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False Guilt: #SorryNotSorry

4978403537_5298f8bf7d_zDear Parents, I’m sorry you can’t accept me for who I am. You drove me away and now, you’re missing out on a wonderful daughter and son-in-law.

Oh, you wanted a baby in 1980. You just didn’t want me. You wouldn’t have accepted any baby. For you cannot accept yourself. Because no one ever accepted you.

Through no fault of your own, you’re both the Scapegoats of your families. It’s a role you were assigned. You didn’t earn it. But why oh why, did you pass it down to me!?!

As Barbara Rogers wrote in her article Getting to know my self-hatred – a moving inner conversation from

I finally understand that they hated me. They could not stand me and envied who I was and how I was. They could NOT bear my charm, my sweetness, my joy, my aliveness, my clarity. They could not stand ANYTHING that is so wonderfully and full of joy of life radiating from me. They HATED me and wanted to destroy me. Wanted… [to] break me….torture me with self-doubt, self-accusations, self-hatred, and judgmental condemnations so terribly that you have no clue what to do anymore…to make sure that they are right—that I went down. Then they could be triumphant…Under no circumstances did they want me free, healthy, alive, writing, living.” (Used by the kind permission of Barbara Rogers)

The Face of False Guilt: I’m Sorry for Existing

19469595_50768f90e9_zWe breathe shame in the air. Absorb it through our pores. Sense the vibe with our intuition. It doesn’t have to be spelled out in-so-many-words. Often narcissists won’t say it directly anyways. If they did, they’d lose their “plausible deniability.”

But we’re not stupid. No child of a narcissist is stupid. We got their spoken and unspoken messages loud and clear.

That’s how we developed False Guilt. I know the list below will sound crazy…whacked out…insane…weird…inhumane. Well, either directly or indirectly, I got all of these messages from my family. Most of them were spoken. Some were implied.

If it happened to me, maybe it happened to you too. Maybe we can heal together.

And yes, haters, I am having a pity party today! And y’know what? That’s okay!


