rev_bri (rev_bri) wrote in complaint_desk,

Dear _______:

I apologized sincerely to you yesterday, but now just as an exercise, I'll try my hand at an apology like this.

I'm sorry I let the hurtful insult that you flung at me over the trivial matter of some spilled water make me feel as if I deserved an apology. I'm sorry that I then asked for said apology. I'm sorry I let your increasingly shrill and irrational goads bring me to meet you at the escalating emotional tone that you set. I'm sorry that I misunderstood the doctrine that you must be able treat me very poorly in front of our daughter without any similar response on my part. I'm also sorry that I forgot that your asking me to stop voicing my extreme displeasure at my treatment means I have to stop immediately, but that you can wander in and out of the room continuing to fight. I'll try to keep this doctrine of one-sidedness sacrosanct and never expect or ask for an apology the next time you feel like attacking me in an unfair fight.

I'm going to take this point-by-point and address your issues because your post here shows your fundamental misunderstanding of the situation as I see it. Moreover, I believe that in choosing to respond in this manner, you are persisting in the passive-aggressive actions that precipitated, sparked, escalated, and dragged out the fight of yesterday, July 17.

> I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings when I called you a Jackass.

This is a weak apology. First, it's delivered by words on a screen, not personally. To borrow a phrase, that is not acceptable; therefore, the apology is not accepted.

Moreover, you are apologizing only for the sentence that you insulted me with, in front of R****. You have not even typed an apology for starting a fight by calling me a Jackass (I note the capitalization with particular interest- apparently Jackass is a proper noun that in your mind refers to a specific person. That's a cute touch in a written, so-called apology).

Thirdly, you haven't apologized, or even acknowledged that your response to my evenly toned request for an apology was the first raising of voice and escalation in the fight. Given that you have weakly apologized, a day afterwards, for the casus belli, indicates that you know that you were in the wrong and I, therefore, would like an apology and an acknowledgment of responsibility for your part in the whole of the fight; you are not blameless at all- in fact, you engaged in some of the same behavior you characterize as "*COMPLETELY AND TOTATTLLY* inappropriate " [sic] to a greater degree than I.

Finally, an apology followed by a demand-making diatribe of this level is clearly not an apology at all, but rather just an opening- a loss leader- to draw me into reading another one-sided litany of wrongs I committed (from your perspective) that is bereft of any context.

> That being said, your attitude, words, and actions last night were *COMPLETELY AND TOTATTLY* inapropriate. Not only were they inapropriate, they were way out of proportion to what happened.

I can agree that the whole thing was way out of proportion to what happened. Let's review the facts. I was bringing some trash out of the bedroom and spilled a little bit of water on the floor and some splashed on R****. This was clean water from your cup. I moved towards the kitchen door where you were standing. I cannot fit through the door when you are standing there. You turn around, presumably to get some paper towels. I turn to go outside and smoke a cigarette. You say "You are such a jackass." I calmly say "that wasn't very nice, I'd like you to apologize." Then you begin the yelling. I'll reiterate that last point- you start yelling in response to a reasonable, evenly toned request for an apology for your insult. From that point, each escalation in the fight was done by you. Through this initial stage I remained constant throughout, asking only for an apology, which you obdurately refused. My constancy in asking for an apology was despite your escalating the name calling and the overall tone, creating a fight larger in scope and intensity than merited by an accidental water spill. However, once you demanded that I "get out," I decided that my apology would not be forthcoming (I had the irrational hope, not based on any past experience, that until this point that you might actually apologize) and chose to ask that you "get out" instead.

Early in the fight my responses were not proportional at all- you got more and more insulting, agitated, and nasty by far than I did. I let you get nastier and nastier while asking for the one, simple, and rightful thing I deserved- an apology. After you demanded that I get out, I did match your intensity. For matching you whit for whit, at that point, I am sorry. In fact, I am sorry for my whole part in the fight yesterday- I just don't see that you are taking any responsibility for it, while I also see that more of the responsibility for how it turned out lays squarely on you.

> You were out of control. The amount of anger, hatred and pure venum was unacceptable.

