Welcome to the Healthy Families forums!

This is a space to ask questions, share experiences and support each other. Find a relevant thread or start your own!

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community and have a read of the community rules. Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

  • share on Facebook
  • share on Twitter
  • Print page

Topic: Anxiety and frequent apologizes

11 posts, 0 answered
  1. CrazyGecko89
    CrazyGecko89 avatar
    37 posts
    2 January 2020

    Hi everyone. For about four to five months I've been helping a friend that got out of a relationship with a narcissist so understandably anxiety and depression are in play. While things have slowly improved I've noticed she's started apologizing far more than usual and over the smallest things even stuff that she's not involved in. I have mentioned this to her which was followed by more apologizes and brought on what looked like a mild anxiety attack so the conversation ended quickly.

    Sometimes I get the feeling the apologizes are something she used a lot during her past relationship but I think she's worried I'll either get fed up with her or I'll walk off. For now I have no idea as to what to do.

  2. geoff
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    13383 posts
    2 January 2020 in reply to CrazyGecko89

    Hello CrazGecko, and a warm welcome to the forums.

    I tend to agree with you that these apologies could be when she was in her previous relationship, a safety guide that seems to protect her from any ramifications or harm that she may have endured, and that must have been very frightening for her.

    There maybe different reasons why she is doing this, although I'm not a qualified psych. but can relate to this happening, and it could be for sympathy, to keep the peace but too much can be a lacking in confidence.

    Other words you could teach her to say other than what a counsellor could get her to understand what she is saying are, is to try and explain what she means.

    Other encouraging, and I say this as trying to help her, is not to be upset by what happens between two other people, it's between them, the list could go on, but a professional counsellor will know the correct technique.

    Hope to hear back from you.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  3. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2728 posts
    2 January 2020 in reply to CrazyGecko89

    Hi CrazyGecko89,

    Thanks for your post and it's heartwarming to see how much you care about your friend with what she is going through. Frequent apologies are so common after toxic relationships; I know often it can feel like constantly apologising is the only way to 'keep the peace'. I really agree with everything Geoff has said in his post.

    I think the best thing that you can do right now is to keep doing what you are doing. As someone who has gone through the same experience as your friend, what helped me (other than therapy), was learning that over time - I did not need to apologise. Just by being her friend, you can provide reassurance, safety and stability - things that she didn't have with her last relationship. Things will take time, but it will get easier.

    I hope this is helpful to you; and I hope like Geoff suggested, she will consider going to therapy too.

    rt

    1 person found this helpful
  4. CrazyGecko89
    CrazyGecko89 avatar
    37 posts
    2 January 2020 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Currently she is taking medication for her anxiety and depression but it did get to one point she had to go hospital as she had strong feelings of self harm which ment pulling an all nighter so she had someone to talk just incase. Not sure if she's doing therapy or planning on it at the moment.

    I have asked her a couple of times what the apologizes are for and her response was because she felt like a bad friend and she felt like a burden sometimes as plans to hang out would get cancelled but if we do hang out she doesn't talk much or messages would be unread and forgotten because she doesn't have the energy to respond.

    But I do agree that with her past relationship being toxic the apologizes would be used to keep the peace but I have let her know that she doesn't need to apologize so much but currently it brings on more of them.

  5. Mil
    Mil avatar
    57 posts
    2 January 2020 in reply to CrazyGecko89

    Hi CrazyGecko89,

    I hope it's ok to chime in. I think it's awesome that you're supporting your friend through this hard time and that you're seeking advice on how to make her more comfortable.

