Sociopathic Remorse is not a Thing

R. James Miller
2 min readFeb 11, 2021

Day 7 of My 300 Words for 30 Days Challenge

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

CNN Headline: “Trump advisers say he hasn’t shown remorse for the insurrection and relationship with Pence remains damaged”

I was SHOCKED when I came across this headline on CNN’s website. Not shocked that Trump’s relationship with Pence is damaged, nor that he hasn’t shown any remorse. I was shocked that there are people at CNN who think this is a shocking headline. Of course, he hasn’t shown remorse. Did Ted Bundy show remorse? Did the Green River Killer show remorse?

Of all the emotions psychopaths and sociopaths are able to fake, remorse is one they just cannot seem to get a grasp on. Sadness can be faked. A sociopath can see a direct correlation between an event like someone dying so normal people cry. Even if they can’t cry on command, they can slap a sad and somber look on their face and say it’s because they are mourning. This is easy for them to understand.

But remorse is different. Remorse requires an understanding of how your actions affect others. From my experience dating a sociopath, this was the one thing she just could never pull off. She was capable of saying she was sorry after getting caught in a lie, but when I drilled down even one level further, it was clear she didn’t really know what she was apologizing for other than getting caught.

If she told some massive lie and got caught, she was capable of apologizing for the action of telling a lie but she could never apologize for how it made me feel to be lied to by someone I loved. Countless times we’d go through this exact cycle. She’d get caught doing something like sending sexual messages to another guy. After initially placing blame elsewhere, she would eventually say she was sorry. But because this happened so many times when I got to the question of “why should I believe you this time?” she would inevitably be stumped. The obvious answer for anyone who understands remorse is “because I know how much I hurt you and I don’t want to do that again”.

That phrase was impossible for her to comprehend. No matter how many times we went through it, no matter how many times I answered the question for her because I wanted to keep the relationship going, she could never come to that conclusion on her own. It was as though it was mentally impossible. Trying to get a sociopath to feel remorse is like trying to teach a dog to speak Japanese.

Originally published at on February 11, 2021.

R. James Miller

Mental health, emotional wellness, opinion, & travel-focused writer. Writing about my weight struggles, personal growth, and wanderlust.