Au contraire, I was fully in control. As I have stated above, I was less venomous than you for the majority of the fight- this was intentional and fully in control. Then I just- very consciously- matched you one for one- this again was intentional and controlled. In fact, I believe I was more in control than you were throughout nearly the whole thing, but I'll take a full half of the blame for losing control and letting it spiral where it did, just to be charitable.

Reading this, it seems that you are very fond of making imperious determinations as to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Please tell me which of your words and actions of yesterday were acceptable and which were not. I clearly need more examples to thoroughly understand your cartography of the realm of acceptability. As it is, it seems to me from this apology that you are saying what's good for the goose is "NOT ACCEPTABLE" for the gander. As the final and ultimate arbiter of all that is and is not acceptable, maybe you can point out why it's alright for you but not for me.

I'll also offer a simple prescription to save you the metaphysical gymnastics you will need to justify yourself. Don't insult me, or if you truly need to in order to satisfy your own internal drives, apologize when requested instead of blowing up at me. Either you don't realize or, more likely, realize and want to claim some sort of upper hand, that this unsupported assertion of yours re: "anger, hatred and pure venum" [sic] is just as applicable to you- and you initiated it.

Don't you remember my saying "I just want an apology" and "I want you to apologize for insulting me" over and over (and increasingly louder, to match your tone) while you were spinning the whole fight into something larger than that? That is what was out of control- your enlarging of the issue.

> *IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE* to behave in that manner. PERIOD. It is even LESS acceptable to behave in that manner in front of R****.

I dealt with the first part of this acceptability question earlier. Let's look at what is appropriate in front of R****.

It was wrong of me to fight with you like that in front of her. I'm very sorry about that. We talked a little about it today.

It was just as wrong for you to have done the same thing. It was wrong for you to have started a fight by insulting me in front of her. The whole thing was wrong, and I'm sad and disappointed in myself for my part in it. However, unfortunately the feelings that I have towards myself for the situation cannot address the greater part of the fight. That falls in your lap.

> Not only did you frighten me, and hurt my feelings, you frightened R****. She simply can not understand what's going on. There is NEVER any circumstance for her to see that kind of behaviour.

You hurt my feelings also. Are you certain I alone was the one who frightened R****? You were doing the yelling and nastiness before and more than I was, and she was paying more attention to you than me. It was wrong of you to grab her and drag her into it. You were in the wrong, and you were using her as a shield and yelling at me from behind her. If you were really as concerned as you claim to be with your repetitive denunciations of my fighting behavior in front of her, you should have not said a word while holding her. That you continued to attack me while holding her is disgusting and reprehensible.

I frightened you? Like I said yesterday, you outweigh me by over one hundred pounds. You were acting just as volatile as I was. I should have been the one that was frightened. The part you mentioned yesterday was that "I was in your face" and that "I had my hands balled up in fists." I stood up and looked you face to face because you were standing over me yelling while I was sitting down. That is certainly not a good position to be in if you had attacked. I got up to equalize it a little more, to face you on the same ground. I am not going to take you screaming at me from a standing position while I'm at a disadvantage sitting down. You could have sat down and taken it down a notch just as easily, but to me you seemed determined to continue escalating, despite R****'s being in the room. Were my hands balled in fists? Probably- but at my sides. Hardly a threatening position- and not at all intentional. It is however an involuntary response when you are being attacked with the level of vitriol and cruelty you were using on me. I'm sorry if it frightened you, but it wasn't my intention or choice- it was symptomatic of the level to which the fight had been brought.

> I REPEATEDLY asked you to stop. To step back. To NOT let her see that behaviour, and you deliberatly keep going.

I seem to recall that I did stop, that I did step back when you asked, that I sat down on the couch and let slide both times you walked by and sniped at me to get the last word, not once, but twice.


> You need to find a better way to deal with your anger.

I thought a socially acceptable and well-mannered way to deal with anger resulting from an insult was to ask for an apology and then try to get over the hurt. Do you have any suggestions that might help me disabuse myself of this unacceptable notion? I know I responded badly to some of your attacks yesterday, I'm sorry. I just can't take this bit of advice seriously coming from you, after yesterday, after you started yelling and getting very nasty over some spilled water. I do need to find better ways of dealing with my anger, particularly since I can't now wash them away with alcohol, as I tended to do after you treated me this way in the past. I'd offer a bit of counter-advice though, which really carries throughout this whole thing: you need to spend more time looking at fixing your own faults and less time telling me better ways to deal with mine.

