Release Anger and Resentment with the Languages of Apology

by Reid on July 5, 2015

Senior African couple toasting with tropical cocktailsThe 5 Languages of Apology can make it surprisingly easy to let go of resentment and anger. Ever had someone repeat your “crimes” from years past? Find yourself doing that? Learn what might be missing and make your romance and friendships better starting now.

Reid Mihalko from and Cathy Vartuli from share tips and approaches to help you connect more deeply and with less discord.

Cathy: Are you feeling a lot of resentment and anger towards someone and you just haven’t been able to let it go?

Reid: It could be that you’re apologizing to them in the wrong language.

Cathy: Or they’re apologizing to you in the wrong language.

Reid: Or yeah, I’m sorry.

Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from

Reid: I’m Reid Mihalko from

Cathy: We’re talking about languages of apology today.

Reid: Really great book by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas.

Cathy: It made a huge difference to me to hear about it.

Reid: How?

Cathy: I kind of was brought up to say we’re sorry and that was it, but that doesn’t always work. Someone can say they’re sorry and go out and do it again or it just doesn’t land and people… I’ve seen people hold on to resentments and bring them up year after year after year. It becomes a big part of the relationship. Every time they have a fight, do you remember what you did five years ago?

Reid: What? I apologized for that five years ago.

Cathy: Yeah, but you’re always still wrong because the other person hasn’t really received the apology. The apology didn’t land for them.

Reid: So if you’re in a situation where there’s a lot of old resentment or lack of trust on either side. It could be that you don’t feel like the person’s trustworthy and you know them. It’s not like they’re a stranger. What could be happening is that there was some sort of rift in the relationship, some sort of mistake that… egregious error, trespassing in the relationship where whoever it was wasn’t able to apologize in a way where the other person could hear it as an apology and forgive them. Until you forgive people for their trespasses, it’s really, really hard to start rebuilding trust. Not even really hard, it’s basically darn near impossible.

Cathy: Right. And even if it’s something kind of small, if it’s like having that pebble on your shoe all time, it irritates and you’re not feeling as connected to the person you’re with.

Reid: And the other person can feel like they’re fine because they apologized, but it wasn’t received.

Cathy: Yeah, you can actually be angry because, come on, I apologized. Why do you still keep bringing that up?

Reid: Yeah, which then creates more distance in the relationship. So the basic theory of the five languages of apology is similar to Gary Chapman’s first book which is the 5 Love Languages where people are apologizing in dialects that you might not actually understand or might not land on you as the apology’s genuine.

Cathy: Yes, so the first thing you can do kind of what we were taught in kindergarten, is to say I’m sorry.

Reid: Yup. That’s the first love language. Expressing regret. The second love language is accepting responsibility. What I did was wrong.

Cathy: I actually did it and it’s wrong rather than I didn’t really do that. I didn’t spill red wine on your favorite dress. A lot of people are so uncomfortable with doing something wrong they won’t actually just say yeah, I did it, I’m really sorry.

Reid: The third language is making restitution. This happens to be my language of apology for receiving apology is for me to actually think that you gave a crap and are actually trying to right the wrong I need you to restore or make good on whatever the promise was or the thing that happened.

Cathy: Yeah, you can request forgiveness, which is a big deal for people. Just asking someone to forgive you can make them feel really heard. It gives them a sense of power too. So when something bad happens, you often feel powerless. So asking them to forgive you gives them a sense of power and a sense… a choice about it.

Reid: Yeah, they can forgive you or not forgive you. It’s a way of restoring power if that’s important to them, or a sense of justice. The final language is genuine repentance which is I am never going to do that again and here’s how I’m going to try to not do it again or here are the steps I’m going to take or the actions I’m going to take so that you get that I’m never going to have this happen again.

Cathy: Right. I will never drink red wine in the closet again.

Reid: Oh, is that how it got on my shirt?

Cathy: Sorry.

Reid: I’m a kind of active repentance, restitution kind of guy.

Cathy: I’ll buy you another shirt?

Reid: Yeah. And now we’re talking. Or you’ll go get it cleaned.

Cathy: Yes. And one of the really cool things is it’s not a lot of steps so you can hit all five of them if you want or you can find out what your partner or your co-worker or your child’s language is and make sure to hit that. And learn your own so you can coach other people. If someone says they’re sorry and you know you’re a restitution person, you can say, that’s great, buy me a new shirt.

Reid: The good thing about the love languages is once you get the handle on them and get to know them, you can actually kind of practice saying you’re sorry and apologizing in all the languages at once or hitting as many as you can if you’re apologizing to somebody for whom you don’t know their love language, somebody at work that you don’t know so well yet or a new person in your class. Languages of apology aren’t just for romantic relationships. They’re not just for husbands and wives and things like that.

The other thing to know about this book is Gary Chapman runs a church down in North Carolina, I think. So there’s a lot of God references and a little bit of religious flavor to the book so for those of you out there who are totally, that’s turned you off completely, I would still recommend the book and just kind of overlook that stuff and for those of you who love that kind of stuff, this book is going to be totally great. Or if you have friends that are super religious church goers, this is a great book for them. We do totally recommend to our coaching clients, or at least I do to mine, that you read The five love languages and The five languages of apology.

Cathy: It makes such a difference.

Reid: Yeah, it’s really, really simple, really great content and good luck with that. Let us know what your language of apology is.

Cathy: And test it out. Let us know how it works. Leave comments below.

Reid: Bye.

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