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The Slippery Fish




You've heard me talk about shame and the struggle to fit in as a small boy. I was always among the smallest in my class, and I stuttered some, giving me a sense of being less than. I tried to be perfect and show no flaws or blemishes to avoid feeling bad about myself.

I had no idea I'd become so skilled at rationalizing, minimizing, and justifying (RMJ) everything. This was a massive blind spot for me. I didn't realize how difficult it was to be in a relationship with someone who couldn't take responsibility for anything. I did not know how incredibly frustrating it was to converse with someone who behaves like a verbal slippery fish, wiggling, struggling, jerking, trying to get away without looking bad.

The hardest part was when I behaved like that slippery fish and couldn't even see it. I'd use an excessive number of words to deflect meaning or create distractions, shifting focus away from any perceived accusation. I worked hard not to look bad.

Rationalizing, minimizing, and justifying can erode trust in relationships. When one party constantly rationalizes their behavior, it signals to the other person that they're unwilling to take responsibility. Justifying actions or minimizing issues leaves underlying problems unaddressed, leading to repeated misunderstandings and ongoing disputes.

Effective communication requires vulnerability and honesty. Minimizing feelings can prevent deep, meaningful connections by discouraging open and honest expression of emotions. Consistently rationalizing or justifying behavior hinders personal growth, preventing individuals from acknowledging their mistakes, learning from them, and making necessary changes. Minimizing problems can lead to a lack of self-awareness and emotional maturity.

Healthy communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, personal or professional. As mentioned, behaviors like rationalizing, minimizing, and justifying can significantly hinder the effectiveness of our interactions.

The hard part for me was recognizing and admitting I was doing something ineffective in my communication.

How about you? Are you deflecting conversation like I have done, or are you examining the consequences of your discussions?

Watch for the blind spots.



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Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire. http://tinyurl.com/yc3usfsp

Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire. http://tinyurl.com/yc3usfsp

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2 Comments


Guest
Jun 19

Great advice Jerry! Thank You as always!!

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Guest
Jun 19

It would be interesting and, I think helpful, to see a list of words and phrases that are typically used when employing these three blindspots: rationalizing, minimizing and justifying. I am afraid I participate in this regularly and would like to measure the level by checking it against my vocabulary. Thanks.

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