• Michael McMahon

The Justice System

Updated: 2 days ago


Copy of thread:


Fairness and legal precedents are of utmost importance. Sentencing must be consistent for people convicted for similar crimes in order to be as democratic as possible. There’s too much deviation. Manslaughter unnecessarily complicates matters. It’s already difficult to harmonise sentencing for other crimes like assault so it’d be doubly difficult to be consistent in having two independent killing offences. The word of manslaughter instead of murder symbolically dehumanises victims as if you were killed for dinner! Some people may indeed be “out of character” when they commit a crime (they must of got the wrong script: we were all doing the Wizard of Oz while they learned Macbeth!). But in truth we can say the same about any criminal who changes and chooses to be repentant after a crime. So there’s no need for this distinction between murder and manslaughter (much like the nonexistence of the forced mating, coerced charity or kid borrowing crimes!).

The mitigating factors for murder are insufficient to justify there being two separate classes of the crime of killing a person. I acknowledge that there can sometimes be genuine accidents that causes deaths and cases of proportional self-defence. But there are other cases that don’t warrant this exemption. Another name for excessive self-defence is vigilantism. Once a person is seriously injured in an altercation they don't pose much of a threat due to their reduced mobility. There are 360 degrees around and above to fire a warning shot so if it just so happen to fatally hit the suspect then it's rather reckless. Even implementing a final blow to an incapacitated victim would be like justifying nonconsensual euthanasia. Firing at a fleeing suspect is dubious unless the perpetrator was at imminent risk of carrying out murder or serious assault. A synonym for negligence can be the intentional endangering of other society members in general; even when they didn’t intend to personally risk that victim individually. It sometimes feels as if death is mysterious and transcendent where there's nothing the legal system can really do to improve the situation. However if a victim of an assault or an accident was left in a lifelong coma instead of dying at the scene, would we feel more of a need to jail the perpetrator? In other words are we subconsciously making assumptions that a pleasant afterlife might be a mitigating factor? Anyway I agree with the insanity defence as a mitigating factor but not always as an exoneration. A psychotic experience will indeed confuse a person’s understanding of logic. But one would still need a small degree of understanding about causality and slyness just to carry out a complex crime. Anxiety is usually directed at one’s self. Murderer-itus isn't a medical diagnosis! The insanity defence is often used in violent crimes even though the slippery slope is fairly blatant to see if it were used in sexual crimes.

I understand that some people charged with manslaughter have very serious and legitimate grievances against the victim. But society would descend into a free-for-all if everyone were to decide to act violently against people who they perceive to have mistreated them. That would send the wrong message. Being vengeful against other admittedly vengeful people is to be yourself part of the problem. It’s about dissuading people from escalating a volatile situation rather than trying to somehow accommodate such pent-up emotions when determining a court sentence. I actually had in the back of my mind the notion of unprovoked fights and assaults when I wrote the first post in the thread. But I came across comments that disagreed strongly with my take on manslaughter for the opposite reason. They argued for the sake of the vigilante types of cases. This demonstrates the inherent risk of the manslaughter defence being exploited and abused in all non-accidental sorts of crimes. In my view it’s a lawless downward spiral. People might find rare borderline or tricky cases but overall this defence does far more harm than good. Unless you go by the name Romulus or Remus, no one was raised in the woods by wolves.

In summary, it’s not merely the length of the jail sentence but the potential multi-year disparity between murder and manslaughter that I find concerning. In rare instances there might even be a multi-decade difference for loosely similar non-defensive killings(*). The flip side of manslaughter is that a conviction of plain murder simply results in a life sentence. So in being charitable to one section we ironically risk being uncharitable to those who are repentant in premeditated cases. I think either increasing the manslaughter sentence sometimes or decreasing the jail-time for murder would lead to more overall consistency. I don’t think there’s much point having a mandatory life sentence for murder if it results in most people simply being charged with manslaughter instead. I think we’d be better off coming to a rough consensus on a medium sentence length for killing someone rather than always aiming for a life sentence. Perhaps there's an argument that every case is unique and deserving of a wholly separate set of rules but unfortunately such divine oversight is far beyond the capacity of the state. From my partial understanding of Christianity it is claimed that God is all-forgiving and this doesn't mean that mortal beings have to be all-forgiving but merely relatively or generally-forgiving. As they say in the westerns, God can forgive you even if I don't! Communism is deemed idealistic but so are anarchistic versions of capitalistic libertarianism. Likewise just because mandatory sentencing is too idealistic the same can also be said of unregulated individualistic sentencing. We don't have second-class citizens and this applies to both the victims and the criminals. Provocation is a bit like crony capitalism in the sense of friendly and "crony" sentencing.

Precedence is being used as a guideline and not a rule(!):

(Pirates of the Carribbean: Black Pear - Elizabeth - Pirate's Code)

Hatred can be reasonable if a partner is caught cheating and this deceit can justify leaving the person forever but it really doesn't condone physical violence. This might sound unrealistic but we've to keep in mind that there are plenty of happy and elderly bachelors in the world who go through their entire lives without the need for a romantic partner. Unless, if it's like the Jarhead movie where they make a video and send it in for your fellow troops to watch, then perhaps we could interpret it as a tiny mitigating factor! Although I'm not sure how much of a slippery slope there is when there's "provocation" in both the romantic and non-romantic senses of the word!

(Jarhead Deer Hunter Scene)

I only rewatched it to edit out any inappropriate content! Jake Gyllenhaul's reply of "fagg*t" also brings up ethical dilemmas. Is it justifiable to be enraged at the personal dismissiveness of a rebuke even if the general insult ends up being far more offensive to a stigmatised minority? In other words if you're not technically standing up for the gay community in this case then you'd almost have to be consenting to the derogatory tone in society in order to be angry about being called it.

With rap music these days you never know what someone could cite as provocation:

(Eminem: Rap Game - all dead)

Judge: Your excuse for stealing the bike is?

Defendant: My penis made me do it. It gives me the strength needed to get through each day.

Judge: Defendant was under duress. Charges dismissed.

Proportionate punishment of criminals isn't about vengefulness. Rather that's just my sexuality!

Ironically some criminals adopt tough-on-crime attitudes to cover up their tracks. I hope this doesn't make me look suspicious! This reminds me of when someone accidentally picked up my tennis bag at the club years ago. He mistakenly thought it was his daughter's bag. I said no worries but then he started warning about the risk of thieves and not to be leaving my bag on the road!

I never said that I'd never be provoked into attacking anyone; merely that I wouldn't expect to be let off the hook if I chose such an option!

He regrets his surname!

Despite the quotation marks the journalist never actually stated who had called it a hose or whether it was simply a description of the journalist's making!

