”They’re not sorry they hurt your feelings. They’re sorry they got caught.”
Why most narcissists will not say sorry, False apologies from those who do and how to spot the false apology.
As most narcissist’s have no sense of accountability due to their lack of cognitive reflection skills, meaning once they’ve made their reasoning, rationale and mind upon a situation or an event that had happened to them, this is then often their reality. They will not look back to reflect on any part they played. Once they’ve decided someone else is to blame for their behaviour, they believe that the other person should apologise to them, often why they will sulk or give the silent treatment, as they feel entitled to do as they please they will look back on what they perceive others to have done to them. As one of the traits of the disorder is a sense of entitlement, they believe they have the right to do what they want, when they want, with whoever they want. So they don’t think they have the need to apologise, yet as they blame-shift through their gaslighting of “If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t.” They often believe others should apologise to them for things the narcissist actually did. No one throws a bigger tantrum than a narcissist being shown facts and evidence of something they definitely did do.
Another trait is that they have low levels of empathy. They don’t have the emotional empathy to care genuinely, only the cognitive empathy to see how others would precieve their behaviour and why they will offer a false apology if they believe they have something to gain by doing so. As they believe that they are special (which we are all special, the difference is they use their feelings of being special to exploit others, whereas kind people help others to feel special, ) as narcissists have that egotistical sense of entitlement and feeling special they have no genuine feelings of guilt or remorse as to what they do to others. They don’t have the emotional empathy to care to give them the feeling or any need to offer a genuine apology. The false understanding that a narcissist has means if they’ve done something and have something to gain by using a fake apology, they will give one, however with their own twisted perspectives, they will do something then not only have no regard for what they have done, to remove any feeling of shame, they will blame the other person. Therefore a narcissist will not offer a genuine apology as they don’t believe they’ve done any wrong in the first place, that they would need to apologise for, and most often, if they feel cornered into offering an apology so they can use, abuse and exploit someone more, as they feel entitled, they will often make the person they apologised to pay.
This is why it’s a false apology; an apology given is not because the narcissist feels the need to do so as they have done wrong, for they have no sense of remorse, guilt, or conscience. Most do not have the cognitive reflection skills to look back and see what they have done. Once their mind is made up, it’s made up, that black and white thinking with no grey area. The false apology is only made to regain control, receive attention, regaining superiority, get their needs met, the apology is used as a means to appear sorry, yet it is never meant in a way someone with empathy would apologise. Some narcissistic people will never issue any kind of an apology. Those that do, it’s only to further manipulate those around them. They will only apologise if they see a need to use the words, and they do not have the empathy to understand why they use them. They often use false apologies to prevent someone from leaving them or win someone back. To avoid disciplinary action at work. To get a friend to do something for them.
Here are some false apology phrases you may have heard. If you believe the person to be a narcissist, if they have at least five of the nine criteria, these are a false apologies. Also, what they actually think when they feel backed into a corner and need to say words to meet their own needs.
1. “ I’m sorry I was unfaithful.” Or “If you’d have paid me more attention, I wouldn’t have gone elsewhere.” They believe it’s your fault they cheated on you, as to them you don’t admire them as much as you used to, it hasn’t worked out with the other person, so they have to come back to you. They cheated. That was their choice and not your fault. Genuine people can make this mistake. Yet, they will feel guilt and remorse for doing so. Some might come to you and admit fault, others will be too scared of the consequences, yet they would learn they didn’t like how it made them or you feel, and they would never do it again. Those who continue to cheat are only interested in themselves.
2. ” I’m sorry I left .” Or “ I left because of you.”
When saying this, they think you did something that criticised them. Even if you didn’t, they took it as criticism and wanted to make you suffer. They will not tell you what they were doing. More than likely, they were either with an ex or a new target. They may have thought the other person criticised them in some way. Or it didn’t work as expected with the other person as they wanted, so they came back to you, or with all your missed calls and pleading messages they received from you, They come back to play the hero, pretending to be sorry. A real apology comes with changed behaviour.
3. “ I’m sorry I didn’t hear you.” Or “ If you’d listen to me more, I’d listen to you.” they’re not sorry. They never listen to your opinions anyway. Your thoughts and feelings are invalid to them. A Narcissist rarely hears your words. Instead, they pay attention to your emotions. They will pretend to apologise, saying they’ll listen in future, this is so that you give them some positive attention.
4. “I’m sorry I hit you because you made me angry.” “ I’m sorry I trashed the house”, or “ At least I broke the door and didn’t attack you. You made me angry.” they will usually twist this into how you made them do it because you didn’t do something, or you said something, it will always be turned back onto you. They’re only concerned that other people, or you might work out what happened, and they don’t want their true behaviour being exposed. They blame-shift onto those around them to escape responsibility, and once done, most then believe it was the other person’s fault and as they believe their story to be accurate, they are extremely convincing at passing the blame onto those around them, as we look for the good in them, we look for the potential of when they can treat us right, with their projected words we are often the ones left believing that we are to blame, you are never to blame for someone else’s actions towards you, they are in control of what they do.
5. “I’m sorry I’m not a better person.” Or “ I’m sorry I’m not good enough for you.”
They actually believe they are a better person than you, but they know you are fixated in making them a better person, changing them, healing them, so they gain some positive attention from you and hint that they will change with your help. So we then forgive them and try our best to help them.
6. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you.” Or “ I needed to go out, but you were ok” basically, if you are Ill, it’s a case that they don’t care, so they can not be bothered to care for you. Just go to bed and get out of their way so they can then go and find someone who will look after them. They don’t care at all; they just don’t want you to leave.
7. “I’m sorry, I want to change.” Or “ I didn’t mean to. I just couldn’t help it, you know what I’m like. I’m worried about what I may do without your help.” Saying a narcissist never lies, this one is as close to the truth as you will ever get. They are sorry for themselves and that they are just trying to get through life, and all these jealous, envious people come along to try and hurt them. They are sorry they got caught, sorry they might be held accountable for how others view their actions, sorry you might make them look the bad person when to them, it’s not them. To them, it’s all your fault. It’s always anyone else’s fault, and it’s never anything they did.
The phrases a narcissist will use to blame shift while apologising.
“ I’m sorry for whatever you think I did wrong.”
“ I’m sorry you feel that way.”
“ I’m sorry for what you think I did.”
“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.”
“ I’m sorry if you think I said that.”
“ I’m sorry if you think I did that.”
“ I’m sorry you misunderstood me.”
I personally do not believe they are capable of saying, “I’m sorry I was wrong.” or,” I’m sorry, please forgive me.” With their lack of empathy, If any do, they’ve probably heard it from someone and are now using it to greater manipulate.
The narcissist’s false apology.
Click the links below to join, Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach on social media, for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.
What it takes to be sorry, and why narcissist aren’t.
Why a narcissist always thinks they are right.
Why narcissistic people find it difficult to compromise.