What Happens When You Apologize To a Narcissist?

What a twist to the usual question of, “Should I forgive the narcissist?”

Honestly speaking – you will annoy and frustrate a narcissist. Don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s because you’ve done something awful, nope.

Narcissists will make you apologize even when you haven’t done a thing wrong.

Why is that, though?

And what happens exactly once your apology is received?

You won’t believe how many people can relate to this – buckle up!

None of Us Are Perfect

As much as you might hate to admit it – the narcissist isn’t going to be right one hundred percent of the time.

There isn’t a perfect person on this planet – and sometimes apologies are necessary.

The difference between those who aren’t narcissistic is that their apologies are sincere. The admission that one needs to hand one over is freely given, and there is hope attached to it of some kind of reconciliation or healing.

Healthy people take responsibility for their actions.

Sometimes – we all need to say sorry, and we have to own what we do even when we screw up.

Being With a Narcissist Can Lead To Unhealthy Patterns

Yes – even for the most healthy person – getting caught up in a long-term narcissistic relationship can mean you also get weighed down by conflict and caught in the web of verbal bat and ball.

Knowing when you’ve gone too far is when you apologize.

So … What happens next?

Forgiveness? Forget It!

Narcissists are always pushing the boundaries and causing pain. 

They are also always forgiven or excused by the other person. When the healthier person in the relationship makes a mistake and approaches the narcissist with an apology – the same grace is very rarely given.

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Forgiveness ceases to exist!


You already know why.

A narcissist, when they feel they’ve been wronged, they think only one thing:

The world is out to destroy and hurt me, so before it gets to do that, I will punish the world instead!

Sounds mature, doesn’t it?

I never promised an immature-free version of the narcissist!

You can see now that forgiveness simply isn’t an option for the narcissist. In fact, I will go further and say the narcissist, amid their unforgiveness, will fail to see anything that they’ve ever done that is good for them. 

Power and Control 

Dominance and intimidation are great ways for the narcissist to keep somebody close to them.

When you make a mistake in the eyes of the narcissist, they have got something under their sleeve to use to do both those things.

The domination and control can look like: 

Remember back to that time (years ago) where you did this?

Do you remember our family summer vacation when you pranged the car and I had to pay to get it fixed?

These things will never be forgotten, and they will play upon the guilt you feel due to what you did that one time. 

The mistakes you make will be held above you for the rest of your relationship – and you will be reminded of them any time the narcissist feels like hearing you apologize or seeing you squirm in the guilt or regret you naturally will feel.

This isn’t forgiveness!

Imagine if you did this to them?

Inability to Process – Check!

Narcissists are infamous for being unable to process their feelings. They cannot regulate, and they cannot reflect in ways that help and heal them.

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One key thing they can’t process is disappointment. If something doesn’t go their way, the narcissist will automatically turn to an easy emotion to omit:


Whatever you did wrong that you are genuinely apologizing for is going to become a threat to them because their insecurities are totally triggered.

What does the narcissist do with your apology when their insecurities bubble to the surface this way?

They turn to victimhood.

They turn to vindication.

They turn to rage.

They bring out all the passive-aggressive weapons they own. 

“The World Hates Me!”

We might laugh at the narcissist who always makes everything about them, but in actual fact, when a narcissist has been wronged in any way, shape or form, they will see it as the entire world attacking them 

Everyone’s out to get me!

Owning what you did wrong – the narcissist will see it as a bigger problem, saying things such as:

Why does everything always happen to me?

Why is life so unfair?

When you apologize – this entire thought pattern will be triggered within the narcissist, who will see your wrongdoing as a sign that they are – yet again – being targeted by the world.


“Okay… Now I’ve Got Something On You…”

Think about what it truly means to forgive someone when they apologize?

You might not forget what happened but move past it, right?

Those more emotionally and mentally healthy of you will know that dragging up the past does no good. So when the narcissist uses your apology as a card to wave in your face now and then – expect conflict.

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They enjoy being able to have something on you. Rather than appreciate that everybody on this planet is imperfect, they enjoy this imperfection about you.

You apologized, which means you did something wrong. What a game for them to have up their sleeve whenever the moment feels right to pull it out!

Forgiveness means to really let go – and the narcissist doesn’t know how to do that. 

True forgiveness means giving up all the resentment you feel, but this only works if you can let go of the guilt you feel for screwing up.

If They Can’t Let Go – They Don’t Need to Forgive

If you want to spend your life comparing grievances, nobody will emerge from the relationship as the winner. Mistakes can happen on both sides, but when they are constant, forgiveness can be hard.

The difference is…

You can make a thousand mistakes, and it wouldn’t be right (exactly the same would apply to the narcissist). But if you were to do one thing wrong and own it, the narcissist will still have a hard time forgiving you.

Resentment is their middle name, and they will use your mistake or whatever you did as a manipulation tool in the future.

Forgiveness is incredibly complicated to any narcissist, so while you might and likely will apologize – it’s not going to get you very far. 

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