my dad had a penchant for getting upset about something and then giving us all the silent treatment. we lovingly referred to it as: “dad’s 3 day mad.”
as a kid, you never really knew what would trigger it or when it was coming, which made it all the more unsettling. now that i’m a grown person, my guess is, it was simply out of pure frustration at being a parent/business owner/adult in general and having no idea how to express it. see, this was long before people were talking about their feelings and visiting life coaches.
i suppose the good news is, it would only last 3 days. hence its name. he came out of it as quickly as he got into it and that was that. no explanation, no justification, no apology.
i’m pretty sure i never heard him say sorry. not to us, my mom, anyone in town, customers in the store, a friend. i mean, i can’t profess that he didn’t. kids didn’t exist in the adult world of their parents back then, so it’s possible he uttered that humble word from time to time, but it’s also safe to say, it would have been a very rare occasion if it happened.
when you grow up in a house that doesn’t foster that kind of humility and acceptance for actions, it’s all you know, so it doesn’t occur to you to be any different.
i learned equality and empathy and kindness – which i’m eternally grateful for – but i was never really taught to say sorry. maybe that’s on me. or maybe things like that are a product of your environment. either way, that little 5 letter word has caused me some strife in my life.
when my ex husband and i would argue, it was a tug-of-war to see who would give. he wasn’t especially bad at saying sorry but he liked to dig up old issues long after they’d passed. combine that with my inability to apologize for anything, and well, for lack of a better word… eeks.
i’m pretty sure there were lots of times when i knew i was wrong, but saying the word wasn’t the problem. i just didn’t want to. i’m not even really sure why, but if i had to guess, i’d say that admitting being wrong felt a little like admitting defeat. and no one likes a quitter.
of course now i think it’s ridiculous. having two kids and a failed marriage can really put things into perspective. did i soften? did i see the error of my ways? or was it just the realization that being right was not that important? whatever it was, i was able to recognize that i was holding that little word hostage and it was really kinda’ ugly.
trust me, there are times when i would love to go on a 3 day mad. the silence alone would be a mini-vacation!
we all say and do things we aren’t proud of. sometimes we don’t even know why, but can’t decipher how to get out of it. the thing is, sometimes people just need to hear that you understand. that you realize you made them feel bad, and you know your words hurt them, even if that wasn’t the intention.
stepping out of the melodrama and taking a breather can shed a little light. i finally understand its importance and why such a small word can have such a big impact. if a lot of time has passed or you think it no longer has relevance; i can tell you, that it very likely does. if you’re thinking about it, then that’s all that matters.
besides, sending a little love into the world has never been a bad thing.
in the words of the great justin bieber… is it too late now to say sorry?
nope. it’s not.