Contrition is remorse with a sense of guilt for sins or offenses one has committed. Contrition is often verbalized by an apology to the person one has done wrong to. In its simplest form, this is done by saying, "I'm sorry". In more intense forms, it can involve much more words, tears, an emotional tone of voice and matching body language.
Contrition is often felt when a person fully realizes the gravity of what he or she has done. This can be moments after the offense, but also hours, days, weeks or even years later. Contrition often occurs as a result of reproof or punishment, or in the imminent anticipation of punishment.
Contrition before, during, and after punishment
A person is often contrite before he or she is about to be punished for a committed offense. When this is the case, it is often expressed because the delinquent hopes that this may avoid (or reduce) his or her imminent punishment.
Sometimes this will be the case, in particular when the decision about the punishment is informal and can be easily changed, such as in domestic punishment. In other cases, amnesty will not be not granted (or can not be granted, because the punishment is formal and required by a written rule or law, such as in institutions, the military, prison or judicial scenarios).
Contrition can also be faked without being sincerely felt.
When a delinquent says he's sorry (before, or in an early phase of the punishment), a common reply by a guardian may be along the lines of "Not as sorry as you will be when I'm finished with you". Such a dialogue is popular in disciplinary spanking stories and spanking videos.
Contrition is also often expressed during the punishment. If the punishment is a spanking, cries of "I'm sorry!" may be uttered in the hope that this may cause the spanker to stop. Again, this will sometimes be the case, and in other cases it won't. Some spankers explicitly forbid the spankee to speak or plead while their punishment is administered, while others like to get a stubborn spankee (who has refused to admit their guilt or to apologize) to change their mind.
Finally, contrition is often expressed after the punishment. Such a post-punishment apology is often expected, demanded, ritualized or formalized in some way, and followed by a matching verbalization and/or gesture of forgiveness.
- to be sorry
- to be rueful