  • I’m sorry my birth and newborn staph infection stressed you out so badly, you got a rash.
  • I’m sorry for crying so much as a baby.
  • I’m sorry I made noise while I slept as a baby and kept you awake.
  • I’m sorry for crying in rage (“grinding”) at you.
  • I’m sorry for not being cuddly.
  • I’m sorry for not being clingy.
  • I’m sorry for being a sinner.
  • I’m sorry for being a headstrong toddler who had to be spanked every day.
  • I’m sorry for having rage.
  • I’m sorry for being paralyzed, curled up in the fetal position, suffering from horrible body memories at age 5.
  • I’m sorry for dissociating from age 5 – 12.
  • I’m sorry for picking a friend who taught me the “F” word in 1st grade.
  • I’m sorry for not telling you I slapped Megan in first grade.
  • I’m sorry I became “obsessed with witches” so you had to break me of it. (I don’t believe this, btw!)
  • I’m sorry for kissing Matthew’s arm in first grade.
  • I’m sorry for being fascinated by the other kids and wanting to talk about stupid things, like people.
  • I’m sorry for not telling you what I was learning.
  • I’m sorry for “following the crowd in doing wrong [talking in class]” in 2nd grade.
  • I’m sorry for being scared to swallow pills.
  • I’m sorry for hating fish sandwiches.
  • I’m sorry for hating Spicy Vegetable Chili with Raisins.
  • I’m sorry for hating lentil & cinnamon hotdish.
  • I’m sorry for hating almost all the food you cooked.
  • I’m sorry for coming home from school crying every day.
  • I’m sorry for not being able to handle meanness.
  • I’m sorry you had to leave work to take me to doctor appointments.
  • I’m sorry I didn’t know how to fall gracefully “like a boy” when you dropped me on my head.
  • I’m sorry for finding 7th grade difficult.
  • I’m sorry for believing I had to get straight As.
  • I’m sorry for thinking you loved me for my performance.
  • I’m sorry I flunked out in the first round of two Geography Bee’s.
  • I’m sorry I was boy crazy.
  • I’m sorry I didn’t get through enough material in 11th grade (homeschool).
  • I’m sorry I didn’t want to perform for you in my homeschool Speech class.
  • I’m sorry I couldn’t learn to drive from you because of your raging and screaming.
  • I’m sorry I flunked my first driving test.
  • I’m sorry for developing as a woman.
  • I’m sorry I wasn’t asexual.
  • I’m sorry I introduced you to “Joe.”
  • I’m sorry I brought you under “demonic attack” in 1996.
  • I’m sorry I was catatonic.
  • I’m sorry for not showing interest in your sex talks.
  • I’m sorry for crying when Dad taught me about the Big O (while Mom hid behind the door, eavesdropping the whole time. If it must be talked about, why can’t my Mom talk about it!?! I do NOT want to have the Big O talk with my father!?! It makes me cringe to this day!)
  • I’m sorry I didn’t show you enough empathy.
  • I’m sorry I was defensive to criticism.
  • I’m sorry I wanted “mall bangs” in the 90’s.
  • I’m sorry I plugged up your toilet.
  • I’m sorry I used too much toilet paper.
  • I’m sorry for not keeping up with my required apologetics reading during Summer vacation.
  • I’m sorry for not getting saved (born again) on your schedule.
  • I’m sorry your house got rundown because of raising & educating me.
  • I’m sorry for wanting to be “worldly” like the other kids.
  • I’m sorry I wanted to take the same steps in maturity the other kids did.
  • I’m sorry I read Song of Solomon.
  • I’m sorry I was somehow “seducing” my father.
  • I’m sorry I got OCD, especially Dermatillomania.
  • I’m sorry for not being perfect by Graduation in 1998.
  • I’m sorry for saying we were not a happy family.
  • I’m sorry I never told you what I was thinking.
  • I’m sorry I never hurried, or ran, even when ordered to by you.
  • I’m sorry I got migraines during my first graphic design job.
  • I’m sorry for Googling “smother mother” when I was 23.
  • I’m sorry for ballroom dancing…paying for sex you called it.
  • I’m sorry for not wanting to dump Jeff when I was 24. (You forced me & wrote the email dumping him.)
  • I’m sorry for being so desperate for a man.
  • I’m sorry for not having proper respect for myself.
  • I’m sorry I welcomed the attentions of that divorced father-of-one when I was twenty-four.
  • I’m sorry I fell for a married man who loved me and told me I was beautiful when I was twenty-four.
  • I’m sorry for hating the “for my safety” boundaries you’d established.
  • I’m sorry for wanting to LIVE.
  • I’m sorry I did not want to “play house” by decorating my room @ your house.
  • I’m sorry for not being happy in isolation.
  • I’m sorry I was always asking if the boundaries were still there.
  • I’m sorry I made you tired of being a mother.
  • I’m sorry for not thinking exactly like you.
  • I’m sorry for not living in a perfect world.
  • I’m sorry for wanting to drive highways.
  • I’m sorry for wanting to be out after dark.
  • I’m sorry for wanting to drive to St. Paul.
  • I’m sorry for wanting to go to the Irish Fair.
  • I’m sorry for wanting to go to the Renaissance Festival.
  • I’m sorry you had to take me to music events twice a year.
  • I’m sorry there were “dirty jokes” told at those MENSA events you made me quit attending.
  • I’m sorry for being tired and not wanting to play music with you.
  • I’m sorry I got migraines and threw up when I was 24.
  • I’m sorry I played sour notes while learning violin.
  • I’m sorry I never checked online court records before dating a man.
  • I’m sorry I let Glen kiss me on the cheek when I was 27.
  • I’m sorry I refused to dump Jamie.
  • I’m sorry for wanting to move out.
  • I’m sorry I caused you financial hardship by moving out and thus removing your $440/month rent.
  • I’m sorry for moving out and not doing all your grocery shopping and errands anymore.
