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Sunday, January 1, 2012

When Our Efforts to Make Amends Are Rejected

Making Amends is an Important Part of Life 
All of the 12 Step programs stress the importance of making amends as part of the recovery process. But there are times when attempting to make amends can do more harm than good to you and others. There are also times when our efforts to make amends might be rejected. A rejection to heartfelt efforts to be forgiven can be very painful.

Making Amends is an Important Part of Life
Often, it takes a lot of soul searching and courage to say, "I'm sorry" to people we have hurt. This process of soul searching can take us to the depths of our feelings where we might have avoided going for many years. So, when we humble ourselves and summon the courage to make amends, naturally, we hope to be forgiven.

Making Amends Can Be a Healing Process for Both People, But Not Always
Under favorable circumstances, this can be a healing process for both people. But not always. Sometimes, our process and what might be good for us might not be good for the other person. We can't always know what the other person is going through, especially if a lot of time has gone by. Our attempts to make amends might come at a bad time for them. Or accepting our apology might be more than they can deal with at that point in time--or ever. It's not for us to judge.

All We Can Do is Extend the "Olive Branch"
All we can do when we make amends is to extend the "olive branch." And we must do so without expectations, which can be very difficult. No matter what we're hoping for by making amends, we must accept the other person's freedom to choose what's best for him or her. That means not trying to convince, control or bargain with this other person. To do so would only take away from our effort to make amends. It also devalues the other person's right to determine what's best for him or her.

All We Can Do Is Extend An Olive Branch
An Attitude of Acceptance
If our sincere apology is rejected, in order to preserve our own sense of well being, we must take an attitude of acceptance, knowing that we've forgiven ourselves, or we're on the road to forgiving ourselves, regardless of what the other person does. Beyond that, we must make a commitment to ourselves that we won't offend in this way again.

An Attitude of Acceptance
All of this is part of our healing and recovery. Others might not join us in our journey, and a healthy attitude of acceptance is something to strive for in these circumstances. Whether we are part of a recovery community or not, we can benefit from the support of friends, family, and loved ones.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapy

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

1st photo credit: mayakamina via photopin cc

2nd photo credit: horrigans via photopin cc

3rd photo credit: Priyantha Bandara via photopin cc