18 Lies Narcissists Tell To Convince You They’ve Changed

18 Lies Narcissists Tell To Convince You They’ve Changed Shutterstock

When a narcissist’s true colors finally begin to show, they’ll scramble to maintain that carefully crafted facade.

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They want to keep you right where they’ve got you, so they’ll say anything to make it happen. Don’t be surprised to hear these BS lies come out of their mouth — and don’t fall for them, either. They’re totally untrue!

1. “I’ve done a lot of soul-searching.”

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Yeah, right. This one’s about as believable as a politician’s promise. They’ll go on about how they’ve had this massive epiphany, like they’ve been on a spiritual retreat or something. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find it’s all surface-level guff. They might’ve googled “how to be a better person” once, but actual introspection? Not bloody likely. It’s just a fancy way of saying “trust me” without putting in any real work.

2. “I’m in therapy now.”

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This could be true, but don’t get your hopes up. They might’ve had one session and decided they’re “fixed,” or worse, they’re using therapy as a way to learn new manipulation tactics. Even if they are seeing someone, it doesn’t mean they’re actually doing the work. Therapy isn’t a magic wand – it requires effort and honesty, two things narcissists aren’t exactly known for. Don’t let them use this as a get-out-of-jail-free card for their behavior.

3. “I realize now how much I’ve hurt you.”

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Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But watch out – this is often just lip service. They’re saying what they think you want to hear, not what they actually believe. Real understanding comes with changed behavior, not just pretty words. If they truly realized how much they’ve hurt you, they’d be showing it through actions, not just spouting off about it like it’s a revelation.

4. “I’m a different person now.”

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Oh, come off it. As Amy Morin, LCSW, points out, people don’t change overnight, and narcissists definitely don’t transform into saints at the drop of a hat. This line is usually trotted out when they’ve been on their best behavior for all of five minutes. But a leopard doesn’t change its spots that easily. Real, lasting change takes time and consistent effort. Don’t let them convince you they’ve had some magical personality transplant.

5. “I’ve learned from my mistakes.”

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Have they, though? Or have they just learned new ways to hide their old tricks? It’s easy to say you’ve learned something; it’s a whole other kettle of fish to actually put those lessons into practice. Watch their actions, not their words. If they’re still pulling the same old stunts, just with a new coat of paint, they haven’t learned jack.

6. “I’m taking responsibility for my actions.”

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This sounds great in theory, but for a narcissist, it’s often just empty words. They might acknowledge some minor wrongdoing, but watch how quickly they follow it up with excuses or blame-shifting. Real responsibility means owning up to ALL their actions, not just the ones that make them look good. It’s about consistent accountability, not cherry-picking what they’re willing to admit to.

7. “I’ve changed for you.”

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Oh, this is a manipulative one. They’re trying to make you feel special, like you’re the magical cure to all their problems. But here’s the thing: healthy change comes from within, not for someone else. If they’re only “changing” to keep you around, it’s not real change – it’s just another control tactic. Don’t fall for this emotional blackmail.

8. “I promise it won’t happen again.”

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Heard this one before, have you? It’s the classic line of every repeat offender. They’ll swear on their mum’s life that they’ll never do it again, but give it time – history tends to repeat itself. Promises are easy to make and even easier to break. Don’t put your trust in words alone; watch their actions over time. That’s where the truth lies.

9. “I’m working on my issues.”

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Sounds good on paper, doesn’t it? But what does “working on it” actually mean? For a narcissist, it might mean they’ve thought about their behavior for all of five seconds. They’re hoping this vague statement will get you off their back without them having to make any real changes. Unless they can give you specific examples of what they’re doing to improve, take this with a massive pinch of salt.

10. “I’ve realized I was wrong.”

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Well, knock me down with a feather! A narcissist admitting they were wrong? It’s about as rare as rocking horse crap. But don’t get too excited. This admission often comes with a hefty side of “but” – “I was wrong, but you made me do it” or “I was wrong, but you’re no angel either.” They’re not really taking responsibility; they’re just trying to score points for seeming humble.

11. “I’m more self-aware now.”

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Oh, the irony. A narcissist claiming self-awareness is like a fish claiming it understands the concept of drought. They might’ve picked up some psychobabble terms, but true self-awareness requires a level of honesty and introspection that narcissists typically can’t muster. They’re more likely parroting things they’ve heard without any real understanding or application.

12. “I’ve grown as a person.”

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Have they, though? Or have they just found new ways to disguise their old behaviors? Real growth involves consistent change over time, not just a temporary shift in tactics, Psychology Today points out. They might seem different for a bit, but watch carefully – old patterns have a way of sneaking back in when they think you’re not looking.

13. “I’m putting your needs first now.”

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Pull the other one, it’s got bells on. A narcissist putting someone else’s needs first? That’ll be the day. This is usually just a ploy to appear more caring and considerate. But give it time – their true colors will show when your needs actually conflict with what they want. Don’t be fooled by temporary gestures of consideration.

14. “I understand why you’re upset.”

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This sounds empathetic, but coming from a narcissist, it’s often just another manipulation tactic. They’re saying what they think you want to hear, not actually empathizing. Real understanding comes with changed behavior and genuine efforts to make amends, not just acknowledging your feelings when it’s convenient for them.

15. “I’m done with drama and games.”

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Oh, if only it were true. This line usually comes out when they’ve exhausted their usual tactics and need a new angle. But for a narcissist, drama and games are like oxygen – they can’t live without them. They might lay low for a while, but don’t be surprised when the theatrics start up again. Old habits die hard, especially when they’re so deeply ingrained.

16. “I want to make things right.”

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Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But watch out for the follow-through. Narcissists are great at making grand declarations, not so great at actually doing the work. “Making things right” to them often means sweeping everything under the rug and pretending it never happened. Real amends involve consistent effort and changed behavior, not just a few token gestures.

17. “I’ve hit rock bottom and I’m ready to change.”

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This one often comes after they’ve really messed up and are desperate to keep you around. But here’s the thing: rock bottom for a narcissist is often just a pit stop. They might seem genuinely remorseful, but it’s usually more about the consequences they’re facing than actual regret for their actions. Real change takes more than just a moment of clarity in a crisis.

18. “I love you and I’ll do anything to make this work.”

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Ah, the ultimate emotional manipulation. They’re pulling out all the stops, aren’t they? But love isn’t about grand declarations – it’s about consistent respect, consideration, and effort. A narcissist might say they’ll do anything, but what they really mean is they’ll do anything that doesn’t inconvenience them too much. Don’t let these sweet nothings distract you from the reality of their actions.

Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.