A fauxpology is a false or insincere apology. It is an attempt to apologize without genuinely feeling remorse and regret for the actions that warranted the apology.
A fauxpology typically contains phrases such as “I’m sorry if you were offended” or “I apologize for any misunderstanding” which fails to take ownership of one’s own wrongdoing and shifts blame away from oneself.
Narcissists are experts at deflecting blame and using fauxpologies to further their own agendas. Their apologies are usually not genuine, but instead a tool to manipulate or guilt-trip those they have wronged.
They may offer seemingly heartfelt apologies, while also shifting responsibility away from themselves and onto the other person.
This leaves their victim confused, frustrated and angry because they have not received the resolution or validation they were hoping for.
Examples of a Fauxpology
Sometimes the signs of a fauxpology do not lie in the words said, but by how they are said. The tone can be sarcastic or so flowery as to make it clear that it is meant to humiliate the recipient.
Alternatively the body language can advertise the apologiser’s true intentions.
This fauxpology implies that the accuser’s feelings are wrong or unfounded, rather than addressing any wrongdoing on the part of the narcissist.
Once again, this apology shifts responsibility away from the narcissist by stating they are apologizing only “if” they hurt someone’s feelings, instead of admitting they were wrong and taking ownership of their actions.
A classic example of a fauxpology, this phrase is used to insert an excuse for why something happened or why an apology is being given in an attempt to deflect blame onto others or justify their own behaviour.
While a genuine apology requires an acceptance of responsibility and acknowledgement of one’s wrongdoing, narcissistic people will often try to rush through an apology in order to move on quickly and avoid any further discussion about what happened.
A virtue-signaling fauxpology which merely states that an apology has been offered without actually apologizing or explaining why one was needed in the first place.
I once saw my boss make a fauxpology that I feel was even more insulting than the original behaviour.
He stuck his hands together like he was praying, and then bowed like he was praying in church.
It was clearly an act designed to show his total contempt for the person he was supposedly apologizing to.
How to deal with an insincere apology
It’s normal to feel hurt when someone apologizes to you but doesn’t seem sincere.
What should you do if you are presented with a fauxpology?
Trust your instincts: If you don’t feel like the apology was genuine, it probably wasn’t. Don’t be afraid to trust your gut when it comes to evaluating someone’s true intentions.
Ask questions: If there is any doubt or confusion about the sincerity of the apology, consider asking clarifying questions in order to get more information and context before accepting it as genuine.
Speak up: If you feel like you’ve been wronged, don’t be afraid to express yourself honestly and clearly in order to get the resolution or understanding you need.
Set boundaries: Boundaries are important when it comes to dealing with narcissists. Be clear about what behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t, so that they understand that their manipulations will not be tolerated.
Seek support: Dealing with narcissistic people can be draining, so it’s important to take care of yourself by seeking help and comfort from family, friends or a therapist if needed.
Final Thoughts about Fauxpologies
If you are dealing with a narcissist then you have to accept that their lack of empathy and total self-absorption means that it is impossible for them to feel real regret.
Instead of wasting your energy feeling upset about their behaviour, work on insulating yourself from them, so they will never be able to hurt you again.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Fauxpology Tactic
The fauxpology tactic refers to a disingenuous or insincere apology that is used as a manipulative tool rather than a genuine expression of remorse. It typically involves deflecting blame, minimizing the harm caused, or avoiding taking full responsibility for one’s actions.
There are several signs to look out for when identifying a fauxpology. These include using phrases like “I’m sorry if you were offended” instead of taking direct responsibility, shifting blame onto others, making excuses for their behavior, or minimizing the impact of their actions.
People may use the fauxpology tactic as a way to avoid facing consequences or to manipulate others into forgiving them without making any real changes. It allows them to maintain control, save face, or protect their reputation while appearing to apologize.
Yes, a fauxpology can be harmful because it undermines the process of genuine reconciliation and healing. It can invalidate the feelings of those who were hurt, perpetuate a cycle of harm, and prevent meaningful resolution of conflicts.
When faced with a fauxpology, it’s important to trust your instincts and consider the sincerity of the apology. If you feel that the apology is insincere or manipulative, you can assertively express your concerns, set boundaries, and communicate your expectations for genuine remorse and accountability.
To avoid using the fauxpology tactic, it’s important to practice self-awareness and take genuine responsibility for your actions. Be open to feedback, actively listen to others’ perspectives, and make a sincere effort to rectify any harm caused.