Last Updated on July 4, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester
Would a narcissist ever apologize? Yes. Would they ever be truly sorry? No.
People often assume that narcissists never apologize for their wrongdoings. However, this myth isn’t true. In fact, some narcissists are more than happy to tell you they’re sorry.
The difference, however, is that their apologies lack sincerity and merit.
That’s because their intentions aren’t rooted in expressing empathy or repairing a relationship issue.
Instead, they are focused on coping with their own emotions and satisfying their intrinsic needs.
The apology is about their self-preservation, and it has nothing to do with supporting you or honoring your needs.
So, how should you respond to the Narcissist’s fake apology?? Should you ignore them altogether? Demand that they give you an authentic apology instead? Let’s get into it.
Do Narcissists Apologize?
If you listen closely, many narcissists apologize all the time. Narcissists aren’t oblivious to social cues.
They recognize the need for interpersonal relationships, and they understand that people apologize when they make mistakes.
But can a narcissist admit fault for their mistakes? To answer this question, you must understand the anatomy of an authentic apology. Authentic apologies include:
- Identifying that you made a mistake.
- Experiencing feelings of guilt or shame over the mistake.
- Empathizing with the other person’s feelings of sadness, anger, or betrayal.
- Acknowledging your wrongdoing.
- Making a conscious effort to avoid repeating the mistake.
As you can see, most narcissists fail to meet these criteria when they apologize.
In fact, they may not actually do any of those things. As the recipient, this dynamic can feel frustrating and upsetting. Their words often seem hollow or scripted.
Instead of trusting that the narcissist wants to remedy the situation, you may feel like they don’t care about your feelings at all.
Why Would A Narcissist Apologize If They Can’t Accept Fault?
Narcissists cognitively understand how relationships work. They recognize that people have boundaries and feelings.
Unfortunately, they cannot prioritize other people’s needs before their own. Therefore, their apologies are self-serving, and they may occur when they are:
- Caught in the act directly
- Needing to restore their sense of power and control.
- Fearing abandonment.
- Wanting to move on from the conflict or tension.
These apologies mimic the cliche of sorry, not sorry. They might be saying the right words to you, but their desire lies in helping themselves.
A narcissist apologies because they want relief. They want to move on from the challenging situation.
It’s not about accepting fault- it’s about returning to a comfortable status quo within the relationship.
Understanding The Narcissist’s Fake Apologies
Narcissists often use apologies to move you along from your emotions.
They don’t want you upset or angry at them. They want to maintain their usual homeostasis where they feel ogled and appreciated.
The Over-The-Top Apology
The over-the-top apology sounds something like this:
I’m so sorry! This will never happen again. I promise! I love you more than anything. Please forgive me. I feel so bad. I need you to know how sorry I am.
At first, this apology may sound heartfelt. Sometimes, these apologies are accompanied with tangible gifts, like flowers or thoughtful cards.
These tricks can be convincing. You might believe the narcissist has taken accountability and truly acknowledged their issues.
However, this kind of apology isn’t about personal responsibility. It’s about them attempting to win you over with their excessive emotion.
This apology is more about the narcissist and their needs and feelings- rather than yours.
They can’t tolerate your discomfort feeling upset with them, so they seemingly beg for your forgiveness.
The Overly Detailed Apology
I know I shouldn’t have done that. I got so busy with work! My boss added all these extra assignments today- can you believe that? After I just finished that massive project? It’s not even fair. And then, there was an accident on the way home, so that was distracting, and then my mom called, and I had to deal with her issues. And then…
Have you heard those lengthy explanations? Where these apologies contain excessive content, they lack emotion.
We all know that narcissists can be incredibly charming. Detailed apologies emphasize their charm.
The narcissist inundated you with various details and reasoning for why they did what they did. Because they can be talented and convincing with their story, you may find yourself swept into this excuse.
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Overly detailed apologies represent a form of emotional manipulation.
Rather than acknowledge the mistake, the narcissist continues to defend their stance. They distract you with inconsequential details to distract you from the truth.
The Blaming Apology
I am sorry that you feel like I”m not a good partner.
I am sorry that you can’t compromise with me.
I’m sorry that you’re being immature.
These statements are condescending attacks disguised as apologies. They shift the blame onto how you made them act that way.
They become the victim in the dynamic, as if you now have to rescue them from their mistakes.
This, of course, is a form of deflection, but you might not realize that if you struggle with low self-esteem.
Blaming apologies focus on what you need to do differently. The narcissist aims to convince you that your flaws provoked them into making that choice.
The “I’m Sorry, But” Apology
I am sorry, but I did what I had to do.
I am sorry, but I’m not perfect.
I am sorry, but you’re being dramatic.
I am sorry, but it was for the best!
These apologies are also excuses, as the narcissist attempts to absolve themselves from personal accountability.
These efforts are a matter of self-preservation. The narcissist wants to maintain their sense of self-approval, and this desire supersedes the desire to have a respectful relationship.
The Hollow Apology
Some fake apologies eerily mimic authentic apologies. Many narcissists have charming personalities that they cultivate through years of observing social cues.
They learn how to fake empathy. They also learn how to “speak the script” without the words having genuine meaning.
How can you distinguish an authentic apology from a hollow one. Consider the following warning signs:
- It seems generic and even forced, as if they just want to get it over with quickly.
- It comes too late. Authentic apologies tend to be spontaneous because the person experiences an immediate sense of guilt or shame.
- You have a strong belief that they are just talking the talk without walking the walk.
- You keep feeling frustrated by their apologies, but you can’t pinpoint why.
- The same arguments reemerge, despite the apologies or promises to change.
- The narcissist apologies without engaging in appropriate nonverbal body language. For example, they might be smiling when they tell you how sad they feel. Or, they might avoid making eye contact altogether.
The Denied Apology
“I don’t know why you’re so upset. I didn’t do anything wrong. If you hadn’t done that, this never would have happened in the first place.”
Narcissists often make numerous excuses to justify their behavior. Because they have an inflated ego, they will defend their choices mercilessly.
Often, their denial isn’t meant to be malicious. Narcissists simply struggle with compromised emotional empathy.
This means that they do not have the same ability to care about the feelings of other people.
How To Respond To The Narcissist Fake Apology?
