When I was still with my husband, he was playing with my DD Delilah in the playroom. I was in the office (which was on the same level of the house) and I'd just finished up and I was going to make dinner. I walked into the hallway heading towards the stairs, and I saw in the playroom my husband tripped over Delilah and fell on top of her. I went in to help him get up and I picked up my daughter and held her in my arms. He told me the story of how he fell, and I said to her that daddy was sorry and stuff. I asked my husband to tell her he's sorry, but he just walked out. he went to our bedroom and I guess he hurt his knee. he didn't come down until dinner was over. Delilah just sat quietly in the living room watching TV while I was making dinner. I sat Delilah at the table before dinner started and went to my husband to talk to him. He said he didn't wanna talk about it, so I left him alone. This was one of the reasons why I separated from him. He wouldn't say sorry to Delilah. i felt so bad for her. once Delilah was in bed, I went to talk to him again and I saw he was packing a duffel bag. I asked where he was going and he said to a friends house for a while. I didnt ask why he was leaving though. I was just so upset, and I'm still upset to this day. That happened about a year and a half ago.i just needed to vent about it.
There is more to the story. once he came back, i ttalked to him, and he said that his grandmother passed away, and she and him were really close. when he fell, he felt that if he said sorry, he would be killing delilah.
One of the problems with coercing people into saying things that they don't mean (like that they're sorry they hit their brother back, when they're not) is that they grow up to be incapable of saying those words when they do mean it. The whole phrase becomes so emotionally-charged and filled with dark and vile memories, it's just impossible to speak.
It is kind of difficult to be an adult in a situation where you've just been told what any 4yo knows to do, by another adult --who clearly thinks you need 4yo instructions to behave properly.
Can you see how it might have looked to him: you holding onto her, protecting her from him... taking her away so she'd be 'safe' from him...
Not that you can go backwards in time, but it might have been more helpful for you to put her into his arms, and go make dinner.