The Psychology Of Blame
What is blame, exactly? What function does it serve? In the simplest terms, blame is both an emotion that facilitates guilt and is also a concept that offers utility. Whether you are blaming yourself or freeing yourself from blame by blaming someone else , in both situations it is a way to reframe a situation to reflect positively or negatively upon you. Something is either your fault or not your fault .
In the simplest sense, in terms of blame, there are two paths. An addict may blame him or herself for some traumatic event or situation in life and this may turn them into substance abuse to cope with the knowledge of that thing. The blame rests squarely on an issue of identity, in which the person believes that they are the addict and that is all they will ever be. This could not be further from the truth, however, in the moment it is a powerful sense of negative attachment. This is similar to if not the same as victim mentality, where we feel ourselves a victim to forces outside of our control all the way up until the point where we no longer have an identity outside of the victim.
Blaming others is the flipside of blaming yourself, but the result is the same. There is some emotional wound or trauma that becomes a tragic pain point that enables the person to fall deep into a victim mentality.
An Addicted Person Manipulates
This trait goes hand in hand with blaming other people and lying. A person under addiction feels like they cannot function without taking the substance that makes them addicted. Which can make these kinds of items feel like a basic necessity for them. Drugs can significantly alter a person, a person who was loving and open can become someone who will do anything to satisfy his or her addiction, to the point that they would manipulate other people, including their family.
Family and loved ones of an addicted person wants nothing but the person involved to get better, to seek help.
They would ask an addicted loved one to seek professional help, but an addicted person would be alarmed and feel cornered, and that is when they will use manipulation. When they feel like there is a potential threat to their substance-using, their manipulation starts.
They will say things like
Sometimes they will even use the love card and say
These kinds of manipulation often happen. They can also cause relation separation between spouses and other loved ones. An addicted person would promise that they would change. They would say that they would seek help, would stop getting drugs or alcohol that they would dispose of all of them. And they might even ask for help in the disposal of the substance they are addicted to show you their sincerity.
What Is An Enabler
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I Dont Drink In The Morning So Im Not An Alcoholic
Because one of the known symptoms of alcoholism is needing a wake-up drink, theres a myth that you arent an alcoholic unless you find yourself drinking in the morning. It doesnt matter what time you drink. An alcoholic cant stop drinking once they start, and they continue to drink even when drinking negatively affects their health, wellness, or well-being.
Drinking at night can be equally as destructive as drinking in the morning. Hiding alcohol, lying about how much you drink, and finding ways to drink when you know you shouldnt are all indications your alcohol consumption has spiraled into addiction. Time of day does not matter. Among the many lies alcoholics tell themselves, this one can keep them from seeking help if they continue to believe morning drinking is what distinguishes them from being a full-blown alcoholic.
They Blame Because They Fear Change
They bury their subconscious guilt by blaming others because by taking responsibility, it would mean that they recognize and admit that there is a problem, and it is their fault. By acknowledging that there is a problem, it would mean that there is something that needs to be changed, and that would mean that there is something that they need to change.
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Treatment Is Critical To Recovery
In many cases, the blaming and lying will not stop until the alcoholic admits to having a drinking problem. To help these individuals consider rehab, many families hold interventions. These meetings allow family members to persuade a loved one to seek help for addiction.
Shedding the stigma associated with addiction may reduce the reluctance to seek treatment. Without guilt and fear, alcoholics may not feel the need to lie or blame others for their problems. Instead, they might be more open about their drinking problems and more motivated to seek resources for alcoholics.
Completing alcohol rehab is a proven method for overcoming alcoholism. In rehab, people undergo alcohol detox, learn about the dangers of alcoholism and find new ways to avoid drinking. They also learn how to live healthy lives without alcohol.
Addicts Will Become Distant
You may notice that things dont feel right anymore and they dont seem like the same person they used to be. Typical addict behavior in relationships involves neglecting all of their relationships and only spending time with the people who share their addiction. Their sleeping and eating habits will change dramatically and they will often blame it on something else. One of the reasons addicts in relationships can be so distant and emotionally unavailable is because theyre trying to maintain their relationship with their substance of choice, giving it priority over their relationship with you. Their addiction takes precedence over every other relationship they have because they have literally become dependent on their substances.
