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Author Topic: Can narcissists apologize?  (Read 945 times)

boots40

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Can narcissists apologize?
« on: September 18, 2013, 03:48:07 AM »
Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well.  :wave:

I have been wondering.....I have always suspected that MIL has N traits and for awhile I was pretty sure of it.  However, recently I had a heart felt apology from her, flowers and card saying 'I'm sorry for everything I have done to make your life unhappy'  :blink:  Of course I accepted it graciously but it left me wondering what's going on here?.  I have learned to never take anything at face value.

My question is...do narcissists ever apologize and admit faults.  Can they admit fault and appear sincerely sorry even if it's just to manipulate a situation.  Or would that be a completely non narcissistic behavior regardless of the motive?

Thanks for your thoughts

"What you say about me isn't nearly as bad as what I know about you"

timetobeme

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2013, 04:37:30 AM »
At a guess: Some massive hoovering going on here... :hoovering:

I had a heart felt apology from her, flowers and card saying 'I'm sorry for everything I have done to make your life unhappy' 

That is a classic 'fake apology' and the only one you're ever likely to get if you're suspicion is correct and you're dealing with an uNPD.

She didn't admit any actual wrongdoings, she didn't say she was sorry for any specific hurts she caused you, she didn't validate your feelings of hurt/anger/whatever. She made a grand gesture (flowers) and a short sentence in a card that could mean anything or nothing but was aiming just enough to make you come back into line again.

Here's a good link about fake apologies:

http://lightshouse.org/lights-blog/false-apology-fake-apology-fauxpology#axzz2fEedAHc1


epiphanywoman64 or ew64

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2013, 04:51:23 AM »
That is a classic 'fake apology' and the only one you're ever likely to get if you're suspicion is correct and you're dealing with an uNPD.
:like:

This is where I get interested though.
She didn't admit any actual wrongdoings, she didn't say she was sorry for any specific hurts she caused you, she didn't validate your feelings of hurt/anger/whatever. She made a grand gesture (flowers) and a short sentence in a card that could mean anything or nothing but was aiming just enough to make you come back into line again.
I can remember being a kid and being taught by NM *how to apologise properly*.
Specifically, I remember her telling me, "Make it specific, make eye contact, recognise their feelings".

I wish I could return the cards received over the years and ask for specifics. Practising and preaching me thinks.
Love is a verb. It's a 'doing and being' word. It's not a 'talking about it maybe someday if it suits me' word - Me

marvelgirl

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2013, 05:42:55 AM »
Of course they can. They'll say anything to get what they want.

The worst part is if you accept the apology, they just see you as a stupid mark they can do anything they want to... just as long as they occasionally apologize to keep you in line.

Oneness

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 06:00:36 AM »
Well. I don't know about all narcissists, I guess they can use "sorry," to get what they want. My unNPD mother will not apologize for her behavior....why should she? She is the queen, she is entitled to be abusive and does not owe anybody an apology for this behavior....she will apologize for things like forgetting to take my son to an after school activity I ask her to when I am working....

But my unNPD is not manipulative....she is the queen, she reigns supreme, all must bow down to her will or suffer her wrath...that is tyranny, not manipulation.  ::)
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solospaghetti

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 06:01:31 AM »
TTBM was spot on.

Oh, narcissists apologise plenty. When they want something. Sometimes they even occasionally mean it. But not for long - they can't tolerate any emotion which implies any criticism of them. So it doesn't last.

Don't change anything. I'd treat it with a healthy dose of scepticism, and wait for the request to visit or whatever.

Words are easy. Change is hard. She can apologise until she's blue in the face, but if the behaviour continues, then nothing has changed.


"Sometimes, there just aren't enough rocks." - Forrest Gump

"Every day is a new life to a wise man" - Anonymous.

Don't forget - they aren't defined by their PD. They are adults,  able to make choices. They can be held responsible for them.

TiredOne

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 07:56:04 AM »
Don't change anything. I'd treat it with a healthy dose of scepticism, and wait for the request to visit or whatever.

Words are easy. Change is hard. She can apologise until she's blue in the face, but if the behaviour continues, then nothing has changed.
:yeahthat:
Every now and then, not very often, I will receive an apology. However, the behavior has never changed. The apology seems heartfelt and sincere, but the behavior did not change. I think in some cases, there is something about shifting responsibility here - if they apologize, then they aren't responsible for your hurt feelings anymore. And if you still have hurt feelings, it is your own fault because they apologized. I have a lot of blame shifting like this in my house, and I think in most cases, it is not even something he realizes that he does.

solospaghetti

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 09:20:07 AM »
 :yeahthat:
I forgot about the blame shifting! It's messed up that something that's supposed to improve a relationship is used to control/manipulate instead.
"Sometimes, there just aren't enough rocks." - Forrest Gump

"Every day is a new life to a wise man" - Anonymous.