(I find myself getting into hot water over my Minority Rights even though I'm not actually a member of an ethnic minority. So I think it's important for victims to not only make a case for themselves in court but to also assert themselves in the media if they feel aggrieved. Public opinion is important because you can lose a battle but still win the war!)


(My comments are on post 4, 6 and 8 page 1, post 10 and 13 page 3 and post 8 page 4 of that thread.)

I agree with the goal of rehabilitation on the first page. Although I add that cautious punishment in jail isn’t always vengeful. So non-excessive punishment doesn’t contradict the aim of rehabilitation. Prison may be helpful in preempting and averting there being other future victims from the accused individual. The negative incentive of prison can eventually make someone see the error of their ways. The warning of prison time is necessary for the severe types of crimes so that we can then be more able to fully trust the criminal to not commit another serious offence in the long-term and to hope that they keep to their apology well after they’ve left jail. While it’s indeed true that a criminal can’t undo the past we can still try to learn from any misdeeds we may have made in order to change and prevent similar problems from arising in the future. People seldom change personality overnight and sometimes an epiphany can take a longer time. Discipline in jail entails reward for good behaviour and punishment for bad behaviour.

On page 3, I wade into the death penalty debate. I appreciate the Christian teaching to be always forgiving but in the context of a severe crime I imagine it’s acceptable to simply dislike the person less. I reason that the penalty of death is unnecessary seeing as serial killers can be pretty much buried alive with various restraints in a jail cell. Implementing the death penalty in rich countries might serve as a poor role model for developing countries who'd have less resources in their court systems and forensic departments. I do understand the ethical and slippery slope arguments. Please note that I purposely refer to serial killers who’ve killed multiple people and not murderers with one count. The sheer amount of damage they could do by further demeaning their victims or stirring up unrest if they became unrepentant means that they need to be thoroughly rehabilitated. Handcuffs can prevent the use of police batons during noncompliance or riot.

I just think that as this particular crime is an infrequent logical extreme, the defensive punishment would therefore statistically be rarely used. So I don’t think there’s too much risk of a downward spiral. The ingrained evil of serial killers/mass shooters/war criminals are obviously many orders of magnitude worse than all of the other types of criminals. Thus it will be harder to rehabilitate them. Remorselessness could be used to infer the degree of intentionality during the crime. The sanctity of life is respected as the serial killer would avoid the death penalty. I just feel that trying to rehabilitate these specific individuals back into society is too risky and much of a lost cause.

Forgiveness is crucial and will always be a spiritual and emotional virtue. But indeed the concept of forgiveness, patience and giving second chances isn’t the same as subservience. It’s of course possible that a hypothetical person who committed multiple attacks is already fully repentant. Although in such a scenario it’d always be hard to tell whether they’re sincerely apologetic no matter what they said. You’d never know if it was with genuine sadness or else if they’re a bit equivocal with self-interest or ambivalence given how hostile their previous mindset must have been. Jail is a backup plan in case there’s a risk of remorselessness and recidivism. That’s why irrespective of the deterrence vs rehabilitation or free will vs determinism debates, there’d at least have some jail time for a severe crime if only as a precaution.

Post 48 page 2:


Unfortunately there could be serial attackers who might not even try to repent after being caught. In the case of the Norway mass shooting Breivik was not only remorseless but was still attempting to incite others to commit further hate crimes in court. His unapologetic attitude is an implied threat that he’d be willing to attempt to do it again if he was given the chance. I think rehabilitation can incorporate the idea of reverse reasoning when it comes to such uncooperative perpetrators. No it’s not about the active deterrence of others. A proportional judicial response is about being neutral and passive towards any unrelated criminals. It focuses solely on how to deal with the specific perpetrator who committed the crime. But sadly a disproportionately lenient response to the likes of Breivik might inadvertently be seen as a vulnerability or an incentive by other potential attackers who subscribe to these sinister ideologies.

The Christchurch mass shooter was influenced by Breivik's ideology and Breivik's repeated public statements of remorselessness worsens the risk of macabre followers. Some people say not to even mention their name to reduce notoriety. This might be helpful in recognising the unspeakable amount of evil they inflicted but I still think we've to sometimes say who they are for clarity so people know exactly who we're talking about. Perhaps we could get into a habit of naming them once at the beginning of a conversation and thereafter refer to them by the location name followed by the adjective mass shooter so as to avoid repetition. Although naming them is also necessary so the public understand the ideology they were motivated by as well as their personal characteristics so we understand the risk factors of their biographical profile. Moreover always avoiding their name risks creating an impression of an insurmountable threat such the fictional character of Voldemort under the designation of "he who shall not be named".

#23 page 1 and #57 page 3:


Although both are dire crimes there’s an immense distinction between murder and serial murder. Even working within the framework of Norway’s restorative model there’s a mismatch in that Breivik would of got a similar sentence to a criminal who killed just one person. I understand Norway’s stance against the death penalty. Their commitment to objectivity and self-control is commendable. But a very grim way to rephrase his horrific crime is that he permanently confined 77 innocent victims into jail cells the size of a coffin. I think a three-room house arrest will be inadequate to change the mindset of this terrorist. Sometimes the medicine for an illness is painful and has side-effects so the way to cure psychopaths like him is intense confinement in my opinion. Without much display of self-awareness one can only assume he’s the same violent person as he was when the attack was carried out. Restorative justice can include the notion of tough love. The sanctity of human life recognises that evil people can repent or die of natural causes without in any way attributing sanctity to evil people themselves and their sacrilegious actions. Serial killers are not unconscious or non-rational animals even though their crimes might sometimes be dubbed animalistic. Norway might not like the notion of deterrence but they've managed to deter me from supporting such a lenient and complacent response to an atrocious individual. Anyway I still support how well-funded their general prison system is. Some prisoners in other countries unfairly receive extra punishment through poor hygiene, cold or sweltering air temperatures, crowded conditions and even threatening behaviour from fellow inmates. This wasn't part of their judicial sentence which should only refer to a loss of freedom or confinement. Poor nutrition for example seems like a pointless punishment. This means a shorter sentence at a bad prison could be worse in punishment to a longer sentence at a well-resourced jail. Should a prison-rape victim be released from jail due to the horror of the unofficial punishment? So I'm not all negative towards Scandanavian rehabilitation models.

The Atlantic: “Norwegian far-right monster Anders Breivik... received 21 years in prison for his attacks last year, including a bombing in Oslo and a cold-blooded shooting spree, which claimed 77 lives. That's just under 100 days per murder. The decision, reached by the court's five-member panel, was unanimous. He will serve out his years (which can be extended) in a three-room cell with a TV, exercise room, and "Ikea-style furniture."


(Post number 90, page 4.)

