10 Fake Apologies Used By Narcissists

Since they believe that they are always right, narcissists rarely apologize.

In fact, when a narcissist does apologize, their apology will most likely be insincere. Those who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) have a severe lack of empathy. This, paired with their belief that they are superior and always right, makes it extremely difficult for them to apologize. For this reason, when a narcissist does apologize, they often do so in a strange and misleading way. Dan Neuharth Ph.D., MFT has explained that there are several different ‘faux’ apologies which narcissists use:

#1. The Minimizing Apology

This apology takes the form of “I was just…” and sounds as though they are excusing their actions instead of apologizing for them. (For example: I was just kidding)

#2. The Deja-Vu Apology

When the deja-vu apology “I’ve already…” is used, it implies that the person is not actually sorry but rather, that they believe they should be absolved of blame since they have already apologized. (For example: I have already said sorry)

#3. The Whitewashing Apology

This refers to saying things such as “I probably…”. When one uses this apology, they are not owning up to their mistakes and taking responsibility for the consequences. (For example: I probably should have done it differently)

#4. The Invisible Apology

The invisible apology “I guess…” implies that one recognizes the need for an apology but they do not actually apologize. (For example: I guess I owe you an apology)

#5. The Not-My-Apology Apology

When one is told to apologize, they are not actually sorry as they are only apologizing because someone else has suggested it. This kind of apology takes the form of “I was told to…” and can leave you wondering if they even realize they have done something wrong. (For example: My friends think I should say sorry)

#6. The Get-Off-My-Back Apology

This apology tends to be said towards the end of an argument and it implies that the person is not actually sorry but that they want the conversation to be over. (For example: Fine! Ok, I’m sorry!)

#7. The One-Size-Fits-All Apology

This apology is often used when one recognizes that they have hurt you and understand that they should apologize; however, it also implies that the person does not know what they have done to upset you. (For example: I’m sorry for everything I said)

#8. The Pay-to-Play Apology

This is a conditional apology which suggests that one is not sorry at all; that is, a narcissist might say that they will apologize if you do something. (For example: I will apologize if you agree to forgive me)

#9. The Nothing-to-Apologize-for Apology

When a person uses this apology, it takes the form of “You know…” and it generally contains no apology whatsoever. In addition to this, it makes the person feel as though they do not have the right to feel upset or hurt. (For example: You know I would never hurt you) 

#10. The Phantom Apology

The phantom apology refers to statements which express regret. However, regretting is not the same as apologizing as one is a feeling whereas the other is an action. (For example: I regret that mistakes were made)

Narcissists are extremely manipulative and they are masters at getting what they want through deceit and thought-control. These fake apologies are just one of the multiple and various tactics which they use to get what they want. 

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