While I agree with that “stop saying sorry” post I can’t help but remember that I was interpersonally manipulated by somebody who constantly said “sorry” in almost every circumstance, for everything, so long as I was around and only stopped when I did what she wanted, expressed the same opinions as her, and did only things that she enjoyed all day long.

Like as much as respecting people with anxiety is of the utmost importance it’s up to everybody to identify if they think they are being manipulated— especially other people who have social or interpersonal anxiety— because “behaving like you’re hurting or scaring them all the time, just by being present in order to gaslight you into thinking you need to be controlled/are out of control” is a fav of people who gravitate to the anxious.

People who have socially anxious apologies may have been made to feel like their own presence is inexcusable or their own needs are an imposition. This may be socialized (abuse victims, etc.) or it may not be— but it’s never about you, it’s about them. They almost always have a reason even if it’s not a reason that they really ought to be sorry for.

People who do the abusive apology gambit attempt to make you feel like your own presence takes up so much space that you’re choking the life out of them, and use their “sorry” as a way to try and get you to feel like you need to behave how they want so you don’t disturb them. These people apologize when it’s not about them, they just apologize when you display agency so you think you’ve done something to them. It’s always about you; when you ask them what they think they did wrong they have a tendency to get really upset because they don’t want to imply they, not you, feel they’ve messed up somehow.

Notes

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