“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
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