Excessive apologizing dilutes your apologies when they are most required. Over-apologizing might also make you appear less assured. It may appear that you are sorry for everything—for your behaviors and feelings, for taking up space, for just existing. That is not what apologizing means.
You should apologize only for those things for which you are responsible. Everything else is a waste of time. If you don't know whether you are responsible, then ask yourself these questions: Did I cause this problem? Can I solve it by myself? Should I try? If you can answer "yes" to these questions, then you should apologize.
Here are some examples of appropriate apologies: "I'm sorry if I offended you. I didn't mean to. I will not do it again." "I'm sorry if I came across as being rude. I wasn't trying to be." "I'm sorry if I bothered you. I won't do it again." "I'm sorry if I upset you. That was not my intention." "I'm sorry if I distracted you. I wasn't aware of that happening."
These examples show that you are apologizing for the right reasons and with the right words. However, there is no need to repeat the word "sorry" in each sentence. Instead, focus on the meaning of the apology.
Over-apologizing is when you say "I'm sorry" when you don't have to. This might be when you haven't done anything wrong or when you are accepting responsibility for someone else's error or an issue that you did not cause or control. Over-apologizing can make you come off as weak or unable to handle yourself properly. It is important to know your limits and not overextend yourself.
The other type of apology is called under-apologizing. With under-apologizing, you fail to apologize even though you know you should. For example, if another person hits you and you feel like apologizing, but only offer a brief sentence in response, this is under-apologizing. Under-apologizers often think they're being polite by saying little more than "I'm sorry." However, they're not being honest with themselves or the other person. They need to admit what they did wrong so they can fix it.
Finally, there is no apology from someone who doesn't understand they have a problem. They may say they are sorry, but their words don't match up with their actions. For example, if a friend tells you they are sorry for something you told them not to do, but then continues to do it, this would be an example of an apology that isn't genuine.
Over-apologizing is a typical issue for those who have codependent tendencies. It's a sign of our poor self-esteem, fear of disagreement, and laser-like concentration on the wants and feelings of others. Over-apologizers often go to great lengths to make others happy, which can lead to chronic lateness, excessive volunteering, and other behaviors that hurt themselves as well as others.
The root cause of over-apologizing is lack of self-confidence. We feel so insecure about ourselves that we need others' approval to feel valid. If someone tells us we've done something wrong, we believe them because we're afraid they will reject us if we don't. That's why over-apologizers always want to make sure others are happy with their behavior.
Over-apologizing can be difficult to break because it's such a habit formed over time. It can also be hard to recognize since it usually doesn't show up until much later in life. However, once you realize you're over-apologizing, you can take steps to stop this behavior today.
First, you need to understand what causes over-apologizing. It's your low self-esteem: the belief that you aren't good enough as you are now or that you'll never get someone else's approval.
Dr. Juliana Breines, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Rhode Island, noted that over-apologizing can result from being too harsh on ourselves or beating ourselves up over things. OCD, in addition to anxiety, is a mental health problem that can cause people to over-apologize. If you're seeing this behavior in a friend or family member, it may be a sign that they have OCD.
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) feel like they need to apologize even for minor mistakes or accidents that others might consider normal behaviors. They may also feel bad if other people think they're crazy for thinking something bad will happen. In fact, some people with OCD believe that if they don't say they're sorry soon enough or many times, then terrible things will happen.
OCD isn't just about saying you're sorry; it also involves worrying about whether you've done something wrong. For example, if you hear a noise and you think it's the doorbell, but it's not, would you feel bad if you didn't go to answer it? Most people would because they know it's the wrong door. People with OCD feel the same way; they think that if they don't respond quickly enough or completely enough, something terrible will happen.
The most effective treatment for OCD is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).