Beat the silent relationship killer with forgiveness and (the right kind of) apology

Updated: 18th August 2017

Sometimes, it’s silent. Sometimes, nagging.

Either way, it’s a killer of relationships and you’ve probably harboured it yourself. Perhaps you’re feeling it right now.

I’m talking about resentment.

It doesn’t come alone in a relationship.

Favourite bedmates are hurt, anger, blame, fear, sadness, guilt, shame, disappointment, disconnection, bitterness, powerlessness, hostility, loss of trust and injured self-esteem.

Been there?

When painful emotions are unexpressed or unresolved (or both) and resentment starts to build, you end up with a dangerous, corrosive mix that eats away at your connection and breaks down the energy exchange that is so crucial in sustaining a successful relationship.

You may love your partner dearly, but find it increasingly difficult to relax in this love and to share it joyfully.

Why feel resentful in the first place?

We feel resentful when we experience some form of hurt, personal injury or injustice — one that is tied to our core beliefs, ethical values and sense of identity.

The circumstances may vary, but what’s underneath it all is fear. And deeper down is a feeling of lovelessness.

The absence of love. The inability to extend love.

Next time you’re hurting like this, dig deeper and you’ll soon discover the truth: deep down, you just want to connect and to love. It’s what being human is about.

How do you clean the slate when resentment’s been building?

Wouldn’t it be great, if you could just make it all go away? Just like that? As if by magic?

Actually, it’s possible.

It’s possible to make it all go away. Just like that. As if by magic.

The “magic” you must work is called “forgiveness”.

Forgiveness means to let go. Really let go.

Feeling your heart open, allowing yourself to be sensitive, loving, compassionate. Accepting what is — not feebly, in resignation, but standing in a greater truth. And letting go.

Start by forgiving yourself. Your thoughts, feelings, words, actions…

Then, forgive your partner. The situation. The past. Your history.

Forgiveness opens the door to true freedom, as long as you commit to the journey without expectations.

You may forgive your own or your partner’s transgression, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen again.

If you’re experiencing problems in your relationship, conflict or trouble communicating, are out-of-sync or wanting different things, it’s a good idea to face the situation and do something about it.

Resource yourself and seek advice. Forgiveness will bring fresh energy to your connection and you can make new choices.

If what’s needed is dynamic action, do that; if what serves is to be more receptive, do that; whatever you choose, forgive so that you may engage with life and love more fully and authentically.

It’s possible you will recognize your own misplaced judgements, conditioned behaviour, unconscious fears or wounding at the heart of your building resentment and find forgiveness — but more work may be needed in order to stop falling into the same patterns again and again.*

You’re evolving and forgiveness helps you to loosen the hold that past and present attachments have on you.

Forgiveness requires you to feel into your Innermost Being and discover your true power.

Time to step up. Recognize your inherent nature, wise, courageous, loving and free, and it’ll be easier to let go.

Test the structures you’ve created in your life and your relationship, and embrace values and a moral code that is closer to your authentic Self.

Do you see, how empowering forgiveness is?

As Gandhi pointed out, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Forgiveness is the ultimate karmic eraser – and an antidote to co-dependency.

When you forgive, you step out of the cause-and-effect wheel that keeps you stuck in a transactional, egoic game with more losers than winners.

When you forgive, there’s nothing to resolve. The past is behind you and you’re fresh, receptive, in the moment. You’re in your heart. Now you can experience and communicate what is present for you, without expectations and freed from the burden of cumulative ill feelings.

Along with compassion and love, when you forgive you find peace. It’s a high vibrational state that enables connection to your highest good, opens you to possibilities and frees your spirit. **

There’s new energy.

Love can flow in more nourishing ways. Life seems brighter, as you rediscover yourself and your partner.

In most cases, an honest apology helps.

Let’s face it. Forgiveness represents an act of transcendence and, even though it’s one you must make all by yourself, an honest apology from a partner who recognizes playing a part in a hurtful dynamic helps to heal the disconnection between you and enhances intimacy.

But best to get the language right!

An apology may be genuine, but may not “land” because it’s not the right kind.

As with ways to express love, there’s a certain art to offering an apology, as Dr. Gary Chapman has found.

I wrote about the 5 Love Languages model a while back; now, as promised, the 5 Languages of Apology.

They are (with examples):

  1. Expressing regret.  “I’m sorry I spoke to you harshly. I regret not being more sensitive to your feelings.”
  2. Accepting responsibility. “I was angry and the way I spoke to you was hurtful. I should learn to recognize when I’m angry, and not sound as though it’s all your fault.”
  3. Making restitution. “How can I earn your forgiveness? What can I do to put this right?”
  4. Genuinely repenting. “You deserve loving, respectful communication that honours your feelings. I will make an effort to be more centered next time.”
  5. Requesting forgiveness. “I’m sorry I spoke to you the way I did. I hope it won’t damage our relationship. Will you accept my apology?”

Which style of apology hits the mark for you?

The idea is that we have individual preferences and will most likely acknowledge and accept an apology when it is expressed in a manner we find meaningful.***

Having this awareness can make a world of difference in communicating with your partner — as long as the feelings behind the gesture are true.

Might an apology be made in the “right language” and still not be accepted?

Yes. For example, if the apology is not felt deeply enough. Or if a partner is unwilling or unable to forgive.

Why may that be? What can be done about it?

If forgiveness seems difficult to you, start the process by asking yourself:

  • How do I benefit by not forgiving?
  • How do I benefit by forgiving?
  • What stands between me and forgiveness?
  • How would it be, if I had access to a higher power?

The answers will increase your awareness and help you to let go.

(Remember: help is at hand, if forgiveness continues to remain distant. Get in touch to discuss options.)

I’d love to hear from you!

  • How do you deal with difficult situations and emotions? Do you let resentment build?
  • What’s been your greatest feat of forgiveness? Are past hurts still haunting you for lack of forgiveness?
  • What’s your apology language?
  • Have you been apologising a lot / sometimes / never / in the wrong way?

Please write and share.

If you’re on Facebook, go on over to my page and join The Ultimate Connection community for more exchange and inspiration.

Connect again soon!

Love, always,

Elena Angel offers soulful relationship and life coaching in London and remotely via Skype and phone.




*Let me make this super-clear: cultivating your capacity for forgiveness and acceptance does not require you to discard healthy boundaries and self-respect. If you’re in an abusive relationship or one that simply does not support your well-being and personal integrity, you would do well to change this. Certainly, forgive, but do not victimize yourself. Educate yourself, get to know yourself better, discover how best to communicate, and look to your deepest motivations, as you step forth into a more harmonious and nurturing experience of relationship.

** Karmic clearing and raising your vibration is precisely what you achieve through my Ho’opopono Guided Meditation Practice, based on the ancient, Hawaiian forgiveness ritual, currently available through my Membership programme.

*** If you’re unsure about your own or your partner’s preferred Languages of Love and Apology, you can take the online tests:

5 Love Languages | 5 Languages of Apology


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