Am I Being Manipulated by an Addict?

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Do you feel that you are being manipulated by an addict in your life? Read on to find out more about manipulation signs and what you can do about it.

Addiction is a mental health disorder that changes the reward system of the brain. What used to motivate and fulfill an addict doesn’t do so now. Instead, it’s the drugs, alcohol, or any other substance or behavior. This disease also causes a person to have increased negative behavioral patterns. This includes lying, blaming, cheating, and manipulating. Sometimes, you may be surprised to find out how a persona has completely changed because of their addiction. Perhaps, their behavior now is even completely different from their typical character.

Today, let’s take a closer look at manipulation, something that many addicts resort to in order to get what they want.

Why Do Addicts Manipulate Others?

If you have an addict in your life, like a partner, family member, or friend, their behavior may be confusing, upsetting, disappointing, hurtful, and frightening.

You may find a loving, devoted partner become so secretive and aggressive. Your diligent daughter may become antisocial and apathetic. Your promising son may be throwing his life away and going out with new friends and acting rebellious. Your parent may not be neglectful and irresponsible. And you find yourself feeling the one at fault and guilty for their behavior.

There are many reasons why you can get manipulated by an addict

  1. To be in control. They are actually powerless against the drug, alcohol, of behavior that drives their addiction. They try to compensate by trying to control other things, even if it doesn’t make sense to those around them.
  2. It’s the desperation. Their all-consuming cravings and uncontrollable compulsions make them turn from their own values and morals. After all, it’s the addiction that controls them. The cravings make them desperate, and anything that hinders them from that next high, no matter if its another family member, the law, safety, health, or anything, will have to fall on the wayside.
  3. The guilt and shame speaking. The addicts can be aware of the things that they put their loved ones through. After the high has worn off, they’re faced with the guilt and the shame. And so the cycle begins. They want to forget and escape these feelings and so they’re compelled to seek out their addiction again.
  4. They are justifying it. The cravings can be so strong that nothing else matters. They would do everything to get their next fix. And this can mean manipulating even those who mean well and care about them.
  5. Their thought patterns are altered. As we already said, addiction is a disease. It changes their brain’s pathways and functions. This in turn changes their decision-making and motivations.

Signs of Manipulation by an Addict

How do you know if you are being manipulated by an addict in your life?

Generally, addicts would have a very irrational way of thinking. It’s like black and white, or all or nothing. They would generalize and exaggerate. Like they would use “always” and “never” when describing you. They may also use your own secrets, fears, and trauma to get you to do what they want. They will make unkind remarks, embarrass you in public, or threaten you. They may also suddenly start a fight with you for no reason. Also, they will be nice to you and tell you all that you want to hear, all because they want something in return.

Here are other manipulation tactics you have to guard against:

  • Asking for money and other favors from family and friends
  • Demanding that you do what they want (sense of entitlement)
  • Making threats if you don’t follow them
  • Causing arguments out of the blue to justify them leaving and using
  • Acting out, having tantrums, or causing a ruckus
  • Doing and saying nice things to make you believe they’ve changed
  • Threatening to harm or kill themselves if you set boundaries for yourself
  • Isolating themselves to avoid confrontations
  • Being angry and aggressive when you ask them about their whereabouts or other questions
  • Blaming everyone but themselves
  • Refusing to take accountability for their actions and facing the consequences
  • Making you feel guilty for their addiction or the results caused by their addiction

How to Stop Being Manipulated by an Addict

It’s important to recognize manipulation from your addicted loved one or family member. While you can’t control or change them, know that you can protect yourself.

You can being by learning to say “No.” Set clear and healthy boundaries. And stand firmly by them. Be clear of what you want and what you will not tolerate. Don’t hesitate to follow through with your rules and ultimatums.

Stand up for yourself and understand that what they are doing are only manipulation tactics. The drugs or the addiction is driving them to do and say these things.

It’s important to prioritize your health and well-being. Seek safety and support from trusted people.

Furthermore, you can help your loved one by getting them the help that they need and deserve.

Talk to us at Bridges of Hope.

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