Germans rarely admit that they're wrong

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And sometimes to be write or wrong isn't so impotant. Your not here long enough to correct just everything you come across. :D

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So much I want to say about this subject. So much of it of such a personal nature that I don´t really know if I can. Might just bomb in and out during the course of the day with random and nonsensical blatherings (is truly awful weather up here today, so I am locking myself away with paperwork, coffee and some nice weed. Butt-cramp should kick in about 2 o´clock, I reckon)

 

By the sound of it (and unfortunately for both of us), I am in a similar situation to Dizz. Speaking for myself, I am seeing two levels to my current situation. One level is how each of the respective partners deals with the relationship itself and I can´t see that there is any major cultural difference there. Example – Married 8 years, beautiful son, successful business, etc. Our relationship was like something out of a Hollywood romance (and I have had enough relationships to know the difference there). It was, seriously, so earth-shatteringly good for 99% of its duration that I used to pinch myself to make sure I hadn´t died and gone to heaven. As far as I was aware, she felt the same way.

 

Last year was the first and only crisis our relationship has faced. To paraphrase the movie The Usual Suspects – “And like that (clicks fingers) she was gone”. I can´t understand the finality and extremism in that thinking. But I can´t see that that is any kind of German cultural trait either. I think it has more to do with the environment she was raised in (not the cultural environment) and her psychopathically deranged family than anything inherently German. I could be wrong.

 

The second level is more cultural (for me) and has less to do with an inability to accept blame as it does with a lack of remorse and an inability to forgive. Germans, as has been just my experience so far, apologise for being wrong the same way other people comment on the weather. Germans seem to say “I am sorry, I was wrong and I have hurt you” the way I say “Gee, looks like rain is coming”. There seems to be a complete mental separation between the act of apologising and the act of being remorsefull for the actions that led to the apology being made. Again, I could be (probably am) wrong.

 

And forgiveness? I just haven´t seen that here. Maybe others have. I have seen friendships, relationships and families torn apart by an almost criminal refusal on the part of one or both of the participants to forgive in any meaningful way. I would forgive my wife for almost anything she has done, because I love her. She will not forgive me for anything and reminds me of that often. It seems to be a point of pride here that one never forgives. I have seen it so much, compared to other countries I have lived in, that I am stuck believing it is a cultural thing. Help me out here, people. Maybe it is because, when you forgive someone, you open yourself up to being forgiven in turn (because it almost always takes two). Which brings us back to the topic of German´s being uncomfortable with accepting blame.

 

Aahh. I don´t know. Like I said – confusing and painful at the same time. Joint time, methinks.

 

 

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... at the Gymnasium where I also work. Half the English teachers can't speak English. ....

Yup that's the biggest problem! i was lucky that I had quite good English teachers in school, but some of the 'parallelklassen' had the most dreadful English teachers - even the pupils, who should normally know less than the teacher, noticed how bad their pronounciation, vocabulary etc was...

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Anyone noticed how Germans , when they go outside their country (or natural habitat) , they tend to change a lot? (in regards to having remorse… or as I say to my wife, being “Leidig” ?)

When I first met my wife 5 years ago, she was this cute little lamb, weak personality, a bit cold and distant (but I thought it was because she was shy) and all that…

 

When she would do something wrong, she would keep me up all night long apologizing and telling me how sorry she is, and you could see the true remorse in her eyes….

