A narcissist’s apology is never really an apology, you know? A narcissist’s apology is more like a temporary fix for your problems and just another way for them to manipulate you and emotionally abuse you, by keeping on their facade.
Ever been hoovered back into the cycle of abuse because of a narcissist’s apology? You are not alone. Most of us tend to think that they couldn’t be pathologically narcissistic if they’re apologizing, right? It’s just not something that narcissists do. Surely this time, things will change…
Think again gorgeous one.
It isn’t entirely accurate that a narc will never utter those words. Sure, it is a rare thing, and for many this simple phrase of contrition is completely absent from their vocabulary.
BUT, there are also many who do apologize…in the sense that these words will, on occasion, fall from their lips.
The issue isn’t there capacity to vocalize the utterance though. It’s that the intent differs in every possible way from one delivered with sincerity.
Whilst you would prefer to a) receive an apology that is genuine, and b) ultimately be in a relationship with an emotionally healthy person, there is a silver lining to the fauxpology…
Learning to recognize the narcissist’s sorry/not sorry for what it is, means you are also confronting the reality that they are narcissistic.
Hold fast to this truth. Refuse to be hoovered back in with yet another fauxpology. Break the cycle of abuse and set yourself free instead.
Related: Do Narcissists Ever Feel Sorry?
An apology from the heart
Let’s start by defining the anatomy of an apology from those who have a heart.
As humans, we falter, we err, we make mistakes. In any relationship, there will be times when these blunders impact those we care for. Inevitably, we hurt others. Because we care for those we choose to share our lives with, hurting others, in a sense hurts ourselves.
We feel saddened, disappointed in ourselves, perhaps even angry that we have let ourselves and others down. Guilt and remorse, as well as wanting to rectify how we have wronged our loved one, drives us to fix the hurt. Mending this hurt is all about expressing this remorse.
A genuine apology includes acknowledgment of what you did to hurt another, ownership of the responsibility, and a commitment to change the behavior in the future.
Examples of authentic heartfelt sorrow might sound like:
- ‘I’m sorry I hurt you’.
- ‘I was wrong, I shouldn’t have done that’.
- ‘What can I do to make things right?’
Apologies from the heart are full of integrity, accountability, humility and compassion.
An apology devoid of heart
The narcissist’s mindset
The abusive narcissist does not have the necessary elements within them for a genuine heartfelt apology.
In the first instance, this requires recognition of wrong-doing. The narcissist spends a lifetime preoccupied with defending their belief in their own superiority and perfection. Obviously, this precludes the capacity to reflect with critical honesty on behaviors. Openness to being flawed, conflicts in every way with the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
Hence taking responsibility for being in the wrong, for the narc, is an impossibility. It simply does not happen.
Furthermore, central to seeking and granting forgiveness is empathy and the capacity to see beyond one’s own needs and interests. Extreme self-involvement, another hallmark of NPD, prevents experiencing these qualities. Finally, the pathological sense of entitlement of the true narcissist cements the deal. They are possessed with the certainty that they have a right to all they desire.
The cost to others of the narcissist getting their needs met, is irrelevant.
So why apologise?