negative feelings you have towards them about how they treated you in this situation. How they reacted is about them, not you or what you said. How we react is always about us, not what or who we’re reacting to.
Just like they can’t control you, you can’t control how they react to something. Only they can. But most people don’t realize that. They make you out to be the bad guy because of what you said. They blame their reaction on what you did, not realizing they have a choice in how they react. While you may not have said or did the nicest thing, their reaction to it is very telling. And it affects you. They’ve taken it way beyond your remorse into a whole new level.
As for you, you made your apologies but they fell on deaf ears. There isn’t anything else to do. No more apologies to be made to them. Now apologize to yourself!
If you’re like me, you would’ve spent the rest of your day beating yourself up for doing something stupid like that, especially if it’s not in your nature to normally do so. See it for what it is – you made a mistake for something out of character. Even if it’s not out of character, you made a mistake. You’re human. You apologized, now move along.
If it’s something you often do, then, well, you might want to re-examine that. Dig a little deeper why you behave like that. If it’s because the other people around you behave the same way then acknowledge the connection. It still doesn’t let you off the hook! Decide whether you want to continue to be that person. Maybe this incident was your wake-up call to discontinue unkind behaviors.
Just Keep Swimming
If it was a one-off, then as I said, let it go. You made a mistake. It’s not normal for you. Try your best not to do it again. As Dory said in Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming.”
Everything in life always reverts back to “let it go” or “be in the flow.” The more you can let things go, the easier your life will be. Life really is too short to get hung up over that person that offended you in third grade or the person who was rude to you last week. Or vice versa. Make your apologies if you were the offending person, become more self-aware, form new, kinder behaviors. End of lesson. Move along, there’s nothing here to see as they say.
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