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Publisher's Summary

Renowned psychologist and best-selling author of The Dance of Anger sheds new light on the two most important words in the English language - I'm sorry - and offers a unique perspective on the challenge of healing broken connections and restoring trust.

Dr. Harriet Lerner has been studying apologies - and why some people won't give them - for more than two decades. Now she offers compelling stories and solid theory that bring home how much the simple apology matters and what is required for healing when the hurt we've inflicted (or received) is far from simple. Listeners will learn how to craft a deeply meaningful "I'm sorry" and avoid apologies that only deepen the original injury.

Why Won't You Apologize? also addresses the compelling needs of the injured party - the one who has been hurt by someone who won't apologize, tell the truth, or feel remorse. Lerner explains what drives both the non-apologizer and the over-apologizer, as well as why the people who do the worst things are the least able to own up. She helps the injured person resist pressure to forgive too easily and challenges the popular notion that forgiveness is the only path to peace of mind. With her trademark humor and wit, Lerner offers a joyful and sanity-saving guide to setting things right.

©2017 Harriet Lerner. All rights reserved. (P)2017 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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I'm sorry

Several years ago I read two or three of Ms. Lerner's books. I moved away from self-help over time and I didn't give Ms. Lerner a thought since then. I know now that I have sincerely missed her wise words!

I am 62 retired, married woman in the Mid West. I really have a pretty small life. I go to knitting, and do a lot of genealogy while listening to Audible. I really don't have the need to apologize for much anymore. Or so I thought.

There is wisdom in this book. Not only wisdom on how to apologize right the first time when it really does matter. But how to live with the apology when you are still emotionally involved. Tough stuff. But words worth listening to.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Damn good book

I had no idea how complicated this whole apologising thing actually is. This is pretty essential reading for anyone that has interactions with any other humans or animals or aliens 😳.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful Insight

I thought I was good at taking responsibility for my behavior and limiting the number of times I have to apologize, however this taught me so many different perspectives about the pain and hurtful behavior or silence of the people who hurt us. We think they have no reason or right to be the a$$ who already made us feel " victimized " yet they are still playing the victim card...really.. This helped me to stop asking why me/ what the hell/what can/should I do or WHY IS HE /SHE TREATING ME POORLY ONTOP OF POOR when I was the one who had betrayed so badly and did the work to be treated as dirt, after being dumped on the first 50 times. I had forgiven and released the resentment and pain from the all my open wounds along time ago however I never had the closure and insight from the other persons pain and resentment towards me. I do think this book gave me the reassurance that this didnt happen to me, it happened for me( in my mind. There crurlty had nothing to do with me necessarily, it was never about me and everything to do with them and their emotional state. Im more empathetic and compassionate bc of my practices and understanding of mindfulness yet this book gave me 85% MORE VIRTUOUS Motivation towards my relationships. Im especially referring to my husband. Bc of this its been my source and its because if this that we are moving back to reunite. It has helped him to soften his heart towards me and for me. I advise anyone in partnership with harbouring resentment towards them to read and listen to this three times and pass it on!!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Loved every minute of it

The narrator is great. The information is so relevant and the examples are great. I took so much from this book and I am looking forward to applying it with my own apologies. It also gave me a sense of peace inside me because it helped me understand the persons that don’t know how to apologize. This book is a must read or listen to. Great information.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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very useful to continue the healing process

good narration.

clear communication.

healing and generous toward a real understanding and explanation of what it's like to be human.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Good for Everybody

A well rounded, thoughtful exploration of an often hard to navigate topic. Lerner covers many types of apology and non-apology as well as many wrongs from imagined, to minor, to unforgivable. Many helpful examples of strategies to promote healing are given for both the person apologizing and the injured party.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Everyone needs to read this!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and I am having all of my clients read this book. It is so helpful in giving vocabulary to the process of giving and receiving an apology. The author uses many personal examples through out the book to illustrate her points, and I saw myself identified in both the helpful and unhelpful apologies. The book has definitely made me mindful of my words, and given me more intentionality in interactions with others. I have enjoyed dialoguing about it with my counseling clients as we workshop through their own situations. <br/><br/>Excellent resource!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The Anatomy of an Apology

What did you love best about Why Won't You Apologize??

The insight.

What other book might you compare Why Won't You Apologize? to and why?

The Five Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman

What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

Clear articulation and easy on the ear.

Any additional comments?

Harriet Lerner does an excellent job of dissecting and analyzing why we can be reluctant to apologize, how we "faux apologize," and what a genuine apology consists of. There was so much of what she touched on that resonated with my experience, both as apologizer and apologizee.<br/><br/>There was, however, a point in which Harriet and I diverged: forgiveness. She vehemently maintains that forgiveness is not necessary for healing, which I vehemently disagree with. In listening to her reasoning, I found that where we disagreed had to do with the anatomy of forgiveness. <br/><br/>IME, there are at least five domains into which Harriet was conflating the word "forgiveness." She lumped together forgiveness (letting go) with trust (becoming vulnerable to that person again), boundaries (limits on behavior/exposure which prevent future injurious behavior/interaction), reconciliation (the ability to have a functional interaction), and restoration (the full resumption of an open-hearted relationship). When she says, "Forgiveness isn't necessary for healing," what it turned out that she meant was that you don't have to make yourself vulnerable to someone who has wronged you in the past. When she says, "You don't have to forgive 100% in order to forgive," what she is describing is reconciliation that incorporates boundaries. The relationships that she describes as almost/completely forgiving are relationships that are at least reconciled, if not completely restored.<br/><br/>So I maintain the conviction that forgiveness is essential for healing because it requires that the relinquishment pain and woundedness to God's sovereign justice. The other aspects of the damaged relationship play out independently of that.<br/><br/>The balance of the book is an insightful and incisive examination of what we need and need to give in an apology so that we may hear and be heard addressing the behavior that created the breach. I would highly recommend this book along with Gary Chapman's The Five Languages of Apology.<br/>

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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loved it!

A very insightful look into the art of the apology and understanding human emotion. The route of cultural expectations of forgiveness is fascinating.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Apology as an essential skill in relationships

This book eloquently and empathetically describes the healing power of an authentic and well-crafted apology. It is also teaches the reader how to identify and craft such an apology. I will be practicing what I have learned here and applying it with my children, and hopefully pass on the valuable lessons I have gleaned from this book. Excellent book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • linda clements
  • 03-20-17

Well done and thankyou

This book is fabulous. I love Harriet's work and this one does not disappoint. once you know the difference between a genuine apology and a fake one you won't be able to unknow that. so don't read if you don't want to learn this stuff. lol.

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  • Carol
  • 08-30-17

Very helpful book

Really valued the book, its contents and the manner in which it is presented by the author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful