Manipulative Behaviors in Addicts


Many studies show the impact of addiction not only on those with substance use disorders but on their family members as well. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of drug abuse includes the development of manipulative behaviors that help the person with an addiction obtain their drug of choice.

At Hickory Treatment Centers, we provide comprehensive recovery services that include both residential and outpatient treatment programs. We know how important it is for the healing process to involve the entire family and do everything in our power to facilitate this.

Why Are Addicts Manipulative?

Those with substance use disorders involving drugs or alcohol sometimes resort to negative behavior that can upset, frighten or confuse those who love them. A loving child can become angry and violent, or a generous spouse can become hostile and selfish, leaving those around them bereft of what to do.

By understanding the types of behavior and what causes them, you can protect yourself, your family, and the person with a substance use disorder.

Reasons Those With Drug Use Disorders Turn to Manipulation

There are several main reasons why those with substance use disorders try to manipulate those around them, including the following:

  • They want to feel in control because addiction leaves them feeling powerless against alcohol or drugs.
  • Those with addictions often abandoned their principles and order to focus on maintaining a supply of drugs or alcohol.
  • Those with substance use addictions often go through a period of guilt and shame when manipulating loved ones. However, they may continue the behavior, which includes displacing blame on others, to avoid the full effect of those feelings.
  • They believe their behavior is justified by their need for more drugs or alcohol.

It’s important to remember that substance use disorder and alcoholism fundamentally alter brain chemistry. This literally changes how someone with an addiction thinks and behaves. However, with the right help, your loved one can begin the journey to recovery and begin to mend important relationships.

Examples of Manipulative Behavior

It’s important to put yourself first when dealing with a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol. They may use manipulation to pin the blame on you or make you feel guilty for not providing whatever it is they’re asking for, typically money.

Here are a few specific manipulative behaviors to watch out for and avoid:

  • Asking for favors or money from friends and family members
  • Making threats to leave if you don’t give them what they want
  • Making physical threats if things don’t go their way
  • Starting arguments
  • Doing nice things just to make it appear that they have changed
  • Acting out with violence or dramatic action such as slamming doors or screaming
  • Threatening self-harm
  • Blaming everyone else for their actions and circumstances
  • Refusing to admit they have a problem

Just Say No

Unfortunately, until your loved one is ready to receive help, they may not be open to productive discussions. In some cases, an intervention may help them realize what their life has come to and encourage them to seek the help they need at Hickory Treatment Centers.

By not giving in to their demands and putting your own health and sanity first, you can help them realize that what they’re doing is a zero-sum game.

Studies show that the family context is vital not only to how substance use disorders develop but also in how they become resolved. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your loved one is to stand firm until they receive the help they need to overcome their addiction.

Contact Hickory Treatment Centers today for more information on drug and alcohol addiction treatment and dual diagnosis programs available throughout Indiana.

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If you have tried to stop using alcohol or drugs on your own, you may feel that sobriety and clean living seem far away. However, with the help of caring staff members and a safe, structured environment, you can receive the guidance you need to fight cravings and regain control of your life.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our admission staff or learn more about our healing programs.