Do Narcissists Cry, Feel Guilt, Remorse or Shame? (Experts Advice)

Do Narcissists Cry, Feel Guilt, Remorse or Shame? These are a few emotions that an average person usually experiences when they have done something wrong. But can it be the same with the narcissists? Can narcissists also feel guilty, and shameful, and also display repentance when they do something wrong or hurtful? Can a narcissist accept their fault and also have a guilty conscience?

Narcissists are full of themselves and they have an impression of being self-centric, so can they feel other people’s pain, or do they recognize their own mistakes, do they feel guilty and shameful or do they just care for themselves and ignore others? Let us know further in the article.

Are Narcissists capable of experiencing emotions; especially emotions of guilt?

It would be incorrect to say that narcissists are incapable of feeling emotions. Narcissists are not insensitive or emotion resistant, it is just that they feel experience the same emotions differently than others. Narcissists are usually perceived as beings who lack emotions, but it is not entirely true. That description may seem appropriate but it is a half-truth. Narcissists are totally capable of experiencing emotions of guilt, but what differs is the mechanism of guilt for them. In easier words, the way is different for guilt to function for them from other people.

How to define Guilt?

Guilt can be defined as a complex emotion that is generated when one feels that one has hurt others, has done something that is ethically and morally wrong, or violated someone else’s peace. When someone commits a crime or a fault, then the residual feeling that resides is known as guilt. Everybody is capable of feeling guilt, but some individuals choose to feel it in a complete circle, while some individuals just ignore it and shut down emotions, just like narcissists. Guilt usually brings other emotions like remorse, repentance, regret, self-blame, and sorrow.

Guilt comes through an internal reflection of one’s own actions. When you feel bad for doing something and regret committing something that may hurt others or something that seems unethical and immoral. Guilt can peddle the feelings like regretting and asking for forgiveness and punishment, enticing change in one’s behavior, and making sure to never repeat the mistake or commit such a fault ever again. Guilt brings in repentance and obliges a person to seek forgiveness.

Guilt can be a motivating factor for some individuals that may lead them to personal changes, personal growth, and a different personality but in a good way. But excess guilt may also motivate someone negatively and lead them to take negative steps like causing self-harm through self-destructive behavior, and an unfaltering series of negative emotions and negative approaches towards living life.

Circling back to the question, “Are Narcissists capable of experiencing emotions; especially emotions of guilt?” the answer is an absolute yes, but their perception of guilt may differ from everyone else, as they have a limited capacity for emotional empathy. They are self-centered and thus they always think about themselves firsthand often their responses are not driven by emotions and concern for others, but are driven by how everything might impact their own self along with maintaining their grandiose self-image; meaning, they might apologize to someone if they feel guilty, but that is not out of a genuine concern for that person’s emotions, rather make them seem more palpable.

What makes a Narcissist feel guilty?

When a narcissist feels responsible for committing a mistake or making someone suffer, then they can feel guilty unless their defense mechanism is not active. But in situations where their defense mechanism against has been activated like a breakup or when someone challenges their ego, then they do not feel guilty but would instead be in an attack mode where they would challenge your patience.

The “Guilt” kicks in for the narcissist when they realize that they need that person whom they hurt and sent away. For instance, a narcissist might feel guilty when they start missing their ex whom they sent away or the ex left them just because of their rage outburst. At this point, a narcissist might feel the guilt building up when their defense mode is shut off and their conscience allows them to feel repentance upon the disappearance of their beloved person. Beloved in the sense that they were the source of their narcissistic supply, and thus they had an attachment to that person.

In some cases, a narcissist might miss the person out of love or how they made them feel, then too they are capable of feeling the guilt. So when a narcissist’s pent-up remorse flows visibly, they go back to their ex-partner and thus people name this as a manipulative tactic. This might not be considered as manipulative as at this point the narcissist is in real regret and they wish to have their partner back.

Do Narcissists cry?

Narcissists are human after all. Everyone is capable of crying. So yes, narcissists can cry if we take it as a short answer. But when we dig deeper into the same topic, the answer may vary and be a little complex.

Narcissists lack emotional attachment due to a lack of empathy. They are full of themselves and have an inflated sense of self-importance thus they can hardly think about others and their emotions in general. But it is possible for them to cry. Though their reasons might differ from others, they still can cry.

Other people may cry out of sadness, empathy, and grief most of the time. But for the narcissist, the reason may vary and they may cry as they feel frustrated, or angry, or when someone hurt their ego, or when they feel their shield might be broken revealing their true personalities. It is important here to note that not all narcissists may cry due to similar reasons, as each narcissistic individual is different due to the varying degrees of narcissism.

Do Narcissists feel Remorse or Shame?

