Grab a plate and throw it on the ground.
– Okay, done
Did it break?
Now say sorry to it.
Did it go back together the way it was before?
Do you understand?
This is the best explanation of surviving abuse that I have ever seen. Just thinking about my own experiences, (I cannot confidently speak of others), this has given me remarkable clarity. Yes you are sorry for what I suffered, thank you for that, but just because you are sorry, again thank you for that, does not mean that you actually understand.
People who have survived abuse are broken. You saying you are sorry, no matter how heartfelt it is, does not help me unless you understand that my brokenness effects me in ways I may not even recognize and in ways that I live my life and make decisions. Again this is my own experience and because I am a priest and before that was a seminarian I have to deal with many, many diverse individuals who are also priests. You saying sorry gets negated when you are being sarcastic, when you are trying to pick a fight with me or when you make judgments based on my own brokenness before I was strong enough to seek help and stand on my own. I have come across a lot of priests who are bullies. Dealing with many parishioners and priests I have come across many, too many, people who think that they can yell at me. DON’T DO IT! I do not respond well to people yelling at me. And I have not yet mastered not yelling back. If I like and respect you it is easier to resist yelling but I do not respond well to attacks…that is part of my brokenness. (See how that is connected?) “Sorry”, does not put the shattered plate back together and sorry does not put my brokenness back together. Understanding, real and true understanding, of the aftermath of my abuse, my brokenness, is the real and true ‘sorry’ that I, and people who have suffered abuse, need.