I sometimes hear from people who have begun to do a lot of self-work either in an attempt to save their marriage or as an attempt to improve themselves. Sometimes, they go into this process thinking that much of the problems in their marriage lie with their spouse. But as they really begin to dig deep and take an honest look at the situation, they realize that they themselves have played a huge role in what is wrong. And some even begin to see their flaws on magnified level - so much so that they begin to see themselves as a completely different (and less likable) person.

As an example, I heard from someone who said: "for the past six months, my husband has been telling me that he loves me and that he is committed to our family, but that he is so unhappy because he feels like I bring him down with my anxiety and my gloomy outlook. He says that I never have anything nice to say or that I never notice the positive in any situation. He says that living with me is so terribly exhausting. When he first started telling me these things, I thought that he was just being a whiny complainer. I have to be honest and say that I wasn't even really listening to him. But since I've started going to counseling, I've had a lot of realizations. And sometimes, I will come home from my sessions and ask one of my kids if living with me was as bad as my husband says. My kids will seem afraid to answer me, but when I tell them that I really want to know the truth, they'll break down and tell me that at times, I was downright mean because of my negativity. I'm starting to see things a lot more clearly now. And, I'm devastated to realize that I have been so negative towards my family for all of these years. I truly do want to save my marriage. But I am so embarrassed by my actions. And I don't know how my husband or my children can ever forgive me for being so mean."

This wife was being very hard on herself. While it is extremely beneficial to see reality as it relates to yourself, it's not beneficial to suddenly see yourself as a villain who will never be able to make amends with the people who you truly love. Sure, you may be seeing some patterns of your own negative behavior. But you know what? That is actually a positive thing when you allow these realizations to inspire you to make some positive changes that needed to happen.

Use Your Realization As A Starting Point: You can't change the past. You can acknowledge the past and let your family know that you now see reality and that you sincerely apologize to them and want to make this right. They may even offer up their forgiveness quite willingly. But, what truly matters in this entire process is that you make sure that something positive comes out of the negative. If you ask for their forgiveness, but you keep being negative and mean, this was all a waste of everyone's time.

But if you use this as a wake-up call and take real action to become the loving person and the wife and mother that you were meant to be, that at least something negative transformed into something positive. Look at it this way. At the time when you were acting negatively, you weren't truly aware. Now that you are aware, turning away would be just as bad as acting negatively. You're probably so horrified by this because you know that you've hurt your family. So it's time to stop hurting them and to ensure that they heal.

You can do that by continuing on with your self-work and ensuring that you become the best version of yourself. That way, you are at least ensuring that they have the mother and the wife that they deserve moving forward. I suspect that once they see that you have made this substantial effort, they will forgive you.

Now That You Know Better You Will Do Better: I don't mean to minimize negativity because I know that it can destroy families. But you have to focus on the fact that you are making the effort now. You can't change what has been done yesterday, but you have complete influence over what you do today and tomorrow. In order to do this, you may need to learn new ways of expressing yourself, of evaluating a situation without anxiety and fear, and of showing your emotions. But, none of these things are impossible. If you are determined to learn new and better ways, then you can. (I definitely improved my own behavior in this way. And ultimately, it helped to save my marriage after a separation. You can read that whole story by clicking here.)

You might want to be honest with your family about this with a discussion like: "as you know, I've been working with a counselor on my own. During that time, I've gotten an honest view of myself and it isn't at all flattering. Honestly, I'm ashamed of some of my actions. I am so sorry for the way that I treated you in the past. I know that I can't change that. But I'd like to change the wife and mother that I am to you moving forward. I want you to know that I am motivated to make some real and lasting changes. I hope that these changes will have a positive effect on our married life and our family life. I want you to know that my actions were not because of anything that you did. My actions were not because I didn't love you or that you weren't enough. They were my own shortcomings. And I'm going to address them. I love you and you deserve the best that I can be and that's exactly what I intend to give you."

To answer the original question, your spouse and your family will likely forgive you because they love you and because for every bad thing you did, you likely also did some good that you are not giving yourself credit for. You'd likely do the same if the roles were reversed.

I had to do some self-work in order to save my marriage.  And I too found that I sometimes had deplorable behavior.  But if I found that the more I dwelled on the past, the worse things got.  So I looked to the future. If it helps, you are more than welcome to read more on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

Author's Bio: 

There are links to more articles about saving your marriage at http://isavedmymarriage.com