Smash Negativity Team

Apologizing without Change – Manipulative Apology

manipulative apology

You find yourself in constant conflict with your partner, friend, significant other, or relative. They frequently offer an apology for their actions. However, nothing ever seems to shift. This is a disingenuous apology. An apology devoid of any real change amounts to deception.

Sincere apologies are those that do not involve any effort to make amends or rectify unpleasant behavior. Furthermore, they are frequently deceptive. Some people use fear or habit to justify their deceitful excuses. They will say anything to diffuse the situation and prevent you from leaving. However, manipulators go one step further.

A Manipulative Apology: What Is It?

When the manipulator says they’re sorry, they usually do it in a way that makes you look worse. They apologize if you think they did something wrong; however, their actual message is that they feel you’re overreacting. They take offense at your self-expression and feel insulted.

A manipulator is someone who apologizes to make the other person feel guilty without even trying to stop their unpleasant behavior. Attempting to clear up a misunderstanding does not automatically make someone a manipulator.

7 Ways an Apology Is Manipulative If It Doesn’t Bring Change

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If someone apologizes but continues to behave in this way, they are likely using the apology as a way to maintain power over you. And to achieve what they want, they’ll apologize using one of the following forms:.

1. The Apology of Guilty Conscience

Their main reason for feeling awful is that they know you’re not happy with them and they know that whatever they said or did made you feel that way. To make themselves feel better and convince themselves that they are not at fault, they apologize.

Bad people don’t feel guilty or regret what they’ve done, nor do they ever apologize. They are unhappy. They also want you to know how awful they feel.

2. The “I apologize for not being perfect”

These come in several forms,. The first is genuine self-deprecation, which is more characteristic of low-esteem individuals who will prostrate themselves in front of you in an attempt to win your favor and persuade you to stay.

In this instance, the manipulation may not have been deliberate, but it nonetheless exists. Instead, they want you to feel sorry for them and concentrate on consoling them.

Someone who wants you to feel guilty for trying to make them feel like they’re not living up to your unreasonable expectations will frequently apologize through gritted teeth. In the end, what they’re attempting to convey is that you are the issue.

3. The Concluding Remark

To end a conversation that puts them in an awkward situation, the manipulator will stop at nothing. Therefore, if denial and gaslighting don’t succeed, they might apologize and cut the conversation short with words like “Aww! Alright! Alright, I apologize. Are you happy now?”

However, nobody is content. They dislike having to apologize, which makes them unhappy. Ultimately, it appears as though they are acknowledging their error, even though they don’t feel that way.

You’re not pleased either, because you know their apologies aren’t really sincere. However, they don’t give a damn, as long as their fictitious apology silences your criticism of what they allegedly did wrong.

4. The Apology of “Leading the Witness”

By doing this, the manipulator expresses regret while implying that you should too. This apology contains language that implies you are at least somewhat to blame for the disagreement between you, according to the one apologizing.

They could be open to acknowledging their mistakes, but only if you acknowledge that you were also mistaken—possibly more so than they were. They want you to acknowledge that you are the source of the issue. If you can get an apology from them, they interpret that as proof that you have given up.

5. The Apology for Boundary-Testing

An apology will be used by the manipulator to obtain what they desire from you. That something could be an accommodation for boundary violations, or it could be a lenient border. Their apology aims to get you to let them do what you usually won’t allow. Ultimately, you ought to be willing to offer if they are, don’t you think?

Forget boundaries if they stand in the way of the manipulator’s goals. To encourage you to lower a boundary and give them something more than your forgiveness, they might even do something for which they later have to apologize. If they are successful, they will go on to other borders.

6. The “Just For You” Excuse

A manipulator will typically respond with denial and gaslighting when you call them out. Thus, you’re more likely to say, “Oh, wow! They apologize and create a truly sorry impression. They are very sorry. They can’t be as horrible as everyone seems to think. After all, manipulators never say they’re sorry, do they?

You become even closer to them if they can persuade you of their honesty. Nobody can make any disparaging remarks about them without defending them. You get to say things like, “You don’t know them like I do,” since they expressed regret. They are solely exposed to you. They would like you to believe that you are their kryptonite.

However, nothing much changes in their behavior following the apology if you watch closely. The work they promised to do hasn’t been completed. They are not required to.

7. The Apology of Last Resort

This apology is a way of saying, “I’m not sorry about what I did.” Just like that, the only thing that can make you stay with me is for me to apologize. Granted, there are occasions when people truly fear that if they don’t apologize, you will leave them, not because they’re trying to manipulate you.

They may not fully understand your reasons for anger, but they are aware that you need an apology. And they’ll give you that if that’s what it takes to keep you in their lives. The manipulator’s main goal is to maintain your subservience. They will thus apologize if necessary. And they’ll pull out all the stops to persuade you of their sincere regret and commitment to making things right.

They will work hard if they are serious. They won’t if they’re not. They are aware that, despite the evidence to the contrary, you want to think they are sorry.

How to React to a Manipulative Apology?

Even inadvertent manipulation is improper. However, purpose matters when determining how to react to it. The different options for you include:

  • Inform them of your observations: Tell them what you’ve observed in their behavior that makes you doubt the sincerity of the apology calmly, without using words like “always” or “never”;
  • Invite them to attend couples therapy with you: If they genuinely want the relationship to endure and even thrive, they should be amenable to the notion or at the very least willing to consider it.
  • Leave safely: If needed, get the assistance of a friend or a reliable person to help you move out while your spouse is away.

Next, pick a safe place to meet if your partner requests to do so. And make plans for someone to come get you when it’s over. Make sure the person driving your “getaway car” won’t let your manipulative ex-partner accompany you.

  • No Response: The greatest way to counter a manipulative apology is to say nothing at all. Rather than feeling sorry for the manipulator—or any other emotion, for that matter—you should disregard the manipulation and concentrate on your own needs.

When someone wants to escape a situation after doing something wrong, they frequently offer manipulative apologies. They might apologize yet carry on with their inappropriate actions. It’s critical to establish limits and aggressively communicate your feelings to counter a manipulative apology.

Additionally, you must ensure that you bear no accountability for the wrongdoings of the other party. The goal of this type of apology is to instill guilt in the victim. The manipulator expresses regret for what they have done, but their regret is hollow and belies their true intentions.

The victim may attempt to assist the manipulator out of sympathy for them or out of anger and a desire to punish them. You now understand that an apology without action is manipulation, whether deliberate or not. You don’t have to put up with your partner’s seeming inability to stop acting in a way that continuously causes you pain.

They’re teaching you to accept a relationship that will gradually kill you, even if they’re not intentionally manipulating you. Remember, it’s okay for you to desire better and to pursue it.

Final Thoughts

Admitting that you made a mistake is the first step when apologizing. Accepting responsibility for your acts and extending an apology is the second stage. Making the decision not to do it again is the third step.

Your apology will be ineffective if you are unwilling to follow through on these three actions. Keep in mind that apologies without change are manipulation!



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