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The Mirror Talks – Reflections on Narcissism #2 July 12, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Tags: , , , , , ,


In this series, I’m using a “search term” I’ve come across as a jumping  off point for a discussion. (Please read my Close Encounter with a  Narcissist series first, or it’s like walking in after the movie’s started.  Shhhh!) Here goes.

Will a Narcissist Ever Apologize?

For what?  You have to remember that a Narcissist is convinced he/she is always right and the problem lies with YOU.  When someone apologizes, it’s an admission of wrong doing, and Narcissists are NEVER wrong.

Okay, they might manage an insincere apology if it will placate someone who’s a higher up (to save their job), or someone they fear, but mere mortals need not apply.  Even when the Narcissist is clearly in the wrong, they are loathe to admit their culpability.  If they are caught red-handed, they will deny that they have hands, or tell you their hands are in fact orange, not red.

Case in point.  My friend “Joe” regaled me with stories about how he’d flown kites as a child in boarding school.  I happened to be reading The Kite Runner and, low and behold, there was a description about how the boys coated the kite string with broken glass, just as Joe had described.  Excited, I brought in my copy of The Kite Runner so he could read the passage.  “See, this was just like I was telling you,” he beamed.

A few weeks later,  I bought him a copy of the book and handed it to him. See if you can guess who’s talking.

“How much did this cost?”
“It’s a paperback.  What does it matter?”
“But, how much did it cost?”
“Fourteen dollars.”

End of conversation.

Four months later, I ran into Joe.  He said he noticed how I’d  “pulled away from him.”  Duh.  I reminded him that when I’d given him the book, he’d never bothered to say thank you.  Again, see if you can tell who’s talking.

“I’m sure I said thank you.”
“No, you never said thank you.”
“I find that impossible to believe.  When someone gives me a gift, I always say thank you.”
“Well, you never said thank you.”

End of conversation.

If you’ve been close to someone with NPD, you have your own variation of this story.  If it’s any consolation, you’re not crazy.  They are. Thank you. I’m sorry.  Who would have know how hard it was to say two words.

Read The Mirror Talks – Reflections on Narcissism #3.


1. Michelle - July 13, 2009

I married NPD. End of story. Waiting for end of divorce. It is indeed true, the victim became the victimizer. I too thought I could “help” him, but instead he just ripped me and my children apart emotionally. I too also noticed that he got some sick enjoyment from watching us suffer. When I finally had the strength to leave him, he was taken aback. How could anyone leave him? He considers himself perfect and is in fact an expert on all areas. Everyone needs a lot of help in regards to child rearing, pediatric medicine, dentistry, therapy, etc. You name it… he is an expert on it. He once had the nerve to tell the pediatrician that his diagnosis were wrong. He has also told the family therapist that too. My dad, who is a dentist, is always wrong about dentistry. I, his wife, knew absolutely nothing about anything. It goes on and on. I am glad that I was able to get out and get my daughter out of his clutches as well. I only wish I could save my son. I am doing my best, and I hope someday my son will realize what type of person his father is. It is completely sad, but we will all survive.

Michelle – I had no idea, but he certainly sounds like he fits the bill. You can’t tell anyone with NPD anything. I know you will survive, because you love your kids with your heart and your soul. Jan


2. Christine - July 13, 2009

I’m sorry, but I’m bored in Paris (or maybe just lonely)–waiting for tomorrow’s Bastille Day revelry. So I decided to google Sarah Palin and narcissism. Boy did I get excited! I think you could do a great post on her. Thank you for your consideration.

Christine – SP (I can’t bring myself to even type her name) just annoys the hell out of me. She is what she is and it’s out there for all to see. That said, Richard saw that I’d had some hits from Alaska and joked that it was Todd looking for information. 🙂 Jan


3. Michelle - July 14, 2009

Oh yes, he is the real deal. Today, I had to take Noah to the doctor. It turns out he has strep throat. Comment from Ex: Wow… I’m glad you finally decided to take him in. Then (it gets better) the doctor gave Noah a prescription for Amoxcycillin, as he has done so many times before. Noah, just a couple hours after the medication, broke out into a full body rash. I had no idea what it was. It turns out he is allergic to penicillin (amoxycillin). Comment from Ex: I figured that’s what it was. It will never end. I just need to learn how to deal with it.

Michelle – Interesting because Joe used to tell me that I just needed to learn to “deal with it.” “That’s just the way I am.” “To me, nothing’s off limits.” “That’s just what I do.” It’s hard to “deal with it” when it’s always on the other person’s terms. Best of luck. Jan


4. Bev from england - July 24, 2009

well i have to say my N would say thanks n would say sorry … when it suited him and i was ‘loved’ enough by him. The problem being there wasnt much feeling behind the words… esp the sorries.

many time hes said sorry and hed try to be a better friend etc but as soon as the words were uttered they were forgotten….

this blog reminded me of one incident. Id taped something from the tv for him and was gonna send it to him, but first i wanted to make a copy for me too. Well i took too long…one night he came online n told me…not to send any more ecards cos now he was getting 100s of spam mails (ok one ecard company was bad for that) and also not to send the video cos hed got a copy….. and that was it…no thanks that u were going to send it or anything..all said very bluntly and with no consideration for my feelings…A-hole

i also remember many times hed come online demanding some help etc and if u couldnt provide whatever he needed hed just go off in a huff. So damn rude…

humpf to his sense of entitlement..



5. Steve Marvin - August 27, 2009

Thank you so much for this excellent site and series.
I recently stumbled upon an excellent article entitled –
” Narcissistic Pathology of Everyday Life: The Denial of Remorse and Gratitude ” written in 1990 by two Ph.D.’s Nancy McWilliams and Stanley Lependorf. The text was available free a couple months ago but now seems to available only through this link.


