Why do we want to hear, “I’m sorry.” And why a Narcissist isn’t sorry.
“An apology without changed behaviour is just further manipulation.”
We are individuals, and many of us feel differently about an apology or why we want one. We can all have the same emotions; however, how experiences affect our feelings and how we handle our emotions vary from person to person.
Fear plays a massive role as well as their gaslighting us into the acceptance of apologies that don’t feel right, and staying with those who don’t treat us right, also a belief that they do love us, even when they show us they don’t.
An apology from another when they have wronged us in some way often paves the way for us to discuss our boundaries with them, how our feeling have been hurt, to have our feelings validated by another, knowing it’s not our fault as they’ve admitted to their mistakes, it protects our ego, knowing we weren’t at fault.
Those unwilling to give a genuine apology, those willing to hurt us time and time again, are not the kinds of people we need apologies from. We need to apologise to ourselves for not seeing that while we were busy overlooking their flaws, they were busy exaggerating all of ours, forgive ourselves for putting up with behaviour we should have never put up with, and forgive ourselves for trying to see the good in those who continued to try and gaslight us into not seeing their bad, while they exaggerated the good, often lies upon lies of who they are not, to hide the truths of who they indeed are.
Their actions teach us who they are. Their words distort our reality, so we can not focus on who they indeed are, so it’s never straightforward to just walk away. The trauma bond and human needs are some of the many reasons we stay. It takes an average of seven attempts to get out of an abusive relationship.
Sometimes we don’t need an apology or to forgive; we just have to accept the facts, leave the past behind and move on with our future; those who’ve been entangled with a narcissist will know it’s not that easy; however, it’s possible and once we start it becomes easier.
Unfortunately, through a narcissists manipulation of gaslighting and blame-shifting, which they also like to mix it up and add some projection, even if we get the apology that means so much to us, these apologies often leave us with more self-doubts, as they don’t hold the same meaning for a narcissist.
We simply think entirely different from these people, and we are just not compatible with them. Treat others how you want to be treated and if they continue to hurt you, treat them how they treat you, yet in your own kind way, cut off their supply and walk away, not to hurt them, to heal you.
Are they sorry for how they’ve hurt you? No, because they don’t have the level of empathy to care. Are they sorry they got caught? Only if they feel their power slipping away, if they lose what they feel entitled to, they might temporarily feel sorry for themselves, why most will go all out to smear your name.
“When a narcissist can no longer control you, they’ll try to control how others see you.”
They go all out to move on fast and do all they can to rub salt in your wounds, to gain reactions from you, to paint you out as the unhinged crazy one.
A narcissist does not have the empathy to care for the impact their negative toxic behaviour has on those around them. They only care if they’ll be consequences for their actions after the fact. They don’t fear repercussions before as they believe they’re entitled to do as they please. Only after when someone finds out and confronts them do they care but not for the person they hurt, for how their actions will affect their lives.
“They don’t lie to protect your feelings. They lie to save themselves.”
If a narcissist is caught out, they will always find a way to escape responsibility and blame someone else. Cause an argument, triangulate, intimidate, lie. They are only ever sorry that they got caught and will do all they can to excuse themselves for their behaviour.
To be sorry and give a sincere apology, people need to Recognise the wrong-doing within their own behaviour, recognise how their actions might have hurt another, identify the mistakes they have made, and recognise their efforts might not have been with the feelings of those around them taken into account. As a narcissist lacks in empathy, they don’t care for how they’ve made someone feel, as they have a sense of entitlement and an ego to match. They believe they’re entitled to do as they please, as they believe they are special and only interested in getting their own needs met. They’re not sorry for what they did to hurt you, only that once caught, you might respond in a manner that might take their control over you away from them.
To be sorry and give a sincere apology, you’d need to accept Responsibility. Which as a narcissist has that sense of entitlement that they believe they should be allowed to do what they want whenever they want without having to answer to others, they will not accept responsibility for the behaviour they don’t even recognise as wrong.
To be sorry and give a sincere apology, you’d need to be Remorseful. As a narcissist is preoccupied with power and success, whatever that is to them, as they are obsessed with having control, they believe they are entitled to do as they please to achieve what they want. As they lack in empathy, they simply don’t have the compassion to care for those they hurt, so they don’t feel remorseful for their actions; they might feel shame if others were to find out and see their real character, which is why they’ll pass the blame.
To be sorry and give a sincere apology, you need to want to Repair the damage your actions might have caused. This is why we can sometimes get a false apology from a narcissist, not because they want to repair the damage, hurt or pain they’ve caused another because they want to protect their interests. Whatever those interests are to the individual narcissist, why often we might get these types of blame-shifting apologies from a narcissist which are.
“I’m sorry, but.” So all those. I’m sorry, but if you were there for me more, I’m sorry, but I knew you wouldn’t understand, I’m sorry, but you gave me no choice. I’m sorry I broke that. You made me angry. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but I knew you couldn’t handle the truth. I’m sorry, but you don’t give me a chance to tell to you. I’m sorry, but I didn’t know how you’d react.
Nearly always a ’you’ in their apology as they try to pass the blame, sometimes they leave the but out and go with it.