Don't forget - they aren't defined by their PD. They are adults,  able to make choices. They can be held responsible for them.

understandingmychoices

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2013, 09:52:16 AM »
My uNPDw often uses these apologies and thinks that because she said the word I'm sorry that I should accept it and if I don't feel that the apology is sincere it is my fault and I am being unfair to her. It is pure blame shifting and manipulation. Often the apology comes in the midst of a fight and I get, "Your right it is all my fault I'm a terrible person, you win." This is a way for her to get out of the issue by making me into the bad guy.  Other times I will get, "I'm sorry I didn't use the right words to make you accept my apology." Instead of looking at her behavior and seeking to rectify the situation it is about my issue of not accepting her apology. Often following the apology there is a laundry list of things she does to make me be happy and she does think I can ever be happy with her. She doesn't address or validate my feelings but gives a laundry list of things that she does good and expects me to apologize for not seeing what a great wife she is. After the "apology the end result is there is not a change in behavior, a real attempt to make things right, to validate my feelings.

Apologies are often more painful than the hurt feelings that should have brought the apology. I have to accept that she is not willing to examine herself and make changes and validate my feelings or the apology just eats away at me.

Survivor43

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2013, 10:19:34 AM »
Of course they can. They'll say anything to get what they want.

The worst part is if you accept the apology, they just see you as a stupid mark they can do anything they want to... just as long as they occasionally apologize to keep you in line.

yep. for sure. besides, the "apology" above was vague, broad, and because of this the person may not even know
or care exactly what they are apologizing about

VividImagination

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2013, 11:31:19 AM »
My N mother has apologized two or three times to people in the family since I can remember, but it has never been a specific acknowledgement of doing anything wrong.  On extremely rare occasion she will resort to a general apology if absolutely no other manipulation has worked...but you really shouldn't have made her do whatever it was she did wrong.
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solospaghetti

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2013, 11:37:34 AM »
The thing I've started doing is asking them if they know why I'm upset, them make them explain it, then make them explain what it was that they did to make me upset. Don't accept anything until they've spelled out every little detail, from your POV.

So you see I'm upset? Why am I upset? The gold fish died.
Why did the goldfish die? It ate too much.
Why did it eat too much? I fed it.
Why did you feed it? I didn't ask you to? I wanted to.
Do you understand that the fish died because of what you did? (Whinge)
Do you understand I'm upset because of what you did? (whinge)
Then I do not accept your apology because you have not taken responsibility for murdering my fish or upsetting me, so you aren't really apologising because you do not acknowledge you did wrong

Much like talking to a toddler who hasn't learned about boundaries or responsibility or respect for others.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 12:17:01 PM by solospaghetti »
"Sometimes, there just aren't enough rocks." - Forrest Gump

"Every day is a new life to a wise man" - Anonymous.

Don't forget - they aren't defined by their PD. They are adults,  able to make choices. They can be held responsible for them.

Unvitation to Drama

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2013, 12:05:15 PM »
Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well.  :wave:

I have been wondering.....I have always suspected that MIL has N traits and for awhile I was pretty sure of it.  However, recently I had a heart felt apology from her, flowers and card saying 'I'm sorry for everything I have done to make your life unhappy'  :blink:  Of course I accepted it graciously but it left me wondering what's going on here?.  I have learned to never take anything at face value.

My question is...do narcissists ever apologize and admit faults.  Can they admit fault and appear sincerely sorry even if it's just to manipulate a situation.  Or would that be a completely non narcissistic behavior regardless of the motive?

Thanks for your thoughts

Ah...the fake, heart felt apology from the heartless.  Sounds like she's admitting no wrong doing, avoiding accountability and simply back handedly blaming you for being "unhappy".  Narcissists only "apologize" if it suits them to gain control of something or someone.  It would take a lot more than a couple flowers for me to graciously accept an apology from a narcissist.  I'll bet if you asked her EXACTLY what she's sorry for her head would explode.  :blowup:

marten77

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2013, 12:06:40 PM »
TTBM was spot on.

Oh, narcissists apologise plenty. When they want something. Sometimes they even occasionally mean it. But not for long - they can't tolerate any emotion which implies any criticism of them. So it doesn't last.

Don't change anything. I'd treat it with a healthy dose of scepticism, and wait for the request to visit or whatever.

Words are easy. Change is hard. She can apologise until she's blue in the face, but if the behaviour continues, then nothing has changed.

 :yeahthat:  Solo is correct.  With NPDs, actions speak louder than words.  And the action I'm talking about is the change, not token gifts to placate.  If you want to know if the apology is sincere, take the flowers and card back to your MIL, hand them to her and tell her that you greatly appreciated the flowers and the card.  HOWEVER, if she truly meant what she said in the card, it is not gifts that you want, but for her to quit doing "everything that she has done to make your life unhappy" since she is aware that she is making you unhappy.  Then go on to spell out to her what "everything that she has done to make your life unhappy" has  been for you and see if she is agreeable to changing those behaviors.  Likely not.  She will then revert to claiming to being a victim because you refused her generous overt offer of peace and are ungrateful.  Then it will begin again anew.  Cycle repeat, second verse, same as the first, and on and on it goes...
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Thorn bird

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Re: Can narcissists apologize?
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2013, 12:42:19 PM »
My partner is sorry but sorry for who he is! and yet not sorry for what he has done to me - how he has hurt me - he will say sorry as an attempt to hoover and sometimes I believe he really is sorry but does sorry make it all better - make it all go away - There is always the next time.  Deep down I don't think he wants to do the things he does or behave in the way that can be so abusive and cruel - I think he hates himself for being that way- and so maybe in his own way he is sorry again I'd need to get inside his head to find the real message behind his words  :wacko:
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