I HAVE ADHD PODCAST - Episode #248

January 30, 2024

Stop Saying Sorry

On the latest podcast episode, I had the absolute honor of talking with my business and life coach, Breian Elliott, about the topic of saying sorry.

We’re digging DEEP into why we feel the need to apologize so much when we should be saying sorry, and why it’s detrimental to constantly be in sorry mode.

Spoiler alert: When you’re apologizing and haven’t done anything wrong, you’re actually putting the other person in an uncomfortable position.

Brien’s breaking down the 6 different types of “sorry” we use most often, including the “negative self-image sorry” where we apologize because we’re seeking reassurance.

If you find yourself apologizing for every little thing, this episode will be a game-changer. I know I learned a lot recording it.



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Kristen Carder 0:05
Welcome to the I have ADHD podcast, where it’s all about education, encouragement and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carter and I have ADHD. Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor and challenges of adulting relationships working and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain, unlock your potential and move from point A to point B. Hey, what’s up, this is Kristen Carter and you are listening to the I have ADHD podcast. I am medicated. I am caffeinated. I am regulated even though I am running late today. And I am ready to roll. It is so good to be with you here on this podcast today. It is snowing in Pennsylvania, I left late to come to work. And the roads were horrible. And so I was late for this interview. And you know what, sometimes you just leave late when you should have left a whole lot earlier. And that’s where we’re at today. Luckily, I have a very empathetic and kind human that I’m interviewing on the other end here. And it is my personal coach Bree and Elliot Brienne has been a life source for me for the last two, maybe three years, she started out as exclusively as like a cash flow bookkeeping coach, and then I loved her so much. I was like, Can you please be my personal coach and she’s been coaching me on business. She’s helped me transition in so many phases of my business, but also my personal life. I can’t say enough about how much support she’s provided for me. And so today we’re going to talk about saying, Sorry, why do we say sorry? When should we say sorry? When is it appropriate? When is it not? And actually, how is it like, sometimes detrimental to us to always be in sorry, mode, what I love about Brianne will so many things, but also she’s Canadian, and so she’s gonna say sorry,

Breian Elliott 2:07
I am I’m going to say you will hear the story come out strong today, everyone,

Kristen Carder 2:12
you’re gonna hear it real thing. And I love it so much, you’re gonna hear the difference in the American and Canadian way of saying sorry. And I love that. I love that because this podcast is for everyone. So Bran, thank you for being here. Welcome to the show. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Breian Elliott 2:29
Well, like you said, I am a life coach. I’m a business and life coach. And I also work as a fractional CFO or cash flow advising coach. And that’s some of the work we started up with together. So I do love numbers. And I do love seeing and helping people kind of beef up their CEO energy or CFO energy and kind of make decisions for their companies and their business. And I absolutely love what I do as a coach. It’s incredible. When I’m not coaching, I am a mother of six. So I am in crazy mayhem, I guess all the time. And married to a wonderful supportive partner that helps with all that craziness, we get to you know, go through that together. I like be active I like being outdoors, hiking, being in the mountains, doing CrossFit, whatever can keep me busy, I definitely enjoy doing. I currently live in Montana. And I’ve lived in America now for probably 16 years. But I was born and raised in Canada. And so you will hear my story and other portions of that accent come through. But I kind of call myself an American because the Canadian American. But yeah, I’m so excited to be here today. And to be talking about this topic. It’s something that was just been more recently introduced to me through my brother actually. And I’ve had a month or so now to kind of think on the topic and kind of play with this a little bit this concept. So I hope it’ll be really helpful to your listeners and be something that it’s good influence for them.

Kristen Carder 3:53
Yeah, absolutely. When you were telling you the story about your brother in law and like how it was impacting you, immediately, my the words that came out of my mouth were you need to come on the podcast and share this because saying sorry, constantly and essentially apologizing for existing as a human is something that I know most ADHD errs are going to relate to and it’s something that I have been really working on in my own life is like standing in my own authority, even when I’m late, even when I do show up in my humanity, not necessarily always apologizing. And so when and how did this become something that you were thinking about? What’s the story behind it for you?

