Over-apologizing, on the other hand, can stem from a myriad of formative childhood experiences. For some, over-apologizing is a way to avoid conflict, especially if they grew up in a household where conflict sparked screaming matches, or led to violence. It can also stem from a fear of abandonment.
But repetitive, nearly constant apologies for every little thing—or, what Psychologist Paige Carambio, PsyD calls, “apologizing for existing”—can actually be an after-effect of trauma, a self-preservation technique survivors may think they still need to utilize in order to protect themselves.
Over-apologizing can also be a symptom of codependency, low self-esteem, and a tendency to avoid conflict even if it costs us repressing our true feelings and thoughts.
Excessive apologizing could be tied to mental health conditions like: depression. social anxiety. generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Many people persistently apologize. Although not always the case, for some people, this can be a symptom of OCD. While OCD can be challenging to manage at times, it's possible. Many people who have OCD are able to manage their condition effectively.
Also, experiencing a severely traumatic childhood, can sometimes, lead people to believe that they are the root cause of all the terrible things happening around them, even after they grow up, causing them to over-apologize.
When abusers apologize with the goal of gaining ultimate control of their victim, gaslighting is often the method they use. By apologizing, they place doubt in their victims' minds. “They apologized to me, so they can't be as terrible as I remember them being.”
Over-apologizing is a common symptom amongst individuals with low self-esteem, fear of conflict and a fear of what others think. This goes hand in hand with poor boundaries, perhaps accepting blame for things we didn't do or couldn't control.
However, this habit of over-apologizing can be a sign of anxiety. Anxiety craves the approval of others, and hates the presence of tension, so apologizing for even the most minor things can be a sign of an anxious mind.
Are you constantly saying “sorry” in your conversations with others? For example, do you find yourself saying things like, “Gosh, I'm so sorry about the bad weather we're having!” or opening up your sentences with, “I'm sorry to bother you, but can I ask you a question?”
A fourth, less discussed, response to trauma is called fawning, or people-pleasing. The fawn response is a coping mechanism in which individuals develop people-pleasing behaviors to avoid conflict, pacify their abusers, and create a sense of safety.
Apologies, when warranted, are a sign of empathy in the workplace. But over-apologizing — or excessively saying sorry when you don't need to — is a bad habit that can undermine your authority, and more importantly, it hurts your self-esteem.
Narcissists are comfortable with lying.
When a narcissist apologizes, they're not admitting they were at fault or did something wrong. Narcissists lie all the time, and an apology is just another lie they use to get back any attention or admiration they may have lost.
Results across samples and measures showed that, on average, adults who reported experiencing a traumatic event in childhood had elevated empathy levels compared to adults who did not experience a traumatic event. Further, the severity of the trauma correlated positively with various components of empathy.
Sorry as a Tool of Manipulation
False apologies are tools of manipulation. An example of this is when a seemingly contrite person says they're sorry for being unfaithful to their partner. Their concern isn't for the relationship. It's about how a possible breakup will impact them financially.
All kinds of trauma create stress reactions. People often say that their first feeling is relief to be alive after a traumatic event. This may be followed by stress, fear and anger. Trauma may also lead people to find they are unable to stop thinking about what happened.
2) Review emails, texts and other written correspondence for times you've unnecessarily apologized. 3) When you speak during the day, notice how many times you say it. Reflect on whether an apology was necessary or helpful in these situations. 4) Brainstorm other words that could be used to reduce the Sorry Syndrome.
How many times a day do you use the word "sorry"? Statistics on Americans are hard to find, but the BBC reports British people say it at least eight times a day, and some say it as often as 20 times a day.
"When using empathy in your practice, one of the first things that people want to do is apologize for everything. There's a difference between apologizing and being empathetic. When you're empathetic, if an incident occurs the first response is to say that you're sorry — to relate to your client.
You are guilty of downplaying others' emotions.
When a person is hurt by something you've said or done, your usual response is that they're overreacting and to stop making things up. This may make a person believe their emotions are not valid or excessive. If this sounds like you, you are definitely gaslighting.
It can be construed as admitting fault, which can be used against you later in a personal injury case. According to the law, making an explicit apology can be interpreted as an admission of guilt, which means you might miss out on the compensation you deserve from the injuries and losses you sustained in the accident.
Chronic lying and deception is one of the most common types of passive-aggressive gaslighting, whereby the gaslighter creates a false narrative about or against the gaslightee that has little proof or validity.
Suffering from chronic or ongoing depression. Practicing avoidance of people, places, or things that may be related to the traumatic event; this also can include an avoidance of unpleasant emotions. Flashbacks, nightmares, and body memories regarding the traumatic event.
Other manifestations of childhood trauma in adulthood include difficulties with social interaction, multiple health problems, low self-esteem and a lack of direction. Adults with unresolved childhood trauma are more prone to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicide and self-harm.