  • I’m sorry I’m not taking you to your dentist appointments anymore.
  • I’m sorry for grieving over never having a boyfriend or husband.
  • I’m sorry for leaving water around the bathtub rim.
  • I’m sorry for leaving makeup scum in the sink.
  • I’m sorry for not wearing liquid makeup at home.
  • I’m sorry you had to see my ugly, scarred face.
  • I’m sorry for face powder dust being on top of the cabinet.
  • I’m sorry for smearing up the bathroom mirror.
  • I’m sorry for the hot water I used.
  • I’m sorry for the liquid soap I used.
  • I’m sorry for the shampoo I used.
  • I’m sorry for all the washcloths I used.
  • I’m sorry for causing you laundry by only wearing outfits twice.
  • I’m sorry my tent-like clothes were “immodest” so I could “seduce” my father.
  • I’m sorry for “showering” (bucket bath in a cold, dry tub) daily.
  • I’m sorry for taking up room in the fridge with my food.
  • I’m sorry for being in your way while I was cooking.
  • I’m sorry for the power my food took to cook.
  • I’m sorry for not cooking more often.
  • I’m sorry my eating made dirty dishes.
  • I’m sorry for not going to sleep at 9 p.m.
  • I’m sorry for “dropping things” on the floor after 9 p.m. lights out.
  • I’m sorry for using the bathroom during the night too much.
  • I’m sorry for light from my room shining into your room.
  • I’m sorry for not being able to sleep during the night.
  • I’m sorry for clearing my throat during the night.
  • I’m sorry for having a “cluttered” knick-knacky room.
  • I’m sorry for having too much stuff with my hopechest.
  • I’m sorry for wanting sexy lingerie.
  • I’m sorry for sleeping in on weekends.
  • I’m sorry for not taking vitamins.
  • I’m sorry for sneezing so loudly.
  • I’m sorry for wearing heels.
  • I’m sorry for wearing too much makeup.
  • I’m sorry for keeping my hair short.
  • I’m sorry for coloring my hair.
  • I’m sorry for wanting to choose my own outfits and jewelry.
  • I’m sorry for being perpetually sad…”B.O. of the personality” you called it.
  • I’m sorry for crying so much.
  • I’m sorry for being angry and hurt about events at my job.
  • I’m sorry for getting sick twice a year.
  • I’m sorry for exposing Dad to germs.
  • I’m sorry for calling my abusive CFO boss a “bastard.”
  • I’m sorry people at work abused me because I didn’t control them properly.
  • I’m sorry for getting pneumonia.
  • I’m sorry for risking bringing “bedbugs” into your home by going to meetings at work.
  • I’m sorry for risking bringing “bedbugs” into your home by going out to lunch every day.
  • I’m sorry you’re so paranoiac about bedbugs that you put my library books in the dryer on “hot” to kill bug eggs.
  • I’m sorry for always being in your La-Z-Boys, instead of sitting on the hard, uncomfortable futon.
  • I’m sorry for bringing my coworker’s “dirty book” into your house and exposing your innocent mind to “filth.”
  • I’m sorry I declined to have you filter all of my reading materials after that.
  • I’m sorry for running out on you before you got through menopause.
  • I’m sorry for buying the condo so quickly & not waiting for us all to move into a duplex together “for my safety.”
  • I’m sorry for getting dogs.
  • I’m sorry for having a contaminated house because of the dogs.
  • I’m sorry I kept my husband a secret when we met online.
  • I’m sorry I didn’t date him for a year like you suggested.
  • I’m sorry I insisted on marrying him and so quickly too…but you see, I had to otherwise you might’ve ruined it for me. So take a bow. You’re the reason I married in haste…and have NOT repented in leisure!
  • I’m sorry you had to buy a new second-hand shirt for my wedding.
  • I’m sorry my wedding distracted you for two weeks from your single-minded focus on your non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
  • I’m sorry you had to be around “other people” all day at our wedding.
  • I’m sorry you had to see Michael and I kiss…and kiss…and kiss on our wedding day.
  • I’m sorry I’ve had sex with him and now, you can’t bear to look at me, speak to me or hug me, Dad.
  • I’m sorry I went on a honeymoon and risked bedbugs.
  • I’m sorry Michael’s not exactly like you guys.
  • I’m sorry he knows things that you don’t, like how to fix things properly.
  • I’m sorry he didn’t pick up the reins of controlling me from you.
  • I’m sorry about my “evil” piercings.
  • I’m sorry he doesn’t forbid all the things you forbade.
  • I’m sorry I brought you three wonderful step-grandchildren.
  • I’m sorry they would cause you “too much stress” to even meet them once.
  • I’m sorry we sold the condo…your Country Club and future retirement house.
  • I’m sorry we moved 300 miles away.
  • I’m sorry I drove my car on highways to move to my new house.
  • I’m sorry my favorite TV show is M*A*S*H. (How evil!)
  • I’m sorry I caused you “concern” in Oct. 2013 by disappearing for three weeks prior to going No Contact.
  • I’m sorry I’m not a perfect wife.
  • I’m sorry I don’t keep a perfect house.
  • I’m sorry my feet are black from gardening barefoot.
  • I’m sorry I’ve abandoned all your rules.
  • I’m sorry I’ve tried every “vice”in the book…and loved them.
  • I’m sorry I’ve let you down.
  • I’m sorry I’m a disappointment.
  • I’m sorry for not reflecting well on you to the relatives anymore.
  • I’m sorry for removing your little “one and only” from your life.
  • I’m sorry for removing your pride.
  • I’m sorry for telling the truth about you.
  • I’m sorry for betraying all your secrets.
  • I’m sorry for talking about you behind your back.
  • I’m sorry for revealing how you gossip about each other behind each other’s backs.
  • I’m sorry for my website.
  • I’m sorry for my blog.
  • I’m sorry it’s all true.
  • But most of all…

