This episode is all about why we excuse bad behavior. Whether it be from our kids, spouse, co-workers, boss, etc., there are reasons we allow people to treat us the way they do.
When you know what to look for and how to deal with the discomfort of teaching people how to treat you, life gets a whole lot easier.
Most of us are conflict-averse and put up with behaviors that aren’t helping anybody. You can learn how to lovingly hold people accountable while growing your own self-respect.
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I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to The Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 108, Excusing Bad Behavior.
Hello and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
living, but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is, and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hello, friends. Welcome, welcome to episode number 108. As always, I’m so
glad to be here with you. I’m glad to be in your space and that you give me
time to teach you, to be with you. So thank you.
I want to say thank you for sharing my podcast. Thank you for reviewing my
podcast. I recently looked at my numbers, I don’t very often, and I looked
the other day and we’re about to hit 300,000 downloads. Isn’t that awesome?
In about two and a half years. So I’m so happy to know that there’s so many
people who are benefiting from this podcast. So thank you for being here. I
really appreciate it.
I want to make a quick announcement before jumping into this week’s
episode. So the doors to my Know in 90 program are opening soon. What’s
happening on my end is I’m making a pretty big overhaul to all of it so
that it’s easier to access so that people can enroll anytime, so that
everything is easy, easy to use, very, very easy for my clients who are in
it to get to where they need to go. Anyway, lots of boring tech stuff. But
it’s going to be amazing, amazing, amazing.
And so the doors are going to be opening very soon, within the next few
weeks. And then I’m really shooting for a start date of February 21st.
Okay? So just keep an eye out you. I’ll make more announcements here. I
will be sending out emails through my list, social media. Just stay in my
space and I will make sure you know about it, okay?
All right. This week we’re going to talk all about excusing bad behavior.
What do I mean by this? I’m going to give you some examples. Some pretty
general ones at first just to kind of give you an idea of what I’m talking
about, and then I’ll get to some more specific ones. Okay?
Scenario number one, your kid comes home from school and you ask them to
please clean up the mess they made when they made themselves a snack. You
ask and they snap back at you that the mess was already there, they didn’t
do it, and it’s not their job to clean it anyway, somebody else’s job to
clean the counters or put food away, whatever.
So you might react or you may say nothing at all. But let’s say that the
other parent heard this conversation and jumped in to defend you. What
might you do? You might be annoyed, but ultimately you might shut your
partner down and excuse the behavior because your kid must be so tired or
having a hard day. So you kind of shut your partner down for getting on
their case, and then you excuse the kid and you move on. Okay?
Scenario number two. You are at a dinner party and your spouse says
something kind of embarrassing about you. Although it was meant to be
funny, it didn’t feel so funny. It was a joke made at your expense. So do
you say something? Do you let it go? Telling yourself that he feels really
insecure around this group of people and just doesn’t know how to handle
things with them, and that you know that he loves you and that he meant
nothing by it. You just brushed it off.
Okay. Scenario three. Your husband had an affair. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a
full-blown sexual affair. Maybe it wasn’t months and months and things like
that, but for sure lines were crossed, okay? You’re hurt, you’re mad,
you’re sad, all the things. But you remind yourself that you were really
busy in your career and then you came home and focused on the kids and just
made them your top priority and that you didn’t really give him a lot. So
you make excuses for his behavior saying that it was kind of your fault, or
maybe he is actually saying that to you and you decide to put it behind
you. Although, guess what? Doesn’t actually go away until it’s dealt with.
It still hasn’t been dealt with. You’re trying to kind of white-knuckle
your way through it.
So do any of these land? Maybe not the exact way, right? Maybe not the
exact examples, but do any of these land with you? I’m going to read you
straight out of a book, a little segment from a book called Boundary Boss
by Terri Cole. Now, I am loving this book. I’m loving it. It’s so great.
Terri Cole, Boundary Boss. I don’t love the title. I think that it’s kind
of trendy right now to talk about being a boss babe or boss this or that,
and I just don’t love that. I think that there could be a different title,
but that’s just me. But I’m going to read you a part of the book because
it’s a great book.
