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How to apologise and forgive

Problems and mistakes happen in any relationship. It's not about being perfect and mistake-free, it's about the ability to repair.


There are 2 key frameworks used by therapists to help healing the wounds in the relationships.





9 Rules for Sincere Apologies from Dr. Harriet Lerner


  1. Do not include the word, “but”

  2. Keep the focus on your actions and not the other person’s response

  3. Include an offer of reparation or restitution that fits the situation

  4. Do not over do

  5. Don’t get caught up in who’s more to blame or who started it

  6. Require that you do your best to avoid a repeat performance

  7. Should not serve to silence

  8. Shouldn’t be offered to make you feel better if it makes the hurt party feel worse

  9. Do not ask the hurt party to do anything, not even to forgive

With sincerity and consistent effort, couples can rebuild their trust and create a safe space for each other again.





6 Steps to Forgiveness from Dr. Sue Johnson


  1. The hurt partner needs to speak his or her pain as openly and simply as possible.

  2. The injuring partner stays emotionally present and acknowledges the wounded partner’s pain and his/her part in it.

  3. Partners start reversing the “Never Again” dictum. This means that they go back to the injuring moment and rewrite their script.

  4. The injuring partner takes ownership of how they inflicted this injury on their lover and express regret and remorse

  5. The injured partner identifies what they need right now to bring closure to the trauma.

  6. The couple now creates a new story that captures the injuring event, how it happened and eroded trust and connection. Most important, the story describes how they together confronted the trauma and began to heal it.




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