Tag Archives: repent

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

Narcissists & Repentance

According to merriam-webster.com, repent means:

1: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life
2 a : to feel regret or contrition
b : to change one’s mind

Narcissists are incapable of true repentance.  It’s very obvious to anyone who has been in any type of relationship with a narcissist for even a short length of time that their behavior looks nothing like the definitions of repentance.  They don’t turn from sin or dedicate themselves to change.  They don’t feel regret or contrition.  They don’t change their minds either unless doing so can somehow benefit them. 

If you expect such things from a narcissist, you need to know they will never happen.  They may put on a good show of repentance sometimes, but only if doing so benefits them.  If a victim wants to end the relationship, for example, they may promise change & appear to have regrets, but the problem is these things are only for show.  And, this show won’t last forever.  It only lasts until the narcissist realizes the victim is back in the relationship to stay. 

While narcissists are perfectly capable of change, the fact is they rarely want to, & when they do, they do only because it will be advantageous to them.  They only pretend to change when someone ends a relationship with them because they want that person back in their life, & to resume the dysfunctional relationship as it was.  Causing someone pain & suffering truly isn’t enough motivation for a narcissist to truly change.  The suffering of others is totally irrelevant to them. 

When dealing with narcissists, they seem to think they are above such things as true repentence.  So long as they say they are sorry, all should be forgiven & forgotten, & the relationship should return to its normal, abusive & dysfunctional state.  They believe that the fact they don’t really mean that they’re sorry shouldn’t matter to their victims.  The fact that the narcissist is unable to feel remorse for the pain they caused also shouldn’t matter, & neither should their unwillingness to truly repent.  In their minds, it’s simply the victims’ job to forgive, forget & tolerate the narcissist’s abuse indefinitely.

The problem though is that this is utterly unhealthy.  Not only for the narcissist who engages in such incredibly dysfunctional thinking, but in particular for their victims.

There is a saying.. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over while expecting different results.”  How true is that?  It makes perfect sense!  If a narcissist apologizes to you for something, then you forgive & forget, soon you can count on the narcissist doing that same behavior to you again.  He or she had no consequences for the bad behavior.  Then you forgive & forget again, & the cycle continues.

If you are expecting the narcissist in your life to one day to have an epiphany, realize just how terrible their behavior is, & truly repent, give up on that idea.  Yes, it’s difficult.  Yes, it’s painful.  However, it’s much easier than continuing to live life waiting on something that is not going to happen & be continually disappointed.  Instead, live your life without that expectation.  Maybe it will happen one day.  With God, all things are truly possible.  If it does, rejoice & be grateful!  But, if it doesn’t, you won’t be devastated if it never does because you had a reasonable expectation that it wouldn’t happen.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Narcissism