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5 ways to spot a manipulative apology!

5 ways to spot a manipulative apology!

We’ve all been there before. You’ve done something wrong and you know it. Maybe you said something hurtful to a friend or loved one, or maybe you made a mistake at work. Whatever the case may be, you’re feeling guilty and you want to apologize.

But instead of a sincere expression of remorse, you find yourself saying something like, “I’m sorry if you were offended.” Or, “I’m sorry if your feelings got hurt.” These kinds of apologies are often referred to as non-apologies, and they can be incredibly frustrating to receive. Not only do they fail to take responsibility for the hurtful behavior, but they also place the blame on the person who was injured for even feeling wronged.

In other words, non-apologies are nothing more than a manipulative way to avoid taking responsibility for one’s actions. If you’re truly sorry for what you’ve done, then say so. A sincere apology can go a long way towards repairing the damage that’s been done. But if you’re not willing to take responsibility for your actions, then don’t bother apologizing at all.

What is a manipulative apology or a non-apology?

Sometimes, an apology can be less about remorse and more about manipulation. This is often referred to as a “manipulative apology.” Manipulative apologies are usually insincere, and they’re often used as a way to control or deflect responsibility.

For example, someone might say they’re sorry for breaking your vase, but then quickly add that you shouldn’t have left it in the middle of the floor. Or, they may add that the vase they broke by mistake, looked bad anyway and that it was ruining the beauty of the room. This may add more sorrow and pain to the person who got hurt; because it implies that they don’t deserve an apology that is taking responsibility and admitting wrongdoing.

Or, a person might apologize for being late, but then try to blame traffic or their alarm clock. In some cases, manipulative apologies can be a form of gaslighting, which is a type of emotional abuse. If you’re repeatedly on the receiving end of manipulative apologies, it’s important to identify the behavior and set boundaries with the person who is responsible. Otherwise, you may find yourself in an unhealthy dynamic.

How to spot an emotionally manipulative apology?

1- You feel that you’re being gaslighted by the person who wronged you:

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re being gaslighted by someone you care about. One way to recognize a manipulative apology is when the person apologizing seems more interested in defending their own actions in a fishy way by blaming the victim for their offense, than in truly owning up to their mistakes.

For example, they might start their apology with a statement like “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “I’m sorry you’re so sensitive.” These apologies shift the focus away from the person’s own behavior and onto the reaction of the victim, making it seem like your feelings are the problem.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of one of these apologies, it’s important to call it out for what it is: a way to deflect responsibility and avoid true accountability.

2- The person apologizing doesn’t look remorseful in the slightest:

We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve said or done something we shouldn’t have, and then had to apologize. But sometimes, an apology can be manipulative, rather than sincere. This is especially true if the person apologizing doesn’t look remorseful.

They may even act arrogant and entitled as if they’re doing you a favor by apologizing. They may also try to shift the blame onto you, or make excuses for their behavior, which is what we discussed earlier.

If you think you’re receiving a manipulative apology, try to watch that person’s body language and how sorry they truly seem. Are they keeping their head down? And do they seem apologetic and regretful? Or are they smiling and rolling their eyes when you talk about your feelings?

If you think someone is offering you a manipulative apology, it’s best to just walk away. That person is clearly not sorry for what they did, and they’re not going to change their ways. Maybe they may intend to get back on your good books so that they’re close enough to you to strike again.

3- They may not even know what they’re apologizing for:

Another giveaway of a manipulative apology is if the person apologizing doesn’t seem to know what they did wrong. They might make a vague statement like “I’m sorry for whatever you think I did wrong” without actually owning up to their actions.

You will be able to clearly tell if the person apologizes just for the sake of it. Not only will they not seem truly remorseful, but they will not be able to elaborate or say anything sweet because chances are they truly don’t even think that what they did is wrong.

In other words, they’re not apologizing because they want to make things right; they’re doing it because they think it’s what they’re supposed to do. If you’re on the receiving end of an insincere apology, it can be frustrating and even hurtful. But by learning to spot the signs, you can protect yourself from being taken advantage of. So read on and find on about another two ways to spot one!

4- They keep making the same mistake:

A fourth way to spot a manipulative apology on our list is if you think the person apologizing keeps making the same mistake again and again. And, hence they keep having to apologize for that same mistake every time. Let’s say this was not the first time they made this type of mistake and perhaps you even warned them not to make it again, but they keep crossing your boundaries and brushing it all off with a quick “sorry”.

If this is what’s happening then watch out! If they’re constantly putting you down or trying to hurt you in some way, then their apology is likely not sincere. In this case, they’re probably trying to take advantage of your good nature and manipulate you into forgiving them. That’s because a person who truly and deeply cares about you will make sure not to hurt you again. So if this is not the first time they made this type of mistake and they don’t seem bothered about it, then it’s a red flag.

If you have warned and alerted the person not to make that specific mistake again and again but they keep making it, then chances are they’re not truly apologetic. They probably just want to shut you up and carry on until the next time they make the exact same mistake again, which could be tomorrow.

For instance, being reminded of one specific and toxic ex of yours brings up horrible memories, you may have warned your friend to stop talking about them or ever mentioning them again. However, if your friend keeps doing inadvertently and having to apologize every single time; then it’s still a clear sign of disrespect.

5- The apology is followed by a list of justifications for their wrongdoing:

Manipulative apologies often lack remorse. The person may not express any regret for their actions, or they may seem more concerned with trying to fix the situation than with making things right with the person they hurt.

However, one key sign of a manipulative apology is that they are often followed by justifications or excuses. The person may try to downplay the severity of their actions by saying they were only joking, or by explaining all the reasons why they did what they did. This can be fine unless they keep explaining for hours and almost trying to convince you that they were right about doing whatever they did.

Explaining why you did something wrong and how you had no bad intentions is one thing. However, explaining why what you did is acceptable and proceeding to defend it for hours after having apologized is a bad thing to do.

It’s almost as if the person apologizing is squeezing an apology too from the victim. Perhaps they were more looking for an exchange of apologies and moving on, rather than having truly understood why their actions were wrong.

In the end, if you’re just a person that finds it hard to apologize or to say “sorry” and you don’t want an apology of yours to be misinterpreted, here’s how you can apologize non-verbally.

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