This article challenges the belief that sociopaths avoid apologizing for their wrongdoings and generally avoid accepting blame.
A sociopath is an individual who seeks to use, exploit, and discard the people they come across in life. Sociopaths seek to achieve their goals at others’ expense without considering any costs their victims accrue.
The tendency to use, discard, and move on can be observed in the many elements that comprise a sociopath’s day-to-day.
The act of apologizing, for instance, is an ideal tool to use disingenuously for a sociopath. An apology can strategically fill our enemies’ hearts with a fulfilled sense of vengeance.
Any skilled sociopath is capable of using an apology, discarding any real feelings driving it, and moving on with their strategic goals. The potential for an apology’s misuse depends on how willing the individual giving it is to set their feelings of social loss or embarrassment aside.
In such cases, authenticity is secondary to the goal of soothing issues and smoothening communications.
Apologies From Power’s Perspective
If the individual apologizing is able to look past the social cost of giving an apology, they can then control the strategic benefits of giving it. To a sociopath, a feeling of embarrassment or shame is a short-lived inconvenience when their results could yield tangible long-term benefits.
The result of diverting attention, placing suspicious minds at ease, and improving social relations may very well be worth the cost of feeling a perceived sense of shame while apologizing. From the perspective of gaining power, embarrassment associated with strategic apologies is a temporary disadvantage.
An apology given when it’s expected is the right move to make in most of life’s circumstances. The feelings which prevent people from acting out that truth are rooted in a shallow sense of pride. Emotions – seemingly left over from our primal evolutionary stages – prevent us from acting strategically when faced with an expectation to apologize.
Fulfilling others’ expectation of receiving an apology provides them the win they seek. They become affirmed in their sense of social justice.
A sociopath is able to realize the benefits of apologies because they’re better able to either not feel shame, or place it aside for more important results. Skilled sociopaths are consistently evaluating the cost to reward ratio of any social act with high visibility.
Trading Shame for Trust
Apologies offer sociopaths a visible pathway to delivering a message that others want to hear. Genuine attempts at apologizing can yield good results in erasing social pressure and debts those apologizing may be under.
As a tool thereby, an apology is a versatile one to utilize. Its power is attained by way of the difficulty of its delivery.
There are limited reasons as to why one shouldn’t apologize when they have caused someone else pain. At times, people hesitate to voice an apology because it places blame to be actioned on in court. If legal matters aren’t directly blocking one’s ability to apologize, then the apology should be given. Thinking about potentials of an apology being used against us seems to result in worse outcomes than simply giving the apology we deem ourselves needing to.
Outside the lens of needing to divert blame for legal matters, doing so in the social context is never the right approach. Those who’ve apologized prior know this to be true. Accepting well-deserved blame is high on the list of positive social acts to commit.
It becomes clear that the barrier to more apologies existing in this world isn’t their negative social results. Rather, people don’t give enough apologies because there is often shame involved in presenting a genuine one. If someone giving an apology will feel some shame. The shame felt however, is typically divided. There is the social cost accrued by the shame (others witnessing your shame), and there’s the emotional burden of it.
Individuals with sociopathic spells can utilize an apology to trade social shame for favorable results without feeling the emotional burden of it. They seem to somehow detach their identity from coupling with the shame of giving an apology. Shame still happens, but it doesn’t affect them as it would an average person. It seems they deaden the empathy required to feel genuine shame whilst giving an apology. The shame is felt from a social cost standpoint, but in their perspective, its unattached smooth sailing.