    I haven't been in an abusive relationship, but I do tend to over-apologise for lots of reasons, but it does boil down to a lack of confidence I guess. If I can make a suggestion as to how to handle the sorrys that come after you explain she doesn't need to apologise: maybe at first try gentle comforting messages when she says "sorry", like "it's perfectly fine" or "all good" or "you're alright". That's my own particular case, but I find that easier to take in than "no need to apologise" or something like that, which also prompts me to apologise for apologising. I realise it's silly, but it's really like a reflex. It comes out before I can even think of it. A lot of the times I don't even know what I'm apologising for... So when the other person points it out, I feel embarassed and anxious that they might get annoyed. It helps if they don't ignore it but just reassure me. You can still have the "you know you don't need to apologise" conversation regularly though, when it feels like a good time. Oh, also it helps if my friends point it out with a gentle joke (laughing helps dissipate the anxiety) but I don't know if your friend is OK with that.

    I don't do it so much with trusted friends though, it's mostly with people I don't know very well or when I'm already having a bad bout of anxiety. For her, I'd imagine she's lost trust in almost everything (herself included) so she will probably need some time to overcome this need to apologise. Thank you for being there for her and providing her with this gentle caring space!

    Cheers,

    Mil

  6. CrazyGecko89
    CrazyGecko89 avatar
    37 posts
    2 January 2020 in reply to Mil

    Hi Mil. You're very welcome to chip in.

    From what I remember before she went into the relationship she was confident and the apologizes where never a issue. After the relationship her self confidence in herself is completely shot. I have used "all good" and "it's perfectly fine" but depending on what she's apologizing for it can sometimes make things a bit worse and humor can be hit n miss sometimes.

    During times when she's feeling down I try to take her mind off it by talking about how my day went or if I'm out doing photography I'll send her some of the photos to brighten her day.

  7. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2728 posts
    3 January 2020 in reply to CrazyGecko89

    Hi CrazyGecko89,

    It sounds like you are doing all that you can; I can see how supportive you are being for your friend and giving her constant reassurance.

    While it may seem repetitive, it is important to continue the reassurances of "no worries". Sometimes it has to feel like a broken record before it can sink in. I know my friend would do the same to me and after a long time it just got less frequent, and I realised it was because she was learning that it was very much no worries! Words can be helpful but it's the actions that matter - knowing and seeing that you're not fussed or bothered by it.

    If this keeps going though, especially the feelings of self harm - I hope that you can push the idea of having a therapist. Hospitals are very much immediate care, where as a therapist can help with the underlying thoughts and feelings that's happening too.

    rt

  8. CrazyGecko89
    CrazyGecko89 avatar
    37 posts
    3 January 2020 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    It's good to know that I'm doing the right things even if it does feel like I'm being a broken record at times but it's something that will just take time.

    We can both relate on the matter to a point as I left a toxic relationship about four years ago and that took about a year and half for the anxiety and depression to drop to a tolerable level so if she picks up that I'm not having a good day the roles swap.

    As for the self harm the thoughts have eased off a bit so that's a relief but I try not to bring the topic up too much to avoid giving her a anxiety attack or to shut down. She does know that if the urge flares up again that she can either get in contact over the phone or either I go over there to make sure she's not alone or she comes here so again I keep an eye out.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Mil
    Mil avatar
    57 posts
    6 January 2020 in reply to CrazyGecko89

    Hey CrazyGecko89,

    It sounds like you're doing really well and being very supportive! It's also great that your friend is here to help you too. I think that would be quite empowering to see that she can also do the same for you.

    It might be helpful to have a look at psychologists/mental health centers/hospitals around in case urgent help is needed, and to have a couple of mental health hotlines in your and her phone? I have done this for myself and my partner and found it quite reassuring.

    Wishing the best to you both!

    Mil

  10. CrazyGecko89
    CrazyGecko89 avatar
    37 posts
    15 January 2020 in reply to Mil

    Thank you for the support Mil.

    There's a hospital about 20min drive from us but not sure about any mental health centers so I'll need to look that one up. I do have the hotline number on my phone but not sure if she does.

    Sorry for the late response as things have been rather busy.

  11. Mil
    Mil avatar
    57 posts
    20 January 2020 in reply to CrazyGecko89
    No worries at all! Hope you and your friend are doing well :)

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up