Is there a word for someone who feels guilty about something they are doing but knows that he or she can't help it so they try to make logic of it and comfort themselves with the reasoning?

  • 2
    Can you provide one or two examples?
    – Centaurus
    Oct 4, 2016 at 0:48

2 Answers 2


How about rationalizer, a person who rationalizes or engages in rationalization?

From Merriam-Webster:

rationalize: to think about or describe something (such as bad behavior) in a way that explains it and makes it seem proper, more attractive, etc.


I can't think of a noun but often the person is said to be justifying. I've also heard the clumsy word compartmentalizing. It was used often when speaking about President Clinton and how he could compartmentalize actions he was ashamed of in one respect and then would perhaps subconsciously close that proverbial compartment and then open up another one that was more socially acceptable as a way to rationalize in his own mind that they almost were done by two separate people or parts of his personality. Many people do this to deal with darker sides of their personality in order to function in society in day-to-day life as a coping mechanism.

  • 1
    Self-justification, then?
    – Mick
    Oct 4, 2016 at 2:52
  • Welcome to ELU.SE.This site strives to provide objective answers. Take the site tour or have a look at the help center to find out more about good answers. As it stands your answer is purely subjective.
    – Helmar
    Oct 4, 2016 at 9:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.