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To Explain Why Something Happened
As humans, its our default to always look for a cause for something.
We like to have narratives that explain why things happened so that we can add these to our mental story of life.
Rather than turning the light on ourselves or looking at the bigger picture and context, we can explain things more quickly and easily by attributing them to others.
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The 20 Lies Addicts Tell Themselves
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How To Live With An Alcoholic In Denial
Denial is common in alcoholism, but it can be difficult to cope with. Your instinct may be to argue or fight back against an alcoholic in denial, but this is rarely helpful. If you become angry, you are only likely to increase defensiveness from the alcoholic. Instead, remain calm and have a discussion when the alcoholic is in a seemingly good mood. Be prepared to give specific examples of concerning behavior, and remember to express that you are having this discussion because you care about them.
If youre trying to cope with an alcoholic who is in denial, there are certain strategies you can use:
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They Engage In Criminal Acts
When someone becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, their value systems take a back seat to right and wrong. Essentially, the screaming brain compels them to do whatever it takes to find life-sustaining drugs.
A teen who never got into trouble may suddenly start having run-ins with the law.
The quest to satisfy the survival part of the brain can lead them to do illegal things they would have never considered before, such as:
- Stealing prescription pills from the medicine cabinets, purses, and homes of relatives, neighbors, or family friends.
- Lying about pain or causing self-injury to get prescriptions.
- Doctor shopping to try and get more prescriptions written.
- Forging prescriptions.
- Shoplifting valuable items to sell or pawn.
- Getting drug money by turning tricks or selling drugs.
- Injecting heroin.
The teen you previously thought incapable of even cheating on a test at school may suddenly find herself with an arrest record and a long line of people whose trust shes lost.
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Im Under A Lot Of Stress Its Okay To Kick Back With This Stuff And Relax
There are many ways you can relax and let go of stress without drugs or alcohol. Lies alcoholics tell, along with lies drug addicts tell, include excusing their behavior with stress, a single event, a memorial or anniversary, or anything to give themselves a reason for taking their substance.
If you find you cant relax and unwind except with drugs and alcohol, you have more problems than simple stress. Although substances such as alcohol can initially make you feel relaxed and sleepy, over time, the bounce-back effect from your neurotransmitters can make you feel even more uptight and wound up than before. Most drugs have a boomerang effect, causing even more stress as they wear off and the cravings for more begin.
Using drugs or alcohol as an excuse to unwind is a common lie addicts tell themselves. Learning new and healthier ways to relax is critical for recovery.
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How To Recognize The Manipulation Of A Drug Addict
Anyone who has a close friend or relative that has struggled with a substance use disorder knows all too well about the manipulative ways of a person who is controlled by their addiction. These behaviors cause extreme heartache and pain and they even have the power to break up families and end marriages.
Amid a relationship that has been damaged by addiction, its not always easy to identify manipulative behaviors, let alone how to respond in a healthy way. However, if you can take a step back and peel back the filter from your eyes, you might just see that your loved one is manipulating you into fueling his or her addiction.
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I Only Drink So I Cant Be An Alcoholic
Alcohol is alcohol, whether its found in beer, wine, hard liquor, fermented cider, or cough medicine. Any type of alcohol can set off cravings in an alcoholic, and any type of alcohol can be addictive. The type of substance abused doesnt matter as much as other factors, especially the ability to control your drinking.
In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, there are many stories of people switching from hard liquor to beer and convincing themselves this will cure their alcoholism. It doesnt, because the basic problem remains. Among lies alcoholics tell, this one is very common but equally false. You can be an alcoholic addicted to beer, wine, vodka, or anything in between.
When Someone You Love Is An Addict
Youre dealing with someone different now.
