Decoding an Apology: 4 Types of False Apologies

Be careful when someone tells you “I’m sorry”. These words might have more than one meaning.

Unfortunately, telling the difference between a fake and a genuine apology can be extremely hard sometimes.

Especially when someone has already figured out how to play with your mind, manipulate your emotions, and control your opinion about them.

Some people, usually narcissists and gaslighters, are apologizing only to profit from the benefits of your forgiveness. They would go over the top to make you believe they are being honestly sorry for their actions. Meanwhile, they would be tangling your mind and shifting the blame on you, so you’d easily soften and forgive them.

Here are 4 types of false apologies manipulators use to deceive you and effortlessly control your reactions towards them.

1. Apology in the form of a present.

Flowers, candy, expensive clothing, a trip to Milano, you name it. All of this is meant to soften your heart, and fool you into forgetting the damage they’ve done. By demonstrating their love and attention, they might be secretly gaslighting or love-bombing you. These are two vicious strategies narcissists use to manipulate their victims and trick them into thinking there is nothing to worry about. Besides, this is how they hide all the obvious red flags around them.

2. Defensive apology.

“I’m sorry for what I’ve done, but if you hadn’t pressured me the way you did, I would never do something like that.” That’s how a defensive apology usually sounds like. And it includes more than a little blame-shifting. To begin with, it always starts with the words “I’m sorry”, to make the one saying them appear genuine. Then, it turns into a whole lecture on how your actions pushed them into mistreating you. This doesn’t make any sense, does it? But narcissists have their ways into fooling people around them and making them believe whatever they say. So, after hearing what they have to say, you would feel like the one in the wrong, not them.

3. Apology as a dramatic scene.

The drama follows narcissists and gaslighters like a shadow. Making a whole dramatic scene is their go-to move whenever they feel trapped and can’t think of another way to get out of the situation. They start crying, throwing themselves at your feet, saying how miserable and broken they are. And all of this, just to build up your empathy and compassion. By doing so, they hack your mind into feeling sorry for them, instead of being angry or frustrated. The outcome is usually the same – you easily forgive them because you don’t want them to feel the way they say they do. Even if they don’t really apologize.

4. Blame-shifting.

Similar to the defensive apology, here, the one “apologizing” is doing nothing but blaming you for the damage they did. Usually, you might think it’s not that difficult to spot when someone is blame-shifting you, but in reality, that’s exactly how narcissists play with your emotions. They use this tactic when they are certain you trust them completely and wouldn’t question their integrity. Once they feel sure blame-shifting will get in your mind and soften your heart, they establish a pattern. And every time they do something disrespectful or ill-mannered, they would just get away with it, making you believe you were the one pushing them into doing it.

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