When someone tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t. Your intentions may have been in the right place, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook if someone you care about is hurting as a direct result of your actions. You don’t have to understand, although I believe that in some cases you know exactly what you did that caused pain.  If someone you supposedly love tells you that they are hurt and angry by your actions, it’s your responsibility to listen, acknowledge their pain and apologize. PERIOD.

I’m certainly not perfect. In fact, after the fire, I was truly a “hot mess”. I said and did many things that I regret. I’ve even been told about some crazy ass things I did and said right after the fire when I was literally in shock. I don’t remember some of these things, but I’ve repeatedly apologized to people despite this.  I had no choice in my alienation but to take an introspective approach to why my family abandoned me. I’ve spent loads of time in therapy painfully dissecting my response to the trauma I experienced at the hands of my abuser and also as a result of my family’s post-fire actions.

I get it, this was a traumatic experience for all of us. But I’m the one who watched her house burn. I’m the one who witnessed her ex-husband screaming and running past her engulfed in flames. I’m the one who watched her dog die after two failed attempts at saving him. I’m the one who lost both of her children because they were traumatized and manipulated to hate me. AND I STILL APOLOGIZED. But not one member of my family with the exception of one supportive brother (albeit limited) has said these simple words: I am sorry.

Instead, they are defensive, insincere and self-absorbed. And that’s not good enough. I need to hear the words I’ve said over and over to them. I need them to take responsibility for their actions, even if they were made with “good intentions”. I deserve this simple gesture. I don’t care if they’re afraid of my ‘rage”. It’s my rage that keeps me alive. They need to accept the broken, traumatized me for who and what I am. After all, they helped create broken me.

I won’t accept anything less than these 3 words: I AM SORRY.

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