Apologizing is Hard: Ego and Pride is the Barrier to Growth

Marvin Liao
3 min readFeb 15, 2024

Being a parent is a weird thing. Having Amber and becoming a father was an immensely profound, emotional and extremely happy day for me. Yet with the many highs also come the immense lows especially when they become teens. These last few years have been incredibly tumultuous & painful both at the macro level but for me, especially at the family level.

You do your best raising your kid but you inevitably mess up in some way. Heaven knows I’ve done so plenty of times. You unintentionally inflict traumas large and small on them. Some of this is left over from your own childhood scars, cultural baggage and how you deal with your own emotional issues.

Growing up Asian-Canadian/American you have all these pressures and familial demands and it shapes you. You aren’t really allowed to question and or even express your own feelings. Love is conditional, feelings are not expressed and discipline is harsh. I was lucky to be in a Taiwanese household that was relatively liberal. And my folks did not hit me when I inevitably messed up unlike what commonly happened to many others I know.

I rebelled against this regime and when I became a parent, I swore I would not do the same to my kid. I would have high expectations but I would not make my love conditionally. I would be very open and tell my daughter how much I loved her. I would be supportive of anything she wanted to do hobby wise and show her the world through travel. I have definitely done this.

But I have lingering issues that have come to haunt me and my family. I have a horrible temper which I realized is common to my father’s side of the family. A temper which ran with my grandmother, my aunt and my second uncle, although not in my dad ironically. Something triggers me and everything goes red. I have been known to punch walls and destroy furniture in my rage. It happens when I feel disrespected or scared financially or just frustrated with life challenges.

I’ve been very open with my anger management issues which really erupted in the hell of 2020. And it has caused massive scars to my family which is unacceptable. And that is why I’ve spent so much time & therapy since then trying to fix this. It still comes out every once in a while but less so now. But when it does, boy does it mess things up with my kid.

Any very loud noise or hint of raised voice sets her close to panic attack and it’s horrifying. I feel awful knowing it’s all my fault.

But the road to redemption is clear though. When I mess up, I suck it up and apologize profusely. You apologize and don’t make any excuses. And you take all of the anger that comes back to you, the harsh hurtful words. You nod your head and accept it. You take the hit to your ego because most of what they say is true and it was your fault. This is the only way to fix it.

This works in family life and it works in business life. If you F–k up, apologize and do it as soon as you realize you messed up.Take total ownership for it. After pain comes growth. Only then will you be back on the right path upwards. And hopefully you learn from it and take steps to make sure you don’t mess up this specific way again.



Marvin Liao

Ever curious: Tsundoku, Reader, Aspiring Shokunin, World traveller, Investor & Tech/Media exec interested in almost everything! www.marvinliao.com