Saying Sorry I’m not Perfect Deflects from the Point

I never said I was perfect
Lets have a nice cup of coffee and forget all about “it”.

What do people mean when they declare in an exasperated voice “Well sorry! I’m not perfect”

There are different versions of this statement said in different ways, with different voice inflictions so for the purpose of “fog busting”, here are a few of them:

“I’m not perfect” This is stated as though “perfection” is what I am asking for and implying that the problem is not their actions but in fact my expectations.

“Well sorry I’m not perfect”; Stated as a plea to make me sorry that I made this person feel bad. Once again this is turned around on ME indicating that I have done or said the wrong thing and that the problem is actually NOT theirs, but mine.

“I never said I was perfect” Stated a little heavy on the sarcasm indicating that once again I have asked too much and indicating that my expectations are unreasonable as though I am the one who is causing the problem and as though there wouldn’t BE a problem if it were not for me.

“Sorry I am not as perfect as YOU”. This statement also casts the focus back onto ME as the problem person in the relationship for the purpose of getting me to back off on my “overly high expectations”

Each of these statements deflects from the problem that came up in the first place. Usually in my own life, this statement was used against me when I was upset about something and the other person didn’t want to take responsibility for what I was upset about. Instead of engaging in a discussion about the actual problem, they made it look like I was being unreasonable and deflected the focus off of them by bringing a new subject into the conversation.  In this case, it is the new subject (communicated by the phrase “I’m not perfect”) is about my “expectations” which are too high.

As a child I learned through a series of grooming processes, spoken and unspoken messages that if I wanted to be safe I needed to find a way to change me. I survived by trying to figure out how not to upset the adults in my life. That became my habit; to search my mind for ways that I could either change or be more compliant, always trying to anticipate what someone else wanted or expected from me.  This was survivor mode.  Putting all my thoughts and actions through that survivor mode grid for so long made it very easy for everyone to get me to put the focus back on me instead of on any fault they might have had.  Statements like “I never said I was perfect” deflect focus OFF the person who actually caused the problem, without looking at the original problem.

For instance if I reacted to being put down in front of other people, my “complaint” would be side tracked by statements like this one I am highlighting today “Well sorry, I’m not perfect.

Here is an example; I always got a lot of compliments on my hair. Even in my twenties I had this long thick naturally curly beautiful hair and I got a ton of compliments on it. But if the compliments were in front of my mother, she would make sure that everyone knew that I coloured it even though the compliments were not usually about the colour of my hair but just about my hair in general.  She would say something like “well it comes from a bottle”. If I complained about her comments for example saying; “mom why do you have to make a point of telling people that?” she would say “well sorry I’m not perfect” which really has nothing to do with WHY she felt the need to make sure everyone knew that I dyed my hair. Her statement worked however, as I never pursued the answer to my original question, which was “why do you have to tell people that I dye my hair?”

When this kind of manipulation is used to deflect the focus off the person who is responsible for causing the undesired reaction (including reactions such as crying or anger reactions) starting from a young enough age, it is very easy for these statements to have the desired “back off” effect immediately and without question on the part of the person they are directed at.

Today when something like this happens, I respond in a very different way; instead of jumping to my old default mode which was acceptance that my “expectations are too high” I simply respond with a counter statement such as this one; “what does making sure that everyone knows my hair colour comes from a bottle have to do with whether or not you are perfect? Often this kind of statement will be met with that “fish out of water look”; don’t expect to get an answer to those kinds of questions but it sure stops the bully from excusing her behaviour by placing the focus back on ME.

Please share your thoughts about how this statement has effected your life or how statements like this one can deflect from the real issue.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing



43 response to "Saying Sorry I’m not Perfect Deflects from the Point"

  1. By: David Lawrence Posted: 16th January

    Your article is so true! I’m 64 and confronted my mom about her treatment of me and she resorted to the “sorry,I’m not perfect”. she continually favors my other siblings . I told here later I’d had enough and if she wanted a relationship she’ll have to meet me half-way.Have not heard from her…which is okay…I feel free emotionally with no regret. Thanks for you’re article Darlene! Dave

  2. By: RuthHB Posted: 25th August


    I am so glad I found you and all your readers. Whew! And I really love it that people post the truth on here.

    I was abused physically and terrorized emotionally by my mother. She still does it…or rather did it. I quit speaking to her after she put her hands on me and screamed in my face at a family gathering. She did it in front of my sibs and their spouses and kids. Not one person stepped up on my behalf. That was over a year ago. I was 54 when that happened. I used to be a nervous wreck for a week before I saw her and cry for a week after I saw her.
    Just yesterday I started feeling better after a friend suggested I read some book on repairing my relationship with my mom. At that moment I realized I am happy for the first time ever in regard to my relationship (NONE!) with her.