Fairness is a two-way street. We can’t scapegoat or exaggerate the threat posed by a particular person. By the way I’ve never heard anyone more obsessed about the word “homeowner” than America! I hardly ever see it used in crime articles in Ireland or Europe. I heard a joke about one of my deceased relatives who was bursting to use the bathroom but they mixed up the houses when they visited my grandparents. That could have been even more tense if it was in America.

You don’t even need to leave a voice message; just ring yourself with pretend threats and you’ll intimidate anyone that overhears you!

The forum below seemed to have crashed for a while and so I'll repost its content here. I'd gotten one or two short replies to each link with one commentator saying my provocation defence article was an "excellent OP". https://www.politicsisle.com/threads/death-penalty-alternatives.1229/


The forum reappeared after a month with my threads gone. Not exactly sure what happened.

Renewed Thread:


Deleted thread photos:

I might keep a spare copy here in cases it ever crashes again:

Download PDF • 1.55MB

A blog of links is handy to save storage space on the website. Moreover debate forums are a perfect medium to get people's opinions. Once you've a few different threads then that will be a critical mass to keep forming new ideas in an upward spiral! I'm always careful to reference all of my work with quotes; not because I'm being corrected by a teacher but simply that there's a risk my internet links will break over time!



PS: I never went to law school. I did junior cert CSPE if that’s any consolation!

I had these walkie-talkies when I was a young child. They often picked up the signal for the builders talking to each other in the back of the estate. One day after dinner I heard them and started cursing into the walkie-talkie. The boss got angry and began threatening the employee with getting him fired as he didn’t know it was me. I tuned out so I’m not sure how they resolved it. I was too young to know any better!

Any defence given in verse format will be viewed as an additional mitigating factor:


(Eminem - Stan)

I was checking over my blog links so I spent the last half-hour listening to Stan and the Sopranos murder compilation. I didn't realise there was another guest in the room so I've truly no idea what type of person they're expecting me to be.

Needless to say there'll be a full acquittal on offer for those who confess to their crime in a music video presentation:


(No Doubt -It's My Life)

(For some political correctness I felt I should counterbalance a male killer song with a female killer song!)

The insanity defence would require more of a heavy metal vibe to convince the jury:


(Papercut - Linkin Park)

I don't want to give the wrong impression; I'm not saying I'd never be provoked into committing a crime. It's simply that I wouldn't expect to be let off the hook if I fell down that path!

I was late for class after being at a hurling match. Two people ahead of me were sent out and warned me to say sorry and not just to walk blasé into class. I did so and got a big round of applause from the class. It was a week later when the other two snitched that they'd told me to say sorry and the entire class gasped!

What better way to test your resilience than to deliberately get lost in a foreign city? I was feeling overconfident so I decided to let my phone go out of battery before finding my way back to the hotel. I couldn't ask anyone for directions because I don't speak Portuguese and didn't even bother to remember the name of the hotel. There's no cheating allowed for the sake of your own self-esteem. I was to test my orientation skills and rely on my general sense of direction to navigate to the other side of the city. Unfortunately it took me at least 4 hours to locate it because I didn't recognise the square it was beside from different vantage points. It was embarrassing because I passed by the top of the road at least 3 times and it was after 2am on return. When I checked Google Maps afterwards I could see that I was searching in all the wrong places miles away!

Well, well, well. My memory of the police arrest programmes on TV sunk in. Sometimes you’ve got to assert your authority around the house(!):

(Her exaggerated crying was in anger and incitement that she didn't get to attack me rather than it being out of sadness. I was confused at first by her apparent emotion of fear when it was herself who was on the offensive. I think it was merely an attempt to vilify me as being violent even though I was non-threatening. She sneered continuously with a contorted expression. Staring in fear isn't just a defensive sensation and it can also be used as a threat of vigilance in preparing and psyching yourself up to fight. She was roaring at the very top of her voice. If that's not verbal assault then I don't know what is. She was trying to destabilise me with an extremely high pitch. They were insulting me where my sister was expressing how much she hates me and to get me out while my mother was trying to console them by ridiculing me as "sick" and warned them that I was "angry". The way she responded so drastically to a simple request to leave me alone is a sign her accusations were deceitful.)

We’ve to control our emotions against any agitated and melodramatic siblings!

No I don’t need a taxi! After packing my bags a few times and having fallen out with my temperamental parents and many relatives, I’ve inadvertently become an expert on the trustworthiness of apologies! I learned the hard way. We sometimes got on quite well and I gave them a dozen second-chances even though they could be dismissive and unhelpful. But I’d to leave them for good after they started pushing and shouting. It was very prolonged. I'd told them in the kitchen that I didn't want to stay with them any longer because they were ignoring me. But they became hysterically aggressive and they wouldn't let me leave until they voiced their thorough hatred of me. My father leapt off his seat and tried to push me with his chest. I blocked him with my hand and told him to stay downstairs while I packed my bags. After a minute had passed he followed me upstairs. He approached me looking pensive while I was in my bedroom. Then he suddenly grabbed me, tried to shake me and bent forward as he screamed in my ear to never come back. He repeated that same line 3 or 4 times. He was snarling in a really deep and unnaturally fast voice. It was in a threatening manner right in my face. I managed to shout back at him to get out and he retreated to the door. My mother and sister were with him and blocked off the entrance. They were ganging up on me and screeching. I found the combination of their starkly different, weird and hedonistic facial expressions to be very confusing and overwhelming. All three of them were inciting each other and bracing themselves. They tried to stare me down really intensely and angrily. My father assumed a wide-eyed expression. I felt cornered and managed to close the door on them. It was an outburst of unjustified anger about nothing at all. Their wild and unpredictable behaviour caused me a lot of uncertainty. I remembered my disagreement with the provocation defence and avoided escalation! I immediately realised that I lacked sufficient evidence should the situation have gotten worse. It was only after much of the incident was over that I managed to pull out my phone and record them as a warning. I don't habitually have my phone on the ready and couldn't have recorded the incident as it unfolded. My father walked back to his room in self-pity. I quickly packed and my mother wouldn't stop following me until I'd left the front garden. They knew I'd have to leave them for a long time and that's why they did it. It was them who tried to deter me as much as they could from ever returning.