Breian Elliott 4:39
Yeah, well, my oldest brother is we call him like the philosopher of our family. He’s constantly thinking of things and coming up with ideas and calling us and be like, What do you think about this? And so he my sister actually has a podcast and so he called her and said, I have some an idea you have to talk about on your podcast and she’s like, Okay, what’s he got today, you know, but he said, You know, it’s people need to stop saying sorry. And so he just basically explained to her that my sister in law got had a cancer diagnosis a few years ago, and pretty aggressive cancer. And so during all of her chemo, and all of her radiation and all of this, she was, you know, obviously quite ill and sick and couldn’t take care of her normal, you know, duties around the house, helping with things around the house and taking care of herself. She even needed a lot of care. And so as she’s, you know, at home, and he’s helping and taking care and having to deal with, you know, the bulk of the work, she started to just be like, I’m so sorry that you have to do this for me. And I’m so sorry that you have to take care of that laundry, and I’m so sorry, you have to help me with this thing. And he started to notice that he was starting to get angry. Every time she’d say it, she started to start get resentful and angry. And he hated. He didn’t like that. Like he was like, why am I getting so angry? And so one day when she said, Sorry, he went back to the kitchen and thought, Why am I so angry? What is it she’s really trying to say to me? And when he really thought about it, he realized what she’s really trying to say is thank you. Right? Like, yes, she feels she feels bad, right in quotations, so to speak, that I’m having to do this. But really, it’s not like she chose if she didn’t choose, hey, I want to have cancer and make it really negatively impact our lives. You know, this is just something that’s happened. She didn’t choose it. And so really what she’s trying to say, or could you say is thank you. And so he went back to her and said, Listen, don’t say sorry, anymore. You can say thank you when I’m doing anything, because you’re not making me do these things. I am choosing to do them. Right. Even if they are extra work, just say thank you. And let’s just leave it at that. And so, you know, they started to do that. And she would still say sorry, sometimes and he’d be like, Nope, we’re saying thank you. And he’d reminder. And he said he couldn’t believe how different he felt with it how much he wasn’t angry anymore. He felt like yeah, I’m, she’s grateful for the help. And that, yeah, I’m doing this thing and isn’t that good. And it changed his relationship with the story and their relationship together as they progressed working through this illness. So he took it one step further, he runs a siding company and an exteriors company for homes. And he said, what he noticed is when clients would call and they were angry, because something wasn’t right or needed to be corrected. The first thing he usually would say, as I’m so sorry, yeah. But he said instead, what he started to say is thank you so much for calling and bringing this to my attention. That’s the first thing he would say. And he said he couldn’t believe the shift in how him and the clients could work together. After that they were way more patient with the process. They were way more willing to work with him and to get the things fixed. Instead of I’m sorry, being that like first response. So as you know, as he shares this story on my sister’s podcast, and has talked to us about it, you know, I start to think about this in my own life. And start to think about man, how many times have I said I’m sorry, when that wasn’t really the warranted response?

Kristen Carder 7:46
Yeah. Yeah. I’m blown away by that. Because what’s so fascinating and I’m kind of doing like a self intake. what’s so fascinating is when you are apologizing for it, let’s let’s go back to like your sister in law’s cancer and him, your brother taking care of her. When you are apologizing for something that is not actually a moral failing, you didn’t cross a line, you haven’t done anything wrong, to put the other person in a position to have to, like, take care of you. Additionally, no, no, it’s okay. I’m fine. Don’t worry. It’s almost like this additional burden. And so like he’s already carrying the burden, this extra burden of caring for her and doing things that he wouldn’t normally do that she would literally prefer to do herself, right, she would so much prefer to be taking care of herself, but she’s unable to. So he’s already carrying a much larger burden. And then her apologizing puts him in a position to take care of her even more. And it’s okay, I’m okay. You’re fine. You’re gonna and and I have been in that position where people apologize for things that are not actually wrongdoings, but I can tell they just want me to take care of them. Right. And I’m not saying I think the people that I’m referring to are actually using it as a manipulation tactic. And I do not think that was the case for your sister in law at all. But I think it can be used as a manipulation tactic. I’m sorry, I’m such a terrible fill in the blank. And then you’re asked to say no, no, you’re not. You’re not I love you. You’re doing great. I’m sorry, this was such a bad fill in the blank. And you know, it puts you in this really uncomfortable position of having to take care of the other person. And that can get tiresome. Yeah,

Breian Elliott 9:46
it does get tiresome, and that’s exactly it is. Often we’re doing this because we have and we will discuss this in a bit too. We have this either negative self image of ourselves or this self pity almost that’s coming through or we just don’t feel good and when we say sorry if the The other person will reassure us guess then it helps us feel like, okay, well now How bad do I have to feel based on how they reassure us? Right? So it’s still seeking this external validation or external ruler of how bad do I really have to feel? Because if you say, I’m just so sorry, and they’re like, Yeah, you know, it’s a real hassle and they walk off, then you really feel terrible, right? But it when you say sorry, and it’s not exactly warranted. And this is something, you know, definitely we’ll discuss at the end, too, is, you’ll notice that no one really feels better. Like when my sister in law is saying to her husband, right, like, I’m so sorry. And listen, I did the same thing. I had two knee surgeries and a broken wrist within six months, the amount, the amount of stories that came out of my mouth to My poor husband, during that time, right? But like, I’m sitting there being like, Oh, I’m so sorry. And I don’t feel better, even after I say it. And, and he’s been like, No, it’s okay. It’s okay. And he’s probably not feeling better. Right? Versus like, thank you so much for doing that for thank you so much for putting the kids to bed tonight. Well, I’m stuck in agony with this broken wrist, right? Like, and then you can decide, but you both go away feeling better, or at peace, usually, when it’s used in an appropriate way. Yeah,

Kristen Carder 11:15
I just need to say you might think that I am a heartless, heartless person for laughing when she said she had two knee surgeries and a broken wrist.

Breian Elliott 11:24
And I but it’s laughable. I live with me through all lived

Kristen Carder 11:28
through that. And it was just one thing after another and it did become comical. And I hope that you know how much I felt so terrible for you. But also, the moment that she showed up to our zoom call with the broken like her hand, her whole arm was in the thing. And I was like why? It just became I am feeling the urge to apologize to all the listeners, I promise I have empathy. And I promise that I adore this woman who’s sitting in front of me, but it really was

Breian Elliott 12:00
laughable. It was laughable. So no apologies needed. We definitely I mean, I know she got to the call and I just love. Like, here we go, let’s go, this is it. Try to talk about yourself and let me coach you with my big huge arm.

