I’m begging you: Give me the chance to make things right, and don’t forget to forgive
Dear Very Important Person in My Life,
I know I hurt your feelings, and you were offended by what I said. I apologize. I really do. My intention wasn’t to hurt you; I feel terrible that this resulted from my actions.
For me to apologize, you need to let me. And I can’t do that if you ignore my phone calls, give me the cold shoulder, and use the silent treatment on me. I don’t know what runs through your mind when you see my name on the phone, or when you read my
emails. I wonder if you’re hurting or seething.
I know you don’t want to give me a chance to find an excuse or explain myself, but people do mess up. We make mistakes all the time. Even more importantly, the mistakes that many of us make are literally that: mistakes. I wasn’t out to get you, and my goal wasn’t to attack you.
I know that now you think I’m shifting the blame, saying, “Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s just a part of life.” I’m not. I don’t believe in shifting the blame, but in owning what you’ve done. I always tell my students, “It’s okay to make a mistake. It’s not okay if you don’t fix it.”
On your end, you should know that people deserve another chance. They deserve the chance to fix their wrongdoings and put things right. They deserve your willingness to forgive.
I’m begging you: Give me the chance to make things right, and don’t forget to forgive.
I don’t want to fight. I don’t want our relationship to be ruined. I like you. I enjoy your company. And you’re a big part of my life.
I want to fix this. I know I messed up, and I know you’re mad at me. But giving me the silent treatment isn’t a solution. In fact, what you’re doing is manipulative and frightening. It’s not communication. It is just the opposite. It is a powerful means of controlling and is considered narcissistic behavior. This tactic is used to overpower and
intimidate and can be considered a form of emotional abuse. It’s a way of punishing someone without actually saying anything.
When I realized what you were doing to me I did some research. How do I deal with this? How to respond? Should I even respond? According to most doctors, therapists, and
psychologists, the best and only effective way to deal with this is to refrain from reacting. Instead, set boundaries, and stay far away. People who resort to silent treatment have
unhealthy relationships and can’t maintain effective communication.
I don’t want their advice. As I said, you’re a very meaningful part of my life. I don’t
want to cut you off or push you away. I don’t want to cut you out from my life. I’d like us to communicate respectfully and openly so we can move forward and resolve this issue.
If I could talk to you right now, I’d tell you how miserable I am at myself for getting into this mess. I’d tell you how desperate I am to put things right. And I’d tell you how much I miss you.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you all this because you’re not talking to me.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 848)
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