Author Topic: What to do when an apology is not accepted  (Read 6199 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2014, 11:13:36 AM »
It sounds like you and your dad are close. Is it possible that this is the first time that he realized that your and his world views differed on something that he considered important? Maybe he was processing that.
that's exactly what i was thinking - i remember when i had to gently 'educate' my father when he couldn't understand why i didn't agree with him on something. and i remember when i realized that my own DS was ... well , a person, with his *own* views and morals.

I don't think either of you handled it badly.


This is what I'm thinking.

And the idea that when people are upset (and your dad *is* allowed to be upset with you, and to express that), they need time to get over being mad. And that one should give them that time.

So perhaps the better thing to do would have been for Dad to excuse himself and find something to do in another room--go sharpen the lawnmower blades?--while he deals with the strong emotions.

Or, since he didn't, maybe your move would have been for -you- to leave the room--go wander over and help Mom fold laundry.
 
Neither of you did those things, so while perhaps you neither one were deeply wise, I don't think either of you were required to be. It would be hard to be! You're emotionally involved; it takes some detachment (hey, I can backseat drive w/ the best of them, LOL!).

Your dad hurt your feelings; you revealed that. (And I note that your mom didn't think you were wrong to want to leave.) I think that's fine too. Your dad deserves to see the evidence of how his treatment of you affects you.

Going forward, I would say--don't really revisit the issue, not the original dispute nor the apology sequence. Leave well enough alone. Least said, soonest mended.
   And, is it not written, "It won't get better if you pick at it"?

And be gentle with one another for a little while, so you can reinforce the love and consideration that is the core of your relationship.


Hmmmmm

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2014, 12:01:04 PM »
Thanks all - I can understand why some posters are suggesting the 'different world view' scenario - but in this instance, dad and I have disagreed on many many things in the past and he has never reacted like this. I'm not a shrinking violet by any means when it comes to that.

His explanation afterwards was that he took what I considered to be an objective debate as a personal attack. I acknowledge that I defend an argument vigorously, I always have, and I need to be more careful about that, clearly! However, dad knows that (obviously - I've always been the same), and it was just shocking to me that he both reacted the way he did, and also ascribed the worst possible motive to what I said, rather than 'oh that's just Flibbertigibbet getting on her high horse again - it's not directed at me personally'.

Food for thought - I shall certainly avoid that type of discussion in future and be very much more careful about what I talk about with dad. It makes me sad that I have to; but I'd rather that than upset him. The silent treatment to me was a huge huge reaction - which is probably why I also reacted in the extreme (tears etc). I need to think about that too and try and temper my reactions I think. I don't like drama!

I think it's unfair to describe her dad as a sulking child. OP hurt his feelings. She apologized but that doesn't mean that even if he accepts the apology that he has to immediately get over the hurt. He has the right to manage his feelings the way he prefers as long as he isn't outright hostile.

And OP even says that she expected her Dad to just overlook her vigorous defending of her argument as one of her own quirks. So in my opinion if you believes others must have a thick enough skin to stand up to your vigorous arguments, then you need to develop that your own thick skin and not get upset when they obviously don't agree with your stance.


gramma dishes

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2014, 12:20:37 PM »
I don't get the impression that the problem was that the OP disagreed with her father on a particular given subject.  Sounds like he's fairly accustomed to that. 

I wonder if her phrasing might have been unfortunate (unintentionally of course), like something along the lines of "How could anyone with half a brain think that?" which Dad took to imply that he was stupid.  If that's what happened, then I can see Dad taking awhile to digest this and figure out how to proceed from there.

Arguments about politics or religion or any other hot button items are fine, but phrasing is really important so that neither party seems to be disrespecting the others views and even more so the other person as a human being.

Flibbertigibbet

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2014, 12:21:09 PM »
OP here - just in response to Hmmm - it's not that I didn't accept that dad didn't agree with me, he hasn't agreed with me many many times before and its been fine - we agree to disagree, or come to a consensus.  It's not that I expected him to 'overlook' my argumentative style either ; more that I expected him to know what that style meant, and not think it was something other than it had always been before - a debate, not a personal attack. It was the unprecedented reaction that upset me so, and not the 'disagreement', if that makes sense? I shall definitely be more careful in future though, and will be ready for it next time so I don't also react so emotionally. I think that's best for all concerned!