Kristen Carder 12:15
What we do, so you’ve come up with six different types of saris that we humans will often interact with, can you go through those for us? Like what are the different types of ways that we use the word? Sorry, or I’m sorry? Yeah,

Breian Elliott 12:32
sure. Forbes says like, you know, based on your upbringing, the automatic response when we do something wrong is to apologize with the word sorry. So it says unfortunately, well, this is instinctual, which I think sorry, is so instinctual for so many of us, but isn’t always the right action. And it can affect your self esteem. Actually, there’s studies that show it’ll affect your self esteem if you say it too much. And I think for people with ADHD, so this is I think, very valid for your, you know, audience for sure is that it’s even more of an issue because you get lots of you’re impacting me negatively feedback. Yeah, right. And you’ve been prone to saying, Sorry, even when it’s not really warranted. So here’s the kind of six ways that I thought about, like, what are the ways we constantly kind of say, sorry, that feel warranted and may not be? So the first one is, it’s the cultural one. So as we mentioned, I’m Canadian. Okay. So in Canada, we say sorry, more than Americans do. It’s a cultural thing. In fact, there are studies that show that Brits and I would say Canadians and Brits are pretty similar on this. They say like for every 10 American stories, a Brit would say 16 stories, that would be more how. So there’s actually the cultural story, which is just how your culture uses that word. So in Canada, if I was at the grocery store, and someone bumped into me, I would say sorry, and step out of the way, even though, right, I had nothing to do with it. I didn’t bump into them, but I would say sorry, and step out of the way. So there’s the cultural Sorry. Okay, so that’s just going to be something that happens and that we all use. Then there’s the negative self image. Sorry, we kind of touched on that. So sometimes when we’re apologizing, it’s because our own thoughts about ourself, I’m a hassle, the kind of the self pity thoughts, right? I’m a hassle, I get things wrong, I annoy people. So what we’re really saying is we say sorry, but we’re really just reflecting something about ourselves. It’s really not a story. It’s a self reflective kind of a story. And so it’s not really a genuine apology. Yep. It’s not really truly for the other person. It’s really us just expressing this self, this negative view of ourselves or this negative belief of who we are. And that’s the one that we discussed where it it warrants this validation like, no, no, no, you’re fine. Yeah, right.

Kristen Carder 14:45
So reassurance seeking I loved how you said that and I see that in some relationships, the need for reassurance instead of saying I’m feeling really insecure. Are you upset with me? We need to talk about instead of Being vulnerable and that way you say, sorry. And then wait for the other person to reassure you. Yes.

Breian Elliott 15:06
And the reassurance are going to give you in that the type of conversation you will have from the way you just said it right from the very vulnerable and open like, Hey, I’m feeling like I need some reassurance here. I’m struggling with this. That’s going to open a whole different conversation and a whole different set of honesty compared to we’re kind of skirting the issue over here with Hey, sorry, me. And they’re like, No, it’s fine that you’re you. And we both kind of are sitting here with this idea, like, but there’s probably something wrong with you, right? Like, that’s not really helping anyone. Yeah, my sister and I both have 15 year old daughters right now. So you know, 50 year old daughters, they are lovely. But they can go through some self pity stages. And they’ve got lots to tell you and lots to complain about and be sad about and sometimes my daughter will say, you know, and my sister’s daughter, they’ll both you know, during conversations be like, I’m so sorry. You have to sit here and listen to me complain about this. I’m just I’m so sorry. Right? Instead of just being like, Hey, this is when you say thanks for you know, thanks, Mom. Like my daughter went late to school one day she had slept in and I was driving her to school. I’m so sorry to drive me, mom. I said, You know what? You can just say thanks, Mom, because you didn’t force me to drive you. And she was like, Oh, okay. Thanks for driving me to school mom. It was like this question. But it felt so much better for me to like, I felt so much better for her to say like, Thank You said I’m so sorry. Right. So that noticing that this, this negative self image story isn’t really the appropriate use? Yeah, sorry. It’s just kind of this word we’ve thrown in. So another one is the relational impact. Sorry. So this is the one that’s probably more common, right with ADHD because we impact each other so much in our lives. And we have this built in concept for some reason, I think that we shouldn’t negatively impact each other as humans, for sure. Right. But that doesn’t make any logical sense. And you’re going to positively and negatively impact each other. Now, there are extremes where obviously, the we can we’re talking about things like abuse and manipulation, things, those are different. But in general, we are just going to sometimes have negative impact on each other, I’m going to spill milk all over the table, and it’s going to cover someone else’s plate like this is going to happen. But my example is when I was in labor, I mean, I’ve done this six times. So I did that a lot. You think I would have become a pro. But for some reason, when I get in pain, I become very apologetic. And so the whole time I was and maybe there’s lots of therapy or something to be done around. Kristen’s brain, she’s like, ooh. But I for some reason, felt like I was putting out the nurses. Like, as long as they could just come in, check my vitals, check on me everything was fine and leave, like that’s the baseline of their job. And if I made them do anything above that, because I was in agony, that I was somehow being a negative impact on their job that day, the more pain I got in and the more assistance I needed, the more I would apologize, I would be literally in a contraction going. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’d be holding the nurses hand. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m squeezing her hand. Right. And it’s because I had this idea like I should be in labor and not negatively impacting her workday, even though this literally is what her workday was for. Yeah. Right. But we just get this idea. And I think it can come from feedback around us, right? If you have ADHD, you’ve definitely had feedback on like, not being able to sit still it up is impacting this classroom. Now no one can hear because you’re not being quiet enough, or your emotions are impacting our ability to have a really easy time today. Right? Like you get a lot of this negative feedback around it. And so I think we start to internalize and feel like we have to apologize for having impact on each other, which isn’t really appropriate.

