Addicts and Their Families Master the Art of Manipulation
The presence of manipulation in addiction is astounding. Addicts and alcoholics who try to justify their actions will manipulate their loved ones by blaming them as the cause of their problems instead of taking responsibility for themselves. They also manipulate their families with lies and empty promises, often as a way to get money to continue their addiction. At the same time, family members indulge in their own manipulation. Under the guise of helping, they say and do things with the ulterior motive of trying to change the addict's behavior.
Role of denial
Denial by addicts and their loved ones is a major symptom of substance abuse. Addicts avoid the reality of the situation by manipulation of facts. They find ways to make their families feel guilty, as if they caused the addiction. They create stories to encourage family members to give them what they want, such as shelter, money, or food, meanwhile continuing to abuse alcohol or drugs. By the same token, families want to believe promises made by the addict. They fall into patterns of despair because the addict continues to dupe them. They try any form of threats and bribes they think will make the addict change. They try to discover the truth by looking for hidden stashes of alcohol or drugs or reading the addict's private mail or journal.
In order for families to deal directly with addiction rather than covering it up with manipulation, they need to learn the concept of tough love.
Get the facts
Information is the best way to end manipulation and begin direct communication. Doing research and contacting support groups will help.
Let the chips fall
While addicts are expert liars, their families fall into deceptive patterns of their own. They cover up the addict's behavior, and they try to fix all the damages caused by the addict. They manipulate the truth to protect the addict from consequences of substance abuse. Family recovery involves allowing the addict to face the reality of his choices.
Manipulation by blaming others is a hallmark of families dealing with addiction. Addicts are responsible for what they do. Substance abuse is not the fault of family members. Likewise, family members are responsible for how they react to the addict's behavior.
No one can live someone else's life. This is a particularly important concept for families of alcoholics to remember. Loved ones need to live in a manner that increases their own health and wellbeing by omitting manipulation.