 

Then Germany came (moved here 2009) , and MIL started messing with her head… why do you apologize to him? Why is he blaming EVERYTHING on you? God I hate it when she does something wrong , I point it out, and she goes yes sure, EVERYTHING is my fault… well I’m not the one doing the mistake now am I? after we have a huge fight and discussion of sometimes up to 5 or 6 hours!!! She sees how what she’s doing doesn’t make sense and how no, I do not blame her for EVERYTHING (proof would be that I took the blame for 15 things before that!) , she says sorry with no remorse whatsoever , as if just shutting me up. I tell her not to shut me up, she accuses me of being doubtful and never trusting her….5 weeks later another similar fight comes up , and when I refer to this fight to prove a point on how she agreed… she would actually tell me , no I did not agree, I was simply ending the fight…

So basically no remorse, no admitting the mistake, no taking the blame and no sincerity in anything they say! I don’t know

There was actually a time where I was barked at for giving my opinion in things (MIL effect)… but it seems we’re out of this phase… let’s see…

Loyalty was indeed a big thing in our marriage, but when I saw how she turned on me few months after living with her parents, I scratched that out from the positive things…

 

And I do relate to someone’s story about realizing the seriousness of the situation around you… I was twice hospitalized in Germany because of my heart issue, once I stayed for a week in 2009 , so I was fresh, barely spoke a word of German , and had to stay for a week… she needed convincing to come over every day… she even skipped some… after that week, I found out I need a life threatening heart surgery (drs were worried coz it would my 3rd and my heart muscle was terribly weak as it is, so the worry of the heart not recovering from bypass and all that), anyway, she actually told me , in advance, while I was sweating my skin off, that she is not sure if she will come visit me or not… she said well of course I will… but not sure if I can do it every day, maybe 3 times a week? (if I was in my own home country, or had friend in this one, I wouldn’t care as much, but all I have in here is her, and that’s how she’s handling it…).

Granted her mom was being a bitch about babysitting her only grand daughter and my wife wasn’t sure what to do with the baby when she comes to visit, but I found several solutions for this, and she wasn’t comfortable with any of them … until a big fight happened, where I had to (and I hate myself for it), remind her of how I slept on the fucking floor next to her in Congo for a whole week when she was hospitalized for Malaria (no guest beds in that 5th world country), and how back in Lebanon when she had premature labor and was in the hospital I stayed the whole time by her side, didn’t leave for one bit even when she begged me to… that after all this the least I expected was her telling me that she won’t leave my side when it’s my turn to be in such a critical life fuckin threatening situation… what did I get? A shoulder shrug, her saying well I told you I will see what I can do, what more do you want? (with the coldest most bitter anyone can ever imagine).

That’s when I started calling her ice queen… and every now and then she asks me what she did to deserve this….

My dad and sis flew in to be by my side for the operation, poor thing was forced to drive them to the hospital so she had to come during their stay, but after they left, the visits were less and less….

 

Any German woman around here who can tell me if I am expecting too much by expecting her to standup to her mom when she isn’t supportive? I mean when she came for a visit (twice) to Lebanon, I gave her the royal treatment, when I went there, I got royally screwed! Rather than her babysitting as much as she can to enjoy her granddaughter, she says she doesn’t have time and sometimes would rather go swimming with her friends, or cannot handle it because she has to take her other daughter’s dog for a walk! Hence my wife not visiting me in the hospital, resulting in me being frustrated with nurses and drs who don’t all speak English…

 

Ah I can go on for another page or 2 but I bored you enough already (to whoever read this far)…

 

But bottom line is… Germans are indeed very weird in the above mentioned points, I have been around quite a lot , both sides of the pond, and never met anything similar to that…

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Anyone noticed how Germans , when they go outside their country (or natural habitat) , they tend to change a lot? (in regards to having remorse… or as I say to my wife, being “Leidig” ?)

When I first met my wife 5 years ago, she was this cute little lamb, weak personality, a bit cold and distant (but I thought it was because she was shy) and all that…

 

When she would do something wrong, she would keep me up all night long apologizing and telling me how sorry she is, and you could see the true remorse in her eyes….

 

Then Germany came (moved here 2009) , and MIL started messing with her head… why do you apologize to him? Why is he blaming EVERYTHING on you? ...

