Manipulators always have an answer for the hurtful things they do. No matter what you confront them about, they’ll offer an excuse that seems to justify their behavior. When manipulators rationalize, it’s not the same as when a person of generally good conscience tries to assuage that conscience by finding reasons to think what they did wasn’t really that bad when they’ve done something wrong. Rather, when manipulators rationalize, they’re mostly trying to manage your impression of them. They’re trying to convince you that they meant no harm in the first place, that they had no choice but to do what they did, or that they did what any reasonable person would have done under the circumstances. This is to mislead you about the nature of their intentions as well as the nature of their character. Like lying, which I posted about earlier, it’s simply a tactic, and one of many tools in the arsenal of weapons they employ to get the better of others and resist accepting responsibility.
When a person rationalizes for something they know is wrong, they’re also making a statement about how they feel toward the principle at stake. For example, when a person continuously attempts to excuse their belligerant behavior, they’re making a statement about how they feel about the wrongness of bullying. They’re also sending a clear signal about how likely they are to do the same thing again. As long as they continue to excuse their behavior, it’s likely they’ll repeat it. That’s because they haven’t submitted themselves to a different principle of conduct. That’s why it’s so important to never be swayed by or accept an excuse. Not only do you get manipulated, you put yourself in the position of having the same thing done to you again that you found that you took issue with in the first place.