Manipulation is the act of influencing someone to do something they wouldn’t normally do. Manipulators actively use the emotional state of others to get what they want. They prey on sadness, depression, lack of self-confidence. They lie, cheat and steal in order to ensure their needs and wants are met.
Avoiding Manipulation | Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Charlotte NC
Manipulation can take a toll on the prey. It can break us down; make us feel like we are crazy. Manipulators are always the victim. They never take blame and assume the world is out to get them.
When dealing with addiction and manipulation, things become even harder to deal with. We often find that as loved ones, we suffer just as much as the one addicted. There are ways, however, to avoid and overcome being harmfully influenced by addicts. Below, you’ll find a few tips that work well to not only shut the influencing down, but also possibly get through to the one doing the manipulating
Reality – While it can be a daunting task, consistently showing a manipulator the reality of things can significantly decrease their influence. It’s also important to keep reality first and foremost for you as well. It’s easy to “forget” you’re dealing with a loved one’s addiction. You might let the fact that they’re manipulating you slip your mind. Creating false reality is dangerous for both you and the addict. Don’t allow this to happen. If it does, you might never overcome the influence and they’ll never beat addiction.
Margins – One of the most important aspects of dealing with an addict is setting boundaries. You must keep them at an arm’s length in order to show them you won’t cave in to their emotional trap. This can be difficult. It can be heartbreaking. But, in order to show them that you’re not falling for their game anymore, it’s time to highlight the margins. Set practical boundaries that are easy to keep. Be consistent in stopping the unintentional appeasing.
Listen – It’s easy to offer advice or suggestions to addicts without listening to their side of the story first. In a situation where an addict is being a manipulator, saying things like “you should” or “why can’t you” become fighting words. They assume you’re going to blast them for their actions. Most of the time, you are. This approach doesn’t work. An addict is always the victim. They’re never at fault. Sometimes, that’s true. When addicts will do anything to get their next high, it’s because their brain chemicals are unbalanced and their body is forcing them to use more. They honestly can’t help it. Instead of resisting their story, listen. Then, you might be able to offer suggestions without angering them.
Codependency – Unconditional love is sometimes mistaken for unconditional support. Families end up fixing mistakes, rescuing addicts from tough situations and chaos more than they ever though would be necessary. This is creating a whole other problem in itself. Codependency happens when an addict’s loved one becomes “dependent” on helping them. They write it off as unconditional love, but really, it’s just the act of rescuing the addict. Once you’ve recognized that you’re only enabling their actions by fixing their mistakes, the addict will soon see that changes will need to be made.
Enabling – Loved ones usually do things they’d never consider in a situation where they’re dealing with an addict. Saying no to giving a son or daughter thousands of dollars isn't easy when you know they’re desperate. “Helping” an addict is only enabling them. While it might seem like a good idea to give them what they want, don’t. This encourages their actions and supports the manipulation.
Positivity – Manipulators use emotions to get what they want. If their loved one is sad seeing them spiral down the path of destruction, they use it to their advantage. If they find that a friend is dismayed by their drug use, the addict will offer up the “this is the last time” card to get their way. Instead of constantly showing negative emotion toward them, turn things around and put a positive spin on it. Always offer them a smile or friendly gesture, no matter what is happening in their life. Even when they’re frantically searching for money for their next high, your positivity will make an impact. It is infectious. At the very least, they’ll think twice before manipulating you again.
Self-Care – When we find ourselves being constantly manipulated, always dealing with a loved one that is addicted to drugs, it’s hard to take time to care for ourselves. Unfortunately, allowing our self-confidence to suffer is a big mistake. Manipulators can spot low self-worth from a mile away. This leaves your emotional state wide open for further influence. Instead of letting this happen, take time to enjoy a vacation, start a new hobby or something else that focuses only on you. Don’t forget to take a little “me” time to readjust your attention. When a loved one donates all of their time and energy to an addict, their self-worth suffers, making them a huge target for manipulation. An aspect of boundary setting, self-care takes the focus off addiction and provides you with the space necessary to enjoy some personal time. Go on a vacation, see a movie or take up activities that realign your focus on something other than an addicted loved one.
Support Groups – Addiction is something that millions are plagued by. It’s not a disease that should be handled alone. Finding a support group that knows what you’re going through can help. We often think rehabilitation programs are for the addict only. However, there’s nothing preventing an addict's loved ones from seeking help as well. Just being able to talk about the manipulation that has taken place and how it’s made you feel can offer a type of healing you may never find on your own. Friends and family who’ve been manipulated do have each other. They can offer support and a shoulder to cry on. Letting someone on the outside looking in hear your story and how it’s affected you can do your overall wellbeing a world of good. Your loved ones aren’t the only ones dealing with the aftermath of manipulation. Find a support group that reminds you of that.
Tough Love – Seeing a loved one go through addiction is hard. Even more difficult is giving them the tough love they need for encouragement. Oftentimes, we think it’s best to tiptoe around the disease. Let it run its course. While pushing an addict to recover when they’re not ready can be detrimental, suggesting that there will be consequences for their manipulative ways might be the only way to get them to stop. Discuss what will happen if they wrongfully influence you again.
Tough love is something the only option when it comes to manipulation. In a future blog post, we will talk more about tough love and how it can affect your current situation. Stay tuned for more information.
Legacy Freedom | Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Charlotte NC
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