When Narcissistic individuals lose something that they value, they are sorry. They can be perfectly sincere when they say they are sorry. Unfortunately, what they mean is a bit different than what the wronged person is actually hoping for. They are not being empathic and regretting doing something that hurt you. They are sorry about the consequences to them.
The Translation of a Narcissist saying: “I am sorry. I was wrong.” is:
“I don’t want to lose something I want. I am truly sorry that I may do so. I was wrong to jeopardize my happiness.”
If they ask their friends for advice, they want to know: “How do I get what I want back?”
Punchline: Narcissists are low on empathy and self-centered. Unless they have spent years in therapy working on themselves, they are highly unlikely to admit that they were wrong and be sincerely regretful about the impact of their behavior on someone else.
Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP
In private practice in NYC and the author of the book: Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, and Safety.