 

Exactly. My girlfriend's mum also messed with her head the same way. Now she's become such an egoistic bitch, she complained some days ago that some of her friends are avoiding her. I told her we've broken up, don't moan to me, and don't ask me why. She wanted me to come to Berlin all the way from Tübingen to give her her cane basket back which is in my friend's apartment. She lives 30 minutes away from where he lives and she said it would be a waste of an hour for her to travel to get a basket which I was supposed to return before I left Berlin. Conveniently forgot that she wanted my entire spice collection which is in that basket. Yeah okay, granted I was supposed to meet her a day before I left in the evening for a drink and return the basket and I was piss drunk and passed out and therefore...err...inconvenienced, but seriously, asking me to travel all the way from Tübingen to Berlin just to return her lousy basket without batting an eyelid? And won't even apologise after I showed her how idiotic the very notion is.

 

Nevermind fucking up everything about the apartment we rented together, which I'm sure many of you have read about in the Rant thread. Not a single damned apology till today.

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Exactly. My girlfriend's mum also messed with her head the same way. Now she's become such an egoistic bitch, she complained some days ago that some of her friends are avoiding her. I told her we've broken up, don't moan to me, and don't ask me why. She wanted me to come to Berlin all the way from Tübingen to give her her cane basket back which is in my friend's apartment. She lives 30 minutes away from where he lives and she said it would be a waste of an hour for her to travel to get a basket which I was supposed to return before I left Berlin. Conveniently forgot that she wanted my entire spice collection which is in that basket. Yeah okay, granted I was supposed to meet her a day before I left in the evening for a drink and return the basket and I was piss drunk and passed out and therefore...err...inconvenienced, but seriously, asking me to travel all the way from Tübingen to Berlin just to return her lousy basket without batting an eyelid? And won't even apologise after I showed her how idiotic the very notion is.

 

Nevermind fucking up everything about the apartment we rented together, which I'm sure many of you have read about in the Rant thread. Not a single damned apology till today.

 

What is it with them losing their friends after spending some quality time with their mom? oh and she actually tried once to blame me for losing her friends.. of course after a 5 hours back and forth discussion and me proving and showing that I was actually pushing her to them and asking to involve them more (and beinvolved in their lives as well), that she backed off ... natürlish no appology for false accusation... and when I showed that it's her mom's effect... I'm the asshole , simply put :)

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When she would do something wrong, she would keep me up all night long apologizing and telling me how sorry she is, and you could see the true remorse in her eyes….

Then Germany came (moved here 2009) , and MIL started messing with her head… why do you apologize to him? Why is he blaming EVERYTHING on you?

 

 

 

Exactly. My girlfriend's mum also messed with her head the same way.

Exactly the similar things my boyfriends father told him. "How could you give yourself up like that for this girl?"

 

Oh wait! Nevermind the fact that, this girl gave up a lot to be with your son, nevermind the fact that it was your son who took all that for granted and fucked up royally in our relationship. And when he was really doing everyfuckinthing right to make up for his screw up and when everything was starting to get normal once again, you tell him to stop all that and think about himself.

 

I never really judged his father until I heard those things, but seriously looks like after even two failed marriages (and many relationships) he still has not learn from his mistakes and in fact passing them on to his own son.

 

I mean, where the fuck they get the idea that apologizing, admitting your failure and making up for your own mistakes equates to giving up yourself??

 

PS: strangely it was actually me who encouraged my boyfriend to speak to his father as he was keeping all inside and just going on a guilt trip and depression. Little did I know that he will just turn his son into this egocentric, insensitive character in a matter of one fucking phone call.

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PS: strangely it was actually me who encouraged my boyfriend to speak to his father as he was keeping all inside and just going on a guilt trip and depression. Little did I know that he will just turn his son into this egocentric, insensitive character in a matter of one fucking phone call.

 

Very similar to my mistake...

