to send an apologetic letter after several years

(29 Posts)
wontletmesignin Sun 17-Nov-13 23:59:09

I am deeply sorry about a situation from years ago. When i was too young and stupid to realise the hurt i was causing by my selfish actions.

Am i being selfish again, by saying sorry after so long?
I just swept it under the carpet at the time, and carried on as normal. Which kills me now to think of how bad that actually is.

I hate it when my dm does that! Yet i have done the same thing.

Wibu to send the letter would it come across as though i was doing it to ease my guilt? Or would it come across how i want it to - that i truly am deeply sorry!?

BumgrapesofWrath Mon 18-Nov-13 00:01:08

It's hard to say without knowing what you're apologising for.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 18-Nov-13 00:01:47

Depends on what you did.

Cause it cause them to relive the problem or do you think it will help them to recover from what you did.

thehorridestmumintheworld Mon 18-Nov-13 00:01:54

Bit hard to say. I think you might need to find a trusted friend and tell them what happened exactly.

lisad123everybodydancenow Mon 18-Nov-13 00:02:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AgentZigzag Mon 18-Nov-13 00:04:34

I'm not saying this to be nosy, but it really depends on what it was you did.

I did a lot of shit when I was younger, very self absorbed and couldn't see the wood for the trees, but I know if I was to go digging about in some of it I'd be doing it for me rather than for them (I think).

Are you finding it difficult to come to terms with how you were?

You've changed now though haven't you? That's the main thing, if the situation came up where you could apologise without making a big thing of it (like if you bumped into them in the street and they were friendly) that would be different to springing it on them out of the blue when they'd got it sorted in their own heads.

But as I said, it depends on what you did, taking advantage of someone to stay at theirs for a few weeks is going to be different to punching someone out.

EBearhug Mon 18-Nov-13 00:08:40

If you know the person you wronged still thinks about it, then it might be okay. If they've moved on and got over it, then stirring things up might not be helpful to them, and in such a situation, their needs trump yours. However, as everyone else says, it's difficult to know without more details.

sleepyhead Mon 18-Nov-13 00:08:49

Would you be doing it to make the other person feel better or to make yourself feel better?

Would you apology add anything to the person's life, or would it rake up bad memories?

What would you be expecting the recipient of your apology to do with the information? Would you be looking for some sort of reconciliation? Acknowledgement of it? Absolution? Forgiveness?

Think long and hard. If it's just to ease your conscience then I would encourage you to accept your guilty feelings, forgive yourself and not bother the person/people you hurt.

IrisWildthyme Mon 18-Nov-13 00:11:51

I think it's OK to write and send such a letter.

Obviously I don't know the situation, but I know that I've been hurt by other people's foolish immature selfish decisions myself many years ago - and that whilst I don't hold a grudge, sometimes it does still hurt if I'm reminded, and I wonder whether, now the person has grown up a bit more and has greater understanding, they maybe comprehend what happened a bit better - and in such a case a letter which said "I get it now - I'm sorry I was so hurtful when I was young and stupid" would genuinely help. I also know that I've been foolish immature and selfish myself in my time, and generally making a sincere apology and (usually) being properly forgiven for it (rather than just having it swept under the carpet and ignored) made me feel better about it all too.

wontletmesignin Mon 18-Nov-13 00:14:16

It wouldnt cause any hard feelings. Im not finding it difficult to come to terms with how i behaved, and i have changed. I wasnt actually that way, i was just going through a very hard time and took it out on the wrong person.

It has been swept under the carpet and we have continued getting along. I feel they deserve to know that it wasnt their fault and that i am really sorry.

I have wanted to say sorry for years. Just never found the timing, or the words. But there is no timing.

Maybe it would be best in person?
I took their kindness for granted and then basically shit on them when i was having a hard time.

wontletmesignin Mon 18-Nov-13 00:19:24

bear that is where it gets hard.
I dont know if they do still think about it. So im unsure whether id be bringing something up for nothing.
They may have actually understood why i acted the way i did, and dont hold anything to it.

But then ive got that niggling thing iris says.
What if this person wonders if im old enough now to see and accept that the way i acted was wrong.

