Time heals many wounds much of the time
Often an individual can immediately realise when they’ve done wrong by another. If they mocked a colleague in public they can often immediately recognise their poor use of power. If they were harsh with a loved one they can instantly regret their abuse of language.
But what is done cannot be taken back.
The offender may feel a terrible shame because they have behaved in a way beneath their values and perceptions of themselves. Naturally, they become desperate to regain their former moral virtue; they take responsibility for their actions and show remorse for their deeds. They are truly and deeply sorry.
But the sincerity of regret is sometimes insufficient. The pain is too hurtful to consider reconciliation at that time. The victim needs time to heal.
The offender needs to accept that their apology, sincere as it may be, might not be welcome. The offender will need to sit with their discomfort, as the victim sits with their pain.
A wound needs time to heal. First, the bleeding needs to stop and a scab to form. The wound is still sensitive but some movement can now be tolerated. Over time the scab will peel away, leaving only a scar as a reminder of the trauma.
Emotional wounds recover similarly; they need time to scab over and scar. If apologies come too prematurely, not only do they not help they often re-open the wound, causing the bleeding to resume.
Offenders cannot demand forgiveness; they too need to be patient.