12 fake apologies Narcissists use to escape responsibility

Have you ever heard a heartfelt, sincere apology coming from a narcissist? Me neither! Maybe that’s because when suchlike toxic individuals do apologize, it’s usually to protect their image or avoid having their indecent intentions exposed.

Since narcissists believe they are superior to others and they have absolutely no empathy for anyone but themselves, they rarely feel the need to say they are sorry.

Admitting being wrong is something unacceptable for a person high on narcissism. However, if doing so, they would preserve their precious image, they wouldn’t hesitate to throw a vague “I’m sorry” and start acting as if they knew what regret means.

And their “I’m sorry” would often be accompanied by a “but,” followed by an explanation of why they were not at all responsible for the pain they have caused. That’s because when narcissists apologize, they make sure they present themselves as the victim, making others feel guilty for their own mistakes.

So, here are 12 fake apologies you will probably hear from a narcissist:

1. Takeaway apologies.

They sound like this: “I’m sorry but…” Usually, takeaway apologies are worse than no apology at all because the one saying them clearly has no intention to take responsibility for their wrongdoings. In this case, anything after the word “sorry” counts as blame-shifting.

2. Invisible apologies.

Narcissists are experienced manipulators. This means that they can make you believe they said they were sorry without actually saying it. Using the so-called invisible apology, they acknowledge the need for justification, but they don’t really offer one. For instance, a narcissist might say: “I guess I owe you an apology.” Although they hint they should be sorry for what they did, they remain indifferent.

3. Minimizing apologies.

Oftentimes, instead of apologizing for their actions, people high on narcissism would try to find various excuses in a bid to decrease the severity of the situation. An example of a minimizing apology could be: “I was just trying to help.” By making the circumstances seem less serious, they believe they are able to get away with everything.

4. Nothing-to-apologize-for apologies.

When narcissists use this particular type of apology, they are doing it to make you feel uncomfortable for making them take responsibility for their immoral actions. In other words, they are trying to convince you that you shouldn’t be upset about what they did, by saying something like: “You know I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you.”

5. Guilt-tripping apologies.

If you hear something like “I’m sorry that you think I was wrong,” have in mind that the one saying it is not even close to being sincere. This is hollow apology narcissists use to shift the blame for their mistakes onto you. In a way, they make you feel guilty for being hurt by their actions.

6. Blanket apologies.

It is no secret that narcissistic people often act dishonest and inconsiderate. So, to fool you into believing they are genuinely sorry, they would say: “I am sorry for all the bad things I have done.” While they do admit they have done something wrong, they clearly have no clue of what they said or did to hurt you.

7. Pay-to-play apologies.

In general, narcissists believe everyone around them owes them something. So, when they apologize, they would often try to gain something from the situation. For instance, they would say: “I will say I’m sorry if you promise you will never mention it again.” To receive their apology, you must first do something for them.

8. .Conditional apologies

When narcissists use conditional apologies, they don’t actually admit they have done something wrong. Instead, they imply that their actions may have been hurtful, but it was out of their control. That’s how manipulative they can be. A typical conditional apology would sound like this: I am sorry if something I said offended you.”

9. Case-closed apologies.

Despite being convinced that they are complex creatures with unique minds, narcissists work in patterns that are not so difficult to recognize. Therefore, the mistakes they make are often similar, which means they have to apologize for making the same error over and over again. This is yet another way for them to make you feel guilty for demanding an explanation. By saying things like: “I have already apologized for this a thousand times,” they imply that the case should have been closed long ago and you have no right to be hurt or angry at them.

10. Phantom apologies.

When it comes to escape responsibility, narcissists are quite inventive. Sometimes, when they are pushed to a wall and have no other choice but to admit being wrong, they would use a phantom apology, taking no ownership of their hurtful behavior. Instead of saying:  “I apologize for…” and act on making things better, they would say: “I regret that…” and move on without righting their wrongs.

11. Whitewashing apologies. 

This is yet another form of minimizing their fault. In an attempt to lessen the severity of the consequences their appalling attitude has led to, narcissists would say: “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that,” and act all innocent and unaware of the damage they have caused.

12. Anger apologies.

Once a narcissist decides they have had enough of feeling pressured to apologize, they would instantly change their intonation and lash out at you, as if you have no right to be hurt. For example, they would say: “Give me a break, I am sorry, alright?” By acting frustrated, they distract you from the real issue.

When it comes to preserving their image, narcissists are willing to go to extremes, even to lie about having sincere intentions. The abovementioned fake apologies are only one of the countless strategies they use to manipulate and control those around them. If you ever hear one or more of these faux apology phrases, have in mind that you are most probably dealing with a person with high levels of narcissism infused inside their mind.

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