Is there ever a point at which saying you’re sorry is too late?
I’ve been working through this question this week as I wrote a series of posts on a forum I used to frequent all the time. The forum was for a roleplaying game that I played, quite honestly, much too much and with a certain viciousness and uncaring that trampled all over the feelings of the other players. I was NOT a nice person when I played that game, and to the extent that I play still, I am still an unkind person. The game brings out the worst in me. Our server was offline for over a year and I truly thought that I had moved on from the characters and the world.
The host brought the server back online last month, giving me an opportunity to look at my old characters, sort through all their gear, and try to remember their stories. As I did that, I began to re-evaluate my “attachments” to the game itself, the server, and the people I used to play with.
It’s been pretty awful.
I’ll be honest– I’ve hated the process and I’ve hated finding out how much negativity and unhappiness is still associated with this game. All of the people I still dislike . . that’s alarming enough . . . but also the amount of misery that I create in my own family when I play– that’s worse. And I have to be honest with myself. I still have a great desire to play the game, because I’ve always found it to be fun. But the drama it creates, the tension it causes, and the person I become when I’m playing all suck. They fly right in the face of my fun.
So I posted on the server forum, telling some of the people who I’d offended that I was sorry. Probably one or two of those people, out of fifty or so, will even read the post. I know, logically, that it’s too little, too late. But I needed to say it, even so. Not because I expect any of them to forgive me, but because I need to forgive myself for all those rotten things I did.
And, of course, one of my former friends posted a scathing remark right below it, trying to denigrate my apology.
It made me angry. Angry because we DID do something wrong, whether he wants to admit it or not. Angry because it revealed to me all of the people I hadn’t apologized to, and the fact that I really didn’t want to apologize to them because I still dislike them so much. Angry because I am trying to clean my slate . . . and there’s someone out there that would rather smear me with a whole other set of flaws and offenses.
I have realized, though, that I can’t make anyone forgive me for any of the things I’ve done that hurt or offended them. And once I’ve said my apologies and tried to make restitution to them, I don’t have any other responsibilities towards them except to treat them fairly, the same as I’d treat anyone else.
The big step is deciding if I uninstall the game again or not.
I don’t know about that one yet. I have a strong feeling that there’s still something I need to accomplish, even if it’s simply saying goodbye to the rest of the people in a nicer and more final way. I know that the game isn’t good for me or my family. And, very definitely, it’s not good for my health and my soul. So, yes, it will have to go away, one way or another. But it probably won’t be with a dramatic post on the forum, saying GOOD BYE and flouncing out with my hurt feelings. That doesn’t accomplish anything at all.
Is it too late for me to say I’m sorry to the people I still loathe? I have to figure out, first, if I actually harmed them or not. If I did, then I will apologize. Even if I didn’t, I need to let go of all those feelings. What good is it doing me to hate some guy from across the country, whom I’ve never met, never will meet, and have nothing else in common with besides a decade-old video game?
It ain’t doin’ me no good at all.
The only good is to clean house and eliminate all those negative feelings that are holding me down.
It’s not too late.