My mother was smirking at me and invading my personal space. It's harder to say a person was confused by their stress during an altercation when they've an expression of contentment as opposed to anger seeing as it implies deep indifference and vengefulness. Although I don't think a jury could appreciate the sarcasm in a smile. Should anything have happened I'd have been outnumbered 3 to 1 for witnesses. What would a court do when the victim is falsely accused of provocation but by a larger number of people? It's one person's word against another. That's the problem when you're alone and against a group. It's one reason why we've to be proportionate and unaggressive. Moreover a prolonged scowling expression of disgust can feel intensely threatening and demeaning even though it's mute and leaves no evidence whatsoever. Insults don't always sound harmful on paper but in person they could make you feel like a bad person and it takes a lot of willpower to overcome any lingering doubts or guilt. I wasn't sure whether their intention was to launch an attack or whether they were instead trying to get me arrested if I'd to defend myself. A few days afterwards I met my younger sister and father at the bus station who both looked away with a blank face. The next week my father sent me a text saying while they were at fault for the escalation that I'd also to accept some blame and responsibility for what happened. The pushing was unprovoked and in my view I'd been very charitable to them by offering so many second chances. In the months afterwards they approached me several times on the street telling me to come back but it was insincere because I'd already told them to stay away from me. They kept approaching me and following me down the road. They didn't keep any distance away from me. My father was saying sorry and somehow he didn't see the contradiction in tugging me on the arm or pulling up in the car right beside me. They wouldn't even think of using another person as an intermediary or writing a letter to arrange a meeting. I'd to ring them to tell them I'd have to push them away if they try to intimidate me. I got very angry because I knew by contacting them there was a risk they'd incite me further. If they're already warned then you don't need a restraining order to prevent people coming to you repeatedly without your permission. I did try to go to the gardai to get them to warn my parents by phone instead of me doing so. However they replied it was a civil matter and to go to a solicitor even though I wasn't looking to press charges. I viewed the loss of my friendship as enough punishment and went easy on them! Anyway I managed to de-escalate the shouting incident. Although someone else shouting like that to a stranger on the street could very well see them put in jail for a few weeks.

One reason I was so wary of ever trusting them again is because I was uncertain about the extent of their hostility. Had I not managed to push them back and close the door on them, what would've happened? It's a counterfactual so I don't know for certain. Were they just trying to push me around? Or if I let my guard down would they have attacked me further? Or else did they each forget how invasive they appeared when their individual actions are multiplied by the three of them? Did they know themselves what they wanted to do or were they confused? People are innocent until proven guilty so I won't over-emphasise what didn't happen. Older adults might not realise that their greater experience in life can come across as extreme hyperfocus during a heated argument. Whatever their actual intentions were I was in fear due to their raging emotions. I'd say it was at least 20 minutes of worry from the first push to the time I was out of view in the estate. I'd actually rank this episode to be worse than the time my phone was robbed by a group of teenagers. I got the impression that at least they might obey some kind of street code where as my parents were just in a frenzy! The shouting incident was likely worse than all of the previous incidents with them. Thus despite their apologies their moods had actually gotten worse.

I realised I'd been misreading their behaviour all along. My father became manipulative. He'd hide behind cluelessness where he'd say the incident never happened and then just he'd just ignore me. When he was questioned he'd always lie that he was sorry without actually saying what he was sorry for. Or else he'd keep repeating himself and go around in circles. I might advise or prompt him what to say if he seemed unsure where he'd begrudgingly parrot it back and I felt like I was apologising to myself. Meanwhile my mother would cheerfully say sorry for an incident and state what happened without really saying why she was sorry. Weeks later they'd take it back and say they actually weren't sorry. I always knew something was off where in retrospect it was obvious they didn't sound sad or upset when they said sorry. It appeared more defensive than genuine and they never elaborated on it but anyway I somehow felt morally obliged to accept their apology. They often sounded sorry more for themselves in being asked to apologise. I made a mistake in ignoring the emotional tone of the apology where I only focused on the content of what was said. If I told them to say it like they mean it they might say the same thing in a more tense voice. When you tell one lie you've then got to tell more lies just to cover up previous lies so the whole saga continued endlessly. How can you trust someone when there has been an infinite regress of lying about having not lied?! It's almost gotten to the stage where they could apologise for previous fake apologies! In fact the amount of time-wasting was almost worse than the initial incidents. They might get frustrated if I even mentioned it and accuse me of being obsessive. I thought at first they were just a bit anxious or insecure so I gave them more time but then the coercive incidents would repeat and they were well able to socially interact with others so I became more suspicious. They were very intelligent but when they responded to my questions about these incidents they'd temporarily play dumb. Another one of their tactics was to equivocate by contradicting themselves. For example they'd accept full responsibility but add that they'd always the right intentions and just made a mistake. So they'd accept what they did was wrong and yet they'd still maintain that they were never ill-intentioned. The whole affair was almost becoming an epic! I remember my religion teacher at school despised the words "just" or "only" when someone was apologising for forgetting homework! My parents often added in defensive understatements that they thought they were only trying to help or that it was only their emotions and not their thoughts that got the better of them. They said about the shouting incident how they acted silly or immaturely in a self-effacing way without really acknowledging the severity of the threat they caused. Shouting by accident doesn't make sense because it requires energy. I literally told them numerous times to stop and they refused to do so. If they were experiencing uncontrollable emotions then they could've asked me to leave and come back later. Saying they didn't know the risk of stress doesn't add up when they were warned before each incident. Besides, a true accident tends not to re-occur multiple times seeing as a person would normally be alert after remembering the previous one. Offering a half-hearted partial apology isn't acceptable when they've had such a long period of time to think it through. They'd every trick in the book where they'd claim that nothing they say will work and then use it as an excuse to not to say anything at all. Otherwise they'd give really short and curt apologies where they'd never openly apologise for everything and just give slow and superficial drip-drip statements instead. If someone is really motivated to express remorse for serious incidents then at the very least they'd hardly be running out of things to say after the first few sentences. Spending little time thinking about what they're going to say shows a real lack of effort and commitment. I'm not trying to be difficult but saying a one-worded "sorry" or a few vague statements doesn't really work when past apologies were broken. They'd even state emphatically that they'd do anythying they could to change the past if they were able to. Yet all the parts of the apology were never said in one interaction. My father could really annoy me where I'd ask him about his apology and then he'd state that he already said sorry where he wouldn't have to prove it any further. If I got angry with him for ignoring me then he'd try not to interact with me on the basis I was angry. It just seemed a bit smart-alec. It'd be as if I was being arrogant by asking him to apologise. Or what if we tried empathy in reverse? Had I shouted at someone then this wouldn't be the way I'd go about expressing my remorse. Just how ill-intentioned would I have to be in order to motivate myself to carry out the shouting incident to someone else?

