What to Say When a Narcissist Apologizes

What to Say When a Narcissist Apologizes

Dealing with a narcissist can be a challenging and emotionally taxing experience. Their tendency to manipulate, exploit, and disregard the feelings of others can leave you feeling hurt and confused. However, there may come a time when a narcissist offers an apology, which can catch you off guard. Knowing how to respond in such situations can be crucial for your well-being and personal growth. In this article, we will explore what to say when a narcissist apologizes and provide answers to some frequently asked questions about this complex dynamic.

1. Acknowledge their apology, but remain cautious: When a narcissist apologizes, it may seem like a breakthrough moment. However, it’s essential to remember that narcissists often use apologies as a means of manipulation. Acknowledge their words, but maintain a healthy degree of skepticism.

2. Reflect on their behavior: Before responding, take some time to reflect on the narcissist’s past actions. Have they shown consistent patterns of remorse and change, or is this just another attempt to gain control? Evaluating their history will help you determine the sincerity of their apology.

3. Set boundaries: If you decide to engage with the narcissist, establish clear boundaries. Let them know what you will and will not tolerate moving forward. Be firm and assertive, as narcissists often try to push these boundaries to regain control.

4. Express your feelings: Use this opportunity to express how their behavior has affected you. Be honest and direct, but avoid accusations or attacks. Focus on how their actions made you feel and the impact it had on your well-being.

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5. Request accountability and change: If you choose to give them a chance, make it clear that you expect them to take responsibility for their actions and work towards change. Genuine remorse should be accompanied a commitment to personal growth and a willingness to seek professional help if necessary.

6. Trust actions, not words: Narcissists are skilled at saying what others want to hear, but their actions often contradict their words. Pay closer attention to how they behave after apologizing. True change will be reflected in consistent actions over time, rather than empty promises.

7. Consider seeking support: Dealing with a narcissist can be emotionally draining, and having a support system is crucial. Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist who can provide guidance and help you navigate the complexities of this relationship.


1. Should I accept a narcissist’s apology?
Accepting or rejecting a narcissist’s apology is a personal decision that depends on your own well-being and the circumstances. Consider their past behavior, your own boundaries, and their willingness to change before making a decision.

2. Can a narcissist genuinely apologize?
While it is possible for a narcissist to apologize, their tendency to lack empathy and manipulate others makes genuine remorse unlikely. Be cautious and evaluate their actions alongside their words.

3. What if the narcissist becomes angry or defensive when I express my feelings?
Narcissists often struggle with criticism and may react defensively or aggressively. If this happens, it’s essential to stay calm and assertive. Reiterate your boundaries and the importance of open and honest communication.

4. How can I protect myself from being manipulated their apology?
Educate yourself about narcissistic behavior and manipulation tactics. Maintain a healthy skepticism and rely on your own judgment. Setting clear boundaries and seeking support from others can also help protect you from manipulation.

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5. Can a narcissist change after apologizing?
While change is possible for anyone, it is challenging for a narcissist. Authentic change requires self-reflection, therapy, and a genuine desire to improve. Keep in mind that their apology alone does not guarantee lasting change.

6. Is it possible to have a healthy relationship with a narcissist after an apology?
Building a healthy relationship with a narcissist is highly unlikely. Their inherent traits and patterns of behavior make it difficult for them to sustain healthy connections. Consider prioritizing your own well-being and exploring healthier relationships.

7. How can I heal from the effects of a narcissistic relationship?
Healing from a narcissistic relationship takes time and self-care. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist who can help you process your emotions and rebuild your self-esteem. Focus on self-love, setting healthy boundaries, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.

In conclusion, responding to a narcissist’s apology requires careful consideration and self-protection. While it may be tempting to believe their words, it is important to remain cautious and prioritize your own well-being. Trust actions over words, set clear boundaries, and seek support to navigate the complexities of a narcissistic relationship.

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