I’m sorry for existing.

ID-100105046Apparently, that was my biggest mistake of all. Did you know I used to sit in your frigid basement on weekends, doing laundry, with my head in my hands, repeating over and over again, “Don’t exist. DON’T EXIST. Don’t exist.” Those were the times I got really quiet and you screamed, “Are you OK!?!” down the stairs.

Of course I put on my “happy voice” to yell back, “YES!” I had to be happy or you’d accuse me of having “BO of the personality.”

I really tried not to exist.

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I put on the smile. Went catatonic. I really, really tried. #SorryNotSorry I didn’t succeed at that either. To judge by the list above, I suck at not existing.

But, y’know what, I like existing. It’s fun.

And there are people who love me unconditionally for who I am…not in spite of who I am. They respect me— that’s something you never did. They’re my new family and I love them dearly!

P.S. You wouldn’t like them. They’re not good enough for you. We sit around, play games, insult each other and enjoy double entendres! I know. I shouldn’t be friends with such “evil” people. Try looking in the mirror, hypocrite!

Did you like what you read here? If so, I’d be happy to contribute an original story about narcissism, narcissistic abuse (and its many rotten bedfellows) and healing to your site or guest blog. For details on the “whole package” deal I offer, please visit

Recommended Website: Barbara Rogers’ site  Helped me so much!
For more rants, ravings and reverse engineering of narcissism, please visit and don’t forget to subscribe for daily updates by email. Thanks!
This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Under no circumstances should it be considered therapy nor replace therapy and treatment. If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is staffed by certified crisis response professionals. The content of these blogs and all blogs written by Lenora Thompson are merely her opinion. If you are in need of help, please contact qualified mental health professionals.
False Guilt: #SorryNotSorry

Lenora Thompson

For five years, "Narcissism Meets Normalcy" has followed the real-life, ongoing story of freelance writer, Lenora Thompson, and her readers’ healing journey from narcissistic abuse to healing, peace and happiness. In August 2020, Lenora launched a new blog, "Beyond Narcissism…And Getting Happier All the Time" as she and her readers explore the new world of peace and happiness. "Beyond Narcs…Get Happy" is 100% reader supported! To learn more about Lenora, her husband Michael’s heroic fight against Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis and to subscribe to her other writings, please visit Thank you!

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APA Reference
Thompson, L. (2016). False Guilt: #SorryNotSorry. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2020, from


Last updated: 22 Feb 2016
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