The good news is that none of us is perfect.

The bad news is that some of us did and said really hurtful, uncaring, upsetting, and careless things – in the past.

And in the present, we recognize it; we feel awful, and it matters that we hurt you.

Can you relate?

You might be surprised to hear that partners who behaved badly and partners who were hurt, both ask the same question: How can we move past all the old hurt and live happily today?

The answer is simple, but not easy to do.

There are two parts:

Part 1:

  • Sit down with your partner at an agreed time when you will have privacy and not be rushed.
  • Agree to the purpose of the conversation.*
  • Affirm that you are ready to hear with your ears and your heart.
  • Then, for not more than 12 minutes, share your thoughts and feelings about your experiences.**

Agree to the purpose of the conversation.*

Example 1: I know I behaved in ways that really hurt you in the past. I deeply regret that I did and said things that hurt you. I would like to heal that part of our past. Are you willing to join me in a healing process?

Example 2: I was very hurt by ways you behaved in the past. I would like to heal that part of our past. Are you willing to join me in a healing process? 

** For not more than 12 minutes, share your thoughts and feelings about your experiences.** 

Example 1: I wish I hadn’t done or said…; I wish had done or said…, I wish I could have…, I wish I would have…  “I” Message feedback only. This sharing is about YOU, not about your partner.

Example 2: I heard, I felt (mad, sad, glad, afraid, guilty), I thought, I liked/didn’t like; I wanted/didn’t want; I wish, I need, I want… This sharing is about YOU, not about your partner.

Take a break for an amount of time that works for both of you; a few minutes, several hours, or the next day.

Part 2:

  • Sit down with your partner at an agreed time when you will have privacy and not be rushed.
  • Offer your sincere apology.*
  • Accept your partner’s sincere apology.**
  • Spend a few minutes sitting together holding hands, or leaning into each other, or in an embrace… whatever feels comfortable for BOTH of you.
Offer your sincere apology.*
 
Example 1: I apologize that I did “X” or didn’t do “X.”
 
Resist saying, “I’m sorry.” Use the specific word apology and articulate clearly what you did or didn’t do that was your contribution to the hurt.
 
Example 2: I apologize that I said “X” or didn’t say “X.”
 
Again, resist saying, “I’m sorry.” Use the specific word apology and articulate clear what you said or didn’t say that was your contribution to the hurt.
 
The most important part of an apology is your recognition and acknowledgement of the behavior. Good people do and say hurtful, thoughtless and sometimes stupid stuff. Be clear: You are apologizing for your behavior-saying, not saying, doing, not doing something. You are never apologizing for your being. 
  
Accept your partner’s sincere apology.**
 
Example:  I accept your apology.
 
To accept your partner’s apology you simply (not easily) say, “I accept your apology.”
 
That’s it. Nothing more. 
 
I accept your apology.
 
Accepting your partner’s apology is an essential part of the healing process. I’m quite certain that you could give me at least 6 good reason why you don’t want to accept your partner’s apology, or believe you might be at risk in some way if you do.
 
Be aware: Those messages are old and not coming from your Adult part of Self that is committed to taking responsibility for old, hurtful behavior and your intention to move beyond the hurt today. 

This is a healing process, not a magic bullet or a panacea. For many couples, it is necessary to go through this process more than several times.  

If you’re wondering if/how I might be able to facilitate this process with you, let’s schedule a Discovery Call and talk. You don’t have to do this alone.

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!    

Original Content by Jackie Black, Ph.D., BCC
www.DrJackieBlack.com~ DrJackie@DrJackieBlack.com

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