Living with an addict can be confusing, lonely, and frustrating. This is because addicts have learned to manipulate people like friends and family so that they can continue their lifestyle and habit. In fact, their manipulations skills can leave you in awe as they can turn the needs and wants of other people to their advantage, and no amount of reasoning can beat them.
Learning how addicts to this can help concerned family members and friends like you to stop being lured into the manipulation game and help get your loved one the help that they need.
When you live with an addict, you must understand that their thinking is completely distorted by their addiction. Reasoning with them will be useless because their way of thinking is not as rational as you may expect them to be.
Talking to them about how concerned you are, how they are important to you, and using the “relationship” card will not work either, which may end up just making you feel sad and even angry. They are no longer capable of experiencing normal feelings of connection, belonging, and empathy, so they are no longer bound by normal relationship dynamics.
In fact, your efforts and desire to try to understand what they’re going through, keep everyone in the family going along well, diffuse a tense situation, “not provoke them” or prevent them from getting into trouble, will only be used to manipulate you so they can continue using. They can even use you to pay for their debts, get money to buy their drugs, drive them to where they get their drugs, or just be sustained while they go about their constant search for their high.
A Complex Web of Defense Tactics
At first, you may not even notice that there really is a problem. Addicts are often good at hiding their drug use, habits, the people they associate with, their paraphernalia–it’s like they are living a double life right under your nose.
Their tactics include:
- Avoidance. Diverting the issue when their drug use or behavior is being scrutinized or confronted
- Denial. This is a very common defense mechanism where they do not admit to you or even to themselves that they have a problem or that it has gone too far
- Justification. Putting the responsibility of their actions and drug use towards other reasons or other people instead of admitting that they have a problem
- Rationalization. Coming up with reasons or explanations for the drug use and its consequences
Of Broken Promises and Thinking Patterns
Once the addiction is uncovered, they may even promise to change, to stop the drug use and “be better.” They may even seek rehab in hopes that they will get better but they often are unable to deliver. They just say what you want to hear so that you will get off their case. For you, however, it is torturous and a constant battle for hope, because you want to believe that they will keep their word each time, but they don’t.
Psychologists and rehab specialists say that addicts have developed a disturbed thinking pattern where they tend to see people merely as tools to help them continue their drug use. This is why you, as a concerned family member or friend, may feel like being taken for granted, used, or abused.
Their thinking patterns are broken and can be described by the following:
- They start to believe that rules do not apply to them and they everyone around them only exist to serve their needs
- They would feel victimized or oppressed if they don’t get what they want from people
- They would be obsessed with using and will resent anyone who stops them
- They would have built their own sense of reality where the world revolves around them and their drug use
Sadly, people do not often recognize that they are being manipulated. Therefore they concede out of love and out of preventing conflict within the family or circle. It can take many years before you can start to see how you are being manipulated, and often when you realize this, your loved ones are deep in the throes of their addiction.
Once this happens, it is important to learn to stop playing the manipulation game and make them seek the help they need, even if they deny it. Contact us through these numbers and we will assure you of your confidentiality: