Many people wonder if a narcissist is capable of being genuinely sorry. They certainly don’t act sorry or show signs of remorse like changing their behavior, but does that mean they truly aren’t sorry?
Yes & no.
Narcissists lack empathy, which means they won’t feel sorry as a normal, functional person will. They won’t be sorry for causing pain & suffering. They won’t feel sorry for disappointing someone who loves them. They certainly won’t feel sorry for the fact that their abusive ways have come close to destroying other human beings. In fact, not only will they not be sorry for what they have done, but usually they will blame someone or something else for their behavior, for “making” them do whatever it is they have done.
Narcissists are also incredibly self centered. All that matters to any narcissist is that narcissist. No one else’s wants or needs matter to a narcissist, so why feel sorry for failing to meet another person’s wants or needs? Clearly they aren’t important, so there is certainly no reason to feel sorry.
This doesn’t mean narcissists don’t feel sorry sometimes, however. They just don’t feel sorry for the things that the average person feels sorry for.
Sometimes, narcissists are sorry for things they have done. Those things are usually especially egregious. While the fact they have done something horrible should make a narcissist feel sorry for their actions, that isn’t why they are sorry. They are sorry for what they did because if anyone finds out about it, that person may think poorly of the narcissist. To eliminate that possibility, they often do things like scare a victim into not telling anyone with threats of violence or revealing the victim’s secrets. They also will reinvent the situation in an attempt to gaslight a victim into believing their version of the situation rather than his or her own memories.
Narcissists are sorry when their victim figures out what they are up to. This means they are losing control of their victim. Of course they are sorry for this! It wasn’t in their plans & now they must come up with some solution to this problem! It’s so inconvenient!
Narcissists are sorry when confronted about their abusive behavior. Narcissists seem to believe no one ever could catch on to what they are doing, let alone would have the unmitigated gall to confront them about it. When it happens, they are shocked & horrified. They are also sorry. Not because they have hurt someone of course, but they are sorry they were caught. Being caught makes the narcissist look less than perfect, which is something that no narcissist can handle.
Narcissists are very sorry when their victims end the relationship with them. It seems to me that every single narcissist fails to realize that every person has a breaking point. They expect their victims to tolerate the horrific abuse indefinitely & even with a smile. It never seems to cross a narcissist’s mind that there is a very good possibility that their victim will get fed up with the abuse & abandon them at some point. When it happens, narcissists are always shocked & very sorry. They aren’t sorry for pushing their victim to this point, of course. Instead, they are sorry they have no one left to abuse. They’re sorry they have to seek out another victim & train that person to be a victim. That’s a lot of work! They’re also sorry they’re left alone, because narcissists cannot handle solitude & the possibility of seeing who they truly are. They’re especially sorry that they have lost their precious narcissistic supply.
To sum it up, yes, narcissists do feel sorry sometimes.. just sadly, not in the same capacity a healthy person feels sorry.