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How to Apologize

Amanda P. Johnson, MS, LAMFT • [email protected]

www.relatecounseling.com • @relatecounselingatl

All relationships have fights. Disagreements, differences of opinions, arguments, “fussing at each other” is bound to happen because you are different individuals with different preferences. This is normal. We will hurt the ones we love but it is how we deal with it that matters SO much more. The key is to apologize effectively and deal with the hurt and pain that happened between you and your love.

Here are all the essential ingredients for how to apologize (from Dr. Sue Johnson):

  • Hurt partner: share pain openly and simply
  • Other partner: attune to hurt partner, accept their partner’s hurt and pain, empathically explore how pain has evolved and impacted the relationship
  • Hurt partner: shares the core of hurt without blaming or defining their partner
  • Other partner: now apologizes – expresses regret, sadness, shame. Shows “your hurt hurts me.”
  • Hurt partner: seeks comfort, connection, and support they needed during the incident (this helps repair)
  • Other partner: respond with comfort, connection, support (the antidote to hurt) and shows “I am here now.”

The key messages in effective apologies are: your hurt is real and makes sense, I care about your hurt, I own that I hurt you, and I want to be here now. Effective apologies have the power to bring you and your partner closer together. Furthermore, it can strengthen your communication, intimacy, and ability to navigate hurts/problems in the future. Although dealing with fights and hurts can be tricky, intimidating, or scary it prevents more negative patterns and communication with your partner.

If it feels like you are struggling with the connection or communication in your relationship the therapists a Relate Counseling specializes helping couples improve their connection and communication. Call 404.267.1517 or connect with us at @relatecounselingatl on Instagram.

Image by kalhh from Pixabay 

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