Sorry Syndrome: Why Do We Apologize So Much?

Sorry Syndrome: Why Do We Apologize So Much?

Why do I feel the need to apologize so much?
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In my friend group, I am known for saying, "sorry" so much that I say it when someone bumps into me, when someone interrupts me when I'm talking, and at multiple other times when I should not feel the need to say sorry. For a while, it has been a joke between me and my friends, but I have been noticing it more and more recently and I wanted to really understand why I feel the need to apologize for basically existing.

The 'Sorry Syndrome' I'm talking about stems from a sense of insecurity, experts say. It is also said that women, more than men, will often apologize for things they do not need to or start a question with 'sorry' so they do not seem too demanding.

Now, I didn't realize I was doing this to myself by saying 'sorry' so much, but I want to understand more about why I feel the need to create conversation when there is none or just apologize for being in someone's way.

Low self-esteem can also be a big reason that people say 'sorry' so much. This makes sense to me because when I say 'sorry' in unnecessary situations I am usually avoiding eye contact and just trying to get out of a situation where I have made it awkward or someone else has. When I am trying to open a door and walk through and someone else walks through, preventing me from doing so, I say 'sorry'. I do this because even though I was just trying to walk through the door, I feel like I am in someone's way and feel the need to apologize for it.

Saying 'sorry' a lot can also be a tool to get people to like you, like how Dr.Samantha Boardman explains in her article, "Sorry Syndrome": Do You Apologize for the Rain?": "Superfluous apologies represent a powerful and easy-to-use tool for social influence. Even in the absence of culpability, individuals can increase trust and liking by saying ‘I’m sorry.’" Dr.Boardman also goes on to talk about ways that you could possibly change the bad habit of apologizing so much. She says, "instead of saying, “Sorry for rambling” you can say, “Thank you for listening.” Instead of saying “Sorry” when you move past someone on a train, you can say “Thank you for making room.”" This sounds like something I should try.

My roommate and I have taken to trying to replace 'sorry' with other words to get the submissive, powerless behavior out of our systems. We say 'Sookie' (Gilmore Girls character) or we simply just say 'I'm not sorry' in a way that doesn't seem mean.

This idea that saying sorry can make someone see you as submissive and powerless is really interesting and it has made me question every time I say the word now. I have to double check before I say it to make sure it is validated. When someone talks about not being able to talk to their parents about something important, not knowing what to write about for an essay for class, or not understanding something, I can apologize because I feel bad and I want to comfort them. But, when someone bumps into me, interrupts me while I'm talking, or does something that merits no sympathy from me, I will not say 'sorry'.

Anyone who does this all the time would agree that I may be hard but, like it is said in the article, Why do I say 'Sorry' all the time? Experts call it the 'Sorry Syndrome', by Monica Drake, "learn to accept yourself and the decisions you make without apologizing for it. And learn to accept the fact that it is impossible to make others happy all the time."

I really hope that all of this information can help people who are in a similar situation because I think we all could use a bit more self esteem, confidence, and assurance that we matter and we don't need to apologize for it. And if that didn't help, hopefully this gif of Joey from Friends will:





Cover Image Credit: unsplash.com

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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9:51 PM

A poem about struggling with anxiety, especially during a creative process like writing

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Roses are red,
But violets aren't blue
And in about twelve hours this poem is due.

So I ponder and think,
And hope and pray
That the words I need will come to stay.

But my mind says no,
Your writing sucks, start again
Or better yet, don't even bother to begin.

It tells me to give up,
That my words aren't "right"
Stop now, your verse is weak-they'll hate it on sight.

Instead of stopping, my pen keeps going
And the ink flows on
For it knows I have something worth showing,
So girl, write on.

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