Kristen Carder 18:49
It’s so interesting, because my brain really wants to resist what you’re saying. I want to say back to you. No, that’s not reality. I should be easy for people to be around constantly. And it’s so wild. This just happened this morning. To tell a story or tell a story. We have a snowblower. When we moved into our new house, we purchased a snowblower and we haven’t used it. But it’s been sitting in the garage, we moved into a new house, it’s got a much longer driveway just like a lot more and my husband was like listen, I’m not going to shovel heavy snow in this driveway. We’re gonna get too low and I was just like, all right, whatever. Since shoveling is not usually my responsibility. I’m just like, I don’t really know why we need this but that’s fine. So it’s been sitting in our garage and it’s no today and I thought we were going to use this snow bar. Like I thought he would just go out there snowblower it would take 15 minutes like I’ve never used one I have no idea. And he was like, no snowblowers are for like six inches of snow or more. Not for like And I got some. I got so mad. I got so dysregulated I walked away from him like it was so not cute. But I was so dysregulated. And because I was just like, wait, what? Like we’re shoveling and we have this snowblower in the garage and like why do we even buy it in the first place? No more like, I’m going crazy on the inside. Before I left today, I mean, we talked about it well, and before I left today, I said, I’m sorry for the impact that my dysregulation, but on your morning, like I would I could not get my body under control, because I could not accept the reality was like this new reality that was given to me. I’m like, No, we don’t. I don’t see snow blow for four inches. I think it’s four inches right now, I don’t we don’t know, for four inches. It has to be like much bigger. And I was just like, What is this new reality that you’re presenting to me? And my body was freaking out. And I took it out on him in that I just like walked away. And then he was like, Um, excuse me, like, what’s happening here? So we’re gonna get to this like the appropriate times. But when you say like, not having to say sorry for negatively impacting my brain goes like, no, the poor man was like literally eating his Honey Nut Cheerios. And I freaked out ish. And so that deserves an apology. So can you just like help me with that? Reframe? Sure.

Breian Elliott 21:30
I think if we reframe it from the perspective of even when we’re doing our best, and we’re going to say that maybe that wasn’t your best moment, but also Kristen Carter didn’t say to herself, you know what I want to do, I’m just gonna freak out real hardcore right now. Right? Even when we’re doing our best, we come up short and fall short, and we are human. So we’re going to even when we’re doing our best dysregulate sometimes, and we’re going to have these moments now, when we just regulate if we and I don’t know the extent if we storm off from our spouse angry and slam a door, that would be an appropriate time to come back and say, hey, I want to apologize about storming off and slamming a door A right it’s different than me, like, I’m sorry that my dysregulation impacts you because everyone dysregulation impacts each other. And yes, with feel I think the thing with ADHD people is they’re so much more attuned to their dysregulation, yeah, emotional sensitivity, that you have to notice very small, subtle changes in your interior compared to those without, right. And so I think just noticing that it always feels so big to the person who’s dysregulated and experiencing it, but really, so do we need to apologize for impacting each other? No, do we need to apologize when maybe I was I called you a name and I was angry or I freaked out or I stormed off. Yeah, that’s appropriate to say. I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry that I chose this behavior. But like, Hey, I’m sorry that I impact you when I’m dysregulated. That’s tricky. Like, right.

Kristen Carder 22:59
So that’s really my that’s very like I’m sorry for being human.

Breian Elliott 23:03
Yeah, I’m sorry for being the type of human that I am. Yes. Sorry for being not an easy person all the time. And I think the way you started this was beautiful. When you said the reason I want to come up against it is this internal idea that I should be easy. Yes. That’s the thing that is showing you that all that impact and listen, I feel the same way. We talked about no trace camping, right? Like you go into the wilderness and you somehow you go camp in the wilderness and don’t leave a sign that you were there. I don’t know how I tried to do no trace living all the time. Wow. I think with ADHD we could say we you can and I say we I’m you know I’m not diagnosed with ADHD and I don’t really identify with it, but I have three children with it. And there are lots of things I do identify with ADHD. But what I do identify with is this idea of small and unnoticed is best. Yes. And yeah, that’s so then apologizing for not being small and unnoticed all the time. isn’t helping. It’s just confirming the idea to our brain is doing something wrong by not being small and unnoticed.

Kristen Carder 24:09
Oh, it’s so good. All right, take us to the next one.

Breian Elliott 24:13
What’s the worst type one is the considerate? Sorry. It just sounds so considerate. Like it just sounds like this very polite, considerate thing, right? We want the other person to know we feel bad about just like, oh, it’s like almost like okay, this is hilarious. Can I tell everyone because Christy was saying she was late today. And so she texted me and she’s just like I did leave late but also and she sent me a picture of the roads right being so bad and I burst out laughing now we and I was so happy because she didn’t say sorry when she sent it right but that we have this idea like it’s just considerate and polite to just be like, Oh, I’m so sorry. I left late and there’s a snowstorm but we always think we just have to like kind of preface with the I’m so sorry. Just because it’s considerate and polite to do so. Right. Yeah,

Kristen Carder 24:57
it would be impolite and I don’t know if I had a conscious thought about it, but I do agree that like it would have been totally acceptable for me to say so sorry, running late. Yes. You know, here’s why. But also like I left late, it was a conscious choice to leave me like everything was late today and, and really the fight with Greg is what

Breian Elliott 25:23
I mean, it was a snowblower. If you had just said the snowblower I would have known I would have been like, of course, it’s the snowblowers.