It’s no secret that these fake apologies feel insensitive and disrespectful. You may want to lash out or respond with the silent treatment approach.
However, those reactions only tend to provoke more conflict and tension. Instead, it’s better to reflect on how you want to handle these situations ahead of time.
Understand The Narcissist
Narcissism is a mental illness, and it’s not a matter of willpower of choice.
This personality disorder corresponds with having an inflated ego, an excessive need for attention, and difficult relationships.
Subsequently, many narcissists struggle with emotional regulation, excess rage, and intense impatience for other people.
Many people think narcissists are oblivious to their behavior. Interestingly, research shows they often have insight into their personality or reputation.
They often know others don’t perceive them as positively as they do. However, they attribute this discrepancy to others being too jealous of them or too unsophisticated to recognize their brilliance.
In other words, narcissists tend to know they are narcissistic. However, they don’t perceive this to be a bad thing.
Often, they would rather be admired than liked, and they live to seek the recognition they believe they inherently deserve.
Accept Your Relationship Limitations
If you intend to stay involved with the narcissist, you need to have realistic expectations about your relationship with the narcissist.
The narcissist may never be able to give you a sincere apology. They may not want to hear about your opinion or understand your feelings.
They may not be able to accept blame or own personal accountability.
That doesn’t mean your relationship is inherently doomed. Ultimately, it is your decision who you want in your life. You may just need to adjust your expectations.
Set and Maintain Clear Boundaries
In any relationship, it’s crucial to have limits as to what you will or will not tolerate.
Your boundaries help preserve your integrity. They tell other people what you expect from them.
When dealing with fake apologies, you can implement boundaries by:
- Telling them you won’t accept the apology at the moment.
- Expressing your needs and requiring that they don’t interrupt you.
- Taking a few moments to walk away and cool down.
- Leaving the house if they start becoming hostile or threatening.
- Telling them you will revisit the conversation at a later time.
When stating boundaries, it’s important to be assertive. Maintain a calm demeanor.
Remember that your boundaries are only as strong as your ability to implement them. If you keep wavering back-and-forth, you may send a strong message that you can be manipulated.
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When you try to set a boundary, narcissists may steamroll you with flattery or begging.
They will tell you they’ll never make that mistake again. They will ask you to reconsider and suggest you’re being too harsh or unfair.
Remember that this is a reaction to their discomfort. They don’t want to feel vulnerable or out of control. They don’t want you to reflect on how their behavior hurts you.
Try your best not to back down. Consistency is the recipe for making boundaries work. By being consistent every single time, you demonstrate that you are serious about your intentions. This consistency may incentivize change.
Keep Yourself Safe
Your safety needs to be a top priority in your relationship. Narcissists can be prone to rageful and irrational behavior, and it’s critical that you recognize red flags before they emerge.
Some signs to look out for include:
- Screaming at you.
- Belittling or criticizing you.
- Becoming physically aggressive towards you or towards inanimate objects.
- Drinking excess alcohol or using drugs.
- Making threats to harm themselves.
- Making threats to harm you or your loved ones.
It’s important to have a support system if the conflict escalates. Even if you love the narcissist, you need to understand your relationship deal-breakers.
Your safety must come first. If you have children, you also need to consider their well-being.
Abuse is never okay, and if you’ve been abused, you are not obligated to make this relationship work.
It’s frustrating to receive fake apologies from narcissists. At times, they will hurt more than receiving no apology at all.
Understanding narcissism is the first step to recognizing the backstory behind these fake apologies.
In increasing your own insight, you can choose the next step as to how you want to approach your relationship.
- Brown, J. (2020). Study shows Narcissistic Personality Disorder may have a biological component. UChicago Medicine.
- Carlson, E., Vazire, S., & Oltmanns, T. (2011). You probably think this paper’s about you: Narcissists’ Perception of their Personality and Reputation. U.S National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
- Ronningstam, E. (2016). New Insights Into Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Psychiatric Times.
- Picnus, A & Lukowitsy, M. (2009). Pathological Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology- PubMed. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.121208.131215
56 thoughts on “How To Respond To The Narcissist Fake Apology?”
I am new to the knowledge that I have been living with a narcissist. I am learning to understand my marcissistic and I am quite shocked,hurt and at the same time empowered to know that I am not alone. Yet I feel so alone.
I’m sorry. I know this life isnt akways easy.
Living with a narc can indeed be a lonely life. Specifically, they are self-absorbed and can be anti-social. I honestly believe this gets worse with age and often with lower serotonin levels.
Oddly enough my girlfriend is named Candace. We got back together 4 weeks ago, and boy did it quickly revert back to old ways. I came to the realization that she’s a narcissist yesterday morning. Spent a lot of time reading up on it. Approached her completely different tonight. Like I now understand her, and she feels that way. I’m curious to see where this leads, and if I can deal with lack of remorse, empathy, listening, etc. I’ve read some good stuff about rapport.
“Besides, having compassion and respect for the narcissist will feed their egos, so they’ll listen to you”
Nayhan: how’s it been going? I am curious to learn how to get my narcissist to practice what he preaches.. I too am trying to understand him and have been letting a lot of things go. But I’m currently upset with him and it’s making me more upset that I can’t get past it since he won’t apologize or actually feel bad about what he did because he said I deserved it. He is a huge part of my life, I’m not ready to think about breaking up with him (even though i tell him i want to)
I am in this very situation and I gave up my apartment left state with him to an unfamiliar place where I have no friends I sit alone n a hotel room waiting for him to get off work and pray he won’t snap if I only knew this then I would have stayed in my apartment its scarry and I dnt want to tell my family because they think so highly of him that charming card really worked I’m just so worried he got me in a bad spot I have no money to leave idk its a bad situation because someone u trusted can change its creepy
If you haven’t already. Please go home. Narcissists are afraid of losing face and buery their head in the sand. Please don’t fall into this trap. If your family and friends truly love you, they will accept you home with open arms.
What if the family of origin supports the narsisist and not their blood. Likely because of these tendencies there. Sadly I will not be welcomed….by them…!
RUN!!! GET out and DO NOT ever think about having children with this kind of person. TELL your family he’s a very good actor and has played and conned you all and you need help. Please get away asap. Do NOT worry about money, just find a way asap….. I see this is written in Feb… hope you are far, far away by now.
