When “I’m sorry” is simply not enough (DW# 781)
Jun 22, 2020
This week, we will are continuing our series on making and accepting apologies.
There are certain situations where even if you offer a sincere apology, it will not make things right.
If the offending behaviour has been long standing, deeply hurtful or damaging, or involves a betrayal of trust, the process of forgiveness will take some time.
Any instance of lying, cheating, breaking a confidence, failing to defend or not prioritizing the relationship would count as a betrayal which weakens the fabric of intimacy and the relationship.
There are of course, actions which are much more significant in terms of causing lasting hurt. These are major betrayals.
Here are some specific examples of "common" major betrayals that come to mind (there may be others of course):
- Taking money out of someone’s bank account without their knowledge.
- Hiding your financial situation such as debt or savings, your immigration status, your health status, your marital status, your educational status from someone who makes a decision based on the information you provide them.
- Having an addiction – gaming, pornography, substances . . .
- Withholding the truth from a child about the fact that they are adopted or that they have other siblings from another relationship.
- Failing to stand up for your loved one and defend them while they are in a position of vulnerability.
- Having a relationship (emotionally or physically intimate) while married or committed to another.
- Having an uncontrolled temper which results in violence or abuse
Any of the above or similar acts of betrayals will cause the world of the offended person to be rocked, shake their idea of reality and their ability to trust again (both others and themselves).
While the relationship may be able to be saved, it will take time, effort, patience, accountability, honesty and making amends. FOR A LONG TIME.
A simple apology is simply not enough in such a situation.
It can help to have realistic expectations about what the journey of forgiveness looks like in a situation like this and to get support on this journey. It is extremely hard to do this on your own.
And of course, be prepared to do the long and hard work to make things right.
If you value the relationship or your integrity that is.
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