Kristen Carder 25:30
But yeah, that’s so true is just the urge. Yeah, to say so sorry. So sorry to inconvenience you. And now, a word from our sponsor. Hey, Kristen here, and the host of this podcast, an ADHD expert and a certified life coach, who’s helped hundreds of adults with ADHD understand their unique brains and make real changes in their lives. If you’re not sure what a life coaches, let me tell you, a life coach is someone who helps you achieve your goals like a personal trainer for your life. A life coach is a guide who holds your hand along the way as you take baby step after baby. Step two, accomplish the things that you want to accomplish. A good life coach is a trained expert, who knows how to look at situations or situations with non judgmental neutrality, and offer you solutions that you’ve probably never even considered before. If you’re being treated for your ADHD, and maybe even you’ve done some work in therapy, and you want to add to your scaffolding of support, you’ve got to join my group coaching, program focused. Focused is where functional adults with ADHD surround each other with encouragement and support. And I lead the way with innovative and creative solutions to help you fully accept yourself, understand your ADHD, and create the life that you’ve always wanted to create. Even with ADHD. Go to I have adhd.com/focused to join. And I hope to see you in our community today. I don’t actually apologize for being late anymore because for me, it’s not an inconvenience when someone else is late. Right? I actually celebrate I love it. I love having an extra couple of minutes. I love even if I’m even if I’m in a restaurant by myself waiting for someone I don’t care. Like I’m happy to be with me and my phone, or whatever. So yeah, I don’t apologize for being late anymore, because I actually love it when people are late. So I don’t assume that other people don’t love it.

Breian Elliott 27:39
Yeah. And I think we use this like considerate. Sorry, is like, Hey, I’m just showing, it’s like just like this is the polite thing we do versus it’s just as considerate to sit down and be like, thank you so much for waiting. And then pull out your menu. Right? Like,

Kristen Carder 27:53
yeah, love it. So

Breian Elliott 27:54
I’m so glad that you’re here. Right. So just noticing like, some of this is like we do it because we’re like no, but it it feels considerate, or it feels polite, right? I

Kristen Carder 28:03
feel rude if I didn’t say it. Yeah, I feel

Breian Elliott 28:05
just rude if I didn’t say up. So that’s another one. And the next one is the societal sorry, this is what we’re trained into his children. Say sorry, to your brother, you took their toy, right? You hurt so and so’s feelings? Say sorry, we’re just taught like as parents it’s like, and as teachers and as adults, we are trying to help our children be good humans. And we just sometimes teach them to say sorry, when it’s really not warranted is not appropriate. Or it’s just to make us feel better. Like Listen, there are times where there were children are taught to say sorry, so because then the parent believes now they get it. Yeah, they say sorry, they don’t really understand the impact. So once the child actually says sorry, oh, now they get it. Yeah. Right. And so but really, we’re not teaching them, like the true meaning and the proper use of sorting. And so I think we get to just change trained as children to just say, sorry, a locker aid.

Kristen Carder 29:00
You just know that I did that with my children. And I will take it one step further and say, I think sometimes parents have their kids say sorry, to people, please. Yes. Other adult that’s there. Yeah. So I want to make sure that the other adult knows that I know that my child’s behavior was inappropriate, even though they’re a kid, right clash if I could go back and do it differently. But anyway, so I want my child to say sorry, so that the other adults still likes me. Yeah, the other adult thinks I’m a good mom. So the other adult knows that like, I’m considerate, and that’s such a people pleasing.

Breian Elliott 29:39
Oh, I hate it. Yeah. That we definitely say sorry to people please. We we do like you said to help them because this is actually the next one which is the perfect the perfect lead in is to stop the negative judgment story. It’s that’s why we say sorry, it’s to stop the negative judgment. It’s the people pleasing one. It’s the one where if I say Sorry, then they are going to believe I’m a good mother who’s teaching her children appropriately, right? If I say, sorry, then they’re not going to judge these tendencies. Maybe if you’re ADHD, the fact that I’m late all the time, if I just say, sorry, they’re maybe not going to judge me so harshly on being late right or not making that phone call that I was supposed to make, or you know, not getting like your husband cups on me like, I’m so sorry, the kitchen still a mess, right? It’s like, like the apology for that. Right? It’s just like, listen, I

Kristen Carder 30:29
mean, if you are watching this, like, I wish you could hear my body language right now. Yeah, the amount of times that I apologized for just being a human mother with human children. I’m sorry, dinner’s not made. And Greg would look at me like confused. Like, Why are you apologizing for that? Yeah, I’m sorry. The house is a mess. And he’s just like, yeah, you’ve been home with the kids all day. Like he never would understand where that was coming from. I think it was people pleasing. I think it was all of it. wrapped it Yes. Right. Like, in those moments, I think there was like, major overlap of like wanting to people please, wanting to not negatively impact him with what, like his own children running to get reassurance of like, No, you worked hard today. Like obviously being home with the kids is hard. And like it’s no brought like, all of that balled into one length. Sorry, the saris knitters aren’t made like, right? Oh, yes.

Breian Elliott 31:29
And so that that was kind of that last one is like we do try to manage and control people’s judgments or thoughts about us through story as well, which is kind of fascinating that we do it.

