“If you want to know why Harriet Lerner is one of my great heroes, Why Won’t You Apologize? is the answer. This book is a game changer.” —Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Rising Strong
“Harriet Lerner is one hell of a wise woman. She draws you in with deft and engaging prose, and then changes your life with her rigorous intelligence and her deeply human advice. I promise that you will never see ‘the apology’ in quite the same way.” —Esther Perel, MA, LMFT author of Mating in Captivity
Renowned psychologist and bestselling author of The Dance of Anger sheds new light on the two most important words in the English language—I’m sorry—and offers a unique perspective on the challenge of healing broken connections and restoring trust.
Dr. Harriet Lerner has been studying apologies—and why some people won’t give them—for more than two decades. Now she offers compelling stories and solid theory that bring home how much the simple apology matters and what is required for healing when the hurt we’ve inflicted (or received) is far from simple. Readers will learn how to craft a deeply meaningful “I’m sorry” and avoid apologies that only deepen the original injury.
Why Won’t You Apologize? also addresses the compelling needs of the injured party—the one who has been hurt by someone who won’t apologize, tell the truth, or feel remorse. Lerner explains what drives both the non-apologizer and the over-apologizer, as well as why the people who do the worst things are the least able to own up. She helps the injured person resist pressure to forgive too easily and challenges the popular notion that forgiveness is the only path to peace of mind. With her trademark humor and wit, Lerner offers a joyful and sanity-saving guide to setting things right.
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About the Author
Harriet Lerner, PhD is one of our nation’s most loved and respected relationship experts. Renowned for her work on the psychology of women and family relationships, she served as a staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic for several decades. A distinguished lecturer, consultant, and psychotherapist, she is the author of numerous scholarly articles and popular books, including the New York Times bestseller The Dance of Anger and Why Won’t You Apologize?. She and her husband live in Lawrence, Kansas and have two grown sons.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Many Faces of "I'm Sorry" 1
Chapter 2 Five Ways to Ruin an Apology 13
Chapter 3 More Wimpy, Overblown, and Downright Relationship-Busting Sorrys 25
Chapter 4 Apologizing Under Fire: How to Handle Big-Time Criticism 35
Chapter 5 The Secret Life of the Non-Apologizer 53
Chapter 6 "He's So Defensive!" What Do You Have to Do With It? 71
Chapter 7 How-and Whether-to Accept the Olive Branch 93
Chapter 8 Who Is at Fault? When Reconciliation Grinds to a Halt 109
Chapter 9 The Most Stunning Apology I Ever Witnessed 127
Chapter 10 "You Need to Forgive" and Other Lies That Hurt You 137
Chapter 11 How to Find Peace 157
Chapter 12 The Two Most Powerful Words in the English Language 175
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Why Won't You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts by Harriet Lerner is very highly recommended, accessible discourse on apologies. This is a practical guide that anyone can understand and benefit from. The information and examples are presented with wit and intelligence. Why Won't You Apologize? would be a great addition to anyone's self-help library. Through stories and examples Dr. Lerner explores the healing power of a good apology, how important apologies are, how to craft a meaningful apology and avoid bad apologies, non-apologies, or those that make the hurt worse, and the importance of our response to an apology. Both the non-apologizer and the over-apologizer are discussed. The needs of the injured party are addressed as well as setting limits for tolerating unkindness when listening to another person. Dr. Lerner shares twelve points to keep in mind when we’re on the receiving end of criticism and looks at healthy vs. unhealthy anger. Dr. Lerner also candidly explains why the people who do the worst things are the least able to own up to what they have done. In a startling, first-time-for-me revelation, she helps the injured person resist pressure to forgive too easily and challenges the popular notion that forgiveness is the only path to peace of mind. "This book will teach you how to craft a deeply meaningful apology, and decode apologies that are blame-reversing, ambiguous, and downright mean. Going beyond the “how-to’s” of the good apology, we’ll be looking at compelling stories that illustrate how much the simple apology matters and why we so often muck it up. We’ll also be looking at heroic apologies that can open the door to forgiveness and healing in even the most difficult circumstances. As the title Why Won’t You Apologize? suggests, the chapters ahead are also for the hurt or angry person who has received a weaselly or insincere apology - or none at all. When we’ve been insulted or injured by someone who just doesn’t get it, we can learn the steps necessary to change the tone of the conversation and get through." Harriet Lerner, PhD is a respected relationship experts. Renowned for her work on the psychology of women and family relationships, she served as a staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic for several decades. A distinguished lecturer, consultant, and psychotherapist, she is the author of numerous scholarly articles and popular books. Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of Simon&Schuster.