NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

When You 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. 

When Your Efforts to Make Amends Are Rejected

There are also times when your efforts to make amends might be rejected. A rejection to heartfelt efforts to be forgiven can be very painful.

Often, it takes a lot of soul searching and courage to say, "I'm sorry" to people you have hurt. 

This process of soul searching can take you to the depths of our feelings where you might have avoided going for many years. So, when you humble ourselves and summon the courage to make amends, naturally, you 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, your process and what might be good for you might not be good for the other person. 

You can't always know what the other person is going through, especially if a lot of time has gone by. Your attempts to make amends might come at a bad time for them. Or accepting your apology might be more than they can deal with at that point in time--or ever. It's not for you to judge.

All We Can Do is Extend the "Olive Branch"
All you can do when you make amends is to extend the "olive branch." And you must do so without expectations, which can be very difficult. 

No matter what you're hoping for by making amends, you 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 your effort to make amends. It also devalues the other person's right to determine what's best for him or her.

An Attitude of Acceptance
If your sincere apology is rejected, in order to preserve our own sense of well being,  take an attitude of acceptance, knowing that you've forgiven yourself, or you're on the road to forgiving yourself, regardless of what the other person does. 

Beyond that, you must make a commitment to yourself that you won't offend in this way again.

All of this is part of your healing and recovery. Others might not join us in your journey, and a healthy attitude of acceptance is something to strive for in these circumstances. 

Whether you are part of a recovery community or not, you can benefit from the support of friends, family, and loved ones.

About Me
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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.