Welcome to Jealousy Junkie!
Aug. 9, 2022

07: The 4 Step Apology To Make Things Right with Molly Howes

07:  The 4 Step Apology To Make Things Right with Molly Howes

The truth is, we are hardwired as humans to not want to apologize. It is one of the most difficult things to do on a cultural and neurological level. Feeling as though we did something wrong and that we hurt someone is not the way we want to feel about ourselves, so in an instant our brain chooses to protect itself. However, what if apologizing was looked at through a different lens? What if we used apologies as a way to create better connections with a partner and make big changes that could help elevate relationships.There are so many misconceptions about apologizing, such as,  apologizing is a sign of weakness, when it is actually the total opposite and we want to tackle this issue on today’s podcast. 

Joining us today is Harvard trained clinical psychologist and author of ‘A Good Apology: Four Steps to Make Things Right’, Molly Howes. Molly walks us through why people don’t like to apologize and how we can overcome that by using her four steps to apologizing. She is here to educate us on the psychology behind apologizing, and how we can become better apologizers for us and our partners.

Apologizing isn’t about who is right and who is wrong, it’s about building better connections and working as a team. With some introspection and the right tools, apologizing in a way that will help your relationship is possible. Tune in to hear how!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Why is it so hard to apologize?
  • How to better understand your partner’s point of view
  • Why is it easier to see other people’s mistakes rather than our own?
  • What is forgiveness inflation?
  • Why guilt is actually a good thing
  • What is confirmation bias?
  • Does being open help your partner open up?
  • The need for responsibility and empathy in an apology
  • Creating a system to ensure to not hurt the other
  • Becoming a team with your partner for a mutually beneficial outcome
  • Myths about apologies
  • Questions to ask to help your partner open up

Purchase Molly's Book:  https://www.grandcentralpublishing.com/titles/molly-howes-phd/a-good-apology/9781538701317/

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The information on this podcast or any platform affiliated with Top Self LLC, or Jealousy Junkie is for informational and entertainment purposes only. No material associated with Jealousy Junkie podcast is intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition or treatment and before taking on or performing any of the activities or suggestions discussed on the podcast or website.


[00:00:00] Molly Howes: Psychologists like to say that guilt is feeling bad about something you've done and shame is feeling bad about who you are.

[00:00:12] Podcast Intro: There's just no other way to say it, jealousy sucks. And I know you do anything to not be jealous, but you just can't shake it. Obsessive thoughts, knots of anxiety in your stomach, disastrous nights out and even ruined relationships. I've been there. 

[00:00:30] Podcast Intro: Welcome to Jealousy Junkie. The podcast to help you go from that jealous and anxious feeling in your relationship to calm and confident.

[00:00:38] Podcast Intro: My name is Shanenn Bryant. And as one of the few who focus on overcoming jealousy, I'll be right here to support you through the painful range of emotions, tackle your jealous reactions and bring your sanity check questions to the table. 

[00:00:54] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: There are many times in our life where we may have said something or behaved in a way that later we maybe weren't proud of and feel that we may need to offer an apology.

[00:01:09] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: So I have with me, Harvard trained clinical psychologist, Molly Howes. Welcome so much. 

[00:01:18] Molly Howes: Thank you. Shanenn, it's great to be with you. 

[00:01:20] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Thank you. You have a wonderful book out A Good Apology. Four Steps To Make Things Right. And that's what we're gonna talk about today. I really wanna just start off with, even though there may be times where we feel like, eh, maybe I should apologize for that, or I didn't really love my behavior. There are times where we end up not apologizing. Why is it so hard for us to apologize? 

[00:01:45] Molly Howes: There are lots of reasons why it's hard. It's almost baked into our culture for one thing, but also it's part of our neuroanatomy. You know, the neuroscientists tell us that the brain is designed to be really efficient and to go back and reconsider something that you did is a little bit inefficient.

[00:02:04] Molly Howes: You know, it takes more time. So right from the get go, there's a little bit of a barrier. But more significantly, there are cognitive barriers. Like. Confirmation bias. We see what we expect to see. We're really bad at seeing our impact on other people. We're really bad at being accurate about someone else's reaction to something that we've done.

[00:02:25] Molly Howes: We're, remarkably bad at it. And we're remarkably confident about our wrong perceptions. Um, you know, people are famous for, being subject to perceptual distortions, like optical illusions, but it also happens with our thinking in the same kind of way. 