Kristen Carder 31:43
I want you to say more on that. Like, if I say sorry, then they will think better about me. Is that what you’re saying?

Breian Elliott 31:49
Yes. If I say sorry, they won’t think I’m a selfish person who doesn’t care. And then I’m just sorry, they’ll know that I care. If I say sorry, they’ll know that I value their time. Like, like, sorry, is this all encompassing word that kind of relays so much information to the other side through even though it’s very subtle, it can relay something. And so if I just say, sorry, and I think it’s just because we’re kind of taught Oh, when I say sorry, the other person feels better. That’s that societal teaching. Like look, they said, sorry. And that’s the only thing we do we teach in that whole societal thing is it’s like, Look, you say sorry, Bobby says sorry to Billy and Billy. Now you feel okay about it. Yep. Even though Billy might not feel okay about what Bobby did. Right?

Kristen Carder 32:36
You have to accept the apology on the spot. There’s no actual repair. It’s just like this sweep under the rug. Sorry. Okay. Move on. Yeah.

Breian Elliott 32:46
What if we were just like, hey, listen, Bobby, you hurt Billy’s feelings. You did this thing. You broke his toy. Can you? Maybe you should tell him some, like something you’re thankful to Billy for? Yeah. And maybe Bobby’s like, Hey, thanks for having me over to play today. Right? And then maybe Billy feels a little better about that. Instead of sorry, broker toy, Bobby. You know, it’s like, yeah, well, I can’t do anything about it. Glad I have to feel good about that. It’s like, so it’s this. It’s this interesting expectation we have around apology and around forgiveness. And I believe apologizing and forgiveness are essential and crucial parts of being good humans. But I think that we use story too much too often and out of context. And I actually think it keeps us from some self awareness. I really do. What do you mean by that? For instance, might I had siblings who went to bed late, like late into early into their teen years and have lots of shaming people around that? And my sister said, she remembers just apologizing to my mom all the time. Like, I’m so as an adult, even like, I’m so sorry, you had to change my sheets. So often. I’m so sorry. You had to change my sheets all the time, right? Versus when if you stop and you’re just like, hey, thank you so much for changing all my sheets all that time. Like that whole feeling is so different. It just makes you aware of like, hey, this person did something that was kind of beneficial to me, versus this person had to do this slaving task for me. Right? There’s a lot more awareness that comes when you kind of step out of that, right? Like when you can see, even often when we say I’m sorry, I’m late. Maybe what we actually are feeling is like, I’m embarrassed that I was waiting for this. If we’re willing to be self aware enough to be like, Hey, I’m embarrassed that I was late. Thank you so much for waiting. That’s just so much more honest, and so much more aware.

Kristen Carder 34:26
And I wonder what that would be like on the receiving end for the recipient, right? Because if I’m annoyed, let’s say I am annoyed that someone’s late. Yep. And they show up and say, sorry, then I have to say, no, no, it’s okay. Yeah. Right. And I don’t mean it because I’m just like, I’m annoyed. You’re late. It’s again, putting me in a position to take care of someone else. Right, rather than if they’re vulnerable. And say, like, Hey, I’m really embarrassed. Thanks so much for waiting. Yeah, then I can at least be like well Okay, that’s appropriate. They’re embarrassed. Yeah. Right. And you’re welcome for waiting. Yeah.

Breian Elliott 35:05
Okay. And embarrassments an interesting one too, because embarrassment I think and shame when we aren’t self aware enough to unravel those too often we’re embarrassed but we think it’s shame and shame is comes with that, like, I did something bad. I write, if we can unravel embarrassment and shame, because I think there’s sometimes so tied together, because embarrassment doesn’t feel great. It really doesn’t. But it doesn’t. But it does not

Kristen Carder 35:28
shame and I’m, I’m bad. I’m bad. Yeah, horrible. Because I’m less.

Breian Elliott 35:34
I’m Yes, I’m a bad person for being late. Versus I’m just embarrassed that I’m late. Right, so we can untangle those. So that’s why the self awareness around this I think is so important, because it does impact more than just oh, I say sorry, at the right or wrong times. It genuinely helps your self esteem. And it will help you become more self aware of what you’re feeling and gives you an opportunity. Your learners know how to like serve emotions and things, right. Gives you an opportunity to name emotions you’re feeling and notice them and oh, why am I feeling that? It creates a whole different relationship with yourself and with the people that you’re interacting with? It really does have that potential. So

Kristen Carder 36:10
beautiful. Okay, so I want to know, when would you say it’s appropriate? When are sorry, is really good? What are the appropriate when is it like this is needed? Because you’re not saying never, ever say it? You’re saying no become more aware, which after we talk about when it’s appropriate. I would love some tips on how do we build awareness around that around that, but But talk to me about when is it appropriate? When it when should we be saying I’m sorry? Yeah,

