Manipulation Tactics Pt. 2: Rationalization (Excuse-Making)

Disturbed characters often try to “justify” their bad behavior.  And traditional psychology trained us to see their “rationalizations” as unconscious defenses against feelings of guilt for their actions.  But when disturbed characters make excuses, they’re really making a very conscious attempt to cast themselves in a more favorable light while manipulating others into seeing their point of view.  It’s not a defense but a perfect example of covert aggression.  And because it’s a very serious way in which they avoid responsibility and resist adopting the standards of conduct we want them to embrace, when a person makes excuses, it’s a sure bet they’ll engage in the bad behavior again.

Below is a link to a video clip from my upcoming “webinar” series, based on my books Character Disturbance and In Sheep’s Clothing:

10 thoughts on “Manipulation Tactics Pt. 2: Rationalization (Excuse-Making)

  1. The production values on this one are a bit weak, doc, IMO. It seems choppy, text is missing (it says so on the screen), you back track several times making it harder to follow, and it’s fairly repetitive. Maybe worth a redo?

    The good part is that you come across as lively and deeply “in the know” about the on-the-ground experience with these people… something all of us in these relationships totally identify with.

    1. Thanks for the comment and critique, Vera. Yes, the editing on this one was choppy, but unfortunately a redo is out for now. Still, I wanted to get this one out today because I have more on other tactics to follow that are presently being edited. Perhaps a cleaner version will be available in a few days. And BTW, the repetition is mostly on purpose, especially with regard to the functionality of tactics. Not all those who follow the blog and read my various other internet posts are as familiar with my perspective as others, and they really need the re-orientation in perspective I’m trying to emphasize. Still, I’ll get some folks to look at cleaning things up a bit.

      Again, thanks. I always appreciate the feedback.

  2. Hello dr. Simon,

    Its been one year that i found your articles on this site:than I bought and read your books and they helped me a lot to understand and deal with my (family)history…and my present life.
    I am not a native English reader (and writer) so I am very glad with your youtube performances…They are such an supplement for me.
    What me hit with this video above is that my ex husband (in retrospect an really N )always said to me in a conflict: “It is me who have made a thousand excuses in our marriage…but you only a few…”
    on what my answer was:” If you really meant them, you wouldn’t have make them again..”
    Now i see that it was me who gave him 999 opportunities more.
    Thanks again for all your support in my life.

  3. Hi, I wonder what people’s opinions are on my situation as I am very confused.
    The abusive and manipulative person whom I have been with for 7 years, recently upon me leaving the relationship owned up to being unconscious of the way he had been taught to ‘be’ in the world via a bad childhood.
    He is a lot better in some ways but not others and I wonder if I’m naive in thinking he is genuine in accepting and wanting to change his ways or if I’m being manipulated again.
    What should I look out for?
    He does not go to therapy due to social anxiety but seems to pick up or know certain new ways in which he didn’t know, as he says beforehand.
    Any reply’s would be much appreciated

    1. Jessica,

      The key point I find here is that “upon my leaving”. Ask yourself why didn’t he work on himself before you left? It’s because he likes himself the way he is.
      As my counselor once pointed out, she said “He will behave but it won’t last.”
      My guess is he’s “behaving”.
      You found the courage to leave the relationship and there is no hurry to run back into it. If he truly changes, which takes more than a day, if ever, he will wait till you’re ready. Give yourself time to heal.
      Ask yourself, do you want a “project man” who abuses and manipulates and or Friend, a companion, one who treats you nicely, one whom truly cares about your best interests? You know the answers and you need to stand firm, believe in yourself, believe you are worthy of a good life, good friends, good companion, good mate. You Are Worthy. He doesn’t deserve you.
      You’ve left – you did it. Applaud yourself.
      His social anxiety is his problem to deal with. Not yours. That’s just an excuse anyway to not go to counseling. He is toying with you. Please don’t fall for it. Abusers, manipulators lie lie lie to get their way.
      Keep reading the posts, the articles of Dr. Simon, read his books. You need to heal, and going back to abuse will make your weaker. You left while you still had some self esteem left, but staying too long sometimes makes it incredibly difficult to leave, ever, if you get too beaten down.
      Read here about NO CONTACT and how it will benefit you.
      Keep posting. We care and understand.

      1. Jessica,

        I once asked the X why do you decide to change now that I’m leaving, why not before? Why would my leaving motivate you to change yourself? I don’t believe that BS.

      2. Such a wonderful, thoughtful, spot on response!

        One that I need to re-read when a certain person tries to plead they’ve changed.

    2. Jessica,
      Look out for actual behaviour. Words are cheap.
      There must be some observable actual behaviour change, otherwise apologies are nothing more than empty words to restore status quo.

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