incredible-marketing Arrow
Manipulation as a Defense Mechanism

Our struggles with addiction and mental health issues can cause us to develop some very detrimental defense mechanisms that we use thinking we’re protecting ourselves from judgment, harm or mistreatment. Very often these coping mechanisms are unconscious, and we first adopted them out of an instinct for self-protection when we experienced something traumatic such as abandonment, abuse or neglect. One of our most destructive defense mechanisms is manipulation, and when we are manipulative of the people around us, we hurt not only them but ourselves as well.

Manipulation can manifest in countless different forms. We might lie to bolster our case or to get what we want. We might try to control a situation or outcome. We might judge or criticize people, focusing on their weaknesses as a way to disempower them. We might put people down and belittle them, being emotionally abusive and deliberately hurting their feelings. Our manipulation is often compulsive and can feel as though it’s out of our control. It’s something we do instinctively and automatically, often without our even thinking about it. When we are manipulative, it is often because deep down we feel powerless and out of control, and we’re desperate to find ways of controlling other people, and the world around us, in order to try and regain some of our power. We often have subconscious beliefs that we are unsafe, that we are being threatened, and that we need to protect ourselves at all costs.

When we manipulate, we alienate people and make them wary of trusting us. We ruin the trust, security and comfort of our relationships. We make people afraid to be around us. This hurts everyone involved. We feel pain when our relationships are fractured and estranged, even though we might not show it. We feel ashamed of ourselves and regretful. We feel embarrassed. We have a hard time recovering from the emotional ramifications of the behaviors we regret. We feel we can’t live them down. Our depression, anxiety and other mental health issues worsen. We might use our drugs of choice excessively to numb the pain of how bad we feel about ourselves.

To discontinue our destructive patterns and put a stop to the negative defense mechanisms we’ve developed, it can help to look at why, how and when they first began. We can explore the origins of our coping mechanisms in order to examine why we felt so unsafe, so exposed, so vulnerable and threatened that we needed to develop these habits to protect ourselves. The more we can look at the deeper meanings behind our compulsions, the more we can work to heal from them.

Are you ready to take the first step on your journey to recovery? Call The Guest House today! 855-483-7800.