    She is mean like a rattle snake but she is no longer in my life.

  3. By: Karen Posted: 25th August

    Hi Darlene,
    Thanks for this article! Hit home for me as I remember all the comments my sister made in her attempts to make me feel guilty with her ‘none of us is perfect……’ And asking me to come back to,the family, only “with an attitude of forgiveness and humbleness and kindness”… Meaning I needed to forgive all and accept that I was wrong.

    Wolves in sheeps clothing….it is still all on me!

    They say it in many ways but the ‘not perfect’ is a dead give away!

  4. By: Carlos Posted: 14th February

    “Sorry I am not perfect” Hahaha yet another one of those lines, which has the “understand them, they were only doing what they thought was the best” connotation. Or what about “I’m only human, I make mistakes”. Yeah I get that you’re not zebras or whatever and that we all have the tendency to make mistakes. But to my abusers, just because there is a possibility that you will do something wrong, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should especially if there are other alternatives for you to communicate whatever you want to say to me (Oh did I just raise my expectations again? Did I ever learn? Hahaha). There’s only a certain extent until I will no longer tolerate such an excuse for acts that involve hitting, name calling, not respecting one’s time on the TV and what not. Perfect is not what I am asking from you, but I am certainly not going to sit around being hit and ridiculed just because you’re human and you make mistakes. So am I bitches! I am human to, and be thankful that my self-control has prevented me from doing the things that you’ve done to me. Although if I ever dish it back to you guys don’t take it against me when I say: “Sorry I am not perfect.”

  5. By: DXS Posted: 25th August

    From Lora #35

    I discovered my job was to fill all the holes in my mom’s self esteem. It was my job to make her look like a great mom.

    I had this, too, but not to the extreme that Lora did. My mom didn’t get mad if I looked better than she did. She just got mad because I didn’t “stroke her ego.” She didn’t “get” me. Every time I said ANYTHING to her, I would get “How do you think that makes me feel?” So, much LATER in life, when I exploded at her, she then said, “Well, now I have to walk on eggshells around you because you’re SO SENSITIVE.” I told her that I had to walk on eggshells around her my whole life, which, she of course, DENIED.

    Then, she always told me not to worry about what people think as long as I’m doing right. THIS? From the QUEEN of “what will people think?”

    Not to mention the OB/GYN exam I had to have at age 12 (it was necessary, there was a reason) that she LIED to me about (I mentioned this in an another post). Here I was traumatized by the experience because she didn’t prepare me for it (that was the lie…) and all she could do was SCOLD me for being “rude” to HER doctor! She has never apologized. All I get is “it’s in the past, why do you have to bring it up?”

    I still think she has issues from her childhood she has never dealt with. Those issues “squeaked out” in the way she treated me.

    I believe that my “gifts” are that I have the ability to sniff out BS, when people aren’t being true. I didn’t learn this until my late 20’s. I dated a guy who had this ability. He was also a jerk, but I learned from watching him that I could do this, too. It just took me another 25 years to “call mom out” on BS.

  6. By: Mpact Posted: 25th August

    I think mine was more or less this magical way she seem to make it all my fault. I don’t remember any kind of phrase. It would start when I tried to make a request or ask why something was the way it was. I would end up verbally fighting for my survival ending up crying, her yelling, and then me apologizing for what was not my fault.I would go pray because according to her I was so bad. In reality I was squeaky clean. It was confusing she could never really tell me what I did wrong, she could not compare it to reality. I was watching bits of the movie ” Precious” last night. I could not watch it all. I was not abused in the same way but I felt the results. Her face was beaten in sooo bad, it look like I felt. I am assured daily that my seperation from the woman that called herself moma was the best thing I could have done for me and my daughter. I could not have said it better than Precious did at the end of the movie- “you ain’t gone see me no more.”