[00:02:40] Molly Howes: And then there are the things that we treasure about ourselves. You know, we wanna think of ourselves as kind and good and not the kind of person who hurts people. So we resist information that we might have hurt someone. And in fact, everybody, the nicest of us, we can't help it. We hurt people. And I regularly say that relationships are a contact sport. You know, we just bump into each other frequently by mistake. 

[00:03:10] Molly Howes: And so it is kind of a situation where if we don't pay attention to those things, we're missing a lot of information, but it's tempting not to. 

[00:03:19] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: So some of it is just because we may not realize or see our wrong in it. So oftentimes it's, we don't feel like there's an apology due. 

[00:03:31] Molly Howes: Right. And often even if someone tells us that we hurt them, you know, the first reaction is defensiveness. I didn't mean to no, you misunderstood me, right? 

[00:03:44] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Ooh. So what can we do in that moment? Because yes, especially if we're not understanding or we didn't mean to, and as you said, we consider ourself a kind person. We certainly didn't intentionally mean to upset someone. And then they come at us with well what really upset me when you said that, or when you did that. What is that part where we are not understanding. We're saying, well, I didn't do that. What can we do in that moment to make better understand from their point of view?

[00:04:14] Molly Howes: Right? So my apology model has four steps and it's a bigger process than just saying I'm sorry. And the first step is to understand the other person's injury. And that has got nothing to do with you. It's got nothing to do with the apologizer about our intentions or our, you know, what a heck of a nice person we are or how they started it or any, it doesn't have anything to do with any of that.

[00:04:37] Molly Howes: It just has to do with understanding the other person's experience. And so we have to turn a switch somehow. We have to bear in mind that we might not know the whole story and ask them. So I'm curious, tell me more about it. And that's hard to do if we're being resistant or defensive. 

[00:04:56] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: So even if it's a situation where someone comes to you and says, I didn't like that you did that. I didn't appreciate you saying that. The first thing we should do is try to understand more from their point of view and not immediately think, oh, they want an apology from me or I'm going to have to apologize for something that I don't feel like I did intentionally. 

[00:05:16] Molly Howes: Sure. Another thing we should not do right away is cancel them or overreact or put it on social media. You know, we don't know yet. We don't know the story. It really behooves us to be humble, and that is really hard to do. It takes a lot of courage to be humble like that, I think. 

[00:05:34] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Okay. So step number one, we're just gonna ask a question. So if we've upset someone and they come to us and say, you've upset me, we need to ask more questions and dig in. Not from a trying to decide if I should apologize or not, but more from their point of view of why they were hurt. Is that right? 

[00:05:53] Molly Howes: Right. Not, not why, but how they were hurt. Like, like what happened to them? Not what did we do exactly. Although what we did is relevant, what's even more important is how that hurt them or how that cost them something.

[00:06:05] Molly Howes: And sometimes it's not that we did something. Sometimes is that we didn't do something or sometimes it's that we, we didn't show up for something or we let somebody down in some other way. And even if we didn't mean it and we don't think it ought account as an offense we don't think we're in the wrong or not to blame. It would benefit the relationship for us to find out how we affected them. 

[00:06:27] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: So then why are we able to see other people's mistakes more than our own? 

[00:06:34] Molly Howes: Oh my gosh. Yes. Aren't we? We are so freely critical of other people. Well, some people have a bias in the direction of feeling terrible about themselves. A lot of the time too, you may notice, but most of us really are better at seeing other people's flaw.

[00:06:48] Molly Howes: We have a need to defend what we believe to be true or what we long for to be true about us. You know, our cherished self concepts. And we don't like things that challenge that. 

[00:07:01] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Mm. So kind of going back to the neuroscience of it is sort of still proving that proving our belief. 

[00:07:09] Molly Howes: Yeah. Confirming. Confirming it in a situation, in a relationship where there's an argument, there's a disagreement, you know, both people don't wanna be wrong. So there's that too. That's another issue. , you know, I don't wanna be the wrong one. So you must be the wrong one. 

[00:07:27] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Mm-hmm . Yeah. And we hear that all the time. Do you wanna be right or do you wanna be happy? And so coming from that place of, I'm gonna forget about being right and ask them more questions of how this hurt them, how they're feeling. 

[00:07:46] Molly Howes: Right. And it, that could be a temporary forgetting about being right. Like I'm gonna get back to them, but for now, what I wanna do first is understand you.

[00:07:55] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: So you talk about forgiveness inflation, I know you mentioned it in your book. Can you talk a little more about that? 