Its a toughie!

lottiegarbanzo Mon 18-Nov-13 00:20:03

What recompense would you be offering?

If you're saying 'What i did was awful' and they think 'I already know that, and?' then you've achieved nothing but annoy them.

If you're offering a heart-felt apology for what you did and how it affected them, that's better. Some sort of peace offering would be better again.

Though, after so much time you probably can't compensate at all, so any offer might seem like an attempt to assuage your guilt, rather than help them. So I suppose sincere apology is best and they can take or leave it without pressure or consequence.

MoveYourArmsLikeHenry Mon 18-Nov-13 00:20:38

I personally think it would be a nice thing to do.

sparklysilversequins Mon 18-Nov-13 00:22:15

I did this and the person I apologised to sent me a pontificating letter back (when his behaviour hasn't been that great either) making me wish I hadn't bothered.

AgentZigzag Mon 18-Nov-13 00:24:19

Although it's not the case in every situation, there are times when sweeping stuff under the carpet causes less damage than raking over old wounds.

I didn't used to think that, but if you're still seeing this person then they must have sorted it in their head?

Tenacity Mon 18-Nov-13 00:32:08

Life is too short not to do the right thing.

If you are genuinely sorry, do it.

agendabender Mon 18-Nov-13 00:35:06

I was recently offered a letter of apology/explanation from an ex, which he sent to a mutual friend who was supposed to forward it to me. The friend checked with me first, and I said I'd think about it, but I kept forgetting, so I came to the conclusion I just didn't care and asked the friend to chuck it out. I thought it was pretty self-important to think I might be interested after 8 years! The difference is that you are still in contact with this person. Maybe write it down, and say how mortified you are, and that you don't have to discuss it beyond the letter if they concur? Be prepared for it to stir up some rage though!

IAlwaysThought Mon 18-Nov-13 00:48:49

If you do apologise make sure its a proper apology. Don't blame the fact that you were going through a hard time or whatever. I'd suggest keeping it short and simple.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 18-Nov-13 07:14:22

If you're still friends it's easier isn't it, because you can write your letter, then say 'you remember when x happened? I've been thinking about it recently and, if you're interested, there's something I'd like to say but I understand if it's all water under the bridge to you'.

LaTrucha Mon 18-Nov-13 07:23:10

A while ago someone apologised to me for something they did ten years before. I was glad at the time, but it soon became clear it was purely a question of them clearing their conscience rather than changing their attitude. They still behaved like the same kind of twat. Now I can't stand them! So, I would say it depends why you want to.

charleylarlie Mon 18-Nov-13 10:34:16

I can't see any reason why you shouldn't do this, if it is coming from a good place. Most people are fairly decent and appreciate when a person is trying to do the right thing.

At least it will give you closure on the situation and you never know - if may provide more comfort and closure for the other person than you could ever imagine.

I know of a couple of people in my past that I would love to hear from in such a manner and hope that one day they will be as thoughtful as you.

I've also had experience of people being positive when I've apologised for my past behaviour and it made me feel so much better (and I got a lovely renewed and much cherished friendship back).

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 18-Nov-13 10:42:02

Ok I wouldn't send a letter. I would ask them out to lunch and apologise face to face.

intitgrand Mon 18-Nov-13 10:50:54

Hmm 'm not so sure,I think this is all about you .Are you doing this for *you to make you feel better.How will they feel about it being raked up again? Old wounds reopened, embarrassed, put under pressure to forgive?

intitgrand Mon 18-Nov-13 10:51:24

cock up on the bolding front!

wontletmesignin Mon 18-Nov-13 10:55:36

Thank you all. Its so difficult. If only i hadnt left it and ignored it. But i didnt see how bad my actions were at time, which i kick myself for!

I have wrote a letter. Sending it though is a different matter all together lol.

There is nothing i hope to gain through this, other than wanting to give them my apology.

I think i will leave the letter where it is for a while, and try and do it in person.
I am going to try and not pressure myself and just allow it to come out in due time. If need be, and i cant do it in person. Then i have the letter as a back up.

Thank you all for sharing your experiences and giving me great advice from every different angle :-) thanks

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now