One of the common questions many people ask is “do narcissists forgive?” Considering their temperaments and emotional conditioning, knowing how to get a narcissist to forgive you after you have wronged them seems to be an entire course worth studying.
This is where the knowledge contained in this article comes to play.
How do you navigate that treacherous terrain when a narcissist demands an apology? Should you apologize to a narcissist even when you aren’t sure of the outcome of your apologies? What do you do when a narcissist is mad at you? How do you get a narcissist to forgive you?
These and more are the common questions that would be comprehensively dealt with in this article. If you are looking for how to make your relationship with a narcissist work, you would find this invaluable.
How does a narcissist act in a relationship?
This is a critical question that may be going on in your mind right now. Before giving you an answer, let’s take a quick look at who a narcissist truly is.
A narcissist is much more than that person who posts many selfies of themselves on Instagram. A narcissist is one who is dealing with a psychological disorder professionally referred to as Narcissistic Personality disorder.
According to a transcript documented by the American Psychological Association, Narcissism is founded upon 4 critical pillars; lack of empathy, grandiosity, a chronic sense of entitlement, and the inordinate need to seek validation/admiration from other people.
As opposed to how cocky they usually sound/look, the narcissist is usually anything but confident.
These 4 pillars are the main characteristics a narcissist would exhibit in a relationship.
First of all, they behave as though their opinions are the best/highest, they tend to relate with their partners as though they are incompetent, and always want to be at the receiving end of emotional support, admiration, and praise.
Since narcissists and apologies do not seem to do very well together, you may want to take a step back and not bank on the chances that your narcissist partner would be the first to wave the forgiveness flag when you have hurt them in a relationship.
What happens when you apologize to a narcissist?
What happens after you apologize to a narcissist is somewhat intriguing. Considering that the average narcissist already thinks that they are better than you and that you have to always defer to them, your apologies can easily be followed by any of these.
1. Flat-out rejection
It isn’t exactly abnormal to witness a narcissist simply rebuff your apologies after you have mustered the courage to make them. They may simply tell you how awful you are or how what you did was the worst thing they have had to endure all their lives.
If you are wondering if you should apologize to a narcissist, you may first want to consider this possibility before sending in that apology.
Another thing that may happen when you try to apologize to a narcissist is that they may take the opportunity to rub your ‘cluelessness’ in your face.
In a bid to remind you of how right they were and how wrong you were, it may not be out of place if you hear statements like, “I am glad you finally admitted that you were wrong,” or “do you now agree that I was right all along?”
The narcissist would usually gloat after receiving an apology.
3. They may also take the opportunity to remind you of other ‘crimes’ you already apologized for
You want to apologize for being late for dinner, but the narcissist would take the opportunity to remind you of how you didn’t put the washer off before running off to work, or how you want to work them to death simply because you forgot to put your dirty socks in the hamper three weeks ago.
If you are trying to figure out how to appease a narcissist, here are 10 things you should consider doing.
1. Start by telling them how you feel
The first step to getting a narcissist to forgive you is by allowing yourself to be vulnerable with them. When you have hurt them, let them tap into your bank of empathy by being completely honest with them. You can say something like, “I feel terrible for…”
2. Let them know the exact behavior you feel remorseful for
Looking for how to get a narcissist to forgive you?
It helps to let them know that you are aware of the exact thing you did that hurt them. So, you may want to say something like, “I am sorry for treating your mother the way I did.”
3. Let them know what they should do to make things better
As much as you are trying to apologize to them, it helps to let a narcissist know that you are not about to be tossed about like you do not have a healthy sense of self-esteem.
After step 2, it helps to let them know the role they can play to ensure that what happened before doesn’t happen again.
For example, you can say something like, “do you mind not chastising me in front of your mother again?”
Suggested video: 7 ways to outsmart a narcissist in conversation:
4. Go big on empathy
If you have made it this far with a narcissist, is it most likely because you have a lot of empathy in you.
When you are trying to figure out how to help a narcissist heal from their hurt, you may want to start by empathizing with them. They may end up saying some things you don’t agree with. Focus on disarming them with empathy.
The thing about narcissists is that once they start going on about how wrong you were/how right they are, they may not stop for a long while.
To prevent yourself from responding with sharp-witted comebacks every second, mentally prepare yourself for the smart-mouthed jabs of your life.
6. Don’t expect them to see the reason immediately
Are you looking for how to get an apology from a narcissist? You may not find that immediately.
If you are trying to figure out how to get a narcissist to forgive you, one thing you must do is never to expect them to see the reason immediately. If a narcissist would end up forgiving, they want to do it on their terms.
They may do so after a while. So, let them cool off.
The chances are that before a narcissist forgives you completely, they would do all they can to retaliate.
This means that they would try to hurt you the same way you did. Prepare for this and make sure that you do not fall victim to their onslaughts when they come.
8. Use ‘we’ instead of ‘you’ and ‘I’
The reason for this is that it tends to give a sense of belonging and inclusion. It makes them feel like you aren’t counting them out or giving up on them and also cushions the blow associated with the words you want to tell them.
So, instead of saying, “I think you can do better,” you can say, “I think we can do better in … areas.”
How you deal with a narcissist in a relationship determines whether the relationship will be healthy or toxic. Before you make a final decision on the best trajectory for your relationship, here’s how to deal with a narcissist in a relationship.
Being in a relationship with a narcissist is a difficult task. Knowing how to get a narcissist to forgive you is a life skill you must learn if you intend to make your relationship with one work.
This is because their opinions of themselves and others would force them to see you as someone who’s always out to annoy/hurt them.
The next time you want to get a narcissist to forgive you, follow the 10 steps we have outlined in this article. Then again, do not be afraid to pack your bags and exit the relationship when the going gets uncharacteristically tough.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.