Have you ever made excuses? Have you ever made excuses for someone else? Did you ever have a friend whose behavior you had to explain away to someone else? Did you ever have to consider that friend as “just the way they are”? You or your friend may be involved in the process of rationalization.

When a person engages in this process they usually justify their actions to themselves. “I had a good reason.” “You just don’t understand.” I’m sure you can fill in the appropriate qualifiers.

What process does the person who continually excuses this behavior go through? Are they rationalizing rationalization? Sounds like a slippery slope.

You can’t choose family. If you choose to deal with them, you will likely have to cope with this process in some form or another. It may be for your own piece of mind, or it may be for their well being. What happens when you cannot cope any longer?

Example: You have a relative who continually misses appointments. They constantly claim that their “mind was elsewhere”, or “things are just crazy for me now”. You know, for a fact, that they simply put it lower on their list of importance and simply ignored the appointment. You’ve made excuses in the past, both to others and to yourself, but now you’ve reached a point where you can no longer stomach this form of behavior. Confrontation is useless. For lack of a better term, they are they way they are, they are not going to change. Making an argument will only serve to elevate your heart rate and perhaps cause you a headache. What can you do?

Anger – Sadly, this is a dead end street. It will only lead to depression as you are unable to change someone else’s thought process.

Tit for tat – Show them what it feels like. Also a dead end street. You have never acted in such a manner before, in fact, you used to make excuses for this form of behavior. Your actions will be an obvious ploy. Useless.

Acceptance – This brings you right back to where you started.

It appears that it is impossible to convince someone else to stop rationalizing, especially if the condition is chronic. The only way to stop this behavior is for the person that rationalizes to recognize that is a problem. However, when you are knee deep in your own justification, why should you change? You’re not the problem.