Please get out of that relationship. I was with a man for over two years, left several times, came back believing his apologies really sincere but then it went back to the old ways every time. You will get beat down so low. You will start making excuses for him if you haven’t started yet, you will feel so insecure about yourself. I always was walking on eggshells and never new when next rage would start. It was more frequent, the names were coming more often, putting me down, taunting me, my life was shit, I had nothing, he had everything, his life was so good…… On and on. I was called every name under the sun, I was accused of everything you could possibly think of while he was talking to other woman, early in our relationship had cheated me several times, videoed it, I found them, locked his up tighter then fort nocks, on and on. I could go on for days. Then I would leave and he would play these games with me to get me back and i did go back. This time I’m not, I’m not coming with him, I am finally done. I hurt every day, I will be emotionally scarred for life, going to need professional. Stop making excuses and run. Get out of there. Go pawn something, go a woman’s shelter, just please get out of that toxic mess. They really do not care and we do unconditionally love and care deeply for them. They will never change unless they first admit they have a problem and go get extensive help. It’s not your fault no matter how much blame was put on you. Realize that you better then that filth and don’t deserve to be treated that way. Love yourself first and you will find yourself asking yourself, why am I doing this to myself. Why am I causing this self inflicted pain to myself. Don’t ask yourself “why” about him no more to yourself, he will never change. Start thinking about yourself and make some positive changes in your life for you. I went back so many times just to get the same result. I love him so much and this is the hardest relationship I’ve had to get out of but if I wanted the people truly do care about me in my life including my children, I had to get out. I was isolated, being talked into believing this garbage, called horrible names every other night, fighting till 1-3 am. It will kill you. Get out please yourself.
This really touched me I’m just now figuring out everything about my partner everything makes so much sense n I can’t believe I’m not alone but I am still stuck in it hopefully all this site has to offer will help me get out thank you
Wow, this literally sounds like my life. No cheating but he is a frequent user of cocaine. Putting that with a narcissist, it’s a disaster. I’m a stay at home mom of 3 kids. Also disabled with RA. It’s exhausting to say the least!
He is incapable of being sorry or forgiving, the cycle will always, always lead to you feeling as if it is your fault and you have to fix it. When you say you want to leave, do it! The cycle will not stop, but your self esteem, your finances, your feelings of “if I only…, next time…., this time…,” will continue til you are a depressed mess and than he will walk away. You will be crushed and he will feel nothing. Leave now do not wait till you spin out of the cycle. Good luck! And keep learning about this.
I waited 20 years too long for my ex-husband to change his narcissistic personality; it never did. I divorced him in my fifties. Wish I’d done it sooner. His lack of empathy and verbal abuse has affected me in a lot of ways; don’t know if I’ll ever have another relationship. I hope so. Don’t waste your life on a narcissist, they don’t change.
if you value your mental and physical health run away as fast as you can and don’t look back…. its not as simple as that when its your own mother who’s the narcissist. A relationship with this type of person is draining and unfulfilling. If you value yourself you will think about ending it before it consumes you and leaves you a broken person.
Dear Karen, I hear you.
The pain of my mother and sister being narcissist…probably as a response to my narcissist father is ongoing.
I’m “bad with money”, “ungrateful” and a “troublemaker, while my sister is the “golden child”.
I hope that being able to understand, and explain their behavior it will eventually lessen the pain.
I know I’m not alone as the “family scapegoat.”
I suggest that anyone in Nayhan’s position stop… just stop… and hear himself or herself. And ask, “What do I deserve?” “Why am I even considering devoting myself to even attempting to be close to someone who FAILS TO CONSISTENTLY DEMONSTRATE respect, empathY, listening and remorse with me?”
Nayhan’s “I’m curious to see where this leads, and if I can deal with lack of remorse, empathy, listening, etc. I’ve read some good stuff about rapport…” screams out for him to back away.
Highly revered experts on compassion, like the Dalia Lama, other Buddhists and mystics, caution against opening yourself to the life-threatening risk that resides in convincing yourself that you are not hungry emotionally.
Compassion must encompass all beings including yourself. Compassion is as strong with “No” as with “Yes.” Why would any balanced person try to lie to himself or herself about their healthy and innate (for it exists simply because one is alive) need for “remorse, empathy, listening, etc.” ?
We do it out of fear that this is the best we can get. But there is a better way.
The way to get “more,” the way to get fed the soul-bread we need, to get desperately needed water from the dry well, is not to “play” or “manage” or “strike up rapport” with a narcissist — a fool’s task in which you will necessarily fail (because the narcissist is simply incapable in any true and sustained way).
You will end up drained and potentially, eventually, destroyed in ways you perhaps cannot imagine.
The way to get what he needs, what you need, what we all need, is to go toward those who consistently show integrity and kindness and you must start by providing it from yourself to yourself. Show a compassionate “No” to the narcissist, and a compassionate “Yes” to those who in sustained and true fashion show integrity and kindness.
A professional therapist equipped to deal with narcissistic personality disorders is the person who should consider investing in building rapport with a narcissist — in order to deliver treatment for an illness. You are looking for love in the wrong place.
Try simply starting with loving yourself enough to embrace that you deserve better treatment and are going to give it to yourself by entirely cutting out the narcissist. “Don’t expect a cat to be a giraffe.” It simply will not, ever, be.
INCREDIBLE response. Amazing. Beautifully said
Leave! The relationship will only end badly for you. You cannot maintain a relationship with a narcissist in the long term. To do so is inviting chaos, a fractured self-image, self-doubt, emotional turmoil and a sometimes even a complete loss of self worth and self identity. These people lack any remorse, empathy or genuine feelings for another person. It is always about them and how they feel…it is NEVER about you. You are just the “supply”…the heroin hit to their ego and self esteem and sense of self worth. These people are EMPTY. They rely on others around to give them a sense of empowerment and self actualization. Take that away and you unmask a very ugly hateful vengeful individual hell bent on your destruction. That is the key. They will ultimately destroy everything and everyone around them. It is their nature to destroy…never to create. How do I know? I was married to a woman for 14 years who was a complete narcissist and she then ended the marriage and has since turned her narcissist tendencies and rage on my children. I’ve needed to deal with that for the last 10 years….so I kinda have a combined 24 years of experience in dealing with an extreme narcissist and studying their behaviour. It’s scary stuff. These people are dangerous in a very subtle and disturbing way and you WILL end up a victim unless you leave and make no further contact ever. Just some advice. Take it or leave it.
