I want an Apology

Date: April 20th, 2023

Growing up, my parents never apologized after wronging my sibling and I. Instead of apologizing, they began acting nice. For instance, in primary school, chickenpox was going around, and I knew I had it. My mother insisted that I did not have it because I received a vaccine for chicken pox when I was an infant. So I pleaded with her to please have someone verify if I was sick; she got frustrated and took that frustration out on me by yelling. However, she caved in and took me to a doctor, where I was diagnosed with chicken pox. My mother never apologized for not believing in me or taking her frustrations out on me. However, she treated me kinder than usual while I was sick. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Caribbean parents rarely apologize. There was even a meme a while back, "Caribbean mothers never apologize, they just start acting nicely to you." While there is humor in this, there is also a deep-rooted pain.

Whether or not you are from the Caribbean, if this was your lived experience, it is safe to say your parents may be emotionally immature-but that's another article for another day.

What happens to adult children of parents who do not apologize? Do you think your relationship with your parent will improve if they apologize and take accountability?

"The desire to have closure or resolution in any given situation is human nature. We like to have things come full circle and we want explanations for things that we don't understand. We can find it very difficult to move forward if we don't have the type of closure we want." - Alana Palm.

Having a relationship with an emotionally immature parent can feel endlessly disappointing. Regarding accountability, it is very disorienting for a parent not to apologize. Growing up with a parent who never apologized can make you doubt or blame yourself. You may have tried to connect with your parents, but you are left feeling invisible or unheard. Your sadness, annoyance, anger (towards self or parents), or even rage at your parents' insensitivity is not irrational. Feeling dismissed or unseen creates an emotional separation. - Lindsay C. Gibson, Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents.

I want to acknowledge that moving forward without an apology is painful, but it is possible. Your life should not end or become stagnant because your parents cannot see your perspective. Waiting on accountability to heal or move forward is giving the other person the power in your healing journey.

I have a tip on how to move forward without an apology:

"Adults re-parenting themself means recognizing what you have lost or what you were not given as a child and being given those things now. You cannot go back in time and fix how you were wronged. You may have corrective therapeutic and transformative experiences that allow you to heal and no longer live from the place of the wounded child or wounds of neglect... Healing does not require your parents' apology or transformation; it does not require them to find you or nourish you. It would be nice, but you do not have to wait for them, you can choose yourself." -Dr. Thema Bryant, Homecoming.

You can start re-parenting yourself by:

  • Acknowledge your pain and who caused it, then release the blame
  • Hold space for your emotions
  • Validate your feelings and experiences
  • Cultivate safe spaces for joy to be released
  • Protect your space and advocate for yourself


What does the pain of your younger self want you to know?

Consider how you will actively and intentionally work on healing the wounds.