When an addiction takes hold, the person you love disappears, at least until the addiction loosens its grip. The person you love is still in there somewhere, but thats not who youre dealing with. The person you remember may have been warm, funny, generous, wise, strong so many wonderful things but addiction changes people. It takes a while to adjust to this reality and its very normal to respond to the addicted person as though he or she is the person you remember. This is what makes it so easy to fall for the manipulations, the lies and the betrayal over and over. Youre responding to the person you remember but this is not that person. The sooner youre able to accept this, the sooner you can start working for the person you love and remember, which will mean doing what sometimes feels cruel, and always heartbreaking, so the addiction is starved of the power to keep that person away. The person you love is in there support that person, not the addict in front of you. The sooner youre able to stop falling for the manipulations, lies, shame and guilt that feeds their addiction, the more likely it will be that the person you remember will be able to find the way back to you.
Go for progress, not perfection. There will be forward steps and plenty of backward ones too. Dont see a backward step as failure. Its not. Recovery never happens in a neat forward line and backward steps are all part of the process.
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Reclaim Your Life From Addiction With Tranquil Shores Rehab
Although these 20 lies addicts tell themselves and others may defer the inevitable, the truth is waiting for everyone. Someday, the addict who tells these lies realizes they cant hide from the truth anymore. Theres always a moment at which the truth becomes clear. When that happens, its time to seek recovery.
Tranquil Shores offers a caring place to begin your recovery. We provide an integrated approach to addiction treatment that has helped many recover from drug and alcohol addiction. We also offer dual-diagnosis treatment for people diagnosed with both addiction issues and mental health problems.
How Can We Change Stigmatizing Behavior
- When talking to people with SUD, their loved ones, and your colleagues, use non-stigmatizing language that reflects an accurate, science-based understanding of SUD and is consistent with your professional role.
- Because clinicians are typically the first points of contact for a person with an SUD, health professionals should take all steps necessary to reduce the potential for stigma and negative bias.3 Take the first step by learning the terms to avoid and use.
- Use person-first language and let individuals choose how they are described.4 Person-first language maintains the integrity of individuals as whole human beingsby removing language that equates people to their condition or has negative connotations.5 For example, person with a substance use disorder has a neutral tone and distinguishes the person from his or her diagnosis.6
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Alcohol Tobacco And Other Drugs
The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSAs 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.
How Addictive Substances Rewire The Brain
When we enjoy something especially pleasurable, dopamine levels in our brains are increased, triggering bliss, a sense of well-being, and motivation. Because addictive substances like drugs or alcohol trigger such unnaturally high levels of dopamine, the response is intensified, reinforcing a strong desire to repeat the experience. After time, the brain adapts to the presence of the addictive substance until it becomes unable to activate the reward system naturally, so it must rely on the drug or alcohol to achieve the desired effect.
Eventually, the addict will do whatever it takes to feel good, or to just feel normal. The part of the brain that controls morality and judgment may have become damaged, affecting the ability to make rational choices. The capacity for objective thought has become diminished. Addicts become masters of deception, saying or doing whatever is necessary to avoid the consequences of their actions, to obtain more of the addictive substance, and to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
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The Addicts Need For Power & Control
Addicts have a need to be in control, feel powerful and dominate others in order to make up for the internal powerlessness and lack of control they feel. Their constant need to be in control of their relationships, environment and situation leave others feeling as though they have no voice.
Using the silent treatment, or isolating to avoid conversation Slamming doors, playing loud music or throwing things Refusing to participate in their own recovery while acting as if theyre helpless Threatening to harm themselves Deliberately causing confusion and doubt Expressing anger in unhealthy ways, like screaming or using violence, in an attempt to make you uncomfortable with confronting them Making demands or threats of embarrassment, violence against you or themselves, or humiliation, if you dont do what they want
When you recognize an addict is attempting to use power and control to manipulate you, you become empowered to detach from the behavior and respond appropriately. One of the best ways to respond in a power & control situation is to wait it out.
Wait until youre in a neutral zone, and express your feelings about the behavior . Use direct statements, like, When you threaten to harm yourself, I feel ___________.
Being Nice Just To Get Something
You could find that your loved one with substance use disorder is extra nice or friendly, but only when they want you to behave in a certain way.
For example, they might call you for the first time in several months when they need money. When you give it to them, they may go back to their usual behavior.
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