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ZEPHYRA's avatar

As an adult who has made serious life mistakes, is there any way to apologize to those I have hurt deeply?

Asked by ZEPHYRA (15187 points ) March 18th, 2012

Parents above all and close relatives who have shared the pain of my mistakes and their consequences. I guess no amount of apologizing can erase what they’ve been through. I just can’t get things right any more, every move is a mistake…..seems I am in error mode.

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15 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

Sit down with them and give them a heartfelt apology. If it’s something that’s not fixable, all you can do is show them that you’ve grown and are trying to atone for your mistakes.

tom_g's avatar

I agree with @Blackberry. The thing is, if it took you a long time to realize you should probably apologize, it might take a long time for these people to process and accept your apology. Don’t expect something amazing and immediate to happen in your relationship with them. The apology process will help you, and you can only hope that it will have some benefit to them some day.

Coloma's avatar

Regaining thier trust and earning new respect and compassion is your task now. Sincere apologies with an in depth sharing of why/where your head was at during your transgressions is a great start, but, you must continue to EARN back their care and respect over a lengthy period of time. Once bitten, twice shy, and while it seems you are sincere, only time will tell. Best wishes, sincerely so.

marinelife's avatar

Apologizing is never an error. Express simply and sincerely what you are sorry for. They may not accept it, but you will feel better, and they may accept it and forgive you.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Strange thing is, they are supportive and caring and I truly don’t deserve it!

Aster's avatar

Say, “I want to apologize to how I’ve hurt you; but I realize that words are just that: words. So I am promising you right now that I’ve changed for the better and I want you to watch and listen to me from now on. That will show you without a doubt I am a completely changed person. ” Then you could outline what made you change if you can give credit to anything or anyone. xoxo

AmWiser's avatar

First make peace within yourself. Forgive yourself for the hurt and pain you may have caused than make your heartfelt apologies to the ones you love. It’s not an easy process, but if you are sincere the change you are looking for will come. Good luck.

CWOTUS's avatar

What makes you think you don’t deserve support and care, @ZEPHYRA? (Rhetorical question: I don’t expect – or want – a public response to that.)

Unless you’ve been deliberately cruel or criminal or in some other way – in full control – damaging to people and relationships, why would you not deserve normal support and care?

Is it possible that you’re depressed? That’s not an uncommon feeling – I believe – among those suffering that affliction.

JenneJ's avatar

Parents are usually the most forgiving of their children. Apologize with sincerity, they’re probably waiting on it.

ucme's avatar

A sincere/genuine apology is never a bad place to start building bridges.
If the “victims” of this past behaviour seek any closure to any bitterness & bad blood, they should welcome this move on your behalf for the starting point that it surely is, from small acorns…...

Judi's avatar

For parents, seeing your child actually turn their life around and become happy productive citizens is the best thing you can possibly do. An apology is pretty hollow when it’s the 10th time and they keep making the same mistakes.
(I’m talking as if you are my child here.)
All I, as a parent want, is for my children to find the life that makes them happy. If they have learned from their mistakes and become a better person, in the end I am thrilled. The type of character that comes from learning from your mistakes makes a rich and compassionate person. I wish my children had never went through the crap they did as a result of their own bad choices, but I know that the amazing people they are today would never had emerged had they always done what I thought was right.
Don’t apoligize, don’t live in the past, but grow from it. The best gift you can give your parents is to grow, learn and thrive.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m sorry, but I haven’t read the thread, so my post may repetitive.

First, don’t use the word sorry or apology. Sit down with those you want to and tell them that you realize you’ve done hurtful things, and then ask them if there’s anything you can do to make it right.

If they give you something to do, do it. If they say they love you, love them back. If they say get the hell out, leave.

It’s very difficult to take responsibility for our lives, but it is very helpful to those around us and to ourselves when we do.

Best of luck to you.

trailsillustrated's avatar

To make the future better than the past. And to act on it. Put it into action. I personally ruined things for my self, my children. It will always haunt me. Six years ago I decided every step I took for the rest of my life would be to try heal this, although I know I never can take it back. But, it has made all the difference to the relationship I have now with my children, my family. When they think you are there and sensible, they do want to talk to you about it. It is very hard. In my experience, actions speak so much more than words. I have never been able to speak about it with my children without crying, which made them uncomfortable. But it has come more slowly in being there, providing, and talking with them , a slow unveiling of what happened, and my care and love for them now.

rooeytoo's avatar

Step 8 & 9 of the 12 Steps of AA deal with this:

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

All you can do is say you’re sorry with words and then prove it with your consequent actions and behavior. As step 9 says though, sometimes you just have to let go and hope that time will heal the wounds.

It’s never easy but remember you can only control yourself not others, trying to change someone’s mind about anything is an often fruitless and always frustrating task.

smilingheart1's avatar

It is impossible to resist the heart of a truly contrite person. Forgiveness is a propeller that wipes away years of bad ass or bad air between the people involved. This is the major building brick of life. All of us need to give and receive it. Then we must keep going forward, keep going for healing and change that supports improvement. Baby steps but never stop.

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