Can You Just Forgive Me Already?
Adult children, their parents, and apologies.
“Making amends isn’t just saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ It means responding differently from our new understanding.”
― Al-Anon Family Groups, Courage to Change—One Day at a Time in Al‑Anon II: Part 2
Hard truth: an apology does not guarantee forgiveness or changed behavior. The apology is often just a commitment to try something new and hope for the best.
We can be upset or hurt and some people truly will not be sorry. They may not need to apologize and they may not want to apologize. There are certainly situations where we can feel hurt and an apology isn’t necessarily warranted, needed, or deserved.
Not all family relationship issues are solved with an apology. Sometimes the other person will look back at those events and truly say, “I know I why I chose that option and I would choose it again.” Instead of apologizing, we can seek understanding and attempt to see things from the other person’s perspective. For example, a parent might say, “I know you are upset that I got divorced. I do not regret that decision and I see how it negatively impacted you. I want to learn more about how that experience hurt you.”
Some people do not want to change. You may never receive that forgiveness you’re hoping for. And, we have to find a way to live and more forward without it.
If you’re not actually sorry, don’t apologize. If you aren’t going to change your behavior, don’t say that you will.
This is the third subscriber only email in the November Series: Parents and Apologies. In this email I discuss:
What to do when you don’t want to accept your parent’s apology.
What to do when you don’t want to apologize to your adult child.
What to do when your adult child doesn’t accept your apology.
I also share the link for the live and recorded Q+A at 10:30AM today (November 18) at the end of this email.