i think one of the most fascinating misinterpretations of c!dream's character is people thinking that he would come to a realization. that if he were to be redeemed - the first step would be regret.
because c!dream isn't stupid. he doesn't need to come to the realization that what he did was awful, because he already knows that. he knew that before he did it - that's the thing.
because people seem to think that regret can only come from gaining awareness, which is why they think he'll never regret what he did, and in turn, can never be redeemed.
that's not true. regret is more than showing surprise over your actions. sometimes, it's not sudden.
what people don't realize, is that more often than not, remorse is a process.
because c!dream isn't lying to himself; he isn't hiding something from himself, he isn't unaware. he's, funnily enough, the exact other way around. he believes wholeheartedly in his cause. he believes, whatever it is, that his plan will work; because c!dream doesn't hope. he takes strings things into his own hands and he achieves.
it is literally ingrained in him to reach, to hurt, to do whatever it takes.
the thing that makes c!dream do the things he does isn't lies, baseless beliefs, or a lack of knowledge. it isn't impulsive feelings or deceptive obsessions. it isn't something sudden, temporary, something he can wake up from or realize, or something that defines him to the point he couldn't come back from it.
it's a mindset.
mindsets aren't sudden, mindsets aren't overnight - it takes experience to change the way you look at the world.
"the world is cruel to you; why should you show mercy?"
"attachments can and will be used against you if you let people know you care."
"you can't trust those who brought war, even if they promise peace."
"in the end, you're the only one who can fix everything."
and most importantly;
"the ends justify the means."
c!dream has had these mindsets reaffirmed repeatedly over the course of the story, hence they're rooted deep within his thought process - the last one especially has always been a vital part of the character, and only spun out of control when he was pushed too far.
mindsets can't be "realized", ripped out by the stem. they'll only grow back stronger, thicker, more poisonous from the root.
which is experience.
mindsets must be uprooted; you have to dig deep enough to tear out their origin. you must teach the person, or even yourself, to think in a different way; because mindsets are not gained, they are learned, and hence, to be truly gone, they must be unlearned.
and unlearning a mindset takes time.
that is why c!dream will not regret what he did when he is told he's horrible, a monster, a villain, a manipulator; that is why c!dream will not regret what he did when it's beaten into every inch of his body.
it's not because he can't regret it - it's because mindsets can't be destroyed with words or with fists, but need to be shown to be incorrect through actions.
tldr: what drives c!dream's actions aren't beliefs, which can be proven wrong; it's mindsets, which need to be unlearned.
so, what now? if not regret, what is c!dream's first step towards redemption?
well, surprisingly enough, much like in the real world; in this case, change can only be achieved through positive reinforcement.
think about it - everything he does stems from the mindset that he alone can repair his home, he alone can fix everything for everyone else which is why he needs control - but this... isn't true.
at least, it doesn't have to be - because although that is all c!dream has ever known, that friends need to be disconnected and allies can't be trusted to be rational, be peaceful; do the best for everyone - he can, step by step, fulfilled promise after fulfilled promise, another try, another successful leap towards happiness, learn that he doesn't need to be desperate, doesn't need to control others for them to listen to him and see him as a person instead of just a threat.
the only way to get c!dream to show remorse for his past action is to teach him through support and kindness that he is wrong.
that he doesn't have to hurt himself and others for his goals.
that the ends don't justify the means - that some things can never be justified. that there is always another way out, and that way is people you can rely on and who won't leave you.
c!dream is a character plagued with harmful and toxic mindsets, some instilled and all reaffirmed by a harmful and toxic environment.
wouldn't it make sense, that once he's finally shown something else, he himself can, without having to be taught through pain and sharp words, slowly come to the conclusion that he was wrong?