I know I have promoted this book to the point where the author should give me a cut for marketing, but you need (everybody- all together now),
God Help Me! These People Are Driving Me Nuts!
I have had this very thing happen to me, more than once (ain’t family grand?). The first time, I it went pretty much as you describe.
The second and subsequent times, I said, “It must have been very hard for you to do that. Let me get back to you on this. 'Bye, now, I have to __________” This puts the ball back in your court, so to speak. It gives you time to think about what you want to say on the matter. It allows you to set conditions, if these are necessary. There is nothing wrong with saying, “OK, I accept your apology, and forgive you. However, we need to lay out a couple ground rules for the future. I can’t continue our relationship without these things happening:” and you state them, clearly and calmly. Think of it this way: Usually, when we go to confession, we get a penance, some little way to make up for our sin, which really won’t ever make up for it, but God accepts it. God forgives us, but the Community through the priest comes up with a form of atonement. Is it really unreasonable to set ground rules so that you are not hurt again?
Some individuals will throw a temper tantrum and hang up. You will then know, at least, how sincere *that *apology was. Some will say, “OK” and try to negotiate. That’s reasonable, as long they don’t try to put themselves in control. A few will actually accept your terms.