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Manipulative Coping Strategies

As we’re recovering from our addictions and mental health issues, we often find that there are coping mechanisms we’ve adopted over the years, often in response to our fears and deeply rooted pain. Some of our strategies for coping end up being manipulative in nature, and we’re trying to control, manipulate and direct other people in ways that are dysfunctional and toxic, very often because we’re trying to protect ourselves from further hurt. Our manipulative coping mechanisms ultimately create even more layers of pain that we have to unpack and work to heal from.

  1. Dishonesty. We lie to cover our tracks, and especially to conceal our addictions. We lie to hide the hurtful things we’ve done and the mistakes we’ve made. At the root of our dishonesty is very often a fear of rejection. We fear people wouldn’t love and accept us if they knew the full truth of who we are. Deep down we’re rejecting ourselves, so subconsciously we assume it’s inevitable others will reject us as well. We’re so afraid of getting hurt that we’ll go to any length to avoid it, and often this includes lying to the people closest to us. We don’t realize that lying to people who care about us only distances them more and makes it that much more likely that we will get hurt in the long run.
  2. Control. We try to bend people to our will. We might be forceful with, and even abusive towards, them. We might try to control their actions, choices, even their thoughts and feelings, thinking that this will achieve the desired outcome we want – for them to love us and not abandon us. Our cycles of mental, emotional and physical abuse often have a foundation of control, because we often feel so out of control within ourselves that we need to try and dominate others.

When we’re manipulative, we tend to feel ashamed of ourselves, and we use our drugs of choice to cope with our feelings of disappointment, shame, remorse, and regret. Many of us will end up confessing to a loved one just how manipulative, dishonest and controlling we’ve been. We’re desperate to get out of these cycles, which for many of us can feel compulsive and out of our control. We feel as though we can’t stop ourselves, as much as we’d like to, as much as we know we’re hurting ourselves and others. Our manipulative coping mechanisms and compulsions are part of the complex nature of our addictions and mental health issues. We’re using these mechanisms to try and protect ourselves from getting hurt but are inwardly so self-destructive that we can’t help but cause ourselves and those around us considerable pain.

The Guest House is a welcoming and supportive recovery home where you will be met with open arms, wherever where you are on your journey, without judgment or expectation. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.