Tag Archives: apologize

The Apologetic Narcissist

Narcissists almost never offer a real apology.  Sure, they may say the words, “I’m sorry” sometimes, but the words are often followed up by words &/or actions that prove this apology isn’t genuine.  Sometimes however, they can be quite convincing that this time, the apology is real.  This post is to help you spot the signs of a fake narcissistic apology.

The fake apologies are most likely to flow freely after ending a relationship with a narcissist.  They may even say the right things like, “I’ve changed”, “I know I did some bad things,” or even, “I’ll get therapy”.  The words can be very believable.  Naturally, you will want to believe them too.  No one wants to accept that there are people out there capable of the cruelty that narcissists commit on a daily basis.

The problem with such apologies is if you give the narcissist a bit of time after the first apology, some cracks will start to show.  Instead of, “I’ve changed,” they may say things like, “I’ve changed but I need you to do some changing too.”  They also may add a “but” to their apology.  “I’m sorry I did that to you, but you really made me angry!”  Suddenly their willingness to go to therapy either turns into a willingness to go to couples therapy rather than individual, or they claim they never said they would go to therapy in the first place.

At this point, many victims are sucked in by the first, more sincere sounding apology.  They make excuses for the narcissist’s sudden changes.  They blame themselves for making the narcissist do the terrible things they did or even their lack of patience & understanding with the narcissist.  They also think maybe the narcissist is right, & they never promised they would go to therapy.

If the victim continues with this train of thought, resuming the relationship with the narcissist is very likely.  In the beginning the victim will be glad they did this, because everything will be good.  The narcissist won’t be so cruel, but instead will be kind, understanding, even gentle.  This “honeymoon” period lulls victims into a false sense of security.  They believe the narcissist has really changed this time.  They  believe the narcissist meant what they said, & the relationship is going to be ok.

Little by little though, the narcissist begins to resume his or her old ways.  It probably will start out as subtle criticisms or attempts at control or manipulation.  These won’t happen as often as they once did, which makes it easy for a victim to brush them off.

As time passes, however, the narcissist gradually returns to his or her old ways, & most likely adds some new tricks to the repertoire.  The victim ends up shocked one day when reality sets in, & they see that the narcissist never changed at all.

This scenario almost always happens, no matter the nature of the relationship with a narcissist.  You mostly hear about it in the context of romantic relationships, but it also happens with friendships or parent/child relationships.

Don’t let this happen to you!!  If you have ended a relationship with a narcissist, refrain from having any contact with that person at all.  If you must, keep your contact minimal while showing no emotions.  If you can have someone act as a mediator between you both, all the better.

Any contact you do have with the narcissist gives him or her the chance to “apologize” & attempt to lure you back.  Don’t fall for it!  If he or she doesn’t accept responsibility for the behavior & ask how to make things right, or if he or she demands you believe or trust them, those are signs the apology isn’t sincere.  If you resume the relationship at this point, you’ll be as miserable if not more miserable than you were before.  Don’t let that happen.  Walk away & take care of yourself.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

The Narcissistic Apology

Narcissists are the most superficial bunch of people you can imagine.  Everything about them is a charade, right down to their apologies.

 

On the rare occasion they do apologize,  there isn’t one sincere thing about it.  Maybe they say the right words, but I can assure you, there is nothing sincere about apologies coming from a narcissist.

 

If you’re wondering how you can be sure whether or not the narcissist in your life truly means their apology, I am going to list some differences below between a sincere apology & a narcissistic apology.

 

  • Sincere apologies always include accepting responsibility for the wrong that was done & don’t shift blame.  Narcissists may say they are sorry for what they did, but then they make an excuse for it.  “I’m sorry I said that, but I wouldn’t have said it if you wouldn’t have done….”  Or, they may even deny doing what they did entirely, making you feel like you’re crazy.
  • If the behavior doesn’t change, the apology isn’t sincere.  People who truly are sorry for hurting another person do their best never to repeat that behavior.  Insincere apologies may sound sincere sometimes, but the fact the offending person’s behavior didn’t change is a big clue that they didn’t mean their apology.
  • Insincere apologies are passive/aggressive.  “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  “I’m sorry you think what I did was wrong.”  While the words “I’m sorry” are being said, it’s clear the person saying such things doesn’t believe they have done something wrong.  The person is angry about being called out on their behavior, & will apologize just to shut you up.
  • Insincere apologies are vague, rather than specific.  Rather than saying, “I’m sorry I cheated on you,” a narcissist may say, “I know I’ve made some mistakes in our marriage.”
  • Sometimes apologies can be used to hurt you.  My mother once told me she realized she made a lot of mistakes while raising me.  I thought maybe she realized what she did to me & wanted to apologize for it.  She sounded so sincere.  Instead, she continued by saying “Obviously I made mistakes.  Just look at how you turned out.”  She guaranteed I would pay attention by sounding sincere & by what she said.  Once she had my full attention, she dropped that cruel bomb on me.
  • Sincere apologies acknowledge the pain that was caused, while insincere ones ignore it.  Using the cheating spouse example again, a sincere apology would be something like, “I’m sorry I cheated on you.  I know doing that has devastated you.  I’m so sorry..it was wrong & it’ll never happen again, I promise.”  Narcissists lack empathy, so your pain that they caused is one of two things- not even a blip on their radar because they didn’t think of you in the slightest, or your pain is something they enjoyed causing you.
  • A narcissist expects you to accept their apology once they say it, then drop the topic forever.  Narcissists don’t want to discuss what happened.  In their minds, saying they’re sorry (no matter how insincerely it’s said) once is good enough.  They said that, so you should be over it & never bring it up again.
  • Narcissists love to make the victim feel that they should forgive & forget.  If you’re a Christian, have been wronged or abused by a narcissist & they apologize to you, chances are very good the narcissist will make you feel like you’re a terrible example of your faith if you don’t forgive & forget what was done to you.  This apology can make you feel as bad or worse than the original offense.
  • Some narcissists apologize for something they think you’re upset about in order to placate you.  My father has done this.  After my mother in-law passed away in 2016, my parents & I had a huge argument.   My father later apologized to me for asking if my husband & I were still together during that argument.  (He kept trying to deflect me off the topic).  Granted, it wasn’t a good thing to ask, but it also wasn’t the reason I was so angry with him.  I told him that & explained exactly why I was angry.  He looked at me like a deer in the headlights.  Clearly, he couldn’t understand why I’d be upset that he & my mother wanted to “pay their respects” to someone who had been so cruel & abusive to me.  Also, it was obvious he thought that all should be fine- he apologized.  Never mind the fact what he apologized for wasn’t the thing he should have apologized for.

 

Dear Reader, please keep these actions in mind when you must deal with a narcissist.  Remembering them will help you not to buy their insincere apology.  You don’t need that aggravation!  If you fall for their apology, they’ll see you as someone they can manipulate & do so more & more.  Who needs that?!  You don’t!  And, you deserve to be treated better than that.

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Filed under Narcissism