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A decade ago, an unfortunate incident had happened in ex-office and it almost went into a legal suit. Nothing bad happened, but, down the line I realized that it could have been avoided. I want to apologize to my ex-boss about the same.

We live in different countries and I do not have any option to meet him. There are a few facts which he is not aware of, esp my depression and my suicide attempts.

So, I have drafted an elaborate e-mail, mentioning certain events and a few facts not related to the event. And I have explicitly written that "I am sorry" and that I really need his forgiveness. I have even written that there is no excuse for what had happened and acknowledged that I should acted in a more matured way.

The letter has been in my drafts folder for almost 10 months. I re-read it, paraphrased it, edited and omitted quite a few things. But, I am still dilly dallying about it. It is a big 6 pages word document. 5 pages are about how an employee abused me, emotionally and verbally. And only one para is seeking forgiveness.

Now, I am in a dilemma whether to send the e-mail or not. I want to, mainly because I want a closure about certain events that are haunting me and also to apologize. Guilt conscience? Yes. But, at the same time, I am worried that it might rekindle old wounds.

By the way, the boss was one of the few gentlemen I have ever come across. He always liked my work and appreciated it.

How do you think I should approach this issue?

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    It might be a good idea to talk to your therapist about this. It's not actually about the workplace, it's about your personal well-being. You should put that in the hands of a professional, not the internet crowd.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 8, 2017 at 13:49
  • @nvoigt I did seek help an year after the incident, about how I was being abused and my depression, suicide attempt. But, the country I live in, has no proper therapists. They laughed at me. I was deeply hurt with their behavior. I don't think I can consult any therapist, now. I feel that I can come out of all these thoughts if I seek apologies from him. But, I am confused. Aug 8, 2017 at 13:58
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    If your current place of residence cannot help you with your health problem, you need to move. This is like saying "my country does not believe in cancer treatment". Bullshit. Find one that does. The point is that we don't know what exactly you want out of this apology and how it would affect you. Or how getting a different result would affect you. My guess is you don't know either. So you need help with that.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 8, 2017 at 14:01
  • @nvoigt I want to get over my guilt conscience. So, I thought apologizing would help me. Aug 8, 2017 at 14:05
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    @SandyC Writing such a letter is fine therapy for you. Sending it to the other party, especially after a decade, really is not. If you do feel the need, and have a contact point, a 1 or 2 paragraph note would be fine, but no more real details need to be given. The 5-6 pages are important to you for you personal thoughts, but will not be to him. Keep it to the fact that you had other external issues which built to your making regretful choices. The details are important to you, but to another, may seem like deflection and detract from you real intent, to apologize and move on.
    – dlb
    Aug 8, 2017 at 17:51

2 Answers 2

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Now, I am in a dilemma whether to send the e-mail or not. I want to, mainly because I want a closure about certain events that are haunting me and also to apologize. Guilt conscience? Yes. But, at the same time, I am worried that it might rekindle old wounds.

By the way, the boss was one of the few gentlemen I have ever come across. He always liked my work and appreciated it.

How do you think I should approach this issue?

Whenever I feel strongly enough about something to write such an intense letter, I do this - I write the letter, let it sit for at least a day, then re-read the letter. If I still feel the same way, I send it.

In the general case, let it sit for a day or so. If you still feel like the right thing to do is to apologize for a long-past issue, then do it. Make sure this is really a sincere apology, and not merely a justification for something you did that you later regretted.

Apology can be a very healing, cleansing thing. It's not a sign of weakness. And it doesn't really need to dredge up old wounds. It can be a new beginning, if you approach it with the right attitude.

[Edited after significant new comments from the OP]

There are a few facts which he is not aware of, esp my depression and my suicide attempts.

The letter is in my drafts folder for almost 10 months. I re-read it, paraphrased it, edited and omitted quite a few things. But, I am still dilly dallying about it. It is a big 6 pages word document

The fact that you have thought about it for 10 months tells me that you don't really want to send it. And the fact that it is 6 pages long tells me that you aren't really just apologizing here. It sounds like you want to introduce reasons for your past actions.

In your specific case, I think you need to delete your draft and just let it go. And if it still "haunts" you, you should seek help for that rather than burdening your former boss.

Maybe somewhere down the line you'll actually want to just apologize. It seems like you aren't really there yet.

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  • Yeah. The letter is in my drafts folder for almost 10 months. I re-read it, paraphrased it, edited and omitted quite a few things. But, I am still dilly dallying about it. It is a big 6 pages word document. Aug 8, 2017 at 13:06
  • I want to seek apologies. But, not sure how to go about it. My suicide attempt and all the depression is haunting me. Do you think that an employer, ex or current, should know what their employee is going through or went through? Aug 8, 2017 at 13:14
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    @JoeStrazzere I understand where that´s coming from. Things happened 10 years ago that some people saw in a certain wrong light, and I would like to send an email to explain what happened, but I have always resisted that urge. And, not it does not involve theft or something that serious. Aug 8, 2017 at 13:18
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    @SandyC, Depression is a mental health issue. Some people understand that. Some don't. Let it go. Do not try to control what they think of you. Do not try to control the uncontrollable. If your wish is to reconnect, send a short email (no more than two or three lines). If you send a one page (or longer) email on the other hand, you will feel bad if you don't get a response. Aug 8, 2017 at 13:29
  • @JoeStrazzere I have missed out a few other points in the post. My bad. 5 pages are about how an ex-employee abused me, emotionally. And only one para is seeking forgiveness. Aug 8, 2017 at 13:33
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I would apologise if I happened to meet him.

Otherwise why do you want to remember all the events?

I would not advise to send the email, however if you absolutely need to send it keep it short. The point is lost, and not everybody has the patience for it. e.g. do not delve on the details. Try to trim it down to 2 or 3 paragraphs, and do not delve on the details.

Something like you are writing here seems fine:

Look, I am really sorry for the way things happened between us, if it were today, I would have done things differently; I also had this and this condition.

I appreciated all you support on this difficult time, the grief that I caused, and that you were a real gentleman dealing with me.

All the best,

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  • We live in different countries. I do not have an option to meet him. Aug 8, 2017 at 13:02
  • @SandyC The world is smaller than we think...who knows; I will make my comment stand on that spirit. I would not advise keeping it long however. The point is lost, and not everybody has the patience for it. e.g. do not delve on the details. Aug 8, 2017 at 13:03
  • I have edited my post. I was in depression and attempted suicide. There were so many other facts which he is not aware of. Aug 8, 2017 at 13:07

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