Contributed by Suzy R.

As much as we all rationalize our behavior, we rationalize the behaviors of our loved ones even more, like it is a reflection of ourselves.  We say the behavior is okay so we do not have to deal with the problem or the reasons we are in the situation.  This is especially true in an abusive relationship.  We justify the person’s behavior time after time, dismissing each one until we are in too deep.  Abuse doesn’t have to be physical. Emotional and psychological abuse, such as yelling and putting you down, are other serious forms of abuse.  No type of abuse needs to, nor should, be tolerated.

Do you recognize any of these common rationalizations?

It’s not that bad.  Measure it.  It seems like not such a big deal when you hear something once, but once you start to measure it, you can see how often it happens.  Create some sort of hidden spreadsheet or on-line journal.  You can keep a ‘draft’ in your email or write in code.  Every time you are put down note it. Every time they pick a fight with you write it down.  You will begin to see it is that bad.

 If I work a little harder, it will get better.  You can do 1,000 things for them but it will never be good enough.  Even if you do everything they ever ask, it will not be good enough.  That is their point – to make you feel not good enough.  When you start to take care of your own needs, you begin to see the abuse.

All relationships have conflict.  Yes they do. But how is it handled.  Blame, name calling, belittling you and bringing up something from previous fights are not signs of healthy conflict.  Healthy conflict is talking things through and compromising.  Conflict is not intimacy, nor is it passion. Do not confuse intensity of emotion with quality of emotion.

My kids are okay because they aren’t being yelled at.  No, but they are watching and learning.  This is how you treat people or how you are treated.  They will choose one or the other.  Do you want your kids to be in a relationship like yours?

I made a commitment.  So did they.  Are you being honored and cherished?  Are they trying to make you into the person they think you should be? Or are they trying to control you?  Are you honoring your commitment to yourself to treat yourself well?

Rationalization is not your friend and often signals we are in an abusive relationship, which can be between lovers, co-workers, or friends. No matter who you are in a relationship with, please try to be in healthy ones.