I'll give you the basics of the conversation, which might help - it's not really a difference of stance on politics or world view at all. There has been an inquest in the UK into the shooting of a person by the police. We were discussing the legal principle of 'pre-emptive strike' (I am a lawyer so was explaining). Dad then said 'So a policeperson can just shoot anyone they like for no reason, if they think there's a threat'. I said 'if they can prove they really thought there was a threat, yes, but not all police carry guns' (I'm in the UK - only certain police do). I was explaining just in case he thought that had changed too. He thought I was suggesting he was stupid because I'd told him not all police carry guns, and he thought this was so obvious as to be insulting.

Teenyweeny

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2014, 12:25:07 PM »
OP here - just in response to Hmmm - it's not that I didn't accept that dad didn't agree with me, he hasn't agreed with me many many times before and its been fine - we agree to disagree, or come to a consensus.  It's not that I expected him to 'overlook' my argumentative style either ; more that I expected him to know what that style meant, and not think it was something other than it had always been before - a debate, not a personal attack. It was the unprecedented reaction that upset me so, and not the 'disagreement', if that makes sense? I shall definitely be more careful in future though, and will be ready for it next time so I don't also react so emotionally. I think that's best for all concerned!

I'll give you the basics of the conversation, which might help - it's not really a difference of stance on politics or world view at all. There has been an inquest in the UK into the shooting of a person by the police. We were discussing the legal principle of 'pre-emptive strike' (I am a lawyer so was explaining). Dad then said 'So a policeperson can just shoot anyone they like for no reason, if they think there's a threat'. I said 'if they can prove they really thought there was a threat, yes, but not all police carry guns' (I'm in the UK - only certain police do). I was explaining just in case he thought that had changed too. He thought I was suggesting he was stupid because I'd told him not all police carry guns, and he thought this was so obvious as to be insulting.

Honestly? He's being a baby, unless your tone was really patronising or something like that. Having said that, we're not at our best all the time. Perhaps he was having an 'off day'.



JenJay

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2014, 12:37:23 PM »
My take on it is that you did the best you could with a mixed message.  Your father got upset with you, and despite your apology, ignored you until you decided to leave.  Then he told you that he didn't really want you to leave, but ignoring a guest really does send the message that they're no longer welcome.  Given that, there's really not a lot else you could have done in this situation.

Virg

I agree.

I'm sure anyone who knows you well, as your parents must, knows that you aren't the type to turn on the tears to manipulate someone into making up with you if they aren't ready. Your Dad taking what you said and turning it into "She's calling me stupid!" was an unfair overreaction. Maybe it's time to avoid discussing that subject with him but it wasn't your fault .

bah12

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2014, 01:36:32 PM »
First, it is not rude to show emotion when you are genuinely feeling it.  You didn't have a tantrum.  You left the room and felt the emotions that were inside of you.  I don't think it matters how old you are....at least for me, the thought of hurting or disappointing my parents is heartbreaking.  I don't blame you at all for crying and wanting to leave!

As for your dad, I do think that there are times when someone that we love says or does something that shocks us...at least at first.  Maybe he interpreted what you said as something that he at first thought was against the values he taught you.  Even if they weren't...he was having a reaction.  You did the right thing to ask him if he was upset and apologize.  And I don't take his not jumping to accept the apology right away as anything more than him needing more time to process and think about what you had said. 

You didn't really do anything wrong.  In the future, my only suggestion would be that you say "Ok, Dad. Like I said, my comment wasn't directed at you and while I'd love to understand why my comment upset you so much, I see that you need more time.  Let's forget about it for now and enjoy our day together.  When you're ready, can we discuss it more so that I can better explain what I meant?"

BestNanaEver

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2014, 04:15:54 PM »
As we age, our perception of how things are said varies or changes. We interpret things totally differently and sometimes "hear" things in tone that aren't there. Try to be understanding of our elderly.

Tea Drinker

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2014, 04:34:36 PM »
It seems to me that your dad's misstep was to just nod and keep ignoring you. Better if he had either told you that an apology wasn't acceptable because you didn't seem to understand what you'd done wrong, or that he accepted your apology but was still upset, and either changed the subject, told you he wanted to be alone for a bit, left the room with some excuse, or suggested that you go talk to your mother. It's not just that the silent treatment is rude at best. It sounds as though your father didn't know what he wanted from you (since "I wish she hadn't said that" may be true, but isn't something that can be accomplished).

With regard to the subject line--if I was a guest in someone's home, did something that offended them, and apologized, and they rejected my apology, I would leave if possible (i.e., transport and weather issues allowing). "I accept your apology, but what you said still stings" is reason to go find someplace else to sit and read, or go for a walk, or offer to do the dishes, and give us both some space. I don't know what I'd do in a situation like that, where the apology has neither been accepted nor rejected, just sort of left lying on the floor.
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Eeep!