[00:08:02] Molly Howes: Sometimes people feel they should just forgive for anything. And especially we should forgive ourselves. We should just shake off any guilt, cause that's bad for us. And everybody's just fine as they are.

[00:08:14] Molly Howes: And I think that's not accurate. It's not realistic. And it leaves a lot of unfinished business between people sort of avoiding responsibility. And I really think things tend to go better in the long run and often even in the short run, if we face as bravely as we can, the truth about something and relationships really benefit from that. Because then both parties over time, begin to trust that they can face whatever it is. They can handle whatever it is together, because they're not gonna be met with that sort of defensiveness. If they do have something that is bothering them, right? Or gas lighting, you know, that's not even true. It's bad practice 

[00:09:01] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: yeah, because we hear so much about, you know, self care and self-forgiveness, and that, you know, self-forgiveness being part of self care and taking it potentially to the extreme and in this situation where then we're going around kind of saying whatever we wanna say and just excusing ourselves versus taking some responsibility in how we may have affected someone. 

[00:09:26] Molly Howes: Yeah. And I wanna say something about guilt. Guilt gets a very bad rap as if it's bad for us. And there certainly is a very sort of pernicious, deep guilt that's not called for, and that's not good for people. But mostly guilt is the way good people know they've done something wrong or the way we know that we need to fix something. It's productive.

[00:09:48] Molly Howes: It drives us to try to repair or heal something. And that's distinct from shame. Psychologists like to say that guilt is feeling bad about something you've done and shame is feeling bad about who you are. Shame makes us smaller. Makes us withdraw. Makes us not try. Guilt can make us try to fix something.

[00:10:09] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Oh, that's, that's wonderful. Because part of being jealous and some of the behaviors that we do when we are in sort of a jealous meltdown. There's a lot of self-conscious emotions that come along with that guilt, shame, embarrassment, all of those things. And I like the fact that you said guilt being something that is maybe signaling you to then do better, to be better, but not taking on that shame of making us feel smaller because of it.

[00:10:42] Molly Howes: Oh man. It's great. If you can find that distinction then, and you can fix something, you can feel so much better about yourself. 

[00:10:48] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: I love that. I love that. That's great. So confirmation bias, you brought it up a little bit, but you definitely talk about it in your book and it's such an important message. So can you talk a little bit more about that confirmation bias?

[00:11:04] Molly Howes: Yeah. So there are some famous studies where the psychologist had people come in and watch a video of people passing a basketball among the group and ask them to count the number of passes or some other number of bounces or something else. And in the middle of the video, a person dressed up like a gorilla walks through the picture, walks through the scene and people don't notice it right.

[00:11:29] Molly Howes: Because nobody expects to see a gorilla in the middle of the passing of the basketball. And after word got out about this and the subjects in the university, you know, it's psychology students who do these studies, knew that the gorilla was gonna be there so then they introduced something else, completely unexpected.

[00:11:46] Molly Howes: And so people saw the gorilla, but not the other thing. And it's, it's about what you expect to see. What you expect to be true or what you already believe to be true. And often it comes up in a sort of a cognitive dissonance situation where you have one belief and the data, or the circumstances would disconfirm that they suggest that something else is true and you have to resolve that.

[00:12:12] Molly Howes: They say the brain longs to resolve dissonance like that. And the way people usually resolve it is in favor of the preexisting not in favor of the information in front of them. You've seen that in political arguments, right? 

[00:12:26] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yeah. So we always just kind of go back to what we already thought. 

[00:12:30] Molly Howes: Which is a problem with things in relationships like jealousy, right? Because there's always some ambiguity that you could find to justify the way that you feel or to confirm the way that you feel and that's a problem. It makes it really hard to get a clean slate. 

[00:12:44] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: And this is so true. And I think when I was really at the height of my jealousy, in my relationship, and I would go into a situation going, I know he's going to do this, whatever it is. I know he's going to look at this person. I know he's going to whatever it is. And no matter what, I could see it every single time, because I had already primed my brain, that that was going to happen. 

[00:13:08] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: And so then when it did, it was like, see, I knew it! And in that moment, yes, of course, no matter how I behaved it was really hard for me to apologize for it because I saw it with my own eyes. We do that. I saw it with my own eyes. I heard it with, you know, my own ears. I'm convinced when a lot of times, it's not the case. 

[00:13:31] Molly Howes: Yes. I mean, in my view, in a relationship, if you're stuck in that kind of a pattern, both people have to be attuned to what the other person is doing and needs.