“I’m sorry you.” So all the, I’m sorry you feel that way, I’m sorry you took that the wrong way, I’m sorry you miss-understood me, I’m sorry you couldn’t handle the truth. I’m sorry you made me do it.
A narcissists mindset is that it didn’t happen, and if it did, that wasn’t my fault, and if it was, it wasn’t that bad, and if it is, I didn’t mean to do it, and if I did, you made me do it.
So even when we get an apology from them, they try to gaslight us, which is psychological manipulation to distort our reality, via things like blame-shifting, which is trying to get us to blame ourselves for their actions. Why so many survivors of narcissistic abuse can and will go around apologising for anything and everything as they’ve been fed so many manipulative lies into believing everything is always their fault. It is not your fault.
In reality, we are only ever responsible for our own behaviour, no matter how much someone provokes us. It can be challenging to control our behaviour as a narcissist’s gaslighting and projection can leave us with this cognitive dissonance, and in some cases, it can cause brain damage that we have to take the time to heal from. It’s not your fault; they programmed you to doubt and blame yourself; abuse is Abuse. There is no excuse. A Narcissist personality disorder is to explain the reason they behave the way they do. It’s not an excuse for them to behave this way. As we know all too well, they can act very differently if there could be consequences to their actions, so they can control themselves depending on who they are around and what needs they want to be met.
Some narcissists can and do offer what seems like a genuine apology at the moment (not many.) if they believe they can manipulate you to exploit you some more. ”I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” It seems genuine; however, in these cases, you have to look at a person’s actions. Have they hurt someone else this way before and not learned? Regardless of what they say about the other person. Have they done it to you before? You forgave them, and they did it again? Then this also is a false apology. They haven’t learned how they hurt you. They’ve only learned how to say sorry to you so they can get away with it and manipulate you to use you some more.
We are often led to believe within ourselves that we need an apology. We need the person who hurt us to say ”I’m sorry.” so we know they take responsibility for their actions. They are remorseful. We can let go of the pain and hurt their actions caused. It’s not their actions that hurt us. It’s the meaning we give to that person and the meaning we give to their actions that hurt us. It’s learning how to validate our own feelings when someone has spent years invalidating them. It’s understanding that we are allowed to be kind and gentle with ourselves. We are allowed to feel how we want to feel. We just have to learn to recognise the emotions what they are telling us and change our approach so we can let go of the pain
Your mind controls your emotions, and you control your mind; you can control your feelings. We have to lower our expectations of people while we raise the standards of behaviour we will and will not accept from others, as those who continue to lie, steal, cheat, manipulate and let you down are not worthy of you.
Emotions are action signals, and they are a sign you need to take action on an area of your life. To re-evaluate how you perceive something or how you are proceeding with something, the way you’re handling situations, and the way you are behaving towards yourself and towards others, learn and listen to those emotions and then take action to change something.
Emotions don’t have to be negative, and they don’t have to be positive. When you use your feelings to serve you. You get to a higher state of mind, so your emotions work for you and are no longer against you.
We can not change or control someone else’s toxic, harmful, destructive, cruel behaviour towards us or their opinions of us, their views of us are not for us. Only we define who we are. We can control how we walk away from those people and how we react. It’s hard to start when they push all our buttons, yet it is so worth it for our inner peace and happiness.
Emotions are telling you to either change your perceptions, change your procedure, change your communication, change your expectations, or change your circumstances. Change your situation. You need to change your state of mind.
Emotions mean you need to change something.
Change your perception. Ask, “Did they mean to hurt me?” If they did, leave them be. “If they didn’t because they didn’t know your standards. Change your procedure and your behaviour, start to Communicate with people and express your beliefs and your standards upfront.
Your standards are your standards, and if you can compromise with others, it’s okay if others don’t want to compromise; they are not for you. Not everyone has the same standards, yet we can respect other people’s standards, walk with them or walk away from them.
With a narcissist, they don’t think or feel on the same level that others do; it’s all about them if you expect them to understand; if you expect them to care, you will spend the rest of your life frustrated. Working on you and your emotional healing is vital.
Step one, identify your signal and your emotion.
Step two, recognise what it’s telling you.
Step three, take action to change,
1. Hurt. A Feeling of loss, Means you have an expectation that hasn’t been met.
2. Clarify and take action on your own perceptions or your own procedure.
3. Take action.
1. If you feel angry, Furious, enraged, or resentment.
2. Clarify your perception or your procedure. You have a standard for your life that’s not being met. This cannot be getting met by you, or you feel your standard isn’t being met by someone else.
3. Take action.
1. If you’re feeling pain.
2. You need to change your perceptions. Change the way you communicate or change your own behaviour. The way you’re looking at things.
3. Take action.
If you’re feeling hurt that someone left you, you need to change your perceptions of what life was going to be into what you can make your life be.
If you’re feeling hurt that someone has broken your trust, you need to communicate with them, and if they do this again, you need to change your perception of that person and stop telling them information.
If you are feeling hurt that someone has broken your trust again after you communicated with them. You need to change your perception of that person, learn they don’t care for you and walk away.
If you are feeling hurt, someone has taken advantage of you. Learn from it, and don’t let them retake the advantage.
If you’re feeling hurt that someone manipulated you, learn how they did this, so you are wiser and don’t let people manipulate you again.
We don’t know what we don’t know until we know.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach. She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.