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Relations Among Apology, Forgiveness, and Communicative Responses to Hurtful Messages
Unformatted Document Text:  Forgiveness and Communication 12 The remaining four responses involve forms of communication that can be considered vengeful and/or avoidant, and thus, according to McCullough’s model, should associate negatively with forgiveness. In this paper, we will refer to these four responses as destructive communication, with the caveat that although these responses are usually destructive to relationships, it is sometimes in the hurt person’s best interest to engage in some of these behaviors and terminate the relationship. The first of these destructive responses, de-escalation, represents behaviors that promote the termination or de-escalation of the relationship through actions such as letting conditions get worse and threatening to break up. Thus, behaviors falling under de-escalation are likely related to revenge (e.g., dating others) and avoidance (ending the relationship or spending less time together). The second destructive response, revenge, involved clearly vengeful forms of communication such as trying to “get back at” the partner. A third response, distributive communication, is also likely related to vengefulness. Distributive communication includes face-threatening behaviors such as yelling at the partner, making accusations, and blaming the partner for problems. These distributive behaviors are aimed at making the partner feel guilty or bad for her or his actions while distributing power and resources toward the self and away from the partner. Finally, the last response, negative avoidance, is likely related to both fight and flight tendencies. Unlike the indirect strategy of loyalty, negative avoidance is an indirect strategy designed to make the partner feel bad by limiting contact, communication, and affection. Because these four responses represent forms of vengeful and/or avoidant behavior, they should, according to McCullough’s model, associate negatively with both apology and forgiveness. Forgiveness should also mediate the relationship between apology and destructive communication. Thus, we make the following predictions H5: Apology associates negatively with (a) de-escalation, (b) revenge, (c) distributive communication, and (d) negative avoidance.

Authors: Bachman, Guy. and Guerrero, Laura.
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Forgiveness and Communication 12
The remaining four responses involve forms of communication that can be considered
vengeful and/or avoidant, and thus, according to McCullough’s model, should associate
negatively with forgiveness. In this paper, we will refer to these four responses as destructive
communication, with the caveat that although these responses are usually destructive to
relationships, it is sometimes in the hurt person’s best interest to engage in some of these
behaviors and terminate the relationship. The first of these destructive responses, de-escalation,
represents behaviors that promote the termination or de-escalation of the relationship through
actions such as letting conditions get worse and threatening to break up. Thus, behaviors falling
under de-escalation are likely related to revenge (e.g., dating others) and avoidance (ending the
relationship or spending less time together). The second destructive response, revenge, involved
clearly vengeful forms of communication such as trying to “get back at” the partner. A third
response, distributive communication, is also likely related to vengefulness. Distributive
communication includes face-threatening behaviors such as yelling at the partner, making
accusations, and blaming the partner for problems. These distributive behaviors are aimed at
making the partner feel guilty or bad for her or his actions while distributing power and resources
toward the self and away from the partner. Finally, the last response, negative avoidance, is
likely related to both fight and flight tendencies. Unlike the indirect strategy of loyalty, negative
avoidance is an indirect strategy designed to make the partner feel bad by limiting contact,
communication, and affection. Because these four responses represent forms of vengeful and/or
avoidant behavior, they should, according to McCullough’s model, associate negatively with
both apology and forgiveness. Forgiveness should also mediate the relationship between apology
and destructive communication. Thus, we make the following predictions
H5: Apology associates negatively with (a) de-escalation, (b) revenge, (c) distributive
communication, and (d) negative avoidance.


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