Breian Elliott 36:41
I think honestly, kids, kids health dotnet like I think has the best I look to lots of different ones because I thought my opinions and then I researched them. And then I was like, I think they have it’s so clear. Because when you’re talking to kids, you’re clear, do what I mean. And there’s this is there’s if you hurt, tease insults, yell at or disrespect someone. If you lose or break something of theirs. Even if you didn’t mean to, then you would say I’m sorry, I lost that right? Or I’m sorry, I broke your toy. Like it would make sense to say I’m sorry, I did that. But then maybe you’d say something after two to follow up if you were unfair or harsh. In something you did. If you did something you knew was wrong, like telling a lie? hurtful comments, spreading a rumor breaking a rule on purpose or disrespecting your partner? I think when we really sit down to think when it’s appropriate, there are pretty obvious times I think they’re muddled right now, for most of us, we’re going to be like No, but this time, and it will feel appropriate to say it all the time. Sorry, just kind of become a human. It’s just appropriate and under all circumstances. But it’s not really and they have truly done studies that have proven, the more you say, sorry, kind of the lower the self esteem often with that. So it’s it’s not that you should never say story and that your self esteem is good if you never do because that’s really unfeeling. But it’s called narcissism. That’s not appropriate. But it’s noticing when we use the word sorry, appropriately, instead of like we talked about just because the people pleasing or self pity or societal or using it to warrant some sort of someone telling us we’re okay. Right, some reassurance? Yeah, those that does not help your self esteem. That doesn’t help you feel good about yourself. It’s not working. So it might feel like the right thing to do, but it’s not working. Yeah.

Kristen Carder 38:23
And it may give temporary relief. Yes, yeah. And that’s why we do it. Right. That’s why we do it. I’ve seen the temporary relief, we’ve felt the temporary relief, but it’s not, it doesn’t build connection, right doesn’t build our self esteem, it doesn’t build our ability to express ourselves and to be vulnerable and to truly get what we want, which is like, I want to know that we are okay, in this relationship.

Breian Elliott 38:49
Yes. It also doesn’t help you. Like we’ve used the on time example a lot. There’s a lot more, but it also doesn’t help you be on time to write like if seeing sorry, fixed this, all of us would be doing everything right, right, it doesn’t solve it, it doesn’t help us problem solve it, or come up with better solutions to some of the executive functions that we’re struggling with. Right, if we’re aware of them. We’re aware most most people are aware of a lot of the executive functions they’re already struggling with. And it’s already a challenge for them. And so like you said, it’s we want to be able to tap into how can I be more open and honest and see and understand better? But, but when you say sorry, what is appropriate? I promise when you’re using sorry, in the appropriate way you and the other person will probably both feel better. That’s the thing you want to really watch for is we you both will come away feeling better. And when you’re saying thank you or not saying sorry, at the appropriate time, you’ll probably both feel better. Yeah. When we’re using it the wrong way. No one really feels great.

Kristen Carder 39:54
Oh, that’s so good. Okay, so tell me how How we can build our awareness around whether or not it’s appropriate. Right? Say sorry? Yeah, yeah. So start to build that for ourselves for

Breian Elliott 40:11
ourselves. So I think you can ask yourself a series of questions to build some self awareness. And this will take time. I mean, this is going to be trial and error and practice, of course. So one is like, Is this my fault? Fault being I intentionally did something that was out of line or inappropriate. Okay. Another question to ask yourself is, could I say thank you instead? Oh, I love that right now. Would it be appropriate to say thank you instead, to ask yourself the question, do I need grace or forgiveness? Those are different. Okay.

Kristen Carder 40:44
They more words about that? Well, if

Breian Elliott 40:46
you’ve done this is kind of we mentioned if you’ve done all you can, and you still basically yielded like a negative result, even though you did what you could, right? You really need grace more than forgiveness. Wow. If that? Does that make sense? Yes.

Kristen Carder 41:00
So what how would you define grace? Just like putting you on the spot here that look like to receive grace rather than forgiveness.

Breian Elliott 41:08
It’s just more of asking more for compassion, instead of forgiveness. So it’d be more of like, Hey, can you hang in here with me? While right? Yeah, that’s, that’s grace. Can you hang in here with me? Can you work through this with me? Or can you give me the time or space to like that’s asking for Grace over forgiveness.

Kristen Carder 41:29
And I think another distinction with Grace versus forgiveness is we don’t need forgiveness for being human. Yeah, right. We do need grace, though. Because we impact each other. And so we need grace and space and understanding and compassion. With just like, Yeah, you’re a human like, with Greg this morning. I could have asked for grace, right? Like, I am so dysregulated. And I am having so much trouble accepting the reality. And I know that’s having an impact on you. And I just need some grace here to have the space to calm down and be okay. Yeah, if I need to apologize, I will think that through and circle back around with like, hey, sorry, I walked away from you. Next time. I’m going to say like, I need a little space and Grace here. Like I need to take care of what’s happening in my body, I let you know, right, yeah. Why am walking away? And I think that makes so much sense asking for Grace rather than forgiveness in some situations. Yeah.

Breian Elliott 42:35
And so that’s a good question to ask yourself, Does this really warrant? Grace more than forgiveness? If you don’t know why you’re apologizing? Like, really ask yourself? Do I know why I’m apologizing? If you don’t know why, you probably shouldn’t don’t do it. Just don’t. Even if in the end, you come back to an apology at some point, wait till you actually understand why you’re saying why you’re saying sorry. Like, why am I saying sorry? And get kind of clear on if I don’t really know why I am. Oh, it’s just instinctual. Someone bumps into me. I say sorry. It’s instinctual. I don’t really know why I do it. Oh, now I know. It’s a cultural thing. Okay. Well, I probably don’t need to right. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like, if you don’t know why it’s a good time to be like, if I don’t know why then I’m going to figure that out before I say sorry. Right. And just noticing too, am I trying to make someone feel better about themselves? That is different than Am I trying to do the appropriate thing? That is different than Am I saying this to try to make someone feel that’s the people pleasing? Catch the people pleasing? A few? Yeah, if you can. So those are just questions that you can go through to help with some self awareness around this. Just notice how how much of a gut reaction it is, and kind of what’s pushing or pulling on that.