I couldnt agree more Misha, I have experienced all of this. I hope youve been able to find some peace and happiness…best wishes
Why would you bother? Read up some more then get the hell out. Don’t you want a relationship with someone who loves you, is able to show you empathy and be able to say sorry. As the survivor of a relationship with a narc I want better for myself. I don’t want to understand them and then make allowances for the sorry excuse for a human being these people are. Get out now & never look back.
I agree with you on learning how the narc “ticks”. I had to do the same. But, at some point you will see that emotionally it is a one-sided relationship. The narc is always the taker.
I dated a Narcissist, and I know for personal experience that their apologies are just meaningless words, intended to keep you enmeshed in a unhealthy, toxic relationship with them. Period.
My ex narcissist boyfriend tried to makeup with sending gifts at the holiday. By better judgement returned them. Shortly afterward saw a Amazon review he posted for a pocketbook he, “purchased for his girlfriend’s birthday she loves it room for all the stuff she carries around that he never sees!” That wasn’t me. I confronted him off guard when he called he came up with a story it was a for an old friend who I’ll meet some day, you’d like her. What poposterous lies. Went on and on, how I’m the only one for him and he’s the only one for me. He wants to do things right and have a life with me. Any hint at remorse was always followed by, “no placing any blame on either me or you.” Imagine?! Of course they wasn’t any blame on me but the nerve to word it as such, it’s a back handed apology. Needless to say I told him it’s over, I’m done. My self worth is back and I realize I was way too good for him.
I am struggling with the after effects of a 5 year relationship with a narcissist. I found out that he trolls the dating sites with a profile that is totally fabricated to make him look good. After the honeymoon period, he stopped the sex and I found out he is adicted to porn. He told me he had been tested for low testosterone levels but that wasn’t the problem. He also had a woman at his place saying he was helping her with her back problems, similar to his. I made him call her and I spoke to her. He had pix of 2 women on his phone and claimed they were friends. Turned out they were people who lived far away who he would never meet that believed his profile. Two weeks ago I began to realize what was going on. He claimed he would get off the dating site and he said he went to see his therapist, someone he sees only when he gets caught. Said he was going to work on this addiction. Well guess what, he’s still on. I have not seen him for two weeks an only spoken twice. I told him about NPD and naturally that was not him. I’m done! I think I may have to do some therapy myself. I’m no spring chicken at 66 and feel bad I was taken in by him.
I too have a narcissistic boyfriend with an addiction only his addiction isn’t p**n it’s alcohol. The lies are the same. The empty promises are the same and all in al that was what caused our rations hip to spiral out of control. I turn into an ugly person when we fight and I end up feeling horrible about it so I always apologise first. When he bunged I would go stay with a friend because there is no reasoning with him and he still makes me feel bad about how I couldn’t stick around through his tough times. Ultimately I am the one feeling bad for everything and it’s actually not even my fault.
I now need to try to fix myself because I fear I might have turned into that kind of person too. I am scared and sad because I love him him but I know this is the right way. I have to get out and I have to move on with my life.
It is empowering to learn these things but it is also sad because I truly believe that people can change if they wanted to and there is a little bit of in everyone and they just need to dig deep yo be that “good” person.
I thought you was talking about my ex colin !! Narcissists are so alike..once you know shat to look for. Louise
My ex husband was chronically late .. with no remorse for creating anxiety (and anger too). He would trot out the same old rubbish in response .. in fact the same lies would repeat (whether he was aware or not). He could leave me sitting in a restaurant for a couple of hours and then expect me to understand. No call – no text – would not answer his phone. His blatant disrespect for me in the end was the one thing that finished it for me. Not the rages and sometimes aggressive behaviour. They were intolerable and obviously I chose not to put myself in the path of those anymore either. But at the bottom of it all was this disrespect. He once famously said (in honeyed tones) “you might be a stupid little @#!k up, but you’re MY stupid little f@#k up”. To which I said “you may be partially right. I MAY be f@#ked up and certainly I’m little ..but I’m not STUPID”. At which point he had big fat narcissistic tantrum and stormed off ….
I have become this person full of rage. I don’t have any patience for it anymore. I’ve been promised over and over how things will be different. I know better than to believe it, since it’s usually said with the hint of sarcasm, or this face of “right you were abducted by aliens” expression. Lately, I’ve been so ashamed at how mean my responses are. I say the things I know attack his self esteem because I want to cause pain. You know what? He doesn’t skip a beat… He just keeps trucking along this endless bickering. We can go back and forth like a couple of savages. To make it stop, I can’t leave as that would cause me weeks of silent treatment and more sarcastic muttering. I feel like he keeps popping in my space and going back upstairs. It’s maddening to hear him snoring shortly after as if I’m not at DEFCON 1. I’m left with my wheels turning and this unresolved issue. It will go on for days and is polluted with so many new accusations or false statements that it takes me hours to work backward from if I ever want it addresses. When it is its met with eye rolling while his body is emitting all the hate he can muster. I’ve become his monster. How sober monster, now. You know the main reason I got sober was because he would say things like “that’s not how it happened, you were drunk.” What could I say? No, I remember exactly how it went. I’m the drunk that remembers everything.
I have just come to terms that I was dating a narcissist. We were together 4 years. I was always confused why I had to keep repeating myself to him about what bothered me. Than every time I brought it up again and again he gave me a sorry “BUT ” and in the back of my head I’m thinking “that’s not sincere” . He’s had outburst and tantrums like he was a 3 year old not getting his way and I loved him so it was always forgiven. I could never tell him how I felt because he always said “I was trying to argue ” or ” its a bad time because I’m in a good mood ” . That hurt so bad so I had to always stay silent about my problems . Now I broke up with him about a week ago and he just doesn’t get it. He keeps sending me messages saying he’s sorry and now he knows what he messed up on , but truth is he AWLAYS knew just didn’t care to show it . He is texting me like we are just “fighting” and I’m going to get over it but I told him enough is enough and I’m emotionally drained. He still won’t let up. I don’t know what to do beside ignore him .