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2014, 05:23:26 PM »
Unless you were ridiculously patronizing in your tone, that seems like such an odd thing to get so upset about. I'm wondering if perhaps there was a bit of transference going on there. Meaning, it was the general principal you were discussing that made him agitated but instead of remaining agitated about that, he instead decide unload some of his distress onto an easier target - you.  I know sometimes I have done that - focused on the thing that is safer to be upset about then the bigger thing over which I have little control, if that makes sense.  Not a good response, I know. But I don't think all that uncommon.
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Kiwichick

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2014, 05:26:23 PM »
As we age, our perception of how things are said varies or changes. We interpret things totally differently and sometimes "hear" things in tone that aren't there. Try to be understanding of our elderly.

The Op is 34, her Dad is most likely in his 50s or 60s, nowhere near elderly.

Op I think Teenyweeny nailed it, I don't think your Dad was being childish and giving you the silent treatment, I think he was a bit stunned at what he thought you said and was trying to digest it and had nothing to say to you while he did that.

Unless you regularly attempt to manipulate your parents with tears I think they both will realise that you were genuinely upset that you upset your Dad.  You are being too hard on yourself.

Mikayla

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2014, 05:42:16 PM »
not all police carry guns' (I'm in the UK - only certain police do). I was explaining just in case he thought that had changed too. He thought I was suggesting he was stupid because I'd told him not all police carry guns, and he thought this was so obvious as to be insulting.

First, I don't think you did anything wrong.  There's really not a blueprint on best way to handle bursting into tears at someone else's house.

On the above, I feel bad for you, because of the "startle" factor.  Unless you have a history of explaining the obvious in a condescending tone (which I seriously doubt!) the problem you have now isn't just that it happened.  You can get past that quickly.  The bigger issue is whether this changes your interactions with him, based on fear of a repetition.  And you really can't predict that.  It sounds like both of you have enjoyed these discussions, and his actions may have changed the dynamics on them.
 
Also, I completely agree with Sootikin you're being too hard on yourself.  Your dad is the one who should be second guessing himself, not you.

jmarvellous

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2014, 06:01:55 PM »
With the update, this sounds like even more of the dad's problem than the OP's.

OP, your dad had a decidedly immature reaction to a decidedly minor slip-up on your part. I wouldn't worry about re-apologizing or treading much more lightly going forward, though you might want to watch it to see if you over-explain frequently.

Unless this was a build-up of several similar incidents that your dad finally broke down and reacted to, or he's been going through something at work (say, an overbearing boss) or having a tough time seeing you as a grown up who knows a lot about things he might not understand as well as you, I caution you against reading too much into this.

If this happens again, let him stew a little, then tell him exactly how he's making you feel. Ask why he'd think you thought he was stupid when you most definitely don't? Put it in his court to explain ... and to quit with the silence!

(I speak from some experience. My father HATED when his teenage-and-older children knew something he didn't, or 'taught' him something he already knew. He wanted to be the most knowledgeable and the big decision-maker. He wasn't. We were more educated (or at least we paid better attention in high school and beyond) and were capable of making our own political and personal decisions. The result? Bigger and more frequent fits of rage every year regarding our "disrespect" and "condescension." It doesn't sound like your dad is like mine at all!)

BestNanaEver

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2014, 06:08:08 PM »
As we age, our perception of how things are said varies or changes. We interpret things totally differently and sometimes "hear" things in tone that aren't there. Try to be understanding of our elderly.

The Op is 34, her Dad is most likely in his 50s or 60s, nowhere near elderly.

Now see, I actually did see that she is 34 when she posted it in her OP, but thanks for reinforcing it.  ;)

Perhaps elderly was not the correct choice of wording; however, the effects of aging can hit at any stage.

Pardon me for suggesting a behavior strange to the father should be anything other than UNconcerning.

veronaz

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Re: What to do when an apology is not accepted
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2014, 06:16:18 PM »
Quote
had upset him. I immediately apologised and said I had meant nothing at all by my comment, certainly not directed at him, and that I was really very sorry.

???

Sorry for what?  For having an opinion?  For expressing yourself?

OP, you didn't owe him an apology, so him not accepting it = he chose to sulk and stay mad.

I assume you didn't yell, curse, insult your father.  You simply expressed an opinion that differed from his.

While I understand the (his) need to be alone when upset (BTDT), YOU didn't upset him.  The way he acted upset YOU.

« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 06:36:10 PM by veronaz »