Okay. So it says, “Do you excuse bad behavior? Take a moment now to think
about the questions below to help identify where you might be making
excuses for the crap behavior of others. Are you too understanding of other
people’s unacceptable behavior, especially if you know that they are going
through a rough time or had a difficult childhood?” And then it says,
“Shout out to the impasse and highly sensitive folks here.” “Do you
preemptively supply excuses for bad behavior to avoid confrontation? Do you
accept lame excuses from the offenders themselves, essentially letting them
and you off the hook? Basically, they are not required to take
responsibility for their behavior, and you get to avoid asserting yourself,
a win-win for perpetuating emotional dysfunction.”
Okay, so do you see yourself in any of those? I sure do. As I was reading
this, I remember times in my first marriage especially, I actually thought
of some very specific examples in very specific conversations that I had
with people where I was totally excusing his bad behavior.
I remember one example in particular that we had some guests come for
Thanksgiving. It was his brother and my sister and her family. And at the
Thanksgiving table, he just came unglued and started saying really mean
things and insulted somebody that was sitting at the table and one of our
guests and started just going on this angry, angry rant right during the
And at first I was really, really, really upset, really upset. But I
remember later on to his brother, who was there, apologizing for his
behavior. I don’t think he ever did apologize for his own behavior, but I
remember apologizing for his behavior and telling this brother of his that
he is just very, very stressed out. He has so many demands. He’s just so
stressed. He’s just very anxious. I think he might have actual anxiety
disorder. Yeah, there’s a lot of people that do have anxiety disorder but
that learn how to manage their behavior. And I was just totally making
excuses for him. Okay?
And why did I do that? Why? And I can think of 10,000 other things. I can
think of some of my children, one in particular during some of her teen
years where, if she were sitting here with me, she would totally agree with
me, where I kind of looked away from some of her behaviors because I felt
like she had already experienced so much. She had already been through so
much. And so I kind of just didn’t want to add to her pain by coming down
on her too hard. And totally in hindsight, again, I think she would agree
with me, it would’ve been better for her if I would’ve held her accountable
more. Why? I wanted to avoid confrontation. I didn’t like it. I felt super
uncomfortable with it. I was afraid of her freak out. I was afraid of her
emotions and being able to stand my ground. So I know about this. I’ve
gotten better at it, but even preparing this podcast, I’m like, “Yep, could
totally improve there.”
So when it comes to infidelity, this is something that I see a lot in my
clients is this kind of they’re disgusted and angry and all these things,
and then there’s also this kind of understanding about things that I don’t
want my clients to be understanding about. That sounds harsh, but I’ll give
you an example. My own thought about having any contact with the affair
partner is that it is a no-go, like we are not in a position where we are
building anything. It’s not possible. If the person who had the affair is
still in contact with the affair partner, it is a no-go. If you really want
to build something with me, awesome. But it needs to be completely over.
Zero contact. Zero contact.
And sometimes I’ll have my client say, “Well, he’s just really afraid that
I’m just going to leave him, and then he’d be lonely.” So what? So what if
he’s going to be lonely? Yeah, he probably will be lonely. That is not for
you to solve. So that’s something that I feel pretty strongly about where
when we’re trying to excuse these behaviors. And maybe we can understand.
We can understand the humanity in it. Yeah, no one really wants to be
lonely. We all do things to try to avoid certain feelings. But this takes
me to my next point, okay?
One of the reasons that we do this is because sometimes we have this innate
belief that some of the people around us are just inherently limited in
their ability to deal with things, that they’re too anxious, that they’re
too this, they’re too that, they have this disability or this issue that
they just don’t quite know what to deal with, this thing, this thing. And
so we make excuse after excuse after excuse for them.
And it’s a real problem because not only are we keeping ourselves in a
position where we are totally overcompensating for them and putting up with
things that we should not be putting up with, but we’re also arguing for
their limitations and saying that they aren’t capable. And people around us
can feel that. And the reality is is that we’re all very capable.
And so if we have a situation where we come down from a place of our own
boundaries, our own line, our own standards, letting somebody else feel the
consequence of that, feel the weight of that, feel the discomfort in that
is actually for their good and for your good.