The only time he seemed to give an apology (really was recriminating) he was doing it to rebuild himself after a major public failing. I thought he was doing it to rebuild our family and show me love, but it ended up being all about rebuilding himself in the eyes of others. The rest of our 20+ years together has been a long series of him never apologizing. Not for anything. I expected too much or was oversensitive. When he left he projected that onto me and said I would have been easier to live with had I just apologized for all the things I had done to him. I am nauseated just thinking about it. The decades I have poured into the jack*$$!
“When a narcissist makes an apology to repair a relationship what is repaired is not the damage to the relationship, but the narcissist’s illusion of perfection.” BINGO!
I learnt from childhood that love is hard to get and that love can only be shown when worked for it. I grew up always fighting and been nice to men who do not love me. I will accept abuse in all kinds hoping they will love me eventually if I continue to be fixing their problems. I ended up marrying a narcist just after I broke up with a previous one. I did not allow myself to heal up from all the mind games. I became more confused, I wanted to just die. My narcist husband will emotional and phsically abuse me infront of my kids from the previous relationship. Call me names, blame me for his mistakes. All I did was feel guilty and hoping that he will change. When I say I will leave him, he will cry and beg and make series of promises. My advise to all who come in contact with a narcist, please please do not fall for their charms its a trap to make you believe they care. When they get you in their world then the abuse begins. Flee at once please do not let them drag you down. The no contact rule is the best way for you to break off from people with NPD. Thanks.
I was in a relationship with a female N and Sociopath by her own admission. It was a little tiring listening to stuff like, ” you like my ass, don’t you” and, ” I know why you wslk behind me!”. She also molded me into what she liked. She haf me change my hair, shave my chest. and other areas. She told me what to eat. Which car i should buy, what i should wear, and when to call. I was de-valued and emotionally abused. All for the sex. She screwed me one day, left the next. I would call and tect, but she wouldn’t respond. It was horrible. I am in therapy, i have lost friends, and i have lost years on my life from the stress. She could care less. She got what she wanted, then moved on.
Hi G, that sounds like a terrible part of your life. I hope you can leave it behind you and focus on women who are worth it and make you feel better instead of worse. Never continue dating someone if the person is not making you feel better and appreciates you for who you are.
Living in narcissism is like living in the twilght zone.
yes it fucking is!
Wow your story sounds almost like mine… But in my case after 4 years trying to make things work I found out he was cheating. When I confronted him he just said he didn’t want to see me ever again, for me to delete his number and to never text or call. It was so painful, because he discarded me as if I was trash. At the beginning, I was always thinking that his behavior had something to do with his ADHD. After our last break up, I started to search online and on youtube and the I found out he was really a narcissist and his behavior had nothing to do with ADHD. After he left and went no contact with me, he blocked me on social media. A month later, he decided to text me like if nothing had happened. He texted me happy belated birthday and that he was hoping I had a great one. I did not reply. Then he called me twice around 12 am and I did not answer. It all has to be about him. There was no apology text or email. He is just trying to get my attention, my energy, his supply and he did not and will not get it from me. I am recovering from this now and just made an appointment with a psychologist. He got what he wanted, and left, but is still trying to receive supply from me.
I am in a slightly different situation. I was not technically the girls boyfriend , but she was the gf of a guy who treated her the way she treated me, and she apparently does to everyone. but I was her probably number one target (I know this seems complicated) but actually the bf, and her broke up over 100 times a 5 years, but see, I don’t know if after the fact at this point if he was actually using her and he didn’t do certain things and treated her in certain ways because of her own behavior and just did what he could do to keep her around (she was hot as hell and sexy as hell, and certainly fun and funny, a good cook and she was completely infatuated with him) and did she lie about things he does and says. But I assure all of you, as I findally started to realize, everything she said she was upset about him saying this and doing this to her and picking fights because of this or that. well I completely understand, but still think he himself was definitely using her. and stringing her along, plus he is suppsodely very rich so I think she wants to have him marry her to live the easy life. now getting backt o me personally.
I believe she demonstrated every single type of thing on this list above.
sometimes she would apologize (however a couple times I realized her way of apologizing was a lie I caught her in) like walking all over me one day and 2 days later apologizing that it wsa the other persona nd not me, she should not have done that to me, and should have called me but her phone was dead. and needed to be recharged, yet, 1 hour after she walked out her phone picked up, the kind where it just does and you don’t know the phone is on, IE you hear their voice it sounds far away and tons of background noise well her phone was on for 10 minutes. so she was lying in her apology.
athere would be times when she would say things like “I am so sorry for yelling at you, but you know how I get sometimes, I can be such a b**th. I am so bipolar, if I had stpped back and done it again I probably would not have yelled at you. . or things like “I am not good to anyone, I need to be better, maybe karma will treat me better”
and of course many times when “I was late beasue of this or that and this and that other thing, it ws someone else’s fault”
this girl did all of it.
but the one thing that tells me she is a narc, is one time early on all I said was something about how it was good she was calling her grandmother the one person I know is always on her side. after calling countless people at night wondering why theyd on’t answer the phone (you know like they have to get up for work tomorrow morning on a weekday>) so that’s all I said, se gave me this stare and said “what the hell is wrong with you? do you know her, are you and my grandma best friends? dating? how would you know so much>? your parents are looking down at you from heaven and are highly disappointed in how you treat people and are rolllig over in their graves” of course 2 minutes ater she said, oh I am so sorry about that, because I am just so stressed out I am on PMS and this friend almost died. well ok so this was early on and I am inexperienced with girls so I made an excuse that this is probably really stress and pms thinking it is some female thing. but what I really saw was the mask slip a little and recovered.
didn’t know that til now.
but I think back to another thing . that same night ealier she said to me (and I never aksed a question) “I hope you don’t ever think I am using you, because I would never do that”
also, oneimte on her facebok way back over a year. she posted about getting something, like a gift from so and so. forget who. her post gave a shout out to that person and thanked them, but the ver next sentence In her post was something like “it is so nice to get these thing, and this happens often, being s super good friend to people pays off”
um, wtf? being a goof friend pays off? really?
this is a foreign concept to me. I don’t become friends with anyone because I feel it is going to pay off, other than in the sense that I have a trusted person I can share experiences with , which is rewarding, so in that sense, it pays off, but getting gifts and sayint it pays off. that is just plain strange. I wonder if shew as alrady saying what she was.
