Excuses – part 2
My post from October 22, entitled, “Excuses” received a lot of attention so I thought it deserved a follow up; maybe I ought to title it, “More Excuses”. Fitting, no? The definition of an excuse is “to try to remove blame”. Blame again – we will come back to blame. I found a website that publishes excuses, sort of the amazon.com of excuses, with excuses for all occasions, including, “calling in to work excuses”, “excuses for the police”, “getting out of family events”, “debt”, “not paying rent”, “no sex” and many more. If you want to locate an excuse for your next misstep, look at www.madtbone.tripod.com.
In psychology, we often talk about rationalization which is a concept similar to making excuses and sounds better, certainly sounds classier. When you rationalize, you justify your behavior in ways that makes your action more tolerable. For example, here”s one rationalization that I”m sure you never heard: “I cheated on my wife/husband/partner/pet” because “he/she wasn”t really there for me/didn”t understand me/ wouldn”t have sex with me/doesn”t like mint chip ice cream.”
between excuses and rationalization is that excuses seem to be primarily conscious whereas rationalization can be conscious or unconscious. One goal of rationalization is to block blame (I told you we would return to blame).
Blame is being held responsible for wrongdoing. I”ve been wondering why blame is such an anathema and here is my idea. When we blame others, we judge them harshly and often devalue them. We find it hard to accept blame without leveling the same judgment and devaluation on ourselves. So, the more that we worry about being judged, how we look to
others, whether we are good enough, the more difficult it will be to accept blame. People feel that accepting blame ruins their carefully cultivated image of goodness, perfection, intelligence, or kindness.
Object of Obsession is a good read for those of you interested in psychology, obsession, excuses, self-deception AND self-examination.