How is it for their good? Because one of the greatest skills we can develop
in this lifetime is growing our own tolerance to discomfort. It sounds
ironic. I think all of us were kind of fed this Kool-Aid happy, just be
positive, just work on your mind so you can just feel good. I think that
the real power is in knowing how to handle yourself when you feel terrible
and not reacting to it, just allowing it to be until you don’t feel
Yeah, you can direct your brain into paths that feel better, but it’s not
from this place of because I just can’t handle it, so I have to hurry and
feel something else. It’s not coming from this place. It’s coming from
wisdom, knowing when to allow something to just be there, like grief or a
loss or things like that, and when to kind of direct your mind somewhere
else. Direct your body somewhere else.
But many of us just want to avoid the feelings in the first place. We don’t
want the confrontation because then we’ll feel uncomfortable. Then we might
be afraid that they’re going to leave. We might be afraid that we’re going
to be abandoned. Afraid that they’re going to say something to us that
really, really hurts or that might feel true or scary or whatever. And so
we put up with things that are not serving us.
Okay, so what do we do about this? First of all, before I get to that, I
want to make one more point. We all came by this naturally. We all have had
lives that have led to the way exactly how we are now. Not only have we had
these lives, in this book there’s this whole concept, and maybe I’ll do a
whole other podcast about it because it’s fascinating, it’s called Our
Boundary Blueprint. And what that means is that all of us came into this
world with generational stuff too, that we were taught to a cellular level
how to feel about things, what feels safe, what doesn’t feel safe. It’s
pretty deeply embedded in us. And then we have these experiences, lived
experiences where it just kind of amps that up.
And so there’s a lot of healing to do. I think we live in a really
remarkable time where there’s so many resources available to us where we
can heal these patterns. I hear people all the time who come to say, “My
father cheated on my mother. My grandfather cheated on my grandmother.”
Some of these patterns are generational. And guess what, my friends? You
get to break the cycle. You get to break the cycle so that it’s not carried
forward for your children. You get to heal this cycle, to heal it. It isn’t
that amazing? But part of it is understanding what is your blueprint? What
are the things that are deeply embedded in you and your subconscious that
feels so real and so scary, that feels so scary?
So my question is what do we do with this? I have an answer. Okay. First of
all, one of the things that we need to do is stop lying to ourselves. We
lie to ourselves a lot. We might tell ourselves things to get ourselves off
the hook. And so what I want you to do when you find yourself in an
uncomfortable position that could lead to some kind of conflict, I want you
to look at that and I want you to ask yourself a question, if I gave this
person accountability, if I made this person responsible for this, what
would it look like? And what am I the most afraid of? What might happen?
What am I afraid might happen?
In this book, it says, “The excuses or outright lies we tell ourselves are
how we rationalize our own behavior or the behavior of others to avoid
establishing boundaries. It is also a form of resistance to justify not
having a difficult conversation or calling out BS.” Okay?
Another thing that we might be afraid of is what somebody else might label
us as if we call out their bad behavior, if we say, “Nope, that’s not going
to fly with me.” We might be afraid of what somebody might say about us,
that they might say to us, they might call us a drama queen or whatever.
And this is a form of self-betrayal, okay? It’s a way of denying what is
actually true for you to protect your ego, to not feel bad, to protect what
people think about you. It’s not serving yourself. And sometimes the lie
here is that we’re choosing our battles. How many of you have used that
reasoning to not speak up? I know I have? Got to choose my battles. This is
not one that I need to go in on. That’s a lie, my friends.
Sometimes there are things that we choose our battles in, but in the
context of what I’m talking about today, that is an excuse to shy away from
having a hard discussion, having there be conflict, having there be
something that’s hard for you, something that’s uncomfortable for you.
Okay. So what to do? Let me keep going with this. So I want you to just to
notice, I just want you to pay attention to any situation that you find
yourself in where you find yourself excusing somebody else’s bad behavior.
It’s something that feels bad to you initially. There’s something that’s
happened and that you feel bad about. Like, “Ugh, I do not like it when
they talk to me like that.” Or, “I don’t like it when this was said,” or
whatever. And you notice it and you feel it. And I want you to notice what
you do with it. Okay? What do you do with it?
