Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Denial, Dishonesty, Manipulation

We have been talking about the concepts of denial, dishonesty, and Manipulation in our family class for years. In her recent book "Addict in the Family", published by Hazelden, Beverly Conyers spells it out very clearly. Addiction is very predictable and all addicted people will deny they have a problem, lie, cheat and steal and manipulate situations and people to get what they want, and that is their drug of choice.

Remember, addiction is a brain disease and the brain is altered in important ways at the cellular level because of this disease process. You can not see addiction, but you can see the result of addiction in the dishonest and manipulative behavior that addicts display regularly. This behavior is very understandable when you are clear that what an addicted person believes and acts on is that their drug of choice is what makes life worth living.

Family members think in terms of relationships, children, career, and accomplishments as what make life worth living but that is not true for the addicted person.

Remember; "If their lips are moving they are lying." "Never trust an addicted person because you think you should or because you want them to be trustworthy so badly." "the only thing that counts with an addicted person is their behavior."


Anonymous said...

Our 20 yr. old has been back home 2 yrs., but this week relapsed by using, stealing, getting fired, and there is a warrant out for her arrest. We are afraid to leave our home unattended for fear she will break in and steal from us. This happened before. How do we take our home "back". She is staying somewhere else, but all of her belongings are here.

Bob Brown said...

As you are experiencing neither you nor your daughter have control over the disease process of addiction.

The two things that you can exercise control over are your environment, and your response to the disease.

The important thing to remember is that this is a process. You need to get support for yourself while you are doing this. AlaNon meetings can be helpful.

The family needs to agree on the goal, such as what you mentioned, "take back your home." Then it comes down to what are you willing to do to accomplish this goal. Are you willing to have a restraining order on her? Are you willing to change the locks? Are you willing to have her arrested? What ever you do you must be consistent. The message to her should be simple and clear: such as, I love you. You need help. Your behavior is unacceptable, We will not support your addiction but we will support your recovery, you can't live here.

She may still try to break in, or manipulate but if you are clear on your goal and are willing to control your environment you can be successful.

Addicted people will only get help when they are allowed to experience the consequences of their addiction. They need pain to get that they have a problem.

Remember the three C's. You didn't Cause it, you can't Control it, and you can't Cure it.

Taking back you home is a process that you can start now but you must be consistent. You must follow through and you must not do anything that you aren't ready and willing to do, not because you think it might help your daughter but because it is good for you and the rest of the family.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend is currently in a recovery program for his drug addiction. I am living away from him at the moment, with my parents, so he can deal with his issues, and get better. My parents are having a hard time dealing with my continual communication with him, as well as the fact that I want to have a go with him in my life again, when he is better. He has reached out spiritually, and is doing exceptionally well. According to my parents, I am being manipulated and am crazy for "risking my life" and that he won't relapse and take me down with his problems. My boyfriend and I have a very open and honest relationship, except of course when he is using. I do believe he is in a clear headspace and is committed to his recovery, but am aware at the consequences of a life with him. Any advice on communicating with parents who only see black and white?

Bob Brown said...

If you want to communicate with your parents to relieve them of their anxiety I can't help you. Don't formulate your response to your boyfriends addiction because of an emotional reaction to your parents fear. Your boyfriend is not a monster, but, he is also not to be trusted. He is an addict and that is serious.

The big question is, What are you saying to yourself about this situation. Your boyfriend has a condition that he will have to manage for the rest of his life and one of the most vulnerable times is when an addicted person first comes out of a treatment program. His job is going to be getting a sponsor (mentor) spending a lot of time going to meetings and continuing to work his program of recovery. You can be supportive but you also need to give him space to do the work he needs to do in recovery. You may one day have a successful relationship with him someday but that will depend on how well you develop boundaries between what his issues are and what your issues are. You need to just observe over time, allow him to demonstrate his commitment and only trust his behavior. The most wonderful people become addicted and no matter how much you want to trust them it is a bad idea. Let them earn your trust over time by walking their talk.

You will not be able to gauge his commitment to recovery until he is out of the treatment program and working his program of recovery in the real world over the next year. You should go to some Alanon meetings or some open 12 step meetings (without your boyfriend)

Ally said...