Kristen Carder 43:48
I just want to circle back to question number one, which was, is it my fault? And I think every ADHD or everywhere will say yes, yes. And so I want to expand on that question and say, maybe it could be worded like, did I cross a boundary? Yeah.

Breian Elliott 44:06
Did I intentionally behave in a way that crossed a boundary? Am I

Kristen Carder 44:09
out of alignment with my morals with my values, right? Like,

Breian Elliott 44:13
I was about to say this is a moral issue, because so many things aren’t a moral issue. We’ve created them into them.

Kristen Carder 44:21
Yeah, our brains want to make everything a moral issue. And I do think that could go back to like our upbringing and law. Yes, but separating morality and pulling it out. So coming back to the example of like, Greg, coming home to a messy house dinner’s not made. Is that a moral issue? No. Did I cross an ethical boundary? No. Did I do something out of alignment with my values? Well, my values are perfectionism. So kind of kinda. But no, like, there’s like right I did not do anything wrong. I was parenting three children and Like, sometimes the house is messy. And if it happens now, there is no apology. But 15 years ago, me was like, I’m so sorry, you can move into a messy house. I’m so sorry. Dinner’s not made. And again, he would look at me and just be like, I don’t understand what’s happening right now. Like I right, need an apology and it feels weird. And then I don’t receive what I was looking for, which is the reassurance of like, we’re gonna, that’s fine. I totally understand. I’m going to be helpful. And like, let’s just do it together. That’s what I was looking for. Yeah. Which I just should have asked for. Right. It’s been a crazy day, can you clean up and I will get dinner ready? Right. So like, that’s so different. And that’s so connecting ability. Yes,

Breian Elliott 45:43
it’s way more connecting. Or if you if you did have a spouse who came home was like, why the heck housemates because a lot of us have, you know, things like that may happen. And if you’re just like, I’m so sorry, I’m not the perfect wife who can’t keep our house clean. Like that conversation is not going to bring any awareness, any bonding any, right. Whereas if you need to be like, you don’t even have to apologize if you’re even if your spouse upset, you can be like, tell me, I can see that you’re really upset about this. Tell me more like you can start and engage in a really beautiful conversation without being like, I’m so sorry. Right? Yes, it still can be a really great vulnerable open conversation without going there. And then

Kristen Carder 46:19
it circles around to grace. Yeah, hey, I was home with the kids all day. It was crazy. I just need some grace here isn’t something you can give me. Right?

Breian Elliott 46:28
Right. But it will open a more honest and authentic conversation, even if it’s not a comfortable one. Even if it doesn’t go well. Sorry, doesn’t fix it all like just this. This placated, sorry, is not fixing issues. So I really don’t want anyone to walk away and be like, well, we can never say sorry, again, I just hope that your listeners will leave with an ability to really consider when am I seeing it? And how am I kind of stripping my self esteem a little bit or my self worth or not noticing the way that I’m relying on others through the use of story?

Kristen Carder 47:00
And how much more impactful will our authentic stories be? Yes, when we stop using that word, in all of the different ways, culturally, people pleasing all of the different ways that we have been using it,

Breian Elliott 47:16
right, and it will impact how we teach our children and those around us. Yeah, which will hopefully just help that next generation have a better grip, hopefully, instead of how to use that word and help them growing up.

Kristen Carder 47:27
So good. Thank you so much, since been so insightful. Tell us who you work with, and how we can find you. So I know that you coach people in their businesses, but you are so much more than a business coach, I just want to say so, so much. And you have so much empathy, and you have so much awareness around relationships and toxicity and all of the things so who do you love working with? And where can people find you?

Breian Elliott 47:57
I am a business coach. But I absolutely love working with anyone on anything. I enjoy coaching and the vulnerable experience that is so much and just really love being able to help someone see their mind and come up with ways that are so much more comforting in such a good solution for them. So, my name is tricky to spell, but it’s I’m at Bri and elliot.com. And I am accepting general life coaching as well as business clients right now.

Kristen Carder 48:22
It’s great. Well, we’ll link all of that in the show notes. So I will link it all in. Yeah, b r e i A N That’s right. BREEAM. That’s

Breian Elliott 48:31
it Bri and Elliot two L’s two T’s for so Brian elliot.com is my website. And you can always book a consult through that. Yeah,

Kristen Carder 48:37
love it. I highly, highly encourage anybody who just feels like they need more support who’s looking for like a one on one specialized really empathetic support and also amazing business insight. You’ve seen me through every transition in my company, and I am so appreciative.

Breian Elliott 48:59
Thank you, it has been an honor and a privilege. So I really appreciate it. Thanks for having me on today. Kristen.

Kristen Carder 49:05
Thanks for being here. Hey, ADHD, er, I see you. I know exactly what it’s like to feel lost, confused, frustrated and like no one out there really understand the way that your brain works. That’s why I created focused. Focused is my monthly coaching program where I lead you through a step by step process of understanding yourself feeling better and creating the life that you know you’re meant for. You’ll study be coached, grow, and make amazing changes alongside of other educated professional adults with ADHD from all over the world. Does it Ihaveadhd.com/focused to learn more.

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