How Does A Narcissist Apologize

Understanding Narcissism

Before diving into the topic of how does a narcissist apologize? it is crucial to understand what narcissism is. Narcissism refers to a psychological condition characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy towards others.

Narcissistic individuals typically have an exaggerated sense of entitlement and often exploit others to fulfill their own needs.

 how does a narcissist apologize

Characteristics of Narcissistic Apologies

Apologies are an essential aspect of maintaining healthy relationships and resolving conflicts. However, when it comes to narcissists, their apologies tend to differ significantly from those of emotionally healthy individuals.

Understanding the characteristics of narcissistic apologies can help you identify manipulative behaviors and protect yourself from further harm.

The Apology Tactic

Narcissists often use apologies as a tactic to manipulate and maintain control over others. They may apologize to appease their victims temporarily, but their main objective is typically to maintain their image rather than genuinely acknowledging their wrongdoing.

By using apologies strategically, narcissists aim to keep their victims emotionally invested and dependent on them.

Apology as Manipulation

Apologies from narcissists are often fueled by ulterior motives. They may employ manipulative tactics to make the victim feel guilty, responsible, or even indebted. This manipulation can manifest in various ways, such as gaslighting, where the narcissist distorts reality to make the victim doubt their own perceptions and experiences.

By manipulating apologies, narcissists can maintain control over their victims and ensure they remain in a position of power.

Lack of Genuine Remorse

One crucial aspect of a sincere apology is genuine remorse. However, narcissists often lack the capacity for authentic remorse due to their self-centered nature. Their apologies tend to be superficial, lacking any genuine understanding or regret for the pain they have caused.

Instead, narcissists may focus on minimizing their wrongdoing or deflecting blame onto others, preventing them from truly acknowledging the impact of their actions.

Insincere Apologies

When narcissists apologize, their apologies often come across as insincere and inauthentic. They may go through the motions, using the right words and gestures, but their actions and behaviors do not align with their words.

Their apologies may lack empathy, sincerity, and the willingness to make meaningful changes. The insincerity of their apologies can leave the victim feeling invalidated, unheard, and stuck in a never-ending cycle of emotional turmoil.

Conditional Apologies

In many cases, narcissists offer conditional apologies, which are apologies that come with strings attached. They may apologize only if they believe they can gain something from it or if they are faced with potential consequences for their actions.

These conditional apologies can further reinforce the power dynamic between the narcissist and their victim, as the victim may feel pressured to accept the apology in order to maintain the relationship or avoid further harm.

How Does A Narcissist Apologize

The Blame Game

One characteristic that frequently accompanies narcissistic apologies is the evasion of personal responsibility. Narcissists have a tendency to shift blame onto others, especially their victims, instead of taking ownership of their actions.

They may apologize but immediately follow it up with a litany of excuses or justifications for their behavior. This blaming behavior can leave the victim feeling at fault and questioning their own worthiness, further perpetuating the cycle of abuse.


Alongside blaming others, narcissists often engage in extensive excuse-making during the apology process. They may provide a laundry list of reasons, explanations, or circumstances that they believe justify their actions.

These excuses can be manipulative tactics designed to deflect from their wrongdoing and convince the victim to lower their guard and continue the toxic dynamic. Excuse-making is a common trait of narcissistic apologies, allowing the narcissist to avoid accountability for their actions.

The Cycle of Apologies

Understanding the dynamics of narcissistic apologies is crucial in recognizing the repeated patterns that often occur within narcissistic relationships. Narcissists tend to follow a cycle where they alternate between idealizing their victims, devaluing them, and eventually discarding them.

Throughout this cycle, apologies are often employed as part of the idealization phase, where the narcissist aims to regain control, manipulate emotions, and keep the victim bound within the toxic relationship. It is important to break this cycle by recognizing the insincerity of their apologies and prioritizing your own well-being.


1. Do narcissists ever apologize?

Yes, narcissists do apologize, but their apologies tend to have ulterior motives. Instead of genuinely expressing remorse, narcissists may apologize merely to regain control over the situation or to maintain their false image. This insincere form of apology is often referred to as a “narcissistic apology.”

For example, Sarah confronted her partner, Alex, about his hurtful comments during a disagreement. Alex responded with an apology, saying, “I’m sorry if you misunderstood me.” Although it seems like an admission of guilt, Alex’s apology subtly places the blame on Sarah, invalidating her feelings and refusing to take responsibility for his hurtful words.

2. Why are narcissistic apologies insincere?

Narcissists lack empathy and often perceive themselves as superior, making it challenging for them to genuinely acknowledge their faults. Their apologies typically lack genuine remorse, accountability, and an eagerness to change. Instead, they may use various manipulative tactics, such as gaslighting, shifting blame, or using deflection techniques, to invalidate the victim’s emotions.

Consider the following scenario: Mark confronted his friend, Lucas, about spreading a false rumor. Lucas responds by saying, “I’m sorry you’re so sensitive. It wasn’t even a big deal.” Here, Lucas dismisses Mark’s concerns by implying that Mark is just overly sensitive, further exacerbating the emotional turmoil.

3. Can narcissists change and learn to apologize sincerely?

While some individuals with narcissistic tendencies may recognize their behavior and seek professional help, true change is relatively rare. Narcissistic traits tend to be deeply ingrained, making it challenging for them to develop genuine empathy and remorse. It takes extensive self-reflection and consistent therapeutic interventions for a narcissist to learn how to apologize sincerely.

4. How should victims respond to narcissistic apologies?

When faced with a narcissistic apology, victims should understand that it is unlikely to be an authentic expression of remorse. Responding calmly and assertively is crucial. By setting boundaries and refusing to be manipulated, victims can demonstrate that they are not willing to tolerate such behavior.

For example, if Laura’s partner, Ryan, delivers a narcissistic apology by saying, “I’m sorry, but you provoked me with your behavior,” Laura can respond by calmly stating, “I appreciate your apology, but it’s essential to take responsibility for our own actions without deflecting blame onto others.”

5. How can victims heal and protect themselves?

Recovering from a relationship with a narcissist requires time and self-compassion. Seeking therapy can be immensely helpful in rebuilding self-esteem and understanding the dynamics of narcissistic behavior. It is essential for victims to regain their independence, establish healthy boundaries, and surround themselves with supportive individuals who validate their experiences.

6. Is it possible to coexist peacefully with a narcissist?

Coexisting peacefully with a narcissist can be a significant challenge. It’s important to establish and enforce boundaries firmly. However, it is crucial to recognize that this dynamic may take an emotional toll on the victim. Therefore, it is advisable to reassess the relationship and consider whether it aligns with their emotional well-being in the long run.


Understanding how a narcissist apologizes can provide valuable insight into their manipulative tactics and help protect yourself from emotional harm. The characteristics of their apologies, such as lack of genuine remorse and insincerity, reveal their focus on maintaining control rather than resolving conflicts.

By recognizing the patterns of narcissistic apologies, you can begin to break free from the cycle of abuse and prioritize your own emotional well-being.

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