Addiction can create a tangled web of behaviors and actions that are harmful to everyone involved. Those closest to addiction often experience behaviors like compulsive lying and manipulation that are very damaging to relationships. They also see the addicted person exhibit:
- Denial – Failing to admit that that there is a problem, usually at great lengths.
- Avoidance – Trying any and everything to divert others or themselves from a growing addiction problem.
- Rationalization – Trying to explain away addictive behavior or relapses.
- Justification – Projecting blame or responsibility on others when there are consequences of addiction.
These patterns of behavior in addiction are often rooted in deeper thought patterns. These ways of thinking can explain addict behavior in many ways, especially manipulation. Here are four dangerous thought patterns to watch out for if you have a loved one struggling with addiction.
Dangerous Thought Patterns
Also known as Personal Exceptionalism, is the conviction that the person is special and unlike other people. This means that the rules don’t apply to the individual the way that apply to others. With this type of thinking a person can be willing to engage in unwise or dangerous behavior because they believe they will avoid negative outcomes. Exceptionalism can also lead the individual to see other people as existing to serve their needs. This type of thinking is particularly dangerous for recovery because it puts of barriers and can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
This behavior can take on many different forms. Typically it is the viewpoint that sees all things as being out of the the control of the individual. They blame other people or circumstances when things go wrong and they have a negative outlook on life. Many people who have a victim mentality will use passive aggressive behavior or manipulation to get what they want. This is a dangerous behavior for recovery because it doesn’t make it easy for the individual to take responsibility for his or her actions. Giving up the victim role and accepting responsibility can be a big step toward recovery.
A addict will become obsessed with a drug and resent anyone who gets in the way of continuing its use. The use of the drug and receiving that drug becomes the most important thing to the individual. Because of this, they will have no problem compromising their morals by lying, stealing, and manipulating anyone around them. Obsession can often lead to delusional thinking which rationalizes any behavior in order to feed the addiction.
This behavior constructs and alternate reality where the drug dominates every other consideration. It also creates a reality where (like exceptionalism) other people are simply tools for use in maintaining access to the drug. Delusion might also tell the individual that his or her problem is a minor one and can be stopped at any time. They might also see addiction as something that simply couldn’t exist in their lives. They have a fairy-tale narrative that the real addicts are unemployed, homeless and alone; not people with families and steady jobs. This delusional thinking can make the individual avoid getting treatment because a problem doesn’t exist in their false narrative.
Have you or a loved one have experienced these negative thought patterns of addiction? Have you been the victim of addict manipulation? If you need advice on next steps, Rock Recovery Center in West Palm Beach, Florida can help. Call our 24-hour helpline or chat live with us now.
Additional resources on addict manipulation: