Why Won’t He Apologize?

Most of us have had the experience of deeply desiring to hear an apology from someone for a hurt they have inflicted. However, we tend to share our pain as anger. That usually invokes defensiveness in the other.

In her Ted Talk, “Why Won’t He Apologize,” Harriet Lerner, PhD, shares with us that our own anger and words can be the very thing that gets in the way of our healing. She shares how vulnerability and bravery are the key to healing our wounds.

Here are some of the key points that I found beneficial from Dr. Lerner’s talk:

  • “Angry confrontations only invite the other person to see you as the problem.”
  • Focus on how you feel. Not on the other person.
  • Keep it short.
  • Recognize that you have no control over how the other person is going to respond.
As Dr. Lerner shares, being able to own that we have hurt someone else, and to apologize, requires a strong sense of self-worth. Those who are able to apologize tend to see the hurtful act as something they did, not who they are.

Emotional wounds can cause damage and sometimes they fester. Talking with a therapist or counselor can help you to get a place of healing.


Jackie Dunagan, LMFT