    Darlene, if you don’t mind me asking. How did this affect your relationships, were you able to have some success with marriage, etc.?
    I have had a lot of mishaps all of me falling for someone who wasn’t available to love. I wonder will I ever be able to have a successful relationship with a mate/husband. I am scared now to even try.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th August

      Hi Mpact
      I have been married to Jim for 23 years. We had some rough times and when I started to come out of the fog, I started to see where I was living out my victim mentality in all my relationships. Jim had to do his own work, but he was willing and I am happy to say that our marriage is strong now. He is my best friend (now)… it took a few tough years to work it all out, but it was worth it. Jim had the same choice that my mother had; he could have decided that I was not worth it, but at the end of the day the real decision that he made was that HE was worth it. It is totally possible to have a wonderful loving, mutually respectful relationship; at the end of the day however, I have learned that it is the relationship that you have with myself (yourself) that determines how successful all my (your) relationships will be. This is not from a place of self-centeredness but rather from the true definition of love and best.
      Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Amber Posted: 25th August

    Wow, Lora, I can relate! Especially to the put downs so I couldn’t shine too bright. I also was the recipient of many negative comments pertaining to the way I looked. And of course, I had to keep trying to measure up o her standards.

    You said your Moms sisters loved you and your Mom couldn’t understand it. I had that with my grandparents. My mother got very offended one time when Grandpa (her Dad) called and asked to talk to ” the Princess”. My mother asked him who tht is and she was livid when he said it was me. She couldnt stand someone else loving me! And it made me feel like I did something wrong because someone cared about me. I never realized just how dysfunctional this was. As a Mom I feel happy when people care about my kids.

  8. By: Lora Posted: 25th August

    Hey Darlene! yep this one stirs up a lot of stuff for me too. I have come to realize where all my insecurities come from and why I find it so difficult to shine.

    I believe my gifts are my sensitivity, joy and depth of insights but unfortunately those qualities were not valued in my family. I didn’t realize how bullied I was in my family and how we all re cycled our hurts, disappoints, anger etc.

    What I understand the most now is that my sister and I were targets and outlets for all my parents frustrations. Like you Darlene, I discovered my job was to fill all the holes in my mom’s self esteem. It was my job to make her look like a great mom. I was to be her biggest fan and promoter. It came at a high cost to my own self esteem because if I shined too bright and it took attention from her, look out. My hair was never the right style, my body parts were too big, my makeup made me look like a clown, my thighs were too big, the list goes on. I was not good enough to be her daughter. I was a reflection of her parenting and if I did not behave exactly the right way somehow it was about her and how it made her look…WTF!

    Her sisters just loved me and gave me such positive attention and it made her nuts. she couldn’t figure out why they loved me so much, what makes you so special she would say. I learned to play small to feel safe and of course this has become a pattern I now have to break if I ever want to know who I really am.

    I feel lots of progress happening now that I focus my attention on who I really am. I’m learning to appreciate my sensitivity, my humor and my insights. They are all god given gifts that have carried me through tough times. My dream is to take these gifts and share them with others.

    Not sure what that looks like yet but I trust in divine timing I will know. I’ve come a long way in believing in myself and I no longer feel the need to beat myself up when I make mistakes or don’t get things right away. Your teachings have helped me break down the patterns into bite size pieces that I can actually chew on.

    I’ve spent too much time looking for answers in my past when all I need to do is look forward and focus on the remedies for healing. Everything I lacked growing up I am able to learn now and for that I am truly grateful. It doesn’t matter how old we are when we start this healing journey, it just matters that we start. Namaste to all of you!

  9. By: DXS Posted: 25th August

    That became my habit; to search my mind for ways that I could either change or be more compliant, always trying to anticipate what someone else wanted or expected from me.

    WHOA! I can relate to this! Sometimes when someone says, “Would you go get me a ladder” I ask, “do you want a BIG ladder or a SMALL ladder” and they get really mad when I do that! I just want to make sure they won’t get upset when our “expectations” of what the statement meant seem to differ.

    Wow, I’m going to have to remember that, “What does not being perfect have to do with you putting me down?” trouble is, I am bad on my feet. I can’t think on my feet like that.

  10. By: Reborn Posted: 25th August

    You exactly right about this. 150%. I love the comeback statement. Good job!!

  11. By: Kathy Posted: 25th August

    Always the statement was from my family to me: “well ,you are not so perfect yourself”; which had nothing to do with anything.My sister who is equally dysfunctional would , when confronted with something she did or said, either run out of the room screaming and crying that you were “picking on her” (She is a horrible bully and ALWAYS portrays herself as the victim)or deny what she was confronted with and tell me that I was crazy and that it didn’t happen.My mother also used the” it didn’t happen , you are overly sensitive, lying or exaggerating, etc. response.
    Crazy making for sure . I grew up very angry/depressed and shut down emotionally.As an adult I understand these behaviors and avoid abusers who exhibit them.Honestly, I do not meet many people who are that sociopathic and that sick.

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