7 Questions to Determine if His Apology is Real

 

Is His Apology Real? 

Apology RealYour husband just apologized, but you’re unsettled by your mental gymnastics that doubt his sincerity.  Perhaps these sound familiar, “He sounds sorry.  Can I trust his apology? But, I’ve heard this before. I wish he had just said, (fill in the blanks). What if he does it, again?” and on and on your monkey mind travels.  The answer may seem complex and difficult due to personal expectations, and personal and relationship history.  To avoid more mind-twisting ruminations and to finally get some peace, ask yourself these 7 reflective questions:

  1. Is he empathetic to your emotional pain? Will he listen to your pain until you get closure?  If so, it’s worth considering accepting the apology and moving on, together. But, if he just wants to move on, stop talking about it, or tells you to, “…get over it. I said I was sorry.” Then, yes, you may need to get over it and fast.  “It” being the relationship and him.
  2. Is he remorseful? I’m not talking about he’s sorry he got “caught.”  I’m talking about real regret for making a decision that wounded another human being.
  3. Is he accepting full responsibility for his actions? Or is there blame involved such as, “If you hadn’t/had, I wouldn’t have (fill in the blank)?” If blame is part of the apology, his apology isn’t sincere.
  4. Will he do what it takes to repair it? I’m not talking giving you flowers or calling/texting you incessantly to ask how you’re doing. I’m talking about voluntarily giving you the information you need to feel safe with him, again.
  5. Was restitution given freely? If physical compensation or restoration is needed to make it right, was it freely offered and completed on a timely basis without your involvement?
  6. Is there true repentance? Now, before you turn from this thinking it’s a religious term, give me a moment. Repent literally means to turn from.  So in this case, it means the “event” never happens, again.  It’s actually a great way to live: do something wrong/hurtful, acknowledge it, apologize and never do it, again.
  7. The over-riding factor you must consider regardless of the sincerity of the apology is this: was the transgression a 1-time event or was this a repeat offense? if the latter, then you’re dealing with a character issue and you need to seriously consider moving on. This also applies if the offenses are different.  Poor choices in multiple areas signify a serious character flaw.  This is not an opportunity to “love him through it.”  It’s time for you to have enough self-respect to be only with people that cherish, honor and support you.  This includes family, friends, and co-workers.  But, more importantly, you need to be with someone who has enough self-respect that he wouldn’t put himself in situations that could hurt himself or wound others.

If your husband meets all the above criteria for a sincere apology, then it is time to put it to rest and rebuild together.  And refrain from revisiting it.  It’s tiresome to keep hearing about something that happened years ago.  This is especially true if it never happened again.  We ALL make mistakes.  His mistake isn’t worse than your transgressions.  They are all the same when it comes to a hurting heart.

Apology RealA look in the mirror:

Have you hurt someone?  Reflect on the questions.  Be brutally honest.  If you need to sincerely and honor someone’s pain due to a bad decision/action on your part,  ask for forgiveness. Then be completely accountable.  Please read my other related blog post, “How to Help Those You Hurt

Disclaimer: the above is a compilation of blog posts, transcripts, columns, etc… often titled the “The 4 R’s of an Apology.”  Because I’ve been on both the ends of apologies and wrong-doing, please read my other related blog posts, “How to Help Those You Hurt” and “7 Ways to Mess Up an Apology.”

How to Help Those You Hurt (when you made a BIG mistake)

We all make mistakes.  Even my totally cute, perfect friend, Jan.  I don’t know when she did, but she’s a human being so I’m sure she forgot to put the butter away some time and her dog got into it.  Love ya, Jan! <3  But, the other 99.999% of us have made many mistakes and some of them are big, hairy, icky, makes-you-want-to-shake-the-memory-out-of-your-head mistake. How do you get that out of your head? How do you shake that guilt, embarrassment, and yes, shame? How do you know you won’t do it, again?

trust is like paper once its crumpled its not perfect

As a woman of faith, I am thankful Christianity gives me the gift of grace.  It’s God’s “do-over” plan. But, here’s where the rubber meets the road.  Just because I was forgiven by my creator doesn’t mean I can take a pass and commit the offense over and over.  I need to be remorseful and turn from committing the same crimes/sins/mistakes.  Christian or not, that’s a great way to live a life.  Only when we are released from that guilt and shame can we be and do our best.  

If you made a BIG mistake, which sadly means usually hurting those we love, there is a formula to move on:

  • Quickly ask for forgiveness from those you hurt.
  • Never, never say, “because you did “y,” I did x.”  That is deflecting.  Also known as blaming.  That’s what children do.  Take responsibility for your actions, own up to your faults. This is not giving in, it’s growing up.
  • Repeat your mistake, and how you hurt them, in your words. You may not have the exact words, but it shows you’re trying to understand their pain.
  • Let them speak their pain regardless of how uncomfortable it makes you feel.  Sit with it. Your discomfort is fairly low on the “we care” scale, at the moment.  It’s part of the process.
  • Empathize with them.  You must feel their pain for you to grow.  If you don’t feel their pain, seek counseling.
  • Give those that you hurt time to heal on their time-frame, not yours.  If that means getting fired, put on administrative leave, losing someone or something, or any kind of separation, accept it.
  • Let those you hurt re-hash the “event” for awhile.  It’s part of their recovery.  But, after some time, they and you need to move on if healing is going to occur.
  • Make restitution when necessary. Even if it takes the rest of your life.
  • Recognize some mistakes and hurts can’t be overcome.  Be prepared to lose the one(s) you hurt.  This may be the lesson you need to grow and learn.
  • Get help if you need it.  Don’t wait for a court-mandated order or your loved one insisting on it.  Take the initiative and seek professional help. This is taking action.  Action is always esteemed over words.
  • If the relationship continues, recognize it will be different.
  • Don’t do it, again.  Actions speak louder than words and memories fade more quickly if not repeated.

Blessings and Joy,

Annette