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There are some people who complain about another’s behaviour towards them, but follow it with an excuse that let’s the offender off the hook. For example “He/she did this-and-that, complain complain…” (sometimes ad nauseum…), followed by “But I guess he’s had a hard time lately”, or “She probably didn’t mean it.”

We’ve all heard a friend or acquaintance say this, sometime repeatedly. Most of us have done it ourselves.

Meeting unpleasant behaviour (or in some cases downright abuse), with forbearance and understanding is a great quality, and something the world could certainly use more of. Making allowances like this requires empathy and compassion, and models the sort of behaviour we’d hope the offender might pick up and learn from.

But…

There are cases where letting the other person off the hook by excusing inexcusable behaviour is actually a strategy of avoidance;  excusing the behaviour means I won’t have to tackle it or say anything directly to the offender.

Nobody is helped by this. The offender can continue offending and the sufferer continues to suffer. Until the pattern is broken both are denied an opportunity for growth.

See also

The Story of George.

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