It’s Unnecessary for Anyone to Apologize for a Chronic Disease

The bad habit of over-apologizing can be a sign of self-esteem issues

Cazandra Campos-MacDonald avatar

by Cazandra Campos-MacDonald |

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Apologies aren’t easy. Sometimes when hurtful words are shared, an apology is in order. Likewise, a mistake that affects another person is also a time when an apology is needed. But why do people apologize when something is out of their control?

My youngest son, Caeleb, is 16 and lives with severe hemophilia and an inhibitor. This school year is challenging for him, as hemophilic arthropathy is causing him severe pain. Caeleb is missing school because of it, which is becoming a problem. But there’s something else bothersome going on.

When a decision is made to keep Caeleb home from school, the first thing he does is apologize. “Mom, I’m so sorry. I can’t take the pain,” he says. I immediately tell him that no apology is necessary. Pain is out of his control.

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The concept of over-apologizing is one Caeleb sees in me. I’m the kind of person who wants to please everyone. I’m a perfectionist, holding myself to extremely high expectations. I also consider what other people think of me and my actions. These are a few of the reasons people over-apologize.

Over-apologizing can signal low self-esteem or cause it. My son’s mobility issues and chronic pain are tied to his confidence. I can only imagine what a teenager with mobility issues must go through. Indeed, Caeleb must feel ostracized despite having support from his teachers, friends, and family. As a result, he wants to do more and cannot.

Chronic illness should not define people and their worth. But unfortunately, limitations and bad seasons of an illness cause individuals to feel out of control. Living with my own chronic pain helps me understand the struggle, but I’m a 54-year-old woman, not a 16-year-old with hopes and dreams.

I cannot blame my son for his over-apologizing. I need to be a better role model for his behavior to change. Instead of immediately apologizing, I plan to consider who or what is truly at fault. An apology won’t leave my mouth if something’s out of my control. I realize that taking the blame for things that aren’t my responsibility causes me to feel less confident.

A lack of confidence in people with a chronic illness can be detrimental to their health.

People don’t choose to live with an illness; it just happens. Navigating the journey of a condition is a learning experience. No apologies necessary.

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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