Early one morning they were threatening to call the police on a made-up assault claim if I didn't attend a new school meeting but then months later they couldn't remember it and said I was confused and had hallucinated the incident. Sometimes they tried to mix it up with another imagined incident somewhere else when we were supposedly driving back from holidays in Kerry. When I was in hospital years ago they went to a meeting with my psychiatrist and lied where they got him to say that I had hallucinated everything. My Indian psychiatrist was attentive and helpful but disagreed with my attitude towards my parents and said I was obsessed about such "trivial" complaints. He might have been deceived by my parents because they tried to convince him. I was patient with my parents because I initially thought they were so ashamed of the incident that they were just embarrassed to admit it happened. Judging by later behaviour though it was clearly only their attempt to ignore me further. He said once how in fact it did happen but emphasised that he didn't actually call the police. It was as if he felt that it was acceptable to threaten me so long as he didn't actually act on the threat. He apologised years later and of course he later took it back and said that it never happened. He engaged in continuous lying where he'd sometimes say whatever he thought I wanted him to say. He'd even offer me advice or book counselling sessions and claim that I was suffering PTSD. Indeed I was stressed but I was stressed only at his behaviour. On one occasion he said a prayer for us to heal. Whenever I asked him to apologise he'd always say that I was vengeful and obsessive because it was stretching on for so long even though the only reason I'd to keep asking him was because he kept lying. Obviously if he was honest the first time then I would've never needed to ask him again. I'd almost solve the world's most intractable problems just by dealing with my parents! My father was unnaturally averse to apologising and one time alleged hysterically that I was asking him to get down on his knees and beg for forgiveness. Or else he'd give mock apologies and ask me repeatedly if I respected him. Maybe he felt invincible and viewed apologising as a sign of subservience or weakness. Or perhaps he was simply too afraid to own up to his mistakes. Sometimes he could be kind and compassionate but other times he could be a silly and condescending person. My father's personality seemed to change over the years where he could be increasingly quick-tempered when I was in my late teens even though he was always calm when I was a child. Some of his behaviour didn't vibe with his former self where his relaxed nature became more inattentive in tone. Maybe the ageing process made him stress more often.

They got panicked sometimes and overreacted. With apparent kindness my mother offered to clear out my apartment while I was in hospital saying that my landlord was reselling it only to realise weeks later that it was in fact my mother who had asked the landlord to end the lease. I had tried to reduce my interaction with them previously by renting elsewhere because they often behaved well during short visits. I was one year in a rented studio room. There might be periods where I was speaking to my mother and not my father or else it could be vice versa. It was as if they took it in turns to deal with me. The risk is if you spend too long with someone who has unpredictable behaviour then they might take you for granted. I briefly fell out with both of them together but they knocked on the door of my rental studio early one morning with sad faces and perhaps a tear. They asked me to give them another chance and I obliged. I was being deceived since they didn't give a detailed apology yet judging by their expressions I hoped for the best. I don't know why someone would want to be loving one day and uninterested the next unless they just enjoyed the melodrama.

One reason I was so uncertain about them is that they also went through these longer phases. In 2nd year of secondary school I was often with my mother and sister in the house because my father worked in Dublin for several days each week. My mother and sister were often cross and mute where my mother didn't initially say happy birthday when I was 16. Then in 4th year my mother's attitude towards me seemed to really improve. I wasn't sure if it was my father who convinced her to change but I was much happier with her. We often got on very well where we'd frequently bring the dog for a walk together and I thought our relationship would stay very positive. For years it was going relatively good but I could tell that they were slowly slipping back to their old ways in the months before I had to leave them. My parents visited me while I was in hospital and bought me food shopping so I thought afterwards that they changed for good and they were always going to be nice and so it was a big shock to me that they later regressed. In hindsight they didn't actually visit me as much as I thought they had. I arranged to visit my father in Athlone where my mother drove me up and yet she refused to book a room in a hotel for us to chat and I was left wandering outside for a long time. Nonetheless I'd extra appreciation for their company in hospital because it was sometimes quiet in there. I was thankful that they drove me to the hospital the first time after my panic attack. I didn't know at first how grateful I should be. Had they not drove me down then I wouldn't have received all of the help from the staff. Yet a car journey is a relatively straightforward affair where the rest of the stay was serendipitous to some extent. These are the grey areas when we think about remorse. I was in such stress that any help at all seemed like a godsend. I was 4 years in subsidised accommodation even though it was initially intended for me to stay there no more than 6 weeks. I stayed at my parents house over Christmas periods each year but was never confident about returning for longer stints. I felt a better option was to just hang out with them for a few hours every weekend. Usually I'd skip the first 20 minutes of mass on Sundays and meet them for a coffee afterwards!

We're mortal so after 6 months I gave them an opportunity and briefly tried to have a small, distant friendship with them but it didn't work out. I eventually realised that they were saying sorry just so they could lull me back and have an opportunity to reject me again a few days later. They might fail to reply or take a minute to think of an incident that they were meant to be saying sorry for. It'd be strange for a repentant person to take self-indulgent breaks during an apology. It forced me to reinterpret my understanding of the Christian notion to be forever forgiving. The best I could do was give them chances but I can't sacrifice my life waiting around for them to be honest. I tried to get them to change and failed. I've invested a lot of time trying to be friendly with them but if I return to them and were another incident to occur after a few months then that will be another long time with them wasted. What if I were to sustain a physical injury if they ever resurrected their anger? Another disruptive incident could cause me much stress. Even if there won't be another major incident there might still be a risk of frustration if they start ignoring me or lying to me again. When I forgave them in the past I could detect that they weren't very grateful for me doing so. One time I forgave my father and we went for a walk in the woods afterwoods. Yet he felt no hesitation at all in criticising me about my career choices even though we were literally just back friends. Another time I forgave him and he offered to give me a lift back to my hometown. However he picked up my sister as well even though he knew the two of us weren't getting along at the time. These instances just seemed very presumptuous for someone who claimed he had missed me so much in the hours beforehand. I didn't decide to leave out of one incident in isolation but rather it's the repetition of incidents that show a lack of care. Previously my mother wrote me a letter in which the apology was two lines and the remaining pages were only about herself, her extended family and casual small talk. If they're not sorry then I 'd almost prefer them to say so than to waste my time pretending that they are. You can't force people to say sorry since they won't stick to it.

A year after the fracas I retried contacting them. I told them we could have a distant relationship where I might ring them rarely as an acquaintance so long as they were willing to explain themselves. Minimal contact isn't too much of a risk. They said they were sorry and that they were thinking about me for the year. Yet they soon showed indifference in that they spoke in a tired and unmotivated way. My father's tone of voice was almost blasé as if he were speaking to a work colleague. Everything they said seemed like they were making it up on the spot. The inconsistencies of their statements began to appear. They even blamed me for not being able to speak with me to apologise even though I had to avoid them because they were so rude in the instances that we did communicate. I could tell that they weren't thoroughly remorseful by their hesitation. My mother asked how I was and pretended to chat even though I was asking her to say sorry. She wasn't being serious and asked if she could fly over to meet me when I was away. It seemed like she was trying to laugh it off in an upbeat voice. She still insisted that she was only trying to offer me a lift even though she knew that she was intimidating me by coming near me and entering into my room. She didn't mind threatening me with my father and sister but somehow she expected me to believe that she actually cared about me getting a cheaper lift with her. She'd overheard my father shouting at me and had tried to block me leaving. She also brought in my clothes right after the confrontation as a sarcastic excuse to come right beside me. Yet when I told her this she dismissed it and claimed she was merely acting a bit childish at the time.

