Join Your People!

Take the lead!
Support the cause!

Arab parents and atonement: My mom and dad will never apologize to me

Arab parents and atonement: My mom and dad will never apologize to me

Join the discussion

We’d like to hear from everyone! By joining our Readers' community, you can access this feature. By joining our Readers, you join a community of like-minded people, thirsty to discuss shared (or not!) interests and aspirations.

Let’s discuss!

Opinion Freedom of Expression

Tuesday 31 January 202305:45 pm
إقرأ باللغة العربية:

أمي وأبي أيضاً لم يعتذرا إليّ


"Sorry" is one word that may change the course of a heated argument, or the course of a hostile conversation. This word has the ability to close the doors of hostility before they can be opened in the first place. It can quench the flames of anger burning in our souls, but do you remember how many times in your life you heard that word and the other party really meant it?

We have come to use the word “sorry” for other purposes than its originally intended one, which is to express our regret and remorse for an act we have done that has harmed others. Some people, especially in the Arab world, now use it as a mockery when confronted with a heinous act they committed, and when this person is cornered, he may try to end the conversation sarcastically by saying, “Okay, okay, I'm sorry mister” in order to end the conversation, but the person does not really mean it.

As for the word "sorry", which expresses genuine remorse, it is too heavy for many

Others sometimes use that word in its English sense, which is to be "sorry" for someone's condition and sympathize with them, even though they are not responsible in any way for what had happened to them, as it is used in America in times of grief, in the phrase, "I am sorry for you."

As for the word "sorry", which expresses genuine remorse, it is heavy on the lips of many, and throughout all of my life experiences, I have not yet received a real apology from someone who hurt me. The biggest problem from my point of view is that I was not waiting for this apology in the first place. The person stopping their act of hurting me was enough for me to be grateful to them, while I was unaware of its serious psychological impact on me.

Why wasn't I waiting for an apology? Because I haven't been used to it since I was a child. That's the answer I've recently realized from my interactions with my 10-year-old niece. Over the course of our interactions since she began speaking, I automatically find myself apologizing to her if I did something wrong to her.

I’d apologize with all my heart and make sure that she accepts this apology. I would always see her warm and playful reactions, and it would make the situation easier for me, and with her childish nature she would try to make it easier for me so that I wouldn't feel guilty, and so that we would forget what I was apologizing for.

I imagine if my mom or dad had apologized to me even once, just one time! How could my thinking have changed? How would things be different, and how would my worthiness have been different in all my abusive relationships — whether in friendship or love — in the relationships that I never heard a single apology from the other party, even though I apologized when I did wrong.

The answer is because their parents also did not apologize to them, so they did not get used to apologizing to others. But this also is no excuse to justify their inflexibility, because my father also didn’t apologize to me but I chose a different path for my life. I chose to apologize to a child, while no grown-ups had ever apologized to me. The outcome now is that she sincerely apologizes to her grandmother, father, mother, and me when she realizes that she has done something wrong. That little girl, just because she heard an apology in a simple situation and glimpsed real remorse in my tone and in the way I delivered the word "sorry", has changed in her ability to admit her mistakes.

I imagine if my mom or dad had apologized to me even once, just one time! How could my thinking have changed?

We feel like our parents are gods because they themselves do. Parents do not apologize and do not make mistakes.. That's how we were raised. If they do make a mistake, this mistake must never be singled out, as if that would be some form of blasphemy. The child then grows up and becomes a father or mother who sees him/herself as an unerring god in front of his/her children. In the end, we are all human beings and we make mistakes, and we have no way to no escape from the weight of guilt other than apologize to those we have wronged with an apology and pure intentions.

Regarding the generations that have grown up without anyone apologizing for them, it is too late for most of them to encourage their parents to apologize to them, but it's not too late for them to break that "curse" and sacrifice by apologizing to their children. It's like preserving the environment now to save it, not for us, but for future generations.

If you apologize to your children, you will still not hear the apology you need from your parents, but you will come out in life as a person who is able to take responsibility for your mistakes, a person who doesn’t see an apology as weakness. Your children will only see the greatest person in the universe — from their point of view as a child — apologizing to them. Thus, when your son apologizes to you one day, it will not be because he is afraid of you or is forced to, but rather out of remorse. As a matter of course, this son (or daughter) will be able to apologize to others and to their parents as well.

During my journey of therapy and healing, the doctor told me that many things would be much less burdensome on me if my mother apologized for them, especially since my father has passed away and it’s too late for an apology.

When I confronted my mother, she actually did apologize, but she apologized that she "gave birth to me". All this because she thinks I had asked for something that belittles her; a simple apology from her to me. At the time, she waved her hand dismissively and said, “I'm sorry, missy!”



* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Raseef22


Raseef22 is a not for profit entity. Our focus is on quality journalism. Every contribution to the NasRaseef membership goes directly towards journalism production. We stand independent, not accepting corporate sponsorships, sponsored content or political funding.

Support our mission to keep Raseef22 available to all readers by clicking here!

WhatsApp Channel WhatsApp Channel

A platform for the brave, bold and courageous

We in the Arab world have long avoided addressing a large number of taboos. This has left our hope for change teetering on the brink of despair.

At Raseef22, we fearlessly scrutinize certain delicate concepts and highlight the journeys of the courageous individuals who have dared to challenge the corrupt status-quos.

We seek to provide a platform where brave and honest voices are heard, undeterred by efforts to silence or censor them.

Website by WhiteBeard