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Stop Mucking Up Apologies

From the Show: HER
Summary: Why is it so hard to give and get a decent apology?
Air Date: 4/3/17
Duration: 31:25
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pam Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Harriet Lerner, PhD
Dr. Harriet LernerHarriet Lerner, PhD, is one of America’s most respected relationship experts. Renowned for her theoretical contributions to the psychology of women and family systems theory, she served as a staff psychologist at The Menninger Clinic for over two decades.  

She is the author of numerous scholarly articles and twelve books, including the New York Times bestseller The Dance of Anger, which has sold several million copies with over 25 foreign editions.

She currently has a private psychotherapy practice in Lawrence, Kansas, and lectures nationwide. She and her psychologist husband have two grown sons.
  • Book Title: Why Won't You Apologize?
  • Guest Twitter Account: @harrietlerner
Stop Mucking Up Apologies
We are not perfect people. No matter how hard we try, we’re going to wind up hurting others and others will hurt us.

We need to learn how to apologize. A poorly executed apology can compromise a relationship. A well-done apology can heal and bring peace.

How We Ruin Apologies

  • “I’m sorry but…”But introduces an excuse, criticism or rationalization. Get your but out of your apology.
  • “I’m sorry if what I said made you feel…” Don’t apologize for how the person feels. Be accountable. It’s better to say that you were sorry and won’t do it again.
  • “I’m sorry for causing the same hurt over and over. Here’s a grand flourish to show how sorry I am.” You have to cease the bad behavior. Don’t think that box of candy is going to make the hurt disappear.
  • “I said I’m sorry. Why won’t you let up?” You have to sit in the hot seat when you’ve upset someone. Hear people out. Acknowledge thoughts and feelings that come from the person you offended. “Sorry” isn’t a conversation ender.

Is it Hard for You to Apologize?

  • It’s tough to apologize when you’re in a relationship where you feel more criticized and blamed than valued and respected.
  • It’s hard to apologize to someone when the hurt has been blown out of proportion. Drama about your injurious action doesn’t make it easy to apologize.
  • Your experience as a child was unpleasant surrounding apologies. Childhood apologies can be so intensely shaming. Many parents don’t just thank the child for saying sorry.
  • There is some pressure on men not to feel vulnerable or weak. Apologies may be viewed as giving the other person a competitive edge instead of gaining respect and integrity. Women tend to overly apologize.
You must stand on a large platform of self worth to apologize for a major wrong. Look at the grand scheme.

You don't have to forgive someone. You can find peace of mind in other ways so you can heal yourself.

Listen as Dr. Harriet Lerner joins Dr. Pamela Peeke to share how to stop mucking up apologies.

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