If someone is slightly honest then I think you only need to slightly forgive them. They seemed somewhat less insincere than the previous attempt but it didn't seem like they'd undergone any major conversion. I told them I wasn't yet willing to restart any contact with them but that I didn't dislike them as much as I used to. I added that if they ever find it in them to be wholeheartedly apologetic then we could resume a distant sort of contact. I also advised them to write down their thoughts so that they'll know what they want to say. I've to be analytical because we don't have an unlimited reserve of resilience, patience or recovery and so the frustration of dealing with temperamental people can risk undermining your own emotional stability. Anyway incident plus year and a half my father eventually emailed me a more substantive apology. It was over a page long so I decided to restart slight contact through post or phone but I don't think we'll be meeting in person anytime soon. The time away was a sufficient warning even if I can't be certain that he's 100% sorry. I rang him after his email to ensure his speech was consistent with what he wrote. My mother rejected the opportunity and didn't immediately reply to my email. If she hasn't changed her attitude after such a long period of time then it's unlikely she'll change drastically in the near future. A month later she sent a more helpful apology and I said we can be slight friends. For almost two years I never received any attempted apology from my sister and only bare assertions from my father that she was in some way remorseful. The fact that my father made little attempt to talk to my mother or sister about their behaviour places a limit on how much I can accept him back into my life. An elderly assistant told me how both her parents are dead and we've to appreciate them or we might not get another chance. I agreed with her sentiment but at the same time children aren't immortal and the responsibility also extends in the other direction! When I say hello to them I'll address them by their first names until I'm more confident in them because they weren't always proper parents.

To be honest I'd made a few defensive mistakes. I should've left immediately instead of packing my bags in order to have reduced the risk of them following me upstairs. I knew there was a slight chance that they'd break their apology by perhaps being rude but I thoroughly underestimated the risk of a physical altercation. Previously I'd tentatively re-friended them on a trial period but I should've kept more of a distance at the beginning instead of being back home with them for the week. Some of my past impatience towards them was due to a lack of help but seeing as I was becoming more independent I felt that this would no longer be an issue anymore. I was too optimistic and naive in accepting so many untrustworthy apologies. I was often a bit isolated in the past and so I was always tempted to meet back up with them. This is why having a wide circle of alternative friends could help buffer a troubled friendship. I always assumed that he had temporary bouts of insecurity but the way he shouted made it clear that he was demeaning my own experience of insecurity. Ironically they thought I should let them off the hook for the way they didn't withstand a few moments of stress when they pretty much humiliated me for my months of anxiety. When he shouted it seemed like it was his extreme anger that had made him anxious rather than it being the other way round. It was as if his rage put him in a trance because I'd never seen him act so bad before. I think he often had sleepless nights that would aggravate his stress. He also seemed to have stressful periods at work where he sometimes had to do irregular hours. The problem though is that while this might account for some of his impatience, it fails to excuse the extended timeframe of ignoring me. After all he wasn't working every day of every year.

Additionally I made a few personal mistakes. I used to dwell a lot after I left them and often felt angry. Instead I should focus more on adjusting well to my current goals so that I'm less tempted to think of them so frequently. Besides, we cannot know for certain the inner reasons why people behave one way or another. Unless they choose to verbalise their feelings the most we can do is hazard a guess seeing as we can't read their mind. It can cause a lot of headaches when you try to rationally analyse the irrational actions of others. The week before my parents yelled at me they'd discussed each incident and said they regretted it. So logically it can only be the case that either they'd a sudden change of mind afterwards or else they were mostly lying while they said it. The fact that the week passed quietly until the screaming started strongly implies they were being dishonest when they claimed they were contrite. I recall my mother giving me a lift where she seemed untalkative and monosyllabic. My father would ignore me when I asked him to clarify the apology he had given me since I'd to double check he was still on board. They appeared tired of me instead of being happy that I'd given them another chance. They were distant towards me in the days before the shouting. I had told them I didn't like them anymore in a non-threatening manner for how they were behaving in the moments before their hateful and degrading tirade.

At least the incident just so happened to serve as a case study for my provocation thread! They inadvertently taught me how to be patient and to stand up for myself! I can't guarantee we won't keep falling out again. When someone is found to have been mostly lying in every apology they've previously given you then it's hard to fully believe them when they repeat the exact same apology. I regret being so dependent on them in the past and I should have formed my plans without expecting their support. My father often made me ask him again and again for help where he'd pretend that he was considering it. He really burdened me because he kept telling me to ask him in a weeks time where after months he'd never give a clear answer. Sometimes he even replied that he couldn't because he claimed he had to help my sisters instead. For example when I asked him about going to a grinds school he replied that he wouldn't because he was going to send my younger sister there in the future instead. She never asked to go and it was only his attempt to pit us against each other. That might sound petty but it was just the negative tone that bothered me.

I tried to be patient and optimistic because we were once great friends where they gave me lifts, cooked me meals, bought me presents, went on nice drives each weekend and also annual holidays. I'd often go hiking or play tennis with my father. My mother always helped me with my chores. Another way they helped me was with occasional financial allowances. I was confused about whether I should let it go even if they weren't sorry. That's what I tried doing. I never actually asked them to make up for an incident because I felt that if they were half-sorry then they'd gradually pay it back in emotional support if we stayed together. Maybe I should've demanded more collateral upfront! I wasn't sure how indebted I was to them for having had a pleasant childhood. Parents are an almost inescapable part of your identity where they've raised you for so long. In all honesty my objectivity is limited because I'd be less conflicted about having to estrange myself from a person outside of my family. I'm not happy to leave anyone and I do wish they were nicer in the past where we would still be friends. Some people however just prefer being selfish. I'm not sure how sincere they were even when they appeared loving given just how much they'd ignore me when I was angry with them. Maybe some of their kindness when I was younger was for cultural reasons. How friendly would they have been if I met them from another family?! We only know our parents as adults and don't know much about their childhood. Another reason I was patient towards them is that I knew they had slightly stressful periods in their past that are confidential to them. But sometimes people slowly change for the worse over many years and there's nothing we can do about it. It's my worry about potential future incidents rather than just my anger at past incidents that makes me cautious about fully returning to them. I'm not trying to be vengeful by reducing contact but I've to counterbalance two opposing principles: to be forgiving while also erring on the side of caution. The dilemma is that we're encouraged to be merciful but we're also warned that it's better to be safe than sorry! It can be saddening when I think of the potential amount of happiness we could have all had together in the time lost but we can't make the decisions of others. When you reach adulthood your parents can feel less responsible for you such that any previous pretence of friendliness can disappear quite quickly.