My boyfriend and I have been dating on and off for 12 years. I had a life in another city until he called me and said he wanted me to move back and get married and have the life that we always dreamed of. I did move back, which has almost been a year now. It has been the worst 8 months of my life, deceit, tears, worry, fighting, financial problems, come to find out he has had a cocaine habit for two years, an everyday habit, would disappear for a couple days at a time every few weeks. We have separated and are living separately since December 14 2007. I asked him to leave our home because he would not take a drug test. He is living with his mother and says that he is clean, all by himself. My heart is broken and I want to desparately beleive everything he tells me but I dont know what is true and what is a lie. He is telling me that he loves me and we can make this work, but I am so afraid of the manipulation that I have suffered for so long now. What do I do, what do I trust, my heart or my brain?

Anonymous said...


Not sure how long ago you posted- I just found this site. I am a survivor of an emotionally and psychologically abusive marriage that I am still trying to get out of. My husband, who I have not lived with for almost 3 years, is a cocaine addict. He claims to be clean now and I truly hope he is- especially since he had an affair and a resulting child who will turn one in a few months. You have to step back from the situation and think about what is best for you. I lept into marriage, a mere 4 months after finding out about his abuse for the first time. We were married for 3 years before I found out again- he'd been using the whole time. After another (possibly 2 depending on his actual relapses) botched attempt at rehab- he claimed to be getting better- moved away to a previous city we'd lived in to "gain clarity" and promptly dumped me for a new, easier life. People there were easier to fool- they'd never lived with an addict. Stay strong and try, as best you can, to separate yourself & take things slowly. Divorce and bankruptcy are no fun.

Bob Brown said...

The only thing you can trust is behavior. What he says is not as important as what he does. Recovery from addiction is a lot more involved than just not using. If he isn't going to some type of meetings and working some type of program he isn't in recovery. If your brain is telling you to be cautious that is what you can trust. We all love the addicts in our life but that doesn't mean we can live with them. He needs be in recovery for many months before trust even comes into the picture.

Anonymous said...

This article explain that the addiction is a brain disease and the brain is altered in important ways at the cellular level because of this disease process. dishonesty and manipulate behaviour addicts regularly.due to this it is very understandable when you are clear that what an addicted person believes and acts on is that their drug of choice is what makes life worth living.



Comprehensive resources for those looking for recovery from addiction.

journalist said...

Hi to those of you women are currently in a relationship with a drug addict. I was you 6 years ago. My ex-husband put me through living hell, and I dragged him to rehab. 7 times. I took me years to learn how manipulative drug addicts are and how charming and "sensitive" and "sweet" they all seem to be. They always seem to be the most interesting people, with these personalities that get you hooked. WRONG. Make yourself wake up, slap yourself in the face or pour cold water on your head. Get out of the cloud you are in. By the book, "Why Does He Do That?" It will open your eyes to all the different types of mental manipulation available for men to use.

Don't be naive about drug addicts, they rarely ever just quit. Don't sit there thinking your guy is that 1% that drops it all and cleans up his act because his love for you is so powerful.

I finally divorced my ex and married the most wonderful man in the world. I can't tell you want it's like to know exactly when your husband is going out, when he is coming back, and where he is. I can't tell you how good it feels to not live in an empty apartment, to not be evicted, to have the utilities on.

Do not associate passion and love with drama. Teach your self to love a normal guy, who does normal things. You may freak out at first because it is devoid of fighting,screaming and crying, but in time you will get used to the quiet and peace and never want to go back. In the beginning its hard to get out of that crazy lifestyle, but you have to teach yourself and force yourself to be with a guy who is peaceful even if you sometimes find it mundane. It's just because you are not used to a normal life, TRUST ME. Get out before you make kids and have to deal with him for life, before he ruins your credit for life, before he wastes 5,10, 15 years of your youth, before he or she helps you ruin your career path, ruin your grades. Walk away now, because you eventually will leave and cry over the life ruining mistakes you have made and can't fix.

If he is violent, plan your escape. Call someone to pretend they are doing maintenance on the house, have your husband/boyfriend show the maintenance guy what's broken. While they are talking, (have your stuff packed away somewhere hidden but close to the door). Quietly grab your keys, grab the kids, grab your stuff (important stuff) and get into the car. Even if your kids are bigger and you don't have time to strap them in right then and there. Just drive out fast and stop somewhere to strap them in. When you do this, never return again, even if your name is on the lease, whatever, leave it all behind. Go somewhere safe, don't ever give him your address or have it listed, make sure you aren't being followed, and get a support team to help you through your desire to return.