[00:13:41] Molly Howes: And if you're trying not to pay attention to what you already think is gonna happen and change your expectations, that's great. But the other person also should probably change their behavior to help you so that you don't have to as much, you know. Both parties can change a little bit and then the whole system has less heat in it.

[00:14:01] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yeah. So then would it be a case let's say if I'm open to... you've told me that I have done something that makes you feel a certain way. And if I'm open to hearing what that is from your standpoint, and that's the way that I typically respond. Does that help with the other person doing that as well? Like if they are kind of feeling the same way where I don't really wanna apologize for what, you know, something that I've done, I don't understand it.

[00:14:30] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: If we're open, does that help to open the other person to do the same? 

[00:14:34] Molly Howes: It very frequently does. And also it's this thing about trusting that you're gonna get your turn, right? Like in, in a longstanding relationship, both people probably feel hurt, not just one. I don't wanna apologize to him because he hurt me too. Right? 

[00:14:49] Molly Howes: What I did was just because of what he did, you know, that kind of thing. And so you may be waiting for an apology from the other person when you might be able to get it, but you might have to be the first one to go, you know, and then the other person will go. If somebody approaches you and wants an apology from you, but you think your owed one you know, one thing you can say is I wanna talk about this and after this, can we talk about this other thing? Right? Like do it all the way through, do the four steps about this person's request, make your good apology. And then you get a turn right to ask for the one that you need. 

[00:15:23] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: So we know, you know, that first step is really listening to what they have to say. And second step you talk about taking responsibility for the repair but not the blame. And I think this is probably where people get hung up.  I may understand you, but I still don't feel like I should say, sorry. Can you explain that a little bit more? You're right. It is a problem.

[00:15:49] Molly Howes: It's a little fancy, but it could be a statement of regret and remorse. You know, I wish I hadn't done that thing, but it's more a statement of responsibility and empathy. So. I care about how you feel. And I hate that what I did made you feel that way, I hate that. I really don't wanna hurt you.So I am so sorry that what I did hurt you. 

[00:16:16] Molly Howes: That's different from, I know I screwed up and I'm a terrible person. I'm at fault and I'll never do it again. And please, please forgive me. You know, it doesn't have to be that it's I'm so very sorry that I hurt you. 

[00:16:32] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Right. So you're not taking responsibility. You're not saying I agree that I did this or taking that blame of it. You're just saying, I care about you. I don't want you to feel this way. And I'm sorry that I made you feel that way?

[00:16:47] Molly Howes: Yeah. It's not saying you're wrong. You might actually do the same thing again in the future. You know. It's not that you necessarily did the wrong thing, it's that what you did hurt them and you care about them 

[00:16:59] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: For someone who is trying to sort out their jealousy and really get to the root of their jealousy, it takes a little bit of time and we're definitely going to screw up along the way. Certainly, probably more than once. And if we've apologized for something and then we do that again.

[00:17:18] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: What does that mean to the other person? Like how do we handle that when we know, Hey, I'm working on this and it may happen again, but yeah, I do wanna apologize. 

[00:17:28] Molly Howes: Right? So in my view, the apology isn't complete until you do something, this is step four, about changing the future. Setting up some kind of system to prevent you from repeating the thing that hurt the other person.

[00:17:43] Molly Howes: That's hard. And a lot of habits, behavioral habits, thinking habits, feeling habits are really hard to change. We need some support for those. You know, I, I think we need, um, often sort of a system between the two people or the system on your own, or a system with a therapist or a system where you create a calendar and take accounts of things and give yourself rewards. Whatever it is you need to do to change what you think is a hurtful behavior.

[00:18:11] Molly Howes: It's a hurtful pattern that you don't wanna keep repeating because a person would be crazy to believe that it's gonna be different if it's been this way a zillion times and nothing has changed. Something has to change. Right. 

[00:18:25] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: So really your apology is not complete until the repair's done. 

[00:18:30] Molly Howes: Yeah. Until you do something different, sometimes that can be administrative, you know, like a reminder system.

[00:18:38] Molly Howes: It comes up about things that people forget to do. They don't follow through on things they're supposed to do, or they're committed to doing. And so, the partner has reminded them, reminded them and it doesn't work and they say they're just nagging. And so set up a different system. How many reminders would you like and in what form, and only give those.