> If you don't love me anymore, and don't respect me anymore, and don't want us to be together any more, just say so. I'd rather just deal with it than continue on the way things are.

To me, this is you saying all of the above- that you don't love or respect me, and don't want to stay together. I never brought anything of the sort up. You however, told me to "get out" in response for my justifiably asking for an apology. Furthermore, you are trying to broaden and confuse the matter at hand by widening the issue to questions that aren't remotely germane to the discussion at hand. The discussion at hand is whether or not you needed to apologize to me for calling me a [J]ackass. Why even bring it to this point? This is a good example of how you escalate a simple, immediate question to a universal question, and it's an example of how you shift, widen, or increase the volume of a disagreement when you seem to be losing or are in the wrong. It's a shame if your ego or your stubbornness makes candidly acknowledging your mistakes and hurtful behavior and offering a simple sincere apology more difficult than trying to break up a relationship over something as trivial as spilled water.

If that's what you want, I can't do anything about it. Just don't try to pin that on me. I don't see how my asking for an apology is an indication that I have no respect for you.

> It's not good for either of us to continue on in a relationship that has no love or respect. It's not good for R****.

> As much as she needs as much love and support from her family, and both of her parents, it's actually detramental for her for things to continue in the manner they are now. So either we get our shit together and learn how to get along and behave in a responsible and mature manner around our daughter, or we split up. I just can't take this any more.

This is interesting, because this is the sole place in this laughable apology besides the half-hearted opener where you put any responsibility on anyone but me. At least you say "we." Usually apologies have a lot more of the "I" pronoun.

> You really frightened me last night. I will not tolerate that any more. Period.

I didn't threaten you, I didn't touch you, I didn't do anything to frighten you. If I was frightening, it was because I was so inflamed with anger at the way I was being treated. I was very measured with what I was asking for, and how I responded to your vengeful insults, and intentionally hurtful words. Remember, you chose to start this fight. If you can't tolerate how I respond to what you started, don't do that anymore. You brought it back to the same fight you said was because I was drinking too much. What's the excuse now? Why did you have to start, escalate, then shut me down in the same way? Oh right, because I spilled some water. If you don't like how angry I get when I am insulted, forcefully attacked, and threatened with the loss of you and my kid and told to leave my house, then don't do it. If you think I was being unreasonably angry, think about what you were threatening me with. Then think about why you did it.

> I don't like feeling that you don't love me or respect me. I don't like feeling that you don't want us to remain a family.

I'm sorry you feel that way, maybe calling me some more names and threatening to call the police might make you feel better about that. Especially since I was so nasty to you all weekend before you insulted me, having the temerity to take you out to dinner and to a party, then to hang out at my parents' all morning. But this part of this discussion really should be closed now, there's no quick resolution to this, and it's just a big dodge to avoid the more pertinent and instant issue, that of me being such a [J]ackass for spilling some water while cleaning up. Seriously, there is no reason to widen things to a huge fight when a simple rational discussion of whether or not I deserved an apology would have been the correct way to deal with it. Instead the mere mention that you might have something to apologize for seems to send you into paroxysms of hysteria and rage. And that is the last word on this part of this discussion; if you want to rationally discuss breaking up then let's do so in a discussion of its own later- reasonably and rationally. I won't let the present discussion be muddied or widened any further beyond the specifics that need to be discussed to resolve this one. Selah.

> The ball's in your court. What's going to happen next?

Actually, I'm still waiting for my sincere apology and your acceptance of responsibility for your part in this fight. I apologized meaningfully on Sunday for my part, and with some more elaboration on my part in this piece. After you accept that you are not blameless- rather, that you initiated and escalated the fight, and truly apologize to me as a person rather than through some other passive-aggressive dodge, then we can put it behind us. And then we can look at why there is a phenomenon that every small fight grows into a big all-encompassing fight instead of staying on the present details. But first you need to come to terms with your part of this, instead of just pointing at me.
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