I highly recommend it.


6. JW - October 23, 2009

I used to have conversations like that with a narcissistic coworker. She would never apologize for anything either. I overheard a conversation between her and a shift supervisor, one time. She had said something disparaging about his height, in front of customers and coworkers. He didn’t like the comment, so he confronted her about it. He said that he didn’t appreciate the comment that she had made. Well, it was pretty much a one sided conversation because she didn’t apologize to him. Sure, she may not have felt like she really did anything so wrong, but the fact that the supervisor said that he didn’t appreciate the comment should have been an indicator to her to at least apologize and acknowledge his feelings. But she just stood there and waited for him to finish talking and then she went back to work. I had also tried to confront her about a problem that I had with her, and it was basically the same situation. She just didn’t want to hear anything that didn’t involve her feelings. Off course, dealing with someone like that is frustrating and after a while, people go into avoidance mode because they know that dealing with someone like that is like dealing with a brick wall.

JW – Sounds like a classic NPD response. They know your feelings are hurt, but they CHOOSE not to say anything. They have no desire to set things right unless they need something from you. I’s all quite mind boggling and can be very disorienting to a normal caring person. jan


7. JW - October 23, 2009

The funny part is that one time I said something mean to this coworker and she got very angry. This was after I had put up with her own bad behavior and lack of accountability for months. I had just gotten so fed up with her that one day I just got hostile and mean toward her. And off course when you hurt the narcissists feelings or cross the line with the narcissist, he or she will definitely hold you accountable and they will not let you forget the bad thing that you did. and I didn’t apologize for being mean toward her because I know that it would have just fed her ego. I felt bad about what I did but I did not aplogize since I knew what her mentality was. But usually if I do or say something wrong, I will apologize or at least make an attempt to apologize to the person that I have hurt. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it with this coworker.

JW – This sounds painfully familiar. My friend Joe said the most inappropriate and hurtful things to me. But when I turned the tables on him, he was visibly upset. It totally threw him off his game. I don’t enjoy saying things that hurt people, but it was interesting to see the how he reacted when I gave him a dose of his own medicine. They don’t play fair. Jan


8. JW - October 25, 2009

Hi Jan, yeah, they don’t play fair, at all. This coworker was also the biggest gossip, I’ve ever encountered, and very nosy. You couldn’t say or do anything without her putting her two cents in and also running her mouth to other people. How can anyone really trust someone like that? It’s a complete lack of discretion. But if I had confronted her on that, she would have dismissed the complaint and laughed about it. I really felt uncomfortable around her. And I didn’t really know how to confront her properly because of my introverted personality. I tend to hold things in and let my feelings bottle up. But I have learned to be more assertive since having to deal with her, because there were many behaviors of hers that I didn’t like, but because I lacked assertiveness, I kept my mouth shut, for the most part, until I ended up lashing out at her that time.
The one thing I will say though is that people can learn alot about other people from conversations. I remember one conversation I had with this individual, when I was getting along with her. It was a work night and the store had just closed. I had asked her if she could give me a ride home. So we were out in the parking lot, we had just gotten into the car. All of a sudden she says, “I hate that b*tch”. I was taken aback, and I asked her who she was talking about. She was referring to another coworker who was in the parking lot. I asked her why she felt that way about the coworker. Well she explained that one night, after work, that coworker had confronted her about her bossiness (she definitely had a bossy streak that I had noticed upon first meeting her ). When that coworker had confronted her, it really ticked her off. She then told me that she had suggested to that coworker that they have a meeting with the manager in order to sort it out. She proceeded to tell me that the coworker disagreed with the suggestion because it really wasn’t necessary since she was already confronting her, so what would have been the point of going to management. What really shook me up was that she hated this coworker all because this coworker had the where with all to confront her. She even made it a point of saying that this coworker had CHOSEN not to go to management about the issue. So this lousy human being, in her delusional mind, was making the other coworker accountable all because the coworker had chosen to resolve the issue with her directly instead of going to management. This is when you know that you are dealing with a scary person. And that was a hint to me that she didn’t like people confronting her about anything. She didn’t want to be accountable for anything (such as her bossiness) but she wouldn’t hesitate to criticize other people for their choices. And the fact that she referred to that coworker as b*tch, really let me know that she really disliked anyone who crossed her.

JW – When people tell a Narcissist what they don’t want to hear, they immediately tear down that person in their minds, or in your case verbally. Their emotional maturity really is at the level of a 6-year-old (though your co-worker was a 6-year-old with “bitch” in her vocabulary).:) Those with NPD tend to do one of two things when someone confronts them about their bad behavior: 1) They laugh and minimize the incident, so that the other person is the one with the problem, or 2) They mentally take a black marker and cross off that person’s name as someone they know. It’s creepy, but that’s how they’re wired. Most people tend to be too “nice,” when Narcissists say and do nasty stuff. I believe most people want to think it’s an isolated incident, so they say nothing. But once you get up close to these people, you can see that this is how they roll. (And roll over people.) People do tend to feel uncomfortable around them, which is a major red flag. Good for you that you stood up to this person. That can’t have been easy. But enough is enough. Jan


9. Brevitybrevity - December 7, 2013

Yes! In the horrors of seeing and speaking to him again (my choice and a bad one) he never once said he was sorry he had to leave me or sorry I was in pain. None of that. It was striking.

“I’m sorry” is not in their vocabulary. If they ever do say it, it will sound so phony that you realize it’s just to placate you. He doesn’t recognize your pain – in fact, he thinks it’s annoying, even pathetic. There is nothing he will or can say to you that will every make you feel better. You’re the one who must provide the closure. Jan


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