Narcissists lack empathy and do not feel remorse for their actions. While a narcissist may be able to display fake remorse as a part of their manipulative tactics, just to maintain their grandiose image. Their narcissistic traits hardly allow them to feel real emotions, so they fake them most of the time just to maintain their image. As a narcissist is self-centered, they might not be able to experience genuine emotions and thus they are unable to provide convincing emotional responses. Thus they exploit other people’s genuine emotions by providing fake apologies and displaying superficial shame and remorse.

Do Narcissists Cry, Feel Guilt, Remorse or Shame?

Narcissists do feel guilty, shame, and remorse or may even cry in some instances, but they would quickly cover those emotions with either a lie or some fake repentance when caught in an act of committing a fault.

Shame, repentance, and guilt are responses when a person has a sense of committing some crime or fault. It is a situation that can put a person in a dishonorable state and exposes their wrongdoings devaluing their worth at least for that period of time. Narcissists cannot bare when their impression of being perfect goes down the drain even for a while. Thus they may lie innumerably or just avoid the blame shamelessly. Narcissists do that because their defense mechanism or defensive nature doe snot allow their conscience to feel guilt even though they have a feeling of underlying guilt.

The narcissist might feel foolish or ashamed of the situation, but they would never allow that to be displayed. They would laugh it out but would never concede in defeat and apologize. in certain cases, narcissists might even be furious as their pent-up shame flows out in the form of rage on others, and thus they might distract the focus by being angry instead of feeling shameful or guilty. Thus the self-centered narcissist does feel shame but avoids it at all costs just to not harm their grandiose image by apologizing and accepting their fault.

Narcissists are full of themselves, so they never really care for what others feel. They always just keep in check that they are not somehow embarrassed or insulted by others. Narcissists do not actually care when they hurt someone, they do not even realize that they have hurt someone unless and until that person leaves them, somehow representing their discontentment with the narcissist or just stopping being available to the narcissist.

Narcissists only apologize when they realize that the other person is severely hurt and that it might affect their narcissistic supply. It is only when their supply source starts drifting, one might hear an insincere, ingenuine, and half-hearted apology. Also, narcissists do not even try to change themselves or learn from their past experiences. They just adapt to this toxic cycle of doing something wrong, ignoring it, not even caring about the other person’s feelings and only and only apologize when the argument or the disagreement becomes serious or lengthy and when it starts affecting their dose of narcissistic supply.

Narcissists and apologies are two opposite poles of a magnet that always repel each other. Narcissists continue this toxic cycle of wrongdoings and try to cover it up with just a few insincere words which they state like they are doing a favor by apologizing. They do not mean to give sincere apologies at all, it is just one of their unconcerned attempt to just keep the relationship going to gain what they need and desire.

Narcissists feel that apologizing may hurt their pride as it will prove their wrongdoing or bring a negative light on them. Narcissists always present themselves as someone who is perfectly cast, and someone who is incapable of making mistakes. So when it comes to apologizing they would be insincere with their efforts or just ignore providing an apology altogether.

Narcissists would never choose to apologize in the first place, but if at all a narcissist has to present an apology somehow they would simply either provide insincere apologies when it becomes really really necessary for them or they would just provide statements that are more inclined towards their gaslighting technique.

Does a narcissist ever truly regret hurting people?

Narcissists have a boosted sense of self-importance, thus they seek constant attention, adoration, and validation from others. They lack empathy and feel that they are entitled to behave as they wish with others as they always take others for granted. They would manipulate, abuse, and exploit others even while they are fake apologizing. Even their apologies would sound like,

A sentence containing a “BUT”. If an apology contains, “I am regretful for doing something like this, but…..” then that preposition “but” immediately invalidates the apology. Hence it indicates insincerity.

If an apology sounds something like, “I am sorry if you cannot…..” it is conveyed that the hurt that they have caused is nothing much and the person who has been a victim of their hurtful behavior is just exaggerating the situation.

If the apology sentence includes something like, “Because of you”, then it clearly is blameshifting and the person who is apologizing is not at all genuinely apologizing. It is all blame-shifting and playing the victim situation here.

So how can a person feel genuinely guilty and shameful when even their apologies sound like this?

Narcissists are able to regret or feel shame but it is in a very superficial state. Their remorse, regrets, shame, and guilt are not deep-rooted which proves that their repentance is shallow. This ingrained trait of narcissists does not allow them to acknowledge other people’s pain or even allow them to realize that they have hurt someone in most cases. Narcissists lack empathy, and they view others as extensions of their own toxic selves. Thus they struggle to connect with people on an emotional level, which leads to their insensitive and hurtful behavior.


Narcissists do feel guilty, shame, and remorse or may even cry in some instances, but they would quickly cover those emotions with either a lie or some fake repentance when caught in an act of committing a fault.

It would be incorrect to say that narcissists are incapable of feeling emotions. Narcissists are not insensitive or emotion resistant, it is just that they feel experience the same emotions differently than others.

It is not necessary that all narcissists may be ingenuine and not feel regret, shame, or guilt. Some may feel those emotions but struggle to display them while some would shut these emotions behind their defense mechanism.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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