Leading Authority in Treatment of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse

False Promises Narcissists Make

3 False Promises Narcissists Make

If your spouse says things like “I’m doing the best I can” or “I have every intention of making changes” they are very likely signs that he or she is not truly committed to change or serious about doing the work needed to affect change in their lives. Dr. Hawkins talks about the 3 false promises narcissists make, how to tell when someone is genuine about changing, and when they are not.

3 False Promises Narcissists Make

Trusting people is a fundamental aspect of any healthy relationship. However, it becomes challenging when dealing with narcissistic and emotionally abusive individuals who frequently make empty promises. Dr. David Hawkins, the director of the Marriage Recovery Center, specializes in working with such individuals and their victims. In this article, we’ll explore three common false promises narcissists make and why it’s crucial to approach these promises with caution.

1. “I’ll do the best I can.”

One of the most common empty promises made by narcissistic individuals is, “I’ll do the best I can.” On the surface, it may seem like a genuine commitment to change, but in reality, it often falls short. These individuals frequently offer half-hearted efforts, lack preparation, and fail to make substantial changes despite their promises.

Why it’s False:

Narcissists tend to prioritize their own needs and desires above all else. When they claim to do “the best they can,” it typically translates to doing the minimum required to keep the status quo. They may put on a façade of making an effort, but their actions often reveal a lack of genuine commitment to change.

Why it Matters:

Believing in these empty promises can lead to continued emotional and psychological abuse. Victims may hold onto hope that the narcissist will change, only to experience disappointment repeatedly. It’s crucial to recognize these empty assurances and demand concrete, measurable actions as proof of their commitment to change.

2. “I have every intention to change.”

Another deceptive promise is, “I have every intention to change.” While this statement may sound promising, it is, in reality, a vague and insubstantial commitment. Intentions are not measurable, and they often serve as a convenient way for narcissists to avoid taking real responsibility for their actions.

Why it’s False:

Intentions alone do not lead to meaningful change. Narcissists may express their desire to change, but they often lack the self-awareness and willingness to put in the necessary effort. Intentions remain nothing more than wishful thinking without concrete steps and actions to back them up.

Why it Matters:

Accepting vague intentions as a sign of genuine commitment can keep victims trapped in a cycle of abuse. It’s essential to request clear, tangible plans for change and hold the narcissist accountable for their actions. Without this accountability, they may continue to manipulate and harm those around them.

3. “You’ve got to trust me.”

A particularly manipulative promise made by narcissists is, “You’ve got to trust me.” This statement is often used as a tool to shift blame onto the victim, suggesting that there’s something wrong with them if they don’t trust the narcissist. However, trust should be earned through consistent actions, not demanded.

Why it’s False:

Trust is not something that can be demanded or forced. It must be built over time through honesty, reliability, and genuine change. Narcissists who insist on immediate trust are attempting to manipulate the situation and avoid accountability for their past actions.

Why it Matters:

Placing blind trust in a narcissist who has a history of emotional abuse can be dangerous. It’s essential to prioritize your own well-being and safety by insisting on real, tangible evidence of change. Trust can be rebuilt, but it should be a gradual process based on demonstrated consistent positive behavior.


Dealing with narcissistic and emotionally abusive individuals can be incredibly challenging, especially when they make empty promises of change. Recognizing these false assurances and approaching them with caution is essential for protecting yourself from further harm. Instead of accepting vague commitments, demand concrete actions and hold the narcissist accountable for their behavior.

Trust should be rebuilt on a foundation of genuine change, not empty words and false promises. Remember, your well-being and safety should always be your top priorities in any relationship.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: What Happens When You Disagree With a Narcissist

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


Sign up our newsletter to get updated information, promo or insight for free.

Latest Post


Need Help?
Get The Support You Need From One Of Our Therapists