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Why Won't You Apologize?

Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts

PhD Lerner, Harriet


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (1/9/2017)
Paperback (10/10/2017)
Compact Disc (2/5/2019)


“If you want to know why Harriet Lerner is one of my great heroes, Why Won’t You Apologize? is the answer. This book is a game changer.” —Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Rising Strong

“Harriet Lerner is one hell of a wise woman. She draws you in with deft and engaging prose, and then changes your life with her rigorous intelligence and her deeply human advice. I promise that you will never see ‘the apology’ in quite the same way.” —Esther Perel, MA, LMFT author of Mating in Captivity

Renowned psychologist and bestselling 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. Readers 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.

Praise For Why Won't You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts

"If you want to learn the art and craft of apology and repair when you've hurt someone you care about, this is your book.  If you are frustrated with a loved one who is no good at accepting responsibility for hurting you, this is your book.  If you want powerful  insights into human relationships delivered in personal, enjoyable writing, let me say it plainly: this is the best self-help book I've ever read!"
--William Doherty, Ph.D. professor of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota, author of Take Back Your Marriage

“I love Harriet Lerner’s work!”
--Anne Lamott, author of Help, Thanks, Wow and Bird by Bird

"A profoundly insightful look into the many ways humans hurt each other and the power of apology to restore broken relationships.  Harriet Lerner has written a valuable guide for both those who deserve an apology and those who owe one."
 --John Kador, author of Effective Apology

"With her signature punch and humor, Harriet Lerner tackles the injuries that occur in marriage, family and friendship. Her advice for repairing hurts and earning forgiveness is fresh, profound, life-affirming and immediately useful."
--Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D., author of How Can I Forgive You?

"Why Won't You Apologize? is at once practical and profound. It guides us through the most difficult places in human relationships.  Read this book, then pass it on to the non-apologizer in your life." 
--Monica McGoldrick, M.A., LCSW, Ph.D. (Honorary), Director of the Multicultural Family Institute in Highland Park, New Jersey

"Lerner takes us beyond the simple "I'm sorry," to show us how to restore connection with those we love the most. This wise and eminently down-to-earth book is a guide that will last a lifetime and heal the hearts of so many."
--Dr. Sue Johnson, author of Hold me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

"With accessible language,  luminous examples, and clinical nuance, Harriet Lerner shows us the value and power of apologies--and how and when to deliver and receive them. We applaud her achievement, including her compelling analysis of the dynamics of forgiveness. We recommend this book to anyone who has suffered hurt from others, or caused others to suffer. Who among us has not done both?" 
--Harville Hendrix, Ph. D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph. D., authors of Making Marriage Simple and Getting the Love You Want

"Why Won't You Apologize? is an immensely intelligent book. Lerner is an intrepid agent of change. What a gift!"
--Judith V. Jordan, Ph.D., Director of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Center for Women


"What a powerful book. Anyone who has friends, co-workers, family members would do well to have a copy of this book at the ready... just in case."--The Charlotte Observer

"Most wonderfully, Lerner tackles absent apologies that hurt and demoralize. She considers forgiving vs. letting go and shows readers how to have one without the other...Highly recommended for mental health professionals and anyone struggling to offer an apology, hoping for one, or wishing to move on – with or without forgiving."--Library Journal

"Soulful, compassionate, and oh so right."

--Susie Orbach, co-founder of The Women's Therapy Centre in London and The Women's Therapy Center in New York. 


"Lerner explores how the courage and wisdom to apologize are crucial to healthy relationships. [Her book] plumbs the complexity of forgiveness providing practical advice, deep theoretical insights and compassion."—On Wisconsin

"A voluble and vulpine raconteur, Lerner sparkles in her most recent book, Why Won’t You Apologize? With wit and wisdom, she offers readers sensible advice and a cornucopia of ways to create an apology that can permanently improve a relationship."—The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter

Gallery Books, 9781501129599, 208pp.

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

About the Author

Harriet Lerner, PhD is one of our nation’s most loved and respected relationship experts.  Renowned for her work on the psychology of women and family relationships, she served as a staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic for several decades. A distinguished lecturer, consultant, and psychotherapist, she is the author of numerous scholarly articles and popular books, including the New York Times bestseller The Dance of Anger and Why Won’t You Apologize?.  She and her husband live in Lawrence, Kansas and have two grown sons.