[00:18:57] Molly Howes: And the person agrees that they will follow through on the second one or whatever, you know? And then they have to. So it's just changing the dynamic. Right? And you know, there are probably specific things you could do with jealousy too. 

[00:19:11] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Especially, if you have had that very important conversation with your partner, that you are working on things, right. And you're trying to really tackle this. So it could be that, Hey, I have made a promise that I'm going to, you know, whatever it is, maybe it's go to therapy. Maybe it's whatever, even a small token of something that they know that you're working on and then you accomplish that. Right? So it doesn't have to be, my apology is no good until I'm completely over this thing.

[00:19:41] Molly Howes: Right. Because nobody instantly changes and nobody's perfect. So I think that's well put I'm working on this and if you and your partner are working on it together, it's even more powerful because you can develop ways to support each other. What would take the edge off for one of you or the other of you, and can the other one do that?

[00:20:00] Molly Howes: Is there a way to signal um, you know, so that, so that your partner becomes more sensitized to what will be painful for you? And that could be it's often a physical thing, not a word thing. Like it's a hand. Or the arm. You know, it's physically making connections. It says I'm with you. I'm still with you. I'm always with you. Something like that is profound if you're feeling anxious.

[00:20:26] Molly Howes: Now, if you're into one of those situations where you think that's just baloney and you don't, you don't buy it. Okay. But if you and your partner are really trying to work on something, and you're trying to figure a way that will be reassuring to you, or the other way around something you could do that would be reassuring to the other person. 

[00:20:44] Molly Howes: You know, you could have a signal or a code or a something that says, ah, this is starting to boil up for me. I'm gonna take a five minute break, whatever. We have an agreement about what's gonna happen until I can catch my breath or something.

[00:20:58] Molly Howes: There are ways you can become a team and help the two of you get to the outcome you want. Which is, you know, peaceful communication and trust right?

[00:21:09] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yes. I often talk about trigger responses and that is sort of what that is of you guys, having that agreement of, you know, I'm feeling a certain way and if we are able to work together, like you said, maybe it's just, they put their hand on your knee or they, you know, whatever that custom to you thing is that's going to work in your relationship. So, yeah. Wonderful, wonderful. 

[00:21:35] Molly Howes: Sometimes people have a thing they go back to together. They, they have a thing they go back to together that symbolizes the good things about their relationship. You know, it's a strength of their relationship. And they refer to that in these moments so that they can join together about it. Some people do it with a humor, a humor that they've established, but some people do it with some special place.

[00:21:56] Molly Howes: Right. You know, they say, okay, let's go to Venice or whatever it is, you know, the thing. And, and then they're there together. Yeah. For a minute. It, it calms everything down. 

[00:22:07] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Gosh, thank you for sharing that. What are some myths that we have about apologies? 

[00:22:14] Molly Howes: Well, one of 'em we've already talked about, which is that if you apologize, it means that you're admitting blame. YOu're saying that you're wrong. And I don't think that has to be the case. I mean, sometimes it is, but not always. Another one is that an apology a sign of weakness. So people are reluctant to do it because they think it'll put them in the one down position or it'll make them, um, lose respect from their partner or something like that.

[00:22:39] Molly Howes: I think it requires a lot of strength and courage and, you know, it's a, it's a big person thing to do, but I know that, especially in our Western cultures, that's sort of a, sort of a model ideal adult. And I would say in parenthesis "ideal male adult", because it is a masculine model, but women are subject to it too, where you're independent and completely confident. And you don't doubt yourself. You don't second guess yourself, you don't offer anything. 

[00:23:09] Molly Howes: You also don't care about how other people feel right? So you have to challenge all that. And be able to open yourself to that kind of thing. So, right. I think that's strength, but other people think it looks like weakness and that's hard. So that's one thing. 

[00:23:24] Molly Howes: Another myth is that apologizing will get you sued. And it's behind a lot of doctors' failures to apologize for medical errors, even very serious ones. Historically, they were told, never to say, never admit anything, never to, you know, talk to the patient or the family of the person who was harmed or even who died.

[00:23:48] Molly Howes: And, and it turns out that now a lot of hospital systems have a way. of taking the apology needed right up front, very directly and try to find out what the family or the patient needs. And then, you know, try to discover what happened so that it won't happen again and to make things right sooner. So there are still cases where there are, you know, settlements, financial settlements, they tend to be smaller, but a bigger change is in how fast they are and how satisfied everybody is.

