Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Manipulation By The Drug User

Back in 2007 I wrote a piece on manipulation by the addicted family member. It has been the most visited entry in this blog. Whether your loved one uses alcohol, Chrystal Meth., Cocaine, Prescription Medication or some other drug of choice they will spend a lot of time attempting to manipulate you or other members of your family. In my recently released book we spend at lot of time on this issue. We help you develop ways to help you reduce your vulnerability to manipulation and to develop skills that will help you identify ways you are being manipulated so you can learn to reduce your susceptibility to continuing manipulation by the addict.

There are three things to understand about manipulation by the addict:

The first thing to understand is that all addicted people manipulate. This isn't personal, it's just what all addicts do as part of the symptoms of their disease.

The second thing to understand is that all family members and friends are equal opportunity targets of manipulation by the addict. Manipulation is not something to be surprised or shocked about. It is just part of the normal dance that occurs with the disease.

The third thing to understand is that family members will continue to be manipulated until they make a conscious decision to stop allowing this to happen and until they learn new skills and habits that make manipulation attempts unsuccessful. As long as addicts are using drugs they will not stop trying to manipulate.

Family members who don't understand what they can control and what they can't control spend tremendous amounts of energy trying to control the addicted family member's manipulating behavior instead of their response to it.  In order to reduce your susceptibility to manipulation you will need to develop what feels like "unnatural skills." A few examples of these "unnatural skills" are:  not trusting the most sincere promises of your loved one; developing boundaries as tools to prevent emotional blackmail by the addict; and, believing what you see rather than what you would like to believe.

These themes are covered in detail in our book, "Families and Addiction: How to Stop the Chaos and Restore Family Balance."  Over the past 8 years that I have been doing this blog I have received tens of thousands of hits from all over the world.  The questions and the help people are seeking are remarkably similar whether the family member is writing from the U.S.A., Canada, U.K., the Middle East or Asia/Pacific regions.