The answer is no. I will not apologize first. I didn’t do anything completely wrong in particular but I will say, it took years of what is essentially betrayal and times I had to pick up my own pieces and put myself back together. It’s been years, and I mean years, that I have been going through similar experiences, and I am always the one who apologizes first. It suddenly hit me, why me first?
There have been different occasions when I was put in a situation where I felt a sort of injustice, where someone just didn’t understand where I was coming from. I had two options… either I am the first one to reach out and apologize, or we just never speak again. Or we just kind of continue with our lives and go on.
The first time I realized that my close friends and family thought I was crazy even though I was in the right… Let me just say, this should have been the point or the sign that I see or say, “Yea no, not happening. I am right. This is wrong.” Instead, I let them say what they wanted to me. It was when I saw signs that one of my cousins was acting inappropriately with my at the time boyfriend. When I brought it up to them, they said I was overreacting. Fast forward 3 months on my birthday, I saw pictures of my boyfriend’s dick on said cousin’s phone. I guess I wasn’t overreacting after all.
Rewind a few years before this incident, when I knew I was going to be alone and I needed to look out for myself. It was the heartbreaking time that I had to move out of my parent’s home. It was such a dark and heartbreaking time. My family stopped talking to me because I left. Not just my mom and dad but my cousins who I have continuously told I was not going to live at home because it is an unhealthy environment. My cousins stopped talking to me because of how much it hurt my parents to see me go. What my cousins never saw was the nights I woke up with tears in my eyes because I was having night terrors and suffering from PTSD and my parents yelling at me for not being grateful to be alive. They don’t know how bad my PTSD got.
Fast forward to the night before my brother’s wedding. When my cousins saw me yelling at my mom. For what felt like hours, I had my cousin yelling at me telling me how much I have a problem and I am the problem. How could I be talking to my mom like that? They never lived with my mom. They don’t know what it’s like. For hours of yelling led me to think I shouldn’t be alive anymore. Her older sister came to me and said, “She was depressed and could kick herself out of it, so can you. This is tough love.” When I started saying how I was depressed and the way I felt depression I was told by her, “We aren’t sitting here comparing people’s depressions.” We aren’t? Ok, then don’t tell me she was able to kick herself out of it and so should I. There are different reasons and kinds of depression. The only thing that stopped those thoughts were thinking how my brother didn’t deserve sad news on his happy special day. This cousin is going to be a counselor/psychologist. How could she not see how bad it is that she almost made someone end their life? Life is an amazing and precious thing that we should cherish… fast forward to the present… these cousins have now lived with my mother and can’t stand living with her. Now they talk to her almost worse than me sometimes. She never apologized for how she made me feel.
The most recent thing that happened, during brunch when family dilemma came up. I sat quietly and listened to my cousin’s thoughts on my family situation. When it was my turn to vent, the conversation went south. She didn’t want to hear or care for my thoughts and I shut down. I was scolded for shutting down and not being reasonable. How should I be reasonable when I am the one living in my family situation and they are only the ones sitting on the outside looking in? Here’s the thing about my cousin, she is married with a kid on the way. She lives in a very loving home. She even mentions how her new home is better than the old and that’s why she barely goes to her own parents’ house. Here I am, I can’t move from this house. It is just me and my dad, with the occasional mom coming once a week to create hell before leaving.
So tell me, why should I be the one to first reach out? Why should I be the one to apologize? Because it is the right thing to do? But is it really? We can sit here and say I am crazy and my feelings have no meaning in your life. But I am not going to apologize first when I wasn’t at fault. I am very jealous of people with great family and friends and significant others. But I love myself enough to start being selfish. I believe that if you want to be in my life you will put yourself there. There is no “a phone works both ways.” If you want them in your life, you will put them there. I don’t want people in my life unless they want to be there.
I am going to be unapologetically me. I will not apologize because you feel I was wrong for looking out for myself first.