Someone searched “Does a Narcissist Ever apologize” so I thought I would answer that question from my experience with a narcissist.
The simple answer is NO! I have never received an honest apology from him in 10 years!
A typical apology from him went something like this, “I am sorry I let you get to me”.
“You drove me to it, but I should have walked away”
“Any real man would have hit you sooner, but I should have been stronger”
“I knew right from the start you had problems but I thought I could handle it, I should have known better”.
When I caught him with personal ads it was my fault:
When I have to deal with THIS (me crying, angry, showing emotion over just discovering yet another personal ad or love letter to another woman), of course I am going to look for other women.
You drive me to it, instead of acting like this why don’t you try harder so I don’t want any one else?
“I wasn’t choking you I just had my hands on your throat”
When he told me it was over, he’d had enough of THIS and I said,” All I’ve ever done is love you, I never screwed around, and it’s you that always had the ads and the other women.”
He stopped reading his magazine and looked at me over his glasses and said,” And what did you do?”
As cold as ice he said, “Exactly” and went back to reading his magazine.
His sister was standing right there and later she said to me, “If you ever doubt yourself for leaving, remember one word……EXACTLY”
If a narcissist can’t come up with an excuse for his actions he simply reinvent history, he will convincingly change the course of events to suit his agenda. He will lie to you about events you were witness to and when you say he is wrong he will not back down to the point that you question your own memory of the events.
No one can be that steadfast and firm in their account unless they believe it to be that way. But you have to remember they are expert and pathological liars, a normal person when cornered with hard facts and proof will admit they were lying but not a narcissist.
I overheard him talking to my son one time when Kris was a teenager and he told him,
”No matter what they have on you, never back down, never admit fault, just deny, deny, deny. There’s nothing they can do.”
I have received generic, “I am so sorry for everything I put you through” letters but they always ended up with me somehow being selfish, misunderstanding his “motives”, and ultimately to blame.
The only time I ever received a heartfelt apology was when we had been split for awhile and I hadn’t contacted him at all; it happened twice. He came to me humble, in tears and admitted fault to everything, took total blame for events; admitted it was wrong to hit me and promised to never do it again, admitted having personal ads was totally wrong and promised to never do it again, said I was all the woman he would ever need or want and asked me to give him one more second chance. His hands were shaking, he was choking back the tears and finally down right crying. He said that being apart had shown him how much he really loves me and things would be different if I just gave him the chance to prove to me he could be honest.
Both times I took him back, stupid me, fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me!
The second time I did say, “I’ve heard all this before, why should I believe you this time?” and he said, “This time I really mean it”
In a “normal” relationship when a person admits that what they did was wrong and apologizes there is usually at least an ATTEMPT to change. In my mind it is not an apology unless the person changes their behavior, if they continue to do the same things that they know will hurt you then the apology meant nothing; it was just lip service.
The last time he asked me back was the most convincing apology he’d ever given, he even went so far as to take my son aside and apologize to him (something he had never done in the past); which was a major deciding factor for me and JC knew it. My son believed him and decided to give him a second chance which eased my mind a lot! Over the course of time, right up to a few months ago I found out the truth, that at the time he made those promises he was telling me he was living with a guy friend when in fact he was living with a woman, who he had sex with, he had hidden his profile on POF, had recently placed an ad on a Gay XXX dating site, was still communicating with the woman in Africa and actively searching for women and communicating with 2 of his exs.
When I confronted him on his phony apology he matter-of-factly stated, “I told you what I knew you needed to hear” when I said, “What about the apology to Kris?” He said,” I said what I knew he needed to hear”.
So I guess it depends on how you define apology, will he say, “I am sorry”; in my experience yes he will, will he mean it? Never!!
JC used to lament, “How many times do I have to apologize? Why do you insist on bringing up the past?” His apologizes never meant anything. He expected to say I am sorry and for his slate to be clean, like nothing ever happened and that now it was a “blanket” apology for all future indiscretions also.
I’d like to add an update this page. He has now given me 3 tearful apologies. I recently had a heart attack and he heard about it and 3 weeks later tracked me down and told me he’d always love me, always had and always would.
And asked me, “Didn’t I tell you that? Don’t you know that?”
I told him it was hard to believe he loved me when he refused to say it and was standing with his fist raised to hit me and his sister is standing between us begging him not to”
He said, ” that was only one time”
I said, “one time is enough and it was the one time your sister was there”
Then I brought up the “exactly” statement, he said, “We were arguing, people say shit when they’re fighting just to hurt the other person”. I don’t.
Anything else I asked for an explanation about he just said he was confused and couldn’t remember.
And all the promises he made last time? Didn’t keep one of them but this time he means it, this time he’s really been thinking about it.
Uh, ….. Yeah….. Ok… I believe him.