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The Apologizing Parent
Advice from Kenneth G. Alexander

Q. I am trying to deal with a parent who feels the need to apologize for everything whether it is his fault or not.

"It's raining" I'm sorry. I don't feel well. "I'm sorry" and always with this "please don't be mad at me attitude that makes me crazy.

I have always been a very loving and patient with my parents (now just my Dad, Mom died last year) so I don't know where this "fear" comes from. He's making me nuts! Any suggestions?

A. As you presented the situation of the "apologizing parent", I was wondering when this behavior began.

You report your Mom died last year, which I'm sure, was difficult for all family members, particularly Dad. When a spouse (or anyone close to us) dies, there is always a feeling of loneliness. This also may be experienced as a feeling of abandonment.

Now that Mom is gone, Dad may fear that you (or someone else close to him) may also leave. His apologizing may be his way to help "keep" you from leaving him also.

I suggest you reassure him (as best as you can) that you have no current plans to "leave".

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