Rationalization: The Smoking Blame Game


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Smokers tend to have many excuses for why they started smoking and why they can’t stop. One of the most common ways that smokers deflect their role in their own smoking habit is by blaming it on others. You have probably heard a smoker say at one point or another that they started smoking because their parents did it or they can’t quit because their girlfriend smokes and it would be too hard to quit.  In psychology, this form of excuse making is called rationalization and if we take a close look at this phenomenon we will be able to get better insight into the mind of the smoker.

Rationalization is a defense mechanism that people use to justify or explain controversial behaviors or feelings in order to make them seem more tolerable or acceptable. People use rationalization to encourage behavior that is unhealthy or self-destructive and to give them an escape route to keep practicing such behavior when it is clear that it is detrimental to their health and well-being. Smokers who rationalize their habit by way of the “everyone else is doing it” or “they made me” method seek to normalize smoking and give themselves a false sense of comfort that what they are doing isn’t all that bad, when in reality it is wreaking incredible damage on their mental and physical bodies.

Smokers who rationalize their habit by blaming it on others use it as an avoidance tactic to circumvent what is in their eyes an inconvenient truth: smoking is a choice and you are the only person in charge of the choices you make. Nobody kidnaps a smoker’s child and tells him that they won’t return her unless he smokes everyday. Most partners and parents don’t hold a gun to a smoker’s head if they don’t light up the next cigarette. Just as you have the power to choose to smoke you have the power to quit and start building habits that reinforce a healthy lifestyle. The victim mentality, the one that is so strongly reinforced by rationalization, will only keep you a prisoner of your own mind, separated from personal growth and healthy living.

There are many ways to combat the victim mentality that goes along with the smoking blame game. If you feel that you need help learning how to make healthy choice and stop harmful habits you should consider talking to someone about it. Consider therapeutic methods that are based on mind over matter and personal responsibility, like hypnotherapy, can also be a great help. Stop blaming others and liberate yourself by taking charge of your own life—quit smoking today!