Tag Archives: apologize

How To Identify Fake Apologies And Genuine Apologies

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an apology that felt insincere & fell flat?  It might have been someone repeating the words “I’m sorry,” but with an entirely different intention.  Fake apologies are unfortunately all too common, especially with narcissists & they can leave the recipient feeling more hurt & confused than before. It’s important to be able to recognize the difference between genuine & fake apologies in order to protect yourself from this manipulative behavior.

A genuine apology is one that conveys a sense of remorse, understanding, & an intention to make things better in the future.  It is a sincere attempt to make amends for the hurt that has been caused.  The words may be something like, “I’m sorry for what I said & I know it was wrong.  I’ll try to do better in the future.”  The person apologizing is clearly taking responsibility for their actions, & is expressing a willingness to change their behavior.

A fake apology, on the other hand, is one that is not genuine.  It is an attempt to make the other person feel better without the person apologizing actually taking responsibility for the hurt that they caused.  Fake apologies often include excuses or phrases such as, “if I hurt you” or “If I said or did something that hurt you,” instead of, “I hurt you” or “I know what I said or did hurt you.”  They may also include phrases such as “I’m sorry you feel that way” instead of “I’m sorry I said that.”  Fake apologies are simply an attempt to avoid taking responsibility or making changes in their behavior.  They can leave the victim feeling even more hurt by the apology than by the behavior the person did in the first place that warranted the apology.

People who give fake apologies are often trying to manipulate the situation in order to get what they want or to avoid any consequences for their actions.  Fake apologies are a way for people to re-wind the situation & shift the focus away from their own behavior.

Fake apologies can also be a way for people to alleviate their own guilt.  By giving a fake apology, they can appear to be taking responsibility for their actions without actually having to do anything to make things better or change their behavior.  It can be a way to appease their conscience without actually having to do any work.

There are some signs to be aware of regarding fake apologies.  Fake apologies don’t include a genuine expression of remorse.  The person apologizing doesn’t appear to feel any guilt or shame.  Also, as mentioned earlier, they often include phrases such as, “I’m sorry if I hurt you” or “I’m sorry you feel that way” rather than, “I’m sorry I hurt you.”  They may also include excuses or attempts to shift the blame onto the person who expects the apology as a way to deflect the conversation off the original topic.

Fake apologies also don’t show a genuine desire to do better in the future.  The person’s behavior doesn’t change.  They may do the same thing again even after their so called apology.  Or, if the behavior is mentioned again, they say things like, “I said I was sorry!  What else do you want?”, “I won’t keep apologizing for this!” or, “I can’t help it!  This is just how I am!”

It can be difficult at first to tell the difference between genuine & fake apologies, but it’s important to be able to recognize the signs so that you can protect yourself from manipulation.  Pay attention to the person’s words & behavior after the apology to determine whether or not it’s genuine. 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Evil Spirits and Spiritual Warfare, Mental Health, Narcissism

Sincere vs Insincere Apologies

Many people who apologize are truly sincere.  They realize whatever they did was bad, & they want to make it up to those they have hurt.  These people aren’t always the same ones who say the words, “I’m sorry” though.  Sometimes people who apologize are insincere or have motives that are less than genuine.  I plan to explain how to spot the differences in this discussion.

Someone who is genuinely sorry for their actions addresses the person they hurt humbly, asking for forgiveness.  Even if they don’t say the words, “please forgive me”, their meek & remorseful behavior says it.  Someone who isn’t truly sorry won’t ask for forgiveness & will be irritated when expected to show some sort of remorse for their actions.

Genuine apologies don’t come with words like, “but” or, “if.”  Those words are followed by excuses & denial.  Those are called non-apologies.  Some examples are, “I’m sorry if you think I did something that hurt you.”  “I’m sorry I did that, but I wouldn’t have done it if you wouldn’t have done what you did first.”  Non-apologies are said usually to pacify the person offended while the offender takes no responsibility for their behavior, & are nothing like a sincere apology.

A person who is genuinely interested in apologizing also admits their behavior & that it was wrong.  They don’t gloss over it with phrases like, “I messed up,” or, “we both know what I did.  I shouldn’t have to say it again.”  Admitting bad behavior is embarrassing, possibly even humiliating, but it shows the willingness to do whatever it takes to make it up to the person who was wronged.  Someone who isn’t truly sorry for what they did won’t do whatever it takes to make it up to the victim, & that includes humbling themselves in this way.

Acknowledging the hurt caused is another hallmark of a genuine apology.  A sincere person will recognize the pain & suffering their behavior has caused another person.  The person who has done wrong won’t try to minimize or invalidate the pain.  They will say, “I know I hurt you when I did what I did, & I am so sorry for that.”  A person who offers a non-apology downplays their behavior & the effect it has on the person they have wronged.

Wronging someone has consequences, & someone who is genuinely remorseful for their behavior is willing to accept them as a natural course of events no matter how uncomfortable it is for them.  They understand that Galatians 6:7 is true, & people reap what they sow, good or bad.  Those who are insincere to avoid them.  They may demand their spouse trust them again immediately after they were caught being unfaithful, for example.

A person offering a sincere apology will be willing to do whatever it takes to make things right with the person they have hurt.  If that means apologizing every day for the rest of their life, they will do it.  The insincere have no interest in this.  They may try briefly & half heartedly to make things right, but it doesn’t last long. 

And lastly, the sincere person knows that some things take time.  They don’t try to force the person they wronged to forgive them quickly.  They give the person the time & space they need to work through things, while staying close enough that they are able to do whatever is required of them at a moment’s notice.  An insincere person is nothing like this.  They want the person they wronged to forgive & forget quickly, & if that person doesn’t, they can be downright shaming.  They often accuse the wronged person of being unforgiving, heartless, petty, overreacting, over sensitive, & even ungodly.

I hope this insight helps you to identify easily when someone is being sincere or insincere in their apology to you. 

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

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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