however, she had me so often in a position where I didn’t know exactly what she really felt about me. ever. mostly it was good and she gave me lots of attention, but he first several months it felt truly good. however, in the final 3 months, it just suddenly getting more and more crazy and thea last 5 weeks she really started to go more and more in the area where she was goin gway outside of bounderies, showing me I meain nothing while trying to say I did. so I fainlly called her out on her BS, and that is when she went ballistic, she threatened me, told me to die, and was willing to go to jail for knoking my teeh out, said I better watch y back. why? she claims it is because I wrote her a love letter, but moreso because I lied about the 7 things I called her out on, which is barely scratching the surface.
the wired thing about this the most, ist hat even though I have gone no contact for 3 months and even just reblocked her numbers as the block expired, well I know what led to all this, and sometimes I wonder if she eve rliked me, I think in some way she may have really liked me but did she? was it all fake? was it90% fake, was it half fake? and I also feel sorry for her at some level. and miss some of the good times. I mean sure, I know the good feelings were on a fake prmise but the good feeling were real to me, so it is a stuggle. yet, I feel so much less tired and stressed out than I ever did, howeve,r I guess there is that gap, hwoever I am slowly getting there. it is tough.
Yeah well. I CANT go no contact. He stole my kids. Made false accusations through them that I’m a psychological child abuser. Exactly what he himself is. Severe psychological abuse. He has so distorted their thoughts that they think I hate them, that I don’t like them, and that I need help. When i tell them i’m seeing a counselor (just trying to conform) they say it’s not good enough. I can’t win. Unless my narc gets a heavy dose of guilt and remorse, I will probably never see my kids again. But what would be the point anyhow. . When I WAS still seeing them, it’s not them. It’s him i’m seeing. He has turned them into mini me narcissists. So incredibly heartbreaking. I don’t know how I will go on living knowing their minds are so messed up. It’s up to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords now.
You should read the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and see how men are typically.
Then read this article. By the definition of the author of this particular article, all men are narcissists.
We’re real bastards.
I’ve read that book, and would strongly recommend you find a better, more recently written one. I dare say it maybe did some good in its day, but now what useful communication principles it does contain are couched in ludicrously antiquated, overly-generalised, hyper-conservative gender stereotypes – without justification.
My narcissistic ex boyfriend raped me.
I won’t go into specifics, but I suspect he’s a narcissist because he engaged in gaslighting, reversal, blame deflection, and denial constantly. After love bombing me he got scared about actual love, and, while controlling our schedule and telling me what to wear, he began abusing me in other ways, some subtle-mean teasing, impatience, snapping at me-and some less subtle: sexual abuse, for example.
I had opened up to him, in the beginning, about a past history of sexual assault and abuse, and he pretended to be very supportive. He pinpointed it as a weakness, and since he regularly coerces women anyway, it was no big deal for him to abuse me.
After we broke up, he convinced me it was all in my head and I’d been projecting onto him because of past abuse. He convinced me to let him see me, and then he raped me. He raped me in a very specific way, an act I had unequivocally said no to.
Months later, after much trauma, I convinced myself it had just been an accident. He lured me back to see him with promises of second chances and leaving all that nastiness behind and being kind to each other. Then he raped me again.
He has several times blamed me for his sexual abuse of me. He continued to prey on me after that, on my desperate desire for an apology. He still won’t own up or apologize but with breathtaking audacity claims he is remorseful for his choice to see me when I am not a positive influence in his life (oh but not in a mean way!), not for, you know, luring me back to see him and raping me again.
All I want is an admission and an apology, and I would let it, and him, go. As it stands that’s never going to happen, so I must go no contact, report him, and let it be up to the law then.
I feel sad my need to believe in the best in people has been crushed. Love bombing is the best he can give, and it’s all fantasy. The rest is an ugly mix of psychological manipulation, envy, abuse, and violence, all perpetrated with a near total absence of empathy.
I feel it’s sad people like this exist, and I fell in love with one. It’s also devastating what he did to me.
Can he be blamed if he has an illness? He knows the difference between right and wrong. But he can he feel the difference, if he has little to no empathy?
Carmen I am so sorry you have gone thru something like this. I too can say that I was married to a huge narcissist and I also have a 15 year old son with him. I recently divorced him finally in early October. I initially left and never came back on august of 2006. I would say he has manipulated me sexually for over 10 years with threats and blackmail(videos, nudes) and he also has raped me. I actually got pregnant and I aborted that baby because I had a boyfriend at the time and I didn’t know who the father would have been. That was very painful to do. You know what his response was? “You can’t rape your own wife, that doesn’t make sense”. No apology no remorse nothing. I have went no contact for two months now and I have stood up for myself against his latest blackmail threat. I have never done this before and I assume he is thinking what to do now. He gave me a fake apology and I have not responded. Wish me luck and stay strong.
Wow, I stumbled upon this site, looking for answers: does a narcissist ever apologize? Thank All Y’all for your comments.
He never can apologize. If I say that I accept no responsibility in this, I am wrong. If I say that I caused all of this, I am wrong. I left him the last week in June after 15 months. His was subtle as he does have a soft side. Subtle. Dangerous.
We chatted a tad today. He can’t understand his fault and insists I triggered him and that I have a temper, too. I did fight back a few times and could never thrive in that environment. His anger unleashed on me ten weeks into the courtship, right after I returned the ‘I love you’ for the first time. It is almost like it gave him permission. For no reason. I told him then that he needed to keep it in check. The second time was six weeks later and I suggested he get help. Nothing I suggested was ever well received.
And, I repeatedly gave him the benefit of the doubt, essentially blaming his Dad.
So, he hung up on me tonight. I want peace and he thinks I am blaming him. I gave him his supply and finally told him what he wanted to hear. “I am so, so sorry. I triggered you. I accept all of this. I am just so, so sorry.” I did so knowing that I am protected and I suspect I needed a reminder direct from him.
I blocked him in my phone. Then, I emailed him: I blocked you because I am just so hurt; not out of anger or retaliation. I cannot take the hurt any longer. I have no hope left for us. Be well.
I feel great. That little reminder, I hope, has me running from him for the rest of my life.
And, I begin to heal and on some level try to understand my role in tolerating this as long as I did. I am a strong, deeply faithful lady and I know that chaos in the home is not what God intends for any of us…….in any world faith or denomination.