Anonymous said...

Hi my daughter is a meth addict. She said she wants to do rehab. I keep telling her that I will support her once she gets herself into a program. She keeps saying my tough love isn't helping and it is not an effective method, that is just makes her feel worthless. She said she needs in a program today. But there is a process and interviews she will have to do before she can get into a rehab unit. She wants to come home, but i feel she needs to get into rehab where she is. And then down the track looking at a rehab closer to home. what do you think the best thing to do is. Get her a ticket home and then sort out a rehab. Or get her to take the steps where she is and once she is in a program go and visit her. God this is so confusing.

Anonymous said...

My sister is a drug addict. DOC? Heroin and cocaine. My mother and a sister are her enablers. My addict sister has convinced them that she is sober. In the meantime, we have been pressing for a drug test, which she refuses. But said that this past friday she was having one done at a program. She got back from the program to tell us that another patient when asked to be tested refused and the staff was forcing him to the point that he broke not one but two toilets. UNBLOODY real!!! and my mother believes her. I mean of all the days that she could have a test, when she goes some imaginary man breaks all toilets available. First of all, NO program WILL physically force anyone to do a test, they may ask you to leave the program, call the police if someone has been court mandated to be tested. Second, my sister alleges that since she started the program over a month ago, they have NEVER done a drug test, BLOODY LIE, we all know that at least upon the first evaluation they will ask for urine/blood test to test for drugs. So if she is indeed going to program, I am sure they have done a test, she just doesn't want to reveal the results. So now since we were all waiting for this test...she came up with what she thinks is a brilliant excuse. I tell ya, she is such a manipulator. My mother is blind or doesn't want to see reality. ME??? I'm throwing the towel. My sister is 50 yrs old. Alot older than me. Why should I take this on me. I'm the youngest of 4 siblings, I should be the mad and crazy one, needing the advise and support of my elderly sisters, and that's not the case. Enough!! I am checking out!!!

Anonymous said...

my boyfriend has been an addict for quite some time before i met him. after two years of seeing him he left to another state to work. He had nothing before he left. he has been gone for 9 months now and is doing well. i feel i need to let him go because if he moves back into this environment he is sure to fall back into the same situation. I tried to tell him why i needed to let him go. he does not understand. i have not taken his calls for 6 days now and i am very sad, but i know i cannot follow him and he should not return! I am so sad right now!! Could someone give me their opinion on my situation? Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous,

I know how you are feeling. I have been married to my estranged husband for 2 yrs and we dated for 2 yrs. so, he has been in my life for 4yrs. These should've been the best four years of my life but, the weren't. My husband was very manipulative, abusive, and untrustworthy. After going through drama, day in and day out, I decided put him out because this life wasn't healthy for our kids. When I first decided to put him out, I was very sad and missed him dearly. We continued to keep in contact our anger subsided, but this was a mistake. Old habits are hard to break, because every time he would visit he would find some way to ask for money, or sleep all day, or try to use my car to go and seek out his DOC (drug of choice). Eventually, I got feed cometely up and confronted him about it, which I knew was going to make him explode which he did. He became the devil right before my eyes. Shoving , hitting, punching, and throwing things at me and I had did nothing to provoke it, but tell him the truth about him not changing. Addicts don't want to hear the truth. Every since that incident, I have gotten a restraining order and an order of protection against my husband. It has been a hard pill to swallow, but I know that the results of swallowing that pill would be priceless. Once I came out of this dense
"fog"of denial, I have been the happiest I have been in years. Its been difficult, and at times I get lonely, but I supplement that with taking up new hobbies. The bottom line is, if your boyfriend has not gotten any extensive help for his drug addiction, don't believe what his telling you. Just because he moved doesn't mean that he hasn't sought out places to get his DOC (drug of choice). It's easy to change environments, but if you are still the same person, then this is going to yield the same results. Trust only his actions. You will eventually see what his intentions are. But in the mean time, enjoy this freedom. Take time to focus on yourself. Take up new hobbies. Enjoy your friends and family, treat yourself to a pampered day. But just be cautious. Use your brain and not your heart. Hope that all will work out for you.