“Let’s talk first about the tactic of rationalization. Actually, a better term for this tactic would be “excuse-making” or “justifying.”
“…When disturbed characters make excuses for their behavior, they know what they’re doing. They have a clear purpose in mind when they’re seeking to justify themselves. They use this tactic only when they know full well they’ve done something or plan to do something most everyone would regard as wrong. But even knowing it’s wrong, and knowing how negatively the action reflects on them, they remain determined to do it.
[I’ll add that this is exactly the definition of a mortal sin.]
They might feel “entitled” to do it… they’re actively fighting against a principle they know society wants them to adopt. And more importantly, they’re also trying to get you to go along with it.
…Why are the elaborate “explanations” and justifications necessary if the person doesn’t realize how most people would judge their actions?
“It’s not that they don’t know most folks would regard their behavior as wrong. And it’s also not that they truly believe in their hearts that what they’ve done is okay. Rather, they simply don’t want you to negatively appraise their character and possibly be done with them. And, more importantly, they don’t want to accept and internalize the notion that such behavior should not be done again.
“Let’s look at another tactic: denial… Refusing to acknowledge the truth is not the same thing as neurotic denial. It’s simply lying…
“Manipulators will often couple denial with other tactics such as feigning innocence. This is when the person you’ve confronted acts like they have no idea what you’re talking about or pretends in a self-righteous manner that they’ve done absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or guilty for. Sometimes they can use denial and feigning innocence with such intensity and seeming conviction that you begin questioning your perceptions…
“One of the more common responsibility-avoidance behaviors and a frequent manipulation tactic is minimization. This is when the disturbed character attempts to trivialize a wrong or harmful behavior. It’s their attempt to make a mole hill out of a mountain. You might confront them on something serious, but they try to get you to believe that you’re over-reacting…
“…disturbed characters make a habit of trivializing really important things – things that reflect most strongly on their character. Maintaining a favorable social image is important to them, even when they know their character is deeply flawed. And their minimizations are frequently paired with other responsibility-avoidance behaviors and tactics such as excuse-making, blaming others, denial, feigning innocence…
“Disturbed characters, most especially the aggressive personalities, hear what they want to hear and see what they want to see… they can focus like a laser beam when it comes to something they want… they simply don’t want to pay attention to it because if they took it seriously and with an attitude of acceptance, it would mean two things:
1) the way they prefer to do things is erroneous and in need of change; and
2) they would have to work at changing, which would also mean paying some deference to you, and to the generally accepted rules, etc.
“And that’s way too much like respecting someone else’s needs… More importantly, it’s far too much like subordinating themselves – something narcissists feel no need to do and the aggressive personalities abhor.
“The fact that so many times neurotics in relationships with disturbed characters waste their breaths expounding on things that simply fall on deaf ears is one of the main reasons I advocate simply taking action over trying to reason or persuade…
“Lastly, there’s lying – the responsibility-avoidance behavior and manipulation tactic that disturbed characters have turned into a virtual art form… One of the most effective ways to lie undetected is to recite a litany of true things but leave out a crucial detail or two that would change the whole picture. It’s a way to give yourself credibility while simultaneously taking advantage through deceit.”
A perfect example of this is when Joe and Susan told the rest of the family about the fight that occurred, but conveniently minimized/denied the part where it was they who started it.