Contrition, repentance & forgiveness — some articles by Dr George Simon Jr.
Three articles by Dr George Simon Jr, for those of you who don’t follow his blog regularly.
Here’s a quote from the Contrition Revisited article:
A relationship partner whom you’ve confronted and who is truly contrite about their dysfunctional ways and really wants to make things better talks and acts in certain predictable ways.
The contrite partner does not say things like: ”I’ll go to therapy if it will make you happy,” or “I’m doing what you asked me so will you get off my back?” or “Can’t we just put things behind us and get on with life again… I said I was sorry a million times now…. What else do you want from me?!” Rather, he or she says things like: ”I know I really messed up and I really hurt you,… I know I’ve got some issues to work on,… I want to make things better and make up for what I’ve done and I want to be sure I never do such things again,… I’ll do whatever it takes to get your forgiveness and trust.”
And what real contrition looks like is action that’s in line with and backs up such words. Such action does not include trying to drag you into the therapy process from the beginning, using all sorts of manipulation and impression-management techniques (like I outline in In Sheep’s Clothing [*Affiliate link]) to make the therapist wonder if you’re crazy for insisting your partner come in. Instead, real contrition in action means doing one’s own work ardently and faithfully and only when changes are really evident, inviting one’s partner into a conjoint process of relationship repair.