When someone hurts us, physically or emotionally, we crave an apology. An apology hardly ever if ever before fixes the problem, of course, yet it does aid. After all, an apology mirrors a willingness to change for the better.

You are watching: An apology without change is manipulation

Or does it?

The difficulty via apologies is that abcustomers recognize just how much their victims want to hear them. To save their victims nearby, then, they’ll make apologies left and also appropriate without taking any actual actions to improve themselves or make amends.

These are not real apologies—they are manipulation methods. Any counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist in the people will attest that an apology without adjust is manipulation.

How deserve to you tell the distinction, though? What differentiates real apologies made by someone struggling to adjust from manipulative apologies made by an abuser?

If you need help determining whether you’ve been offered a genuine apology or if you’re just being manipulated, below are some red flags to watch for.

Why an Apology Without Change Is Manipulation

“An apology without readjust is just manipulation.”

It’s a pithy statement perfect for window decals and also bumper sticker labels, but that doesn’t make it any kind of much less true. It also doesn’t make the phrase much less scientifically correct.

For at leastern the past 2 decades, mental professionals have interpreted that a sincere apology has 4 distinct actions:

Admission of a harmful action or behaviorStatement of remorse regarding the activity or behaviorRealized promise to avoid (or attempt to avoid) that activity or behavior in the futureOffer to make amends

It’s necessary to note the language in that third suggest. It cannot be a blanket or empty promise—it must be a realized promise.

Types of Insincere and/or Manipulative Apologies

Not all insincere apologies are purposely manipulative. Often, they aren’t also deliberately insincere.


The initially kind of last rekind apology often tends to come from master manipulators, narcissists, and sociocourses. It is totally intentional, and also the perkid making such an apology knows precisely what they’re doing and why. The second kind of last resort apology stems from negative self-esteem, codependency, and also a absence of correct limits.

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At the finish of the day, an apology is simply an apology. “I’m sorry,” is simply a string of words. No matter exactly how close you are through someone or good you think that perboy is, an apology without readjust is manipulation.

That doesn’t have to mean that you have to remove that perkid from your life, though, nor does it expect that your connection is unsalvageable. As we’ve demonstrated here, plenty of people unintentionally offer insincere apologies bereason of their own doubts and problems.

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That’s why Makin Wellness of Pittsburgh here to assist. Whether you’re handling addiction, grief, emotional instcapacity, or relationship breakdowns, Makin Wellness has actually an professional therapist on staff to aid you get over. To sheight to a care provider or schedule your initially appointment, call us with our self-organization form.