Here is the thing. Most of us have no idea that we are hiding behind our bad behavior because we refuse to admit to ourselves that we are doing anything wrong. If we were to acknowledge our undesirable actions, we would feel guilty (which we don’t want to feel), or we would have to change (which we don’t want to do).
No, we want to continue doing whatever it is that we do- guilt free.
So if deep deep down, or even not so deep down, we know that what we are doing is wrong, how do we keep doing it without feeling guilty? We use our defenses. Yes, we find ways to defend our bad behaviors to others and to ourselves. As long as we can make it “not so bad”, then all is good. Or so we think.
We all use defenses to a certain extent. See if you recognize any of the following as your defenses.
Blaming: It is all because of another person or situation.
“They made me do it.”
Rationalizing: Justifying or explaining undesirable behavior.
“I deserve this after such a hard day.”
Denying: Refusing to accept what is true.
“It really isn’t a problem.”
Minimizing: Making a situation less significant than it really is.
“I didn’t hit her that hard.” “He will get over it.” “It is really not such a big deal.”
Avoiding: Changing the subject. Avoiding the person or situation. Withdrawing.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
Sarcasm, smirking, and joking: Finding humor in serious situations.
Your partner tells you that something you are doing bothers them, and you sarcastically respond, “You’ve got it so tough.”
Intellectualizing: Trying to convince yourself and others that there is a good reason for your behavior.
“Well, you see, when I was young my psyche was damaged which has…..”
Apologizing: Saying your sorry, but secretly wanting to offend.
“I am sorry if this offends you, but…………”
“Please don’t take this the wrong way, ………………”
Attacking: Instead of taking responsibility for your actions, you attack the messenger that brings the behavior to your attention.
“Look who is talking. Remember when YOU….”
“You had better watch what YOU say….”
Generalizing: Concluding that a behavior is alright because other people do it, too.
“Everybody does it at one time or another.”
Once you begin to recognize your defenses and acknowledge your undesirable behavior, you can begin to make changes that will improve all of your relationships.
Remember, it is okay to be wrong. We are all imperfect. If we can’t admit our mistakes and shortcomings, we can’t learn from them. Some people just go through life, others grow through life. Be one who grows.
P.S. I once was the Queen of Rationalization, but I am working on it. How about you?
Have a great day!