I’m Sorry, But I’ve Got Terminal Apologitis

It's like "I'm sorry" is burned into my flesh and blood...

Doc: “Lorna, you’ve got the worst case of Apologitis I’ve ever seen.”

Me: “I’m sorry, Doc. It must be awful for you to break news like that to someone you hardly know.”

Doc: “I’m already over it.”

Me: “Oh, good. That makes me feel better. I’m sorry to bother you with this, but what’s ‘Apologitis’ and what’s my prognosis?”

Doc: “It’s the very rare compulsion to apologize for everything and anything, even things out of your control…”

Me (hanging my head): “I’m sorry.”

Doc (rolling his eyes): “Yes, well, there you go. I believe your case is so severe that there’s no cure for you. You can put your bra back on now.”

Me: “Oh, sorry, I probably should have done that earlier.”

Doc: “No problem.”

The above was fictional. But my compulsion to apologize is both legendary and disturbing.

My incurable case of Apologitis first came to my attention about a year ago when I started dating a man who loves me without reservation. Our first tiff went something like this:

Just try to find an Internet picture of a woman eating a banana that isn't X-rated. I'm sorry, but this was the best I could do and keep it clean!

P: I thought there were some bananas?

Me: No, I’m sorry, I ate the last one today.

P: Oh, I really wanted a banana.

Me (getting teary eyed): I’m SO sorry. I should have gone to the store…

P: Hey, are you getting upset? Over bananas? I’ll go to the store if I want bananas. Stop crying!

Me (sniffling): I’m sorry, I don’t mean to cry. It’s just that I don’t want to upset you. I’m sorry you’re upset.

P: I’m not upset. Let’s go out to eat. Would you like that?

Me: Sure. I’m really sorry about the banana thing…

P asks me not to apologize. I reflexively apologize and say “I’m sorry” for apologizing. I’m hopeless. Sorry, but it’s true.

Recent examples:

  • My husband left me, he said, because he just couldn’t live with me anymore. I apologized for being so difficult.

    I wasn't sure what made me so "difficult," so I apologized and tried to change. It didn't work.

  • Kamikaze Kat Owner was indignant when I asked for proof that “Grumpy” had been vaccinated against rabies and other common cat maladies like Jungle Fever. He told me he had been, but I wanted to see the papers. He said, “Are you calling me a liar?” I responded, “No! I’m sorry. I wasn’t calling you a liar, I just want to be sure.” He produced the proof.

    Jeez, it wasn't like I was Dr. Evil asking for 1 million dollars or I'd blow up the world...

  • While at a grocery store, a frenzied female shopper t-boned my cart as I emerged from one of the aisles. She glared at me in silence. While there are no traffic signals nor rules of the road for shopping carts, I’m pretty sure the person who runs into your cart at warp speed is at fault. I tend to saunter around the store and am not known for darting out in front of unsuspecting shoppers. The glaring continued. Finally I said, “I’m sorry.” She huffed, “Well you should be!” She extracted her cart from mine to the sound of metal crunching, and veered off, laying down some rubber (I may be exaggerating a bit–I’m sorry.)

    She was fast. I never saw her coming, but she had plenty of time to see me.

  • I apologize to bugs that splat on my windshield while driving.

    I'm sorry my Yaris ended your brief bug life. I'm really sorry my windshield wipers smeared your body across my field of vision.

  • When I trip over Scrappy because he’s underfoot, I tell him “I’m sorry.”

    I bet he never said "I'm sorry" to the ottoman.

  • If I was doing to have a tombstone it would say, “Here lies Lorna, she’s SO sorry she died.”

If I’ve overdone the “I’m sorries,” I really am very sorry. It’s a disease.

~ by Lorna's Voice on August 10, 2011.

45 Responses to “I’m Sorry, But I’ve Got Terminal Apologitis”

  1. […] I’m sorry in blood”–I’m the first to admit that I have chronic, even terminal, apologitis, but I never used blood to write an “I’m sorry” letter. I prefer a nice #2 […]

  2. I never thought about it that way. I am a bit OCD about other things. I could be about apologizing as well… I should take a closer look at that. Thanks!

  3. Could be. I just feel like if I take the blame, then others won’t get upset. I’ve always been a peace keeper and anger scares me. Thanks for stopping in and commenting. You insights are helpful.

  4. OCD can a have a whole variety of symptoms other than cleanliness, orderliness, or security obsessions (like handwashing, sorting, and checking to see if you locked the door, etc.). Emotional/relational and spiritual ones, like compulsive apologizing or confessing are very common as well, just not as well-known.

  5. You may have OCD. I do, and my “apologitis” was really bad before I started working on it. Saying “I’m sorry” can be a compulsion that you do to reassure yourself that no one is angry with you.

  6. I’m glad that you found it now! I checkout out your site, too and joined. Making new blogging buddies is great!

    And the spider is in a good place. I’m sure if it! 🙂

  7. I’m sorry I didn’t find your site sooner.
    I also just apologized to the spider that I squished 10 minutes ago. I’m sorry I had to be reminded to do that.

  8. […] I would begin an acceptance speech with an apology, but since I have Terminal Apologitis, I’m sorry, I can’t help it. Perhaps I should […]

  9. […] Sorry in Blood/I’m Sorry on Hands. Either you people share a serious case of Terminal Apologitis or you’re looking for people who do. If it’s both, please don’t hook […]

  10. Cute, you apologized for asking! Yes, I’ve tried to stop saying “I’m sorry” so much, but it’s like blinking for me–involuntary. I’m more aware, but still working on moderating the behavior. I laugh at myself when I say it for silly things that have nothing to do with me, and that’s a good start. 🙂

  11. I’ve known people with this affliction too. I wonder if since you have become aware of it, you have been able to keep yourself from apologizing so much. (I’m sorry if this question is too personal…)

  12. Yeah, but if it’s genetic, it skipped around our family and missed a few of us. 😉

  13. This is so hilarious..maybe there is a genetic piece to this…I am constantly inapprorpriately apologizing. Especially when other people run into me or get in my personal space in some way…but even though the word “sorry” is coming out of my mouth I’m actually thinking..”idiot, they should have been sorry.”