So, why did I stay? I have tried to discern this before my first therapy session this coming Tue. Here it is: I had HOPE. I had hope that the charming gentleman who courted me would resurface. This man seems to despise me. And, this man is not a man I would ever consider giving the time of day.
I am thankful. I probably need to be affirmed. I am very grateful.
I’ve noticed the repetitive patterns of a narcissist apology. Somehow their insincerity quickly turns into excuses and blame. It seems what ever the situation is I just read it incorrectly. I’ve been love bombed, manipulated then blamed when I discovered he was planning to go to LA to see a girl friend. The funny thing is, she is playing the same game with him. This is definetly the point where I am taking an exit. 12 years of pure hell. The patterns and behaviors will never end.
Any advice for a narcissist that thinks you’re the narcissist???
Yes. Don’t engage, leave asap
Yes, it is called projection. They will accuse you of doing the very same thing they are doing to you. It gets the attention off of them while blaming you. They are well aware of what they are doing.
My life with a covert narc….well this article gave me the chills it was so spot on. I’m divorcing mine and making it my mission to educate. This will definitely be shared.
Well done Lisa!
I have had a narc sister, father, nephew and step-mother – she was the worst, a total manipulative, scheming, lying, destructive monster.
One never escapes these people unless you shut and lock the door.
Never, ever believe their lies.
Just get away from them as fast as you can and never look book.
I’ve never knew what narcissists meant before I’ve meet my girlfriend. I moved from one country to another to create something together. (As she has her work and family so she cannot move anywhere). I gave up everything what I had and moved.
The week after I’ve moved, the hell started and still going on. I’ve trying to break this pattern but she drags me back each time.
I could not realise anything what was happening between us as I never experienced that before.
It’s started with verbal abuse as: You are to long, you are week, you are not walking as a man, you are not strong. And all of that is just because she want me to be better. Stop moving when you sleep you wake me up.
She uses kind of diversions to prove that I’m not okey and she is right. For example: I came back from work 8pm and she did 6pm. I came home and she was’t at home. Usually people update each other if something happening if not, there is an explanation. Fine by me. I’ve started to cook for next day. Later I’ve heard her snicking into the room and pretending that she does not feel good and need to rest.
I’ve asked where have you been as I texted you? She answered that: I’m disrespectful to not include
“Hello” in the text and all is my fault so she want tell me. (How is great is that?)
There is no love in this relationship, lack of empathy and feelings. I was so emotional opened before was laughing at the movies, crying on drama. Now I’m so empty.
She don’t care about my feelings (she wan’t do be listened but when it’s my time, there is no room for that.), they are always under the criticism of her. My feelings is excuses for her. I’ve sad that there is differences between excuses and feelings. She don’t understand.
Started with domestic abuse just to prove that she is right. Trying uncovered destroy everything what I’ve created and what is important for me. Tying to install me aganst to my family.
I’ve started to thing that I’m a narcissist now. Trying to break this relationship as I cannot deal with that anymore. So many things happens cannot even believe that it can be good future whit this person.
She kind of do some good steps of change as she promised. But it just feels like she changed her strategy.
I don’t know anymore…
Yes, women can be narcissists too.
The one I encountered never — ever — said sorry for anything. In fact, that’s what I noticed about her first (She was always “right”, never wrong).
The emotional abuse was relentless, unremitting, and deeply hurtful. Near the end of the relationship, she had decided I was too “old” and too “different”. She also accused me of “emotional manipulation” and “family infiltration”. It seemed to her I was invading her family. Apparently I was lying to her too (while she was starting a clandestine relationship in the background). She said I was engaging in “emotional manipulation”. In fact, I didn’t even know what emotional manipulation was, I had to look it up. I was genuinely in love with the woman. I bought her flowers, I took her out to dinner. I went to the park with the kids, I helped her move, I did everything I could think of to make her happy. All this “manipulation” stuff came completely out of the blue. (She was manufacturing false excuses, false accusations to try make way for her new lover).
This wasn’t enough for her. I was also an “alcoholic” and an “email abuser”. (I drank about 2 beers a month). I was now committing “email abuse” because she had instituted a program of Silent Treatment, refusing to talk or write. She went out of her way to avoid me in the street.
The kids (2 of them) absolutely loved me, so she took them away and made sure I never saw them again.
The other day, I saw her in a car with another man. She gave him a kiss on the cheek and then lovingly grabbed his upper thigh as they laughed and giggled in the car. She could not have known I was watching from my apartment window above. I knew she had already “consummated” their love. I was nothing now. I didn’t even exist. She had used the same methods before, so many times, with various other men.
She prided herself on the ability to leave men at will, with no remorse, no tears. I was not allowed to feel any sadness or express my thoughts to her. In her family, sadness was disallowed, it was taboo (for the sake of the kids). Anything I did express was called “drama”, and she didn’t “need” any “drama”. I was being shut out. She was shutting down the conversation. The more she met with her new guy, the more I became a kind of evil monster. In fact, I had done nothing to deserve all her accusations, all I did was love her unconditionally. I couldn’t even look at another woman, or think about one. I was really only interested in her, and wanted to get to know her better.
She told me that her mother was always similar. Her mother had a mouth like poision, filled with sideways remarks and hateful jabs. She didn’t get along with her mother. Or her father. She didn’t get along with psychologists, or doctors, or landlords, or ex-boyfriends, or shopkeepers. She thought she was more intelligent than them. She got along fine with her children. Her children were her source of purity, of sanity. She kept them in a kind of emotional jail, with her as a kind of dictator, directing all their moves.
I wrote her to tell her I felt very sad and hurt to see her with another guy, below my window. I told her to have some respect, some compassion, for the two years of pain I had gone through (I cried just about every day, to the point I thought something was wrong with me). I suggested she simply take into account the fact I was living in the same neighbourhood as her, and left it at that. No reply. I told her Silent Treatment is a form of abuse, a hostile act, a hateful act. No reply.
At Christmas time, she had complained that, as a single mother, her kids had no father figure. She complained that they always spent Christmas alone. I practically ignored my own family during that time and devoted all my attention to her and the kids. She said I was invited to decorate the tree and open gifts with the kids. She never invited me. I went up to her apartment and begged her twelve-year-old child to let me put a little bird on her Christmas tree. I spent the rest of Christmas alone, wondering what had happened. (She had gone into her “witch” mode, preparing to oust me).
