The alcoholic is convinced that he can stop drinking at any time, that the alcohol problem does not concern him at all. After all, since he can give up alcohol with no problem (and he usually believes he is), there’s no reason to deny himself another glass or drink, right? If you look “cool” at excessive alcohol consumption, you can very quickly see that this is a straight path to very unpleasant consequences. Losing your job, divorce, illness, conflict with the law – it becomes really unbearable to think about it! Then the manipulation of the alcoholic comes to the rescue: in this way the addicted person can push unpleasant thoughts away from himself and in his own twisted way “fight” with the consequences.
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The first lies about the amount of alcohol drunk or the occasion appear, as well as the manipulation of feelings. Unfortunately, manipulation by an alcoholic most often affects those closest to him. Wife or husband, children, parents, siblings, and partners notice that something is wrong: too often, alcohol appears not only at parties, but also without occasion. What do relatives do in such a situation? In most cases, they take up the fight against alcohol, but their efforts are in vain. Blaming others by an alcoholic means that he can simply blame his failure to limit alcohol consumption on his immediate surroundings or circumstances.
How to recognize the manipulation of an alcoholic?
Manipulation of alcohol addicts is most often based on the mechanism of illusion and denial. It usually takes the form of denial of facts: “I have no problem with alcohol”, “I don’t drink every day”, “I’m not an alcoholic” – you will surely hear these sentences from an addicted person if you raise a sensitive topic for them. Rationalization is also common: the alcoholic will always find an excuse to reach for alcohol. One day it will be a successful day at work, the next – the name day of someone you know or a good assessment of the child.
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It is also very common to blame others: “if my marriage was successful, I would not have to drink alcohol”, “I did not want to drink, but my friends persuaded me” – the list of such excuses for every alcoholic is really long. The intricate stories and excuses are designed to calm down the environment and the alcoholic himself. They are actually effective for a while, but sooner or later appearances will collapse like a house of cards. What else can an alcoholic do to make him feel better? Play on the feelings of your loved ones, thanks to which they will remove the need to face the consequences of their actions.
How does an alcoholic manipulate feelings?
When the immediate family begins to accuse the alcoholic of alcohol abuse, arousing pity can be an effective solution. An addicted person justifies his behavior with poor health or other problems. It is also a method of extorting alcohol or money, often even from your own children. Very often the addicted person also promises that he will take treatment – thanks to this, relatives live in the illusion that soon everything will return to normal, and the alcoholic gains additional time to indulge in the addiction.
It is also common practice to feel guilty; especially the so-called highly functioning alcoholics turn to arguments to justify their behavior in this way. To the accusations of relatives, the addicted person replies that he works, brings home money or cares for the family – and a little alcohol to loosen up has not hurt anyone yet. As a result, the family begins to wonder if they are actually exaggerating and are wrongly accusing the alcoholic of excessive drinking. All of these methods allow addicts to indulge in addiction unhindered.
Manipulations of a non-drinking alcoholic
Unfortunately, in most cases we can talk not only about the addiction of the individual, but also the co-dependence of relatives. Partners or family try to protect the alcoholic and thus unknowingly create ideal conditions for him to drink. Protection against consequences, taking care of sick leaves, loans, but also control or assistance in everyday duties will not solve the problem. In addition, an addicted person in moments of his sobriety can really promise a lot: the manipulations of a sobering alcoholic are aimed at maintaining the current state, in which he is not threatened with any consequences.
When the alcoholic sober up, he can be really charming: he brings toys and sweets for the children, takes his wife for a walk, cooks a delicious dinner – but all this is to mask the real problem. If such actions are not successful, the manipulations of the non-drinking alcoholic turn into emotional blackmail.