“I’m sorry” carries a lot of weight when it’s genuine and saying it requires vulnerability to admit wrongdoing and the hurt that that wrongdoing has inflicted on the person you’re apologizing to.
To be truly sorry means feeling regret or sorrow over an unfortunate situation and your role in it. But in unhealthy relationships, people often say, “I’m sorry” not to express genuine regret; instead, they use it to manipulate their significant other. In such cases, these words mean something else entirely, including the following possible meanings and their synonyms.
1. A declaration made out of selfishness. Synonym: I don’t want to feel guilty anymore.
2. A means to end a dispute that the apologizer would prefer to avoid, often for lack of caring. Synonym: This conversation is over.
3. A method of appeasement to control another person. Synonym: I’m in control.
And don't forget the value sometimes in not saying anything at all, and just listening.