[00:24:22] Molly Howes: So it works better in business. If a business makes a mistake and apologizes for it, well, they're so much more trusted by their customers or clients than if they never made a mistake. Mm-hmm so a good, a good repair is really helpful. You know, everybody feels better.

[00:24:39] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Like before, when you were talking about the cases of the doctors and we're like, we're never going to say, we're sorry, or admit to it then we're also probably not really looking into it to see how we can prevent things in the future. 

[00:24:51] Molly Howes: Right. And the victim or the person who's hurt, doesn't feel heard. And being heard, having a chance to say what happened for you or your loved one and having it understood and heard is very, very powerful in itself.. That's healing. 

[00:25:06] Molly Howes: It's not enough, but it's profoundly healing and it's different than what used to happen. What used to happen is nobody wanted to hear anything from you. They wouldn't talk to you. Right? 

[00:25:14] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: So what are some things that we can ask our partner in particular, when we have maybe behaved in a way that we're not proud of to get them to open up and be able to explain to us how we have made them feel or how we have hurt them. What are some questions we can ask? 

[00:25:36] Molly Howes: Well, in my book, I have some practice scripts for each one of the steps. And for step one, what you might do is say something like... I thought I knew what happened, but apparently I'm missing something. Would you fill me in please or something? I did hit you in a really bad way, and I truly wanna understand what happened or thank you for bringing up how I affected you. I wanna hear all about it. Or I said I was sorry for what I did, but it seems like there's something else I don't get. 

[00:26:08] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Yeah. Those are good ones. Those are really good ones because sometimes they may not just, I mean, we can just tell by their behaviors that they're upset with us, but they're not gonna openly communicate exactly what they're feeling. So those are really good prompts and scripts that we can use to have that conversation to really dig deeper.

[00:26:33] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: And I would say the other thing is we may think that we know, especially in the case of someone who is jealous, like I'm pretty sure I have a good idea of what you're upset about, but I still think it's really important to ask those questions because there could be more things behind that, that we don't know.

[00:26:49] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: We're just assuming that this is why they're upset, but that might not be the full gamut of things that are hurting them or ways that they are feeling. 

[00:27:00] Molly Howes: And we also don't know about the impact. We might know how we affected them immediately, but we don't know what happened next. There are a lot of studies about how wrong people are even about their partner, about their preferences, about their reactions to things. It's amazing. 

[00:27:15] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Wonderful. Wonderful. Well, please go and get Molly's book A Good Apology; Four Steps To Make Things Right. And make sure that you're going through all of those four steps and that there is some sort of repair. And I think that's probably your biggest message, right? Is that we can say we're sorry. All day long and it's not maybe necessarily the words 

[00:27:38] Molly Howes: That's correct. That's why there are four steps and that's crucial, but I think my really most important message is that when things go wrong between you and someone else, it doesn't have to be at the end of the story. You know, often we don't try to repair.

[00:27:55] Molly Howes: We don't think it can be fixed. We don't know how. We don't know what to do. And even if we might be willing to, we've never seen it done. We haven't seen any models of this. And so we don't try. We settle for a sad outcome, an unfinished repair unfinished situation that stays unresolved and it need not be like that.

[00:28:17] Molly Howes: So I, I think this is sort of a hopeful, it's a very hopeful message about what's possible. 

[00:28:25] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: Oh, I love it. Thank you so much. So many good valuable tips and I never even considered the repair part. In my mind and I think certainly many others, we think the repair's done when we say the I'm sorry. So thank you for going deeper on that and sharing those four steps with us. I really appreciate it. Molly, thanks for being on jealousy junkie. 

[00:28:49] Molly Howes: Thank you. Shanenn good luck to you. 

[00:28:52] Shanenn Bryant - Jealousy Junkie: If you'd like to work with me directly, head over to www.jealousyjunkie.com and schedule your free clarity call to see how I can help. Until next time. Take care and remember, you're not alone.

Molly HowesProfile Photo

Molly Howes

PhD, Author

Molly Howes, PhD is a writer of nonfiction and memoir. Her writing received a Notable Listing in Best American Essays 2015 and has reached finalist rounds in national contests. In 2014, she completed the intensive, yearlong Memoir Incubator Program at Grub Street writers’ center.

Her publications include the New York Times “Modern Love” column, Boston Globe Magazine, Bellingham Review, The Tampa Review, WBUR’s Cognoscenti, (which she also read on NPR’s “Morning Edition”), Passages North, Emrys Journal and Pangyrus. She has a regular blog at psychologytoday.com called “Make It Right.”