So, I went out and bought all kinds of gifts. I swept all the apartment landings. I spent a whole day preparing Christmas dinner. It turned out, in her mind, that I had ruined the mashed potatoes. I told her it wasn’t an issue. Mashed potatoes can easily be reheated with warm milk, and sometimes they turn out better than the original. Nope. I had ruined the mashed potatoes. They were a little cold. She wouldn’t let me reheat them. (She was a terrible cook, and hated that I knew how to cook).
In her mind, she was as pure as the driven snow. She was involved in the Autism community (in Ontario), she had two beautiful kids, she wanted to get married now (I had refused to marry her until I got to know her better).
She had turned me into a complete stranger, a sad and pitiable creature. The sadder I became the more she must have rejoiced. She had done it to so many men before. I was expendable. In fact, I never existed to her. Nothing less than a “scorched earth” policy would satisfy her. I had to be completely extirpated, removed, like a festering boil. Forgotten. Defeated.
I rued the day I ever met her. She was the worst person I had ever encountered in my life.
Some people find it hard to believe that such evil exists in the world. It does exist. Such people do exist. One never knows what kind of psychological label to apply – bipolar? NPD? slightly autistic? ADHD? But, such people use psychological labels like that to maintain their behaviour. If they do anything wrong, they can always blame it on that label. It’s almost as if their real self becomes buried and they live by their label instead, using it as a weapon to defeat their “victim”s.
Overall, whether mentally affected or not, such people are bad-hearted, sharp-edged, unpleasant, and deeply so. They really cannot feel or bother with your pain. You don’t exist. It is only their own label, their own lives that matter. They can never really share or show empathy because they are too deeply tied into their own wants and desires.
In this case, she had no ethical or moral code to draw upon. (She hated anything with the word God in it, and distrusted religion, which is okay, but in her case it was taken to the very limits. Anything goes. Who cares what others think).
Luckily, I’ve got over the crying bit. I feel sorry for all you folk who have had to endure the same, or similar. I was reading the accounts above, absolutely amazed at all the similarities with my case.
I want to thank all of you for posting these accounts since it has helped me somewhat. It helps me to understand that I, me, was not really the problem. I’m not a vindictive person and tend to be shy, and gentle with people, as I was with her. I guess I suffered because of it, but I don’t believe it is necessary for me to change my personality. It is easier for us just to be ourselves and do the best we can. (It takes too much effort to be someone else).
What I wonder is, do NPD types ever change? I suspect not. We have simply to live and learn. We have to draw on every ounce of our own inner strength to make sense of it all and survive, which we will.
I grew up with a narc father and a very verbally and emotionally and physically abused mother. He was the only role model for me until I went to university which was far away from home. There I met other friends and their families and I saw that men were also loving and playful and understanding and kind and nice to their wife and kids because they wanted to be.
Before this point I didn’t know any better. I was troubled by a lot of things in my childhood and I grew up much sooner because I had to to look after my mother and my younger brother. I learnt to give the narc father what he craved, admiration and compliments and putting him on a pedestal to achieve small moments of peace in my home. He started to favour me but the abuse towards my mother and younger brother continued. At times stood up to home which helped stop his abuse on occasions. What he asked of me and expected of me I did diligently in order to keep him happy. I became a lawyer ( with zero self esteem and confidence) just to ensure he would be happy and maybe he would change then to be more loving as a father .
Surprisingly though he then saw me as a threat to him and often said very mean things without provocation ensure I was broken inside (because I was more educated then him he didn’t like that) .. so in the end he got worse with age and I got married
To another narcisstic … after dating him for a year I married him and well I was lucky enough to divorce him after three months … when My father decided he wasn’t good enough for me.. ( when two narcs meet face to face)
Four years later I picked myself, got my life on track, was earning land making my life .. my father introduced me to a guy he knew.
I married that guy … guess what he has the same strong narc traits as my father.
13 plus years … two kids later I started mediating for my well being… my sight had felt so clouded most my life about love and men .. I can clearly now the links and the traits and the traps of such personality.
I am finally making sense of things. It’s never been my fault. That I AM a good person and that I don’t deserve to be treated so poorly.
Im 40 this year. It took me this long to see all this. I don’t know how I feel about this. Is it an achievement or a failure ? And the big question, now what. My girls are still young, I have left my friends and family the place I grew up to whole new country without any social support. My life is just the house, the kids, his needs and his work.
I lost touch with all my good friends and I am too embarassed about my situation.
Do I even have any options this late life. To start from scratch…
And to now realise I have been verbally and emotionally abused for over 13 years … and always blaming myself feels so hopeless.
I have little confidence in doing much for myself. Always feeling guilty if I do anything for myself.
I was an onlooker at myself, I would see a beautiful person inside and out and I would truly think it doesn’t have to be this way.
I can’t see a way … but I am empowered I can finally see it all.
my ex narcissist left me on our 3 year anniversary. she blocked me and disappeared. I was confused as I planned our whole three year celebration. just to get a text from a friend that showed her Facebook profile as her an one of her co-workers at her new job. I didn’t understand. The next day I went to her house to find out what was going on. suprise, they were dating,I was shocked. trauma bonded from the lack of her emotion and instant replacement. I begged pathetically for her not to leave.
fast forward to six months later when she came back. man she was different. I regret taking her back. it was nothing but screaming and yelling. I don’t know why I put up with the emotional abuse. this women would gas light me n leave for days. I didn’t know who she was anymore.
we had a baby, and guess what, on our 5 year anniversary, she left me again for a second guy!
that’s not the worst part. so after that I avoided her for two years. then guess what, suprise. right when I graduated my post secondary. I was suddenly arrested! she accused me of child abuse and ran with my child for 5 months.
so I had to pay for two lawyers. and almost 50k I’m the hole.
this is my fault for loving a narcissist
I will never date again ever
I’m also in the same place. I gave up my apartment and moved out of state with him to a place where I didn’t know anyone. Now I’m alone in a hotel room, waiting for him to get home from work and hoping he doesn’t lose it. It’s scary, and I don’t want to tell my family because they think so much of him. His charming card really worked, and I’m worried that he’s put me in a bad situation. I have no idea what to do 🙁