Oct 24 2008

Not sure about the difference between an apology and accountability? Watch the film “Death and the Maiden” with Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley

Published by at 5:24 pm under Counseling & Psychotherapy

Human relationships are fragile. We should probably expect to feel hurt, maybe betrayed, by the people who are closest to us. When we feel betrayed, an apology is an important first step, but being fully accountable, is often a requirement for reconciliation. The film “Death and the maiden” offers a powerful message about accountability.

Sigourney Weaver is the injured person in this movie and with good reason.

Sigourney has been tortured and has been unable to fully recover.

She has even lied to her husband, so he will not be tortured, like she, with the knowledge of her horrible physical and sexual trauma at the hands of some South American military dictatorship.

How can she recover?

How can she heal?

She doesn’t even know who tortured her. She was blindfolded the entire time. She only heard their voices.

And what would happen if she heard voices that reminded her of the savage torture she experienced many years later?

This is the crux of the movie…and powerful it is.
We can’t hope to avoid the pain of life; only to have the strength to work through it.

Sigourney teaches us that “I didn’t do anything”, or “I’m sorry you feel that way”, is not either an apology or being accountable to another person.

Death and the maiden brilliantly shows the power of being accountable…saying yes, I did this, this bad or terrible thing that has hurt you so deeply.

It is an amazing film. You will never casually tell someone “oh, I am sorry you feel that way” again.

Hope and redemption. Not through a shallow apology, but by being brutally honest with ourselves and whoever may be upset with us.

The movie shouts out the message, the injured person needs to be validated…to say, “I didn’t mean to hurt you” is a cop-out.

If someone is hurt, then the burden of responsibility is with the offender. Intention or lack of consciousness is not an excuse; nor is it an explanation.

Accountability…a powerful step towards healing in a relationship.

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