  14. You are so right. This is definitely an afflication prone to women, and probably women of a certain age…

  15. I make a living of over-thinking. It’s a symptom of spending way too much time with Scrappy, who looks at me with those eyes…

  16. I’m sorry you’re feeling badly. That was never my intention. What have I done?! 😉

  17. I’m so sorry that you felt compelled to write this blog. And I’m sorry that your blog made me laugh when I should be feeling sorry for your predicament. 😉

  18. Ha Ha Ha Ha … now, you can understand why my blog is called inside the mind of Isadora … it’s the many minds of Isadora. Ooopppssss…. I’m sorry – am I overthinking this???? LOLOL

  19. You are so funny! I think most women apologize for things more than men ever do.

  20. I was worried about that. I’m sorry, Al.

  21. Yes, it’s a vocal tick of mine as well. “I’m sorry, but would you mind removing your humping dog from my leg?”

  22. Apologitis seems to flare up in my life from time to time as well. It almost seems to be a vocal tick where I just automatically start sentences with “I’m sorry”, regardless of rarely being sorry.

  23. Lorna, of all your posts, this is absolutely the sorriest!

  24. Okay, now I’m just laughing so hard that I give up! One thing I’m not sorry about–I found you!

  25. I’m sorry that your sorry cause I’m sorry all the time, too. My sorry is cause I thought I was the only one who was sorry cause no one says sorry to me. I’m sure your sorry I wrote this and feeling a little blue cuase I wrote it. Sorry I made you feel that way better just say sorry and just stop.
    I’m sorry,

  26. I’m no expert. My ex-husband didn’t have apoligitis, so this was not an issue. I think the old addage, “opposites attract” is very helpful here. Two people who are prone to apologizing all the time would be stuck in a “sorry war.” Now that would be just pathetic. I’m sorry if this is a lame response, but I’m out on a limb here…

  27. You are welcome! (I really wanted to say “I’m sorry” for your close encounter with a hernia). But I’ll just rehearse keeping my sorry mouth shut!

  28. I am happy to have helped yet another fellow sufferer, but am sorry that so may suffer along with me! Can you imagine a support group for people like us? “Sorry, I should have provided better snacks.” “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you…” It would be pathetic!

  29. Oh no I have this affliction but it wasn’t until today, having read your very funny blog, that I realise there is a name for my affliction and confirmation of my diagnosis. Off now to diagnose ALL the other women in the office – will spend the evening phoning friends, apologising for the delay in getting round to telling them that they also, sadly have this condition!

  30. LMAO a kajillion times over… oh boy are we soul sisters… I say I’m sorry when other people bump into ME… hahaha… must stop, really must… you nearly gave me a hernia, laughing so hard I went into hot sweats… I’m sorry… I digress… oh wait. You are sorry. Okay, we are sorry. OMG you are so funny, woman. Never apologize again. For anything. Just say ” you are welcome.” Thanking you kindly for another great roar 🙂

  31. I have a question though, can two people live under the same roof with Terminal Apologitis? I mean, who gets the last apology without the other feeling the need for apologizing in turn? It may never end!

    Oh, and I apologize for being so annoying with my questions – Sorry.

  32. I’ve learned to live with it. Others around me have adapted quite well, go figure!

  33. And my condolences to you, too. We’re a sorry lot, aren’t we? But we’re rather easy to get along with…

  34. If I were a betting person, I’d bet against me ever losing my humility. It’s my default setting!

  35. I come from a part of the state not considered part of NYC, so we have some gentle country folk up here. Yes, I would rather be the uncomfortable one in the room rather than have anyone else feel uncomfortable, so I apologize even when it’s clearly not my fault. And, guilty as charged, I will take responsibility when no one else will. I’m working on separating myself from the opinions of others. It’s slow going for a middle child who needed the love (and recognition) of others more than she needed self-love. Sorry, but that’s the truth!

  36. I’m sorry that you’re sorry. Ha ha, I saw your “sorry” and raised you one (poker parlance).

  37. I’m not sorry you did either!

  38. Thanks and I’m sorry you have a case of apologitis. It runs rampant among women–something about the XX chromosomal structure…

  39. OMG I love this post! I HAVE THIS DISEASE! I’m so sorry but I thought I was alone in this world! I am so very thrilled to have a partner in crime. My husband is forever telling me, it’s okay, no sorries required… to which you naturally apologize again. It’s insanity. I really do this as well. (I nearly typed I do do this as well… that would have been weird). Great post Lorna!!

  40. Fun post! I’m not sorry I took the time to read it.

  41. Lorna, this was great. I chuckled throughout. I’m sorry.

  42. You’re a softie New Yorker? Hmmm…never met one before. 🙂

    Is it that you’re sorry for the person or you feel responsible for some wrong you may have done? It can’t always be your fault. Are you one of those people who find it hard to say no? What disease can we call that? Noitis?

  43. Think of how the world would be if only 50% of us appologized for everything. I wonder if your apologetic nature is because of your humility? Don’t lose your humility, I believe that it is your stongest asset.

  44. I am sorry to say that I understand (and suffer) from your malady, myself. My condolences

  45. So very sorry to hear you have this affliction ma’am.

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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