Long-term friendships can be beset by a series of minor incidents that have an exhausting and accumulative effect rather than a single major incident. There were a lot of these smaller incidents where they might try to embarrass me, pressurise me or undermine my goals. I used to put it down to them merely being confused but I can now see from later incidents that it was really out of ill-intention. Sometimes they'd conceal hostility in the guise of help. For example they tried locking me in my room and then the house until I would agree to go to a 4 month stay in a hospital in Dublin but I managed to escape them over the garden fence. They started doing more harm than good overall. They gave me bad advice during my study for the leaving cert where they wouldn't allow me to self-study more often even though I was falling behind. When I left my leaving cert my father was constantly panicking and waking me up in the middle of the night. Even though it was me who should've been upset by the exams, I was actually forced into a position of having to console my father who appeared to be depressed. I tolerated it at first because I thought he had anxiety and was just worried about me but I soon realised by his hateful accusations that he was just using it as an excuse to seriously harass me. They'd accuse me of being ungrateful and imply that they preferred my siblings by saying they'd help them instead of me. It wasn't actually them that funded me and yet they claimed that I'd wasted their money. My mother said that my sister's friend was better than me for going to university. My father started ringing up my school about my exams and tried to turn it into a fiasco. I eventually forgave them because they used to help me with pocket money during my school years. Later my father would book career guidance sessions and tell me never to ask him for anything ever again if I wouldn't go with him. I went easy on them because they gave me free accommodation and they kept me company. On second thought do we really owe our parents for this?! I might have made a mistake in not being more assertive with them in the beginning because I always imagined that they'd improve. Had I somehow known in advance that they were only going to keep getting worse then I would have left them much earlier. We knew each other so long that I never envisioned having to end our friendship. In other incidents my father didn't say no and instead always lied that he was going to do something only to cancel in the last moment. He booked interviews in Dublin for an Open University course and agreed to be a guarantor for a loan and then waited until the deadlines had passed. It was frustrating and extortionate but he'd think nothing of doing these type of things. I didn't immediately have the funds to leave my parents' house after my leaving cert but I was trying to leave because they were being unkind. I was so desperate that I was even considering living in a car. Yet years later my father disparaged me when he spoke of me living in a car in a really silly voice. I was at an airport where he made up a whole story about speaking to a manager and got me to leave a queue for ticket resales only to be delayed for 5 hours in having to re-join the queue. I'd warned him beforehand that there was an enormous queue forming behind me and that I was almost at the desk but he convinced me to leave. I rang him afterwards and told him the assistant never heard of his verbal confirmation. I asked my father the name of the manager he spoke to and he went blank. I was half thinking of getting a flight back home instead of going on a holiday out to see him. It wasn't just that he had hassled me so much but that the lies were also insulting in how he was trying make a fool of me. I phoned him again where he jumbled his words and acted like he had never made me leave the queue. I forgave him even though he didn't say sorry solely because it was himself who had paid for the ticket. I flew out to him where he was nice for the remainder of the holiday. When someone is always mean it can be straightforward to avoid them but it's when the person has mixed good and bad behaviour like my parents that it can become very confusing in how to respond. Sometimes passive-aggressiveness can be worse than blatant, active aggression because it can be more time-consuming and it's easier to conceal it as being unintentional. Unfortunately my father can struggle to understand basic empathy. He bought himself an apartment to lease out to others and then deceived my grandmother that it was for me. I had to kindly decline my grandmother's offer of thousands of euros to help with a mortgage and had to explain to her that he was lying. I'd told him from the beginning that I didn't want it and he never consulted me. It was nothing more than a ploy. They often tried to make me feel guilty where they'd claim I was extorting them and being selfish. I remember going on a tennis holiday after my junior cert for a week that I paid for myself. My parents however had thoroughly vilified me in the months beforehand where I couldn't get a lot of enjoyment out of the break because I felt so stressed. When I challenged him about his behaviour afterwards he denied that much was said. He also engaged in favouritism by openly supporting the holidays of others later on. My mother gave me a backhanded compliment how she knows that I'd never hit her when I never once threatened to do so. We were heading up to a relative's wedding where my parents were giving me unwanted advice and telling me to "shut up". My mother and older sister were in a fit about being late. The only reason I stayed with them was because I was worried they'd be angry to my father if I wasn't with him. It didn't occur to them how inappropriately they behaved but they relaxed as the evening progressed. I think I would have been a bit happier as a teenager had they only acted nicer. I was getting a reward for tennis at school where I was slightly frustrated that my mother didn't collect me on time. She thoroughly lambasted me and decided to stop and accelerate the car repeatedly before I could get out. The problem is that it's very hard to enjoy the rest of the evening after something like that even if they're no longer with you. Anyway the list goes on! I better not write down every little incident or I'll end up writing a book!

Eventually I'd to stop seeing my aunt, psychologist and life coach who all disagreed with me! I told my aunt about the incident who later decided to join in. I was walking back from tennis when she drove past me and angrily claimed I was a few minutes late. She was scowling and I felt she was getting frustrated over nothing. But when we got back to her house her bad behaviour continued. She dismissed my experience of mental illness and my "anxiety". Then she'd carry in my bags to make it look as though I was the aggressor where I'd have to go back in and get them off her. When I did so she was poking me hard and saying a wry sorry each time. That could be yet another potential problem with provocation and physical proximity even when it's from a smaller person where someone would be framed for a crime. It confused me as she was very helpful in the past and helped pay for my school in Galway for the year but people can change their temperament very quickly. I think she was trying to copy my mother by following me around without my permission. She said sorry weeks later but it was in a defiant and argumentative manner where she'd minimise what happened and demand that I accept it. I met her again a month after where she was at another relative's house and she just chased me around asking if I wanted a cup of tea and ignored my requests for her to step back. She used to make me dinners each Sunday and so I was surprised by her sudden indifference. We often went on trips together when I was younger so I'd have naturally viewed her as a good friend. She said one or two underhand things that peeved me in the past but I let it go because she was usually friendly. She once claimed I was too self-aware to be anxious, repeated flippant statements about my struggle with shin splints saying that I was too young to have muscle aches and other times she became really hostile towards me about my hygiene where she'd reject me as a friend if I wouldn't allow her to follow me around with deodorant. She followed suit with my mother and sent me an email months later asking how I was doing as if nothing had happened between us. In other words it was my fault that we weren't speaking in her view.