 

When I first met my wife, she was on barely speaking terms with her mom… pushing her away and avoiding her as much as possible… having lost my mom at the age of 15 and willing to give anything to talk to her again, I had to do something, and made them make up on MIL’s first visit… I was a fucking hero at the time, they both thanked me, hugged and cried, made up in a very good way….

Few years down the road it bit me in the ass pretty hard… talk about being grateful…

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slightly relieved that i am not the only one feeling this way

 

it seems like even when they know they are in the wrong, they don't admit it or apologise. but more often than not, they'd avoid making the same mistake in future. which i guess, is the main thing.

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When I first met my wife 5 years ago, she was this cute little lamb, weak personality, a bit cold and distant (but I thought it was because she was shy) and all that…

 

When she would do something wrong, she would keep me up all night long apologizing and telling me how sorry she is, and you could see the true remorse in her eyes….

Maybe she grew out of the cute little lamb, weak personality thing you were attracted to?

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Hmm... I was wondering if it was my German, if I didn't understand the nuances of the language and the apology words. Maybe not.

 

But a refusal to apologise is something that I find stressful, even back in the UK. If I've been put out I can more easily move on and put it behind me if the person just says "oops" and "sorry."

 

Culturally that's my cue to forgive and let it go.

 

I was in a cirumstance where someone was asking for paperwork that was unnecessary, and I stood up to them showing the letter I recieved. They made several excuses before admitting it wasn't a problem. But they wouldn't apologise, it looked like the suggestion they should was an upsetting and frightening thing to hear.

 

"Es tut mir leid". Is that more than a figure of speech?

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Germans had to have something for the rest of us to say when WE made mistakes, so "es tut mir leid." :P

 

Seriously, it is not a language issue. I work with Germans who speak excellent English (as my German is hideous). They just don't apologize, even if the error of their ways is smacking them and those around them in the face. It is as though acknowledgement of such is a sign of weakness or admitting failure.

 

I like your comment that an apology is a "cue to forgive and let it go." I might use that line on them... B)

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It´s a human thing, I reckon, mstinae. Most people don´t like to admit they have made mistakes unless they are wise enough to know they are all capable of that. I make mistakes every day despite not being wise..but I´m working on it! Slowly, though! :D

Mind you, I wonder if there´s any language in the world without a " sorry " word...dunno.

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In my experience, some Germans can simply say "entschuldigung" and everything gets forgotten, or they can't.

 

My past boss simply could not admit to being wrong - ever! For him it was a sign of weakness to have to admit that he was wrong, so he never did.

 

I now have a boss who makes mistakes, and admits to them and apologises for them when they occur - I have so much more respect for her than I ever did for my past boss!

 

I really do not know if it is a cultural thing or simply how one grows up, but for me, a person who cannot admit to being wrong is simply totally wrong!

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Yes, it's like standing in the Ailes of supermarkets having a chat isn't a just a French thing. There was a thing on Kings Cross station last year and the customer service people were told that it's OK to say sorry, even if it wasn't the personal fault of the railway or the operative in question. It just seems somewhat... worse... here.

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You can't apologise.

You can only ask for forgiveness. (Um Entschuldigung bitten)

This got me thinking about the different ways to say "sorry" in German. The low-level variant for smoothing social mistakes and misunderstandings, "Entschuldigung" or "Verzeihung" doesn't express regret or admit fault, but rather asks for forgiveness, as the poster in #162 says.

 

The stronger variant, "es tut mir Leid," usually reserved for expressing actual regret about serious things, is nonetheless passive: "it does sorrow to me." This is especially applicable when used passive-aggressively, as in, "I'm sorry that you feel that way." ("Tut mir Leid, aber...")

 

It seems the loan-word "sorry," when used in German, conveys the most noncommittal level of social smoothing that we miss, but it's somehow not quite satisfying to me either.

 

... and for the record, my ex -- a Tschörmann -- didn't apologize for anything, ever, using any of those expressions in either language, in all 8 years of the relationship. But fortunately they're not all like that.

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