Apologies and being asked for forgiveness are nice but they are not amends. They don’t resolve what matters.
Janice’s adult daughter had been mean, vicious and abusive in public for more than five years. Numerous times, she’d called Janice names in front of friends, all the extended family and even strangers. She berated Janice and told her to shut up; Janice was stupid, a bad mother and she’d never see her granddaughter again; Janice should feel guilty for never giving her daughter what she needed. She rolled her eyes and laughed sarcastically at Janice. She ruined the family birthday and holiday parties, and even the weddings. She posted negative, critical and demeaning remarks about her mother on her Facebook page and even on Janice’s page.
Janice had been a doting mother, always trying to make her daughter happy by giving her what she wanted. But nothing seemed to satisfy the girl and nothing seemed to satisfy the woman she’d become.
After a year of not contacting Janice directly, but of repeatedly being nasty about her to the family and online, her daughter called to say:
- She wanted to apologize for her behavior and ask her privately for forgiveness.
- She needed $2,000 right away to pay some bad debts.
- Eventually she’d consider going to counseling to resolve the issues she had with Janice.
Of course, Janice’s first thought was that all would be well and she’d be glad to accept the apology and help her daughter. Then she thought again. Her daughter was not really apologizing and she wasn’t making amends for her behavior. She was simply bullying and trying to manipulate Janice to get more money.
Janice decided to defend her honor. She said:
- A private apology is nice but not enough.
- Her daughter must make amends by apologizing in front of all the family, and apologizing on her Facebook page and on Janice’s. As many people as possible who’d heard her daughter’s criticism and lies had to hear the truth.
- She had to behave politely and kindly to Janice for at least a year before Janice would consider any monetary help.
- They didn’t need any therapy to work on issues. She wouldn’t allow her daughter to vomit her emotions and excuses on Janice. Her daughter had to get her own therapy to get over being so hateful when she didn’t get her way or wasn’t in complete control.
Janice knew she was taking a risk that her daughter would attack her even more and never let her see her beloved granddaughter but she had some leverage. Her daughter would need her money and help many times in the future.
At first, Janice’s daughter raged at her and hung up. But a few months later, when she saw Janice was unmoved, she capitulated and did what Janice had asked. Janice never believed her daughter’s sincerity but she got the behavior she wanted.
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- Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
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Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.