I used to get on well with my psychologist for a long time. She helped me understand interpersonal skills. But then all of a sudden she started bringing up the subject of my parents in each session against my will. She'd ignore my comments, ask the same questions repeatedly and just accuse me of being obsessive. She said that other people had gone through worse as if it were some kind of masochist competition! Even though I showed her the video of my parent's behaviour she'd still give blunt orders for me to meet up with them without ever bothering to give an explanation as to why I should. At that time I had told my father that he could attend therapy or perhaps do a small bit of volunteering to show he was serious about improving his behaviour. I had given my psychologist permission to speak with my parents and she implied that my parents didn't want to go to therapy because they were viewing me as the problem. Despite this my psychologist was still adamant that I meet up with them. She had read my blog too so I don't know if she disagreed with me over that. Whatever her reasons she didn't listen to my warnings to change topic and after several sessions of this I'd to end our meetings.

My life coach was pleasant at first. She gave me advice on career paths. But then she offered to talk with my parents under the guise of mediation. She reported that my parents said that not much happened in the shouting incident and that I was exaggerating it even though they were saying sorry to me in the weeks beforehand. Afterwards she changed her mind and seemed to agree with them saying that she was a parent herself. I'd to stop seeing her after she repeatedly urged me in each appointment to accept their offer of renting an apartment. I told her we could still be friends but I'd to end the meetings. She was generous by offering me all of the appointments we had for free as part of her training and so I didn't want to blame her. They could all be very nice but they became too judgemental. People can be biased when they're also friendly with your adversaries and didn't see the incident first-hand.

People say to love your family and ideally that would always be true but it's much harder when others don't always reciprocate. They say we don't get to choose our family and I suppose that means they're really just random people. Nature determines our fellow family members. It's almost like young children are genetically hard-wired to love their parents. Therefore it's very hard to break the evolutionary bond. They weren't always a caring family and having finally recovered from my mental illness I'd then to start recovering again from their threatening antics. They ended up aggravating all the problems that I already had seeing as I was looking for rent and changing life plans when they decided that now was the time to push me out of the family. It's a lonesome feeling for the length of time you've to avoid your parents where it almost makes you feel orphaned. I imagine people born into large families must probably have a master's degree equivalent in crisis management and conflict resolution! It’s safe to say a few situations went a bit beyond them! I remember trying to study and sometimes I’d hear dance beats humming in the background from my sister’s room. I used to try to block it out with white noise or earmuffs. My parents usually allowed her to turn it up and so I used to always go to my grandmother's house for homework in secondary school. At this stage I’m so accustomed to studying under adverse conditions that thankfully I’m less distractable and can study on the move! My sisters never interacted a lot with me so I'm not sure how much difference it makes to them that they left me in 2020. My parents often allowed them to dislike me. I sometimes got on well with my sisters but our different ages meant we were never extremely close. At least I still get on well with my younger brother, grandmothers and others in my extended family. If anyone else criticises me about my parents then I'll say no more and just direct them to this thesis! I admit it was probably disproportionate of me to have written about them beside the criminal killer section of the blog! I always go public pre-emptively about arguments I've been in so as to give a better first impression before my opponents get a chance to sway people to their side! If everyone had to put their personal relationships online then it might increase their accountability seeing as they won't be able to hide their grudges! The moral of the story is that I was able to protect myself without resorting to a fist fight. If anyone else finds themselves in a peevish family then you'll have to join the club! I met my father briefly after I returned to Ireland from a year and a half abroad. We got on well. He showed me the room he bought and I said I'd only be there temporarily while I was getting my bearings. I told him we can meet up for short periods but we wouldn't be spending days together. After such a long time apart I trust him enough to meet in private. Although we can also meet in a public setting where others are around if I'm ever worried about a repeat of bad behaviour. I also met my aunt for some tea but I wasn't sure if I could trust her enough for me to stay for dinner! I eventually met up with my mother for tea at a café. She tried to cheat my time quotas by filling our interaction with lots of speedy conversation! We agreed that if she keeps up her good behaviour we might be able to meet more frequently in the future even if we won't be quite as close as we once were.

As I already said I accepted his apology and it's fully informed and satisfactory. There's still a tiny tint of ambiguity in just how legalistic the tone is and that I'd also to get him to read this very thread so that he'd know what to reply to. Anyway it's a very trustworthy apology even if it's not quite on a par with St. Paul's change of heart on the road to Damascus.

My aunt is actually a solicitor so she'd be well able to articulate her apology if she wanted to. It's not that I'm an English teacher who wants precisely structured apologies. The problem is that if she's already being evasive in her three-sentence apology, then what hope is there that she'll be remorseful if another incident were to occur in a few months? In the second sentence she simply parrots back my initial question. Her apology isn't proportionate with the amount of stress she caused me. You have to say it like you mean it. Not speaking to someone doesn't always count as a punishment if they don't miss you very much. Giving out is a double-edged sword because it might have no effect if they ignore you or if you overdo it then they might be too upset.

She must've understood that she was bothering me because I told her that directly at the time. She eventually sent me a somewhat more inclusive apology:

I was slightly more isolated for a long time when I first left her where she just sent postcards for Christmases and birthdays. I knew her apologies were tentative when she didn't even mention the way she ignored me since then.

She rang me about the emails and said she had forgotten what she said in the car and that she was sorry. She claimed she didn't know what I wanted her to do during the two years she ignored me even though I'd always made it obvious to her that I wanted her to apologise. Nothing in her argument made sense: she neglected me for so long afterwards because somehow it was more important for me to get accommodation for that one night. I decided to give her a tiny bit of charity. It's possible to not always get on with someone and remain a bit courteous. For instance saying hello doesn't mean I've to have a long chat and meeting up for a long time doesn't mean I've to do it often.

I always thought she was on my side but some people get annoyed very easily. I remember meeting her once where she was getting frustrated to the staff about having her temperature checked for Covid. It was the first time I noticed that she was a bit impatient but I assumed it was just a bad mood. I never thought her short-temper would harden.

I got a few short sentences resembling an apology from my younger sister:

"If I died and it was it was Pluto or Hades and if it was the twelve Greek gods then I would have more truck with it because the Greeks didn't pretend not to be human in their appetites and in their capriciousness and in their unreasonableness. They didn't present themselves as being all seeing, all wise, all kind or beneficent because the God who created this universe if it was created by God is quite clearly a maniac. Utter maniac; totally selfish! We have to spend our life on our knees thanking you? What kind of God would do that? Yes the world is very splendid but

it also has in it insects whose whole life cycle is to burrow into the eyes of children and make them blind. They eat outwards from the eyes. Why did you do that to us?

You could easily have made a creation in which that didn't exist. It is simply not acceptable."

(Stephen Fry on the Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne RTE)

Perhaps we need capricious judges in the colosseum who stick their thumb up for a suspended sentence and down for life sentence without wasting time on objectivity!

Erased post (almost):

Stress can compromise our decision making skills but we still have to control ourselves as inflicting pain on others won't make the stress go away.

You can never know when these debate websites might crash!

It's unfortunate that no warning was given before the site was removed.


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