Are Sexually Wayward Politicians Helpable?
Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 1:33PM
Mark Goulston

Politicians do regret; they don't do remorse.

Meghan Daum recently wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "Weiner, Filner: Therapy and the art of political cleansing."

Politicians like Bob Filner, Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards are treatable, but are they helpable? You be the judge.

Regret means saying to someone you hurt or injured, "Okay, I get it.  I'm sorry, I did wrong.  I'll go get treatment. It won't happen again. Can we just move on?"

Remorse means looking into the eyes of someone you hurt or injured and saying, "Look at me.  I mean it.  Look at me.  When I did what I did to you, I broke something in you that will never be the same again.  I know that you will never be able to trust me the way you did before I did that to you.  I did wrong and I have no excuses for what I did and I am committing to you that I am going to do whatever it takes to earn back your trust which you shouldn't give me until you feel it."  If you are saying it correctly and in a heartfelt way, they should begin to cry as they show you with their eyes the pain and destruction you caused and if you have remorse it will cause you pain.  It will cause you to think to yourself, "I emotionally 'raped' this person that I say I love by what I did."

One of the reasons that politicians and for that matter many athletes, lawyers, financial and most highly compeitive types have trouble demonstrating remorse is because it requires having empathy for the pain you have caused someone else.  When you're highly competitive, your focus is on winning and not losing.  The reason you don't want to lose is because it's embarrassing, humiliating and hurts so much.  And knowing how much it hurts to lose, you would have trouble going for the jugular when you need to if you empathize too much with the pain you are causing someone else by causing them to lose.

Earning back that trust requires 4 R's to match the 4 H's you triggered.

1. To ease the HURT you need to demonstrate REMORSE to show that you know you damaged something in them, by looking them directly in the eye and admitting you're truly sorry, with no excuses (this is the stumbling block for very narcissistic people and something people like Anthony Weiner, Eliott Spitzer, Bob Filner, John Edwards, ).

2. To respond to the HATE you need to show RESTITUTION and offer a payback for what you took away from them by giving up something that matters to you or letting them verbally punch themselves out at you for making them feel crazy while you lied to the.

3. To lower their HESITATION TO TRUST you need to REHABILITATE yourself to let them see a new way of dealing with those situations that caused you to stray and that you actually prefer to your old destructive behavior.

4. To get them to stop HOLDING ONTO A GRUDGE, you need to REQUEST FORGIVENESS after practicing those 3 R’s for a minimum of 6 months so they can become a part of your personality.

If the other person is still unable to forgive you after that, you are no longer unforgivable (if you haven’t gone beyond betrayal into abuse), they are unforgiving. It's clear what is in it for you if they forgive you, but what's in it for them? When you earnestly practice the 4 R's above, you enable the person you injured to go from fear and loathing to feeling safe, trusting and even liking you again---and that feeling is called, "euphoria."

So are sexually wayward politicians treatable? I am inclined to say, "No," unless they can "feel" the pain and destruction they have caused from the other's point of view instead of just being consumed by guilt which is still a case of it continuing to be all about them.

Catch my interview on Fox News 11's Good Day LA below.

Los Angeles Local News, Weather, and Traffic

Article originally appeared on Heartfelt Leadership (
See website for complete article licensing information.