Do you shove it away and just say, “Oh, it’s not a big deal.” Or, “Not
today. Today’s not the day to bring this up.” And then two weeks go by and
you still haven’t brought it up. And then you’re like, “Oh, well, too much
time has passed, so now I can’t bring it up.” Ask me how I know all of
these things, my friends. Oh my gosh. Oh, I’ve had to do so much work in
this area, and I’m not done yet. I still have work to do. I do. I still
have work to do. This is real stuff. It’s hard stuff. Okay?
So much love and compassion for all of you as I’m saying these things,
okay? All the things we do to avoid confrontation, to avoid somebody
judging us, to avoid making somebody else uncomfortable. Like, “Oh, if I
really tell him how I feel, it’s going to hurt his feelings, and then he’ll
feel shame, and then he might get mad at me. And so I’d rather feel
terrible than have him feel terrible because then I’d feel terrible about
him feeling terrible.” Do you hear the ridiculousness in that? But we do it
all the time, right?
Okay. So I want you to just notice this. I want you to pay attention to it.
How you will know is notice your feelings. When do you feel bad? I want you
to just notice these interactions that happen, notice your feelings. What
feels bad about it? Is it a boundary thing? Did somebody speak rudely to
you? Did they speak rudely? Were they unkind? Is this something that needs
to be addressed? And if it does, what’s keeping you from it? What’s the
dialogue? What are you saying about this person? Are you excusing their
behavior? All right.
Now, I want to make it clear that we can do this. We can understand where
people are coming from. We can go, “Yeah, I see that this is kind of a
behavior that you engage in when you’re feeling hungry, or when you’re
tired, or when you’re feeling really insecure,” or whatever it is. We can
have compassion and understanding for the human experience. And we can say,
“And you need to learn a different way to deal with that. I can understand
it, but it’s not okay with me. So if you want to hang out with me and be in
my space, you got to figure out a better way to handle that. I understand
that that’s kind of your coping mechanism, but your coping mechanism is not
working for me.”
So we can have kids that might be kind of rude when they lost a game. Let’s
say you’ve got a kid that’s in sports and they’re totally taking it out on
you. Guess what? They’re going to have times in their entire life where
they don’t win, where things don’t work the way that we want. And we can
argue for their limitation of not being able to deal with their feelings,
or that they’ll just get too upset if I go confront this about them. They
already feel bad. I don’t want to make them feel worse type thing.
Or we can go straight to it directly and be like, “You know what? I know
that you’re disappointed. I’m disappointed too. I really was hoping you
guys would win. I know you didn’t perform the way that you wanted to. I get
it. And you still don’t get to talk to me like that. I see that this is a
pattern, child, that this is kind of how you respond in these kind of
situations. I’m pointing it out, not to embarrass you, but to help you see,
and I’d like you to learn to try a different way of communicating when
And so we can actually be a really helpful mirror to other people, with our
partners, with our children, especially with ourselves. Are we excusing our
own bad behavior? We might be having a really bad day. We might be really,
really hurt about things that our spouse is doing or that they’ve done, and
we still are responsible for our own behavior. We still are. At the end of
the day, we still have to live with ourselves. And the best feeling in the
world is knowing that we are managing ourselves well. That’s a pretty good
feeling. Knowing that we are holding a high standard, knowing that we are
maintaining boundaries for other people as well as for ourselves, that we
are acting in alignment with the person that we want to be. That’s a pretty
great place to be. Pretty good way to feel.
Okay, my beautiful friends, that’s what I’ve got for you this fine day. I
hope that this has been helpful to you today. I would love it if you would
go leave a review on my podcast. I would love it so much if you’d go leave
a review. It is how people find it. It’s how people they go to it, or
somebody might refer them and they go to it, and they often look at the
reviews and go, “Does this person know what she’s talking about?” The more
reviews, the more credibility, the more visibility. So if you have
considered leaving a review and have not, I would love it if you would, if
this has been a helpful podcast to you. Thank you, my friends. I will see
you next time. All right. Bye-bye.
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