“Understanding Rationalization: Making Excuses as an Effective Manipulation Tactic” Comments, Page 1

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11 Comments (2 Discussion Threads) on “Understanding Rationalization: Making Excuses as an Effective Manipulation Tactic”

  1. This is a GREAT post, and your book has been on my to-read list for quite some time. It’s a really long list…it’s getting bumped up to the top.

    I used to fall into the category of the “…neurotic individuals, especially those who always want to think the best of people and who strive hard to understand what would make a person behave in a problematic way.”. I have had experiences with manipulative individuals as you have described in this article and have almost driven myself insane trying to figure them out. I usually ended up concluding that I had done something wrong…as was their plan all along.

    This is the first article I’ve read indicating that these behaviors are NOT unconscious defense mechanisms, but are in fact, conscious. I had suspected as much. It is brilliantly written and extremely informative and helpful.

    Thank you! I can’t wait for the next one.

    1. “I have had experiences with manipulative individuals as you have described in this article and have almost driven myself insane trying to figure them out. I usually ended up concluding that I had done something wrong — as was their plan all along.”

      LOL! You could have been describing me, SMMTAM, as I have done the very same thing many, many times.

    2. I remember when I was a kid saying, “I’ll never be like my mother” ” I’ll never let those things happen to me or my kids”. But in retrospect, I am in a bad relationship doing exactly the same thing. I am with a manipulative individual that has many of the same charachteritics that this article describe…that is easy to see. What is hard for me is to change my own behavior, as I also want to think the best of people and the best of him. This is a great article!

    3. You’re welcome, and thanks for the comment. After all these years, I still value every bit of validation.

      The reason we feel insane when these things happen (as I discuss in the book) is that when when we’re being barraged by the tactics, we unconsciously go on the defensive. Yet, because the tactics by nature conceal obvious aggressive intent, and because traditional notions about human behavior color our perspective, we have a hard time seeing the person using the tactics as someone who’s simply trying to exploit, take advantage of, or manipulate us. That would make anyone feel crazy.

    4. This article has helped me to understand the greater principle behind the justification for lying and excuse making that my current roommate has. I think I might be living with a very psychotic disordered individual.

  2. It took a long time for me to knock off MY part in this game. It’s amazing how once I was able to unravel myself from the nonsense of trying to figure THEM out and just focus on me, this NEVER happens anymore. Ok, ready for the next article… :)

    1. Wow! You are far ahead in the discussion we’ll eventually be having about how to avoid depression and empower oneself in relationships with these kinds of folks. Articles on some of the other tactics have just been written and should appear in the next few days.

  3. *”She is always pushing my buttons” (blaming others); “I didn’t really hurt her” (minimizing); and “Am I supposed to always just take it?” (playing the victim)*

    This article in particular seems to be about people like myself. I tend to talk to people in this manner all the time since early adolescence especially my paarents, classmates, and teachers. I’m in my teenage years now but yet I continue to do this. I always thought it was just a bad habit. I’ve met several people in my high school and some are really nice but they tend to accept or find the better in people like myself and some times swallow all the lies I spill (by accident some times). But now I’m worried that since this is ofcourse wrong and I’ve known that for a long time, this puts an emphasis on that and I need to stop. I don’t want my good friends to go insane or move further away from me because I do this often. I’ve read several of your other articles including “Shame, Guilt, and Character Development” but now I’m wondering how exactly do people deal with a neurotic who tends to manipulate others. Socety doesn’t just shun them or leave them astray to fend for themselves does it?

  4. Great Articles! My son is 21 and deaf, he has a girlfriend (also deaf) who is manipulative and lies. I explained to him that there is something wrong inside of her, she is broken and needs to be fixed but, she has to see she has a problem before that can happen. I could write a book on the tactics she has pulled so far, she is threatened that he will find his independence & in the process, no longer want her. Her fears are her own. She first kicked him out when they had a fight, broke off the relationship, then felt it was a mistake after moving home to her family, since then, she has tried writing to him through her mother’s Facebook account, having nasty letters sent to me by her through a friend, spreading lies and rumors to his other deaf friends, such as telling people I sent the police to her house to tell her she could not move to the same city as my son…. the list goes on but, he is naive one the one hand because he is blinded by “love” and because he is deaf and wants someone to love in his life.

    I understand that and I want that and so much more for him in his happiness… other then showing him these articles etc… is there anything else I can do for him to help him NOT to become her victim?

    Ya, she has pulled the “I’m depressed & its your Mom’s fault”… as well as the “I can’t eat and its your Mom’s fault” cards on me as well as threats that if anything happens to her, it is all my fault.

    I am sick of it…

    Thank you!
    Char in Canada

  5. Hello, Dr. Simon,
    I am a therapist, specializing in the treatment of OCD, hoarding, and other anxiety disorders. I found your article as I was looking for some terminology and concepts that would help me to frame a recent experience with a client who has a hoarding disorder and came to therapy on the insistence of her husband. She used a lot of distraction techniques, eventually escalating to dodging the issue entirely. I’m wondering if you have any written materials or can recommend any that address how these and other manipulative tactics are used by clients (esp compulsory ones) during therapy. Thanks! ~V

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