Six common ways addiction tries to manipulate us
I nearly cheered with joy when you answered, "Nothing" to "So what do you need to do...?" It took me a VERY LONG TIME to realize that I was being manipulated over and over and over again. Now, I just assume that he's lying about pretty much everything. I don't ask him if he stopped at the bar after work - I just assume that he has. I don't ask him what he does every single night by himself, sitting outside smoking and drinking until he passes out most nights, because I know the response will be more bullsh*t and lies. I didn't ask what happened to his knees and his eye when I returned home from a weekend away recently. I just don't bother anymore. I quite literally do nothing. Now, this is no way to live, for sure. I'm not angry, but apathetic. I have plans in my head for getting out relatively unscathed (financially), but it'll take some time. I'm the tiniest bit ashamed to admit that I don't love the man anymore because it feels selfish. But there comes a time when we have to stop putting up with this manipulation and get Puffy Chested with the addiction instead of cowering to its cunning, baffling powers. I refuse to be that victim anymore.
Anyone ever find yourself saying, "I am SO STUPID!!!" over and over after they've lied/manipulated us and we gave them the benefit of the doubt, only to find out it's just Incident # 438? I am really hard on myself when I let it happen. I DO feel crazy because I SWEAR I smell vodka but he says he hasn't had a drink since (last week, last month, our anniversary... whatever. Doesn't matter cuz it's a lie.) Then within a short period of time (hours or days), he gets so sloppy drunk he can't talk or walk without falling down. Then I find the remnants of this round in a pile under his desk: pints, liters, beer cans, vodka. Enough to kill an elephant, and my husband drank it all in a matter of MAYBE 3-4 weeks, probably more like 1. He'd started back up immediately after the most recent time he promised he was going to stop. (AA sux... IOP doesn't help me... I am going to do it on my own... bs bs bs. Repeat cycle.)
What is NOT rock bottom for my husband:
--me having to pick him up from the police station b/c he is literally incoherent and hit a curb--midday--got pulled over. call it white privilege or juju, but he was not charged with anything. HE COULD NOT TALK. so drunk;
--boss telling him he's about to lose his job, then transferring him to a different area he does not want to be in;
--all the letters: MM IOP, PHP, SMART, AA, CBT...
--4 hospitalizations for liver toxicity, pancreatitis, reduced kidney function, etc etc plus diabetes, obesity,, high blood pressure, etc etc plus depression and anxiety;
--his mom died just on the heels of one of his rampages and a whole family brouhaha; father with dementia;
If that's not enough, I fear nothing short of irrevocable harm would be.
I will give him points for being sober since mom died & I left. He is going to AA and private counselling--of his own accord. I hope the time will come when we can repair the damage and start again, but I will be building a life of my own going forward.
And I DO still love ve him more than anyone in the world.
I have contacted a domestic abuse helpline today, because I couldn not take it any longer.
Things are peaceful... for now. But I am safe. For tonight, at least.
Thank you, Michelle, for this article 🙏🏻 it came at the exact, right moment as I was doubting myself.
I can't believe how blind I was 🤔 Thank you so much for opening my eyes in your usual, loving way ❤️
What's really embarrassing about the manipulation I experienced is that my teenage kids could see it and I could not. They knew he was mixing a drink for himself during the day and hiding it in a cup with a lid. I didn't see it. They knew he was fall down drunk at the dinner table, I somehow didn't see it. When he denied drinking around them, I had to go along because I wasn't there to prove it otherwise. They saw that lying. I must have been in denial because I don't understand how I missed it, I guess I just could not face it. It was too much. What is sad about his manipulation is that he rarely he said he would change, instead he basically would say, "I've given you a good life, so your going to have to deal with it this way." Like I forced him into being an alcoholic in order to provide for his family. That felt so wrong to me.
My husband was the most honest person I knew... except when it came to drugs or alcohol. The day I saw that little brown bag go into my house and he straight up lied about it to my face ("I never brought in a bag! What are you talking about?") I knew serious problems had emerged in our marriage. It was the beginning of a very rough, very cold, very upsetting 5 years. I'm still really upset even in his recovery but thanks to groups like these and to Al Anon I am slowly returning to my better self. One day at a time
After 9 clean months where my life was exactly as I had always hoped for and without warning he looked me in the eye and lied, then figured out I knew so lied some more! Spent valuable time away from me and our life to run back to celebrate with his other life not having to do any more UAs - like literally the same day and 3 following that ... I'm at a loss. He lied... he acts as nothing has changed... he tried to gaslight but I stopped that right away. It's beginning to feel like everyday is just one manipulation after another.
First: Michelle, thank you SO MUCH for continuing to reach out to us via Substack. I loved and gained so much from your podcast Love Over Addiction. Truly life changing. You helped me make sense of what I was going through as the wife of an alcoholic. Once upon a time, I felt so scared, stuck, hopeless, and alone. I knew my "marriage" wasn't sustainable; I knew I wasn't in the kind of relationship I deserved; I knew I couldn't allow my kids to grow up thinking that any of this was normal or acceptable. I had become a shell of the person I was before I met my husband. Still, I stayed because I was too afraid to leave. He was the breadwinner, and he never let me forget it. I was a stay-at-home mom, and was expected to put up with whatever I was given because I "had it good." Love-bombing with extravagant gifts after ugly, drunken nights became the norm. The lying, hiding, sneaking around, endless promises to change...ooh boy does this post hit home for me.
Second: I just wanted to share a story of hope with anyone out there who might need to hear it. Almost 2 years ago, my daughter was 9 months old and I was 7 weeks pregnant with my son. My husband and I were in couples' counseling; he was in private counseling and AA. I prayed to God that this would finally be the end of the nightmare. To my surprise, he came home drunk the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and told me to "lawyer up." He said I was the only one who thought he had a drinking problem, that he was not going to stop drinking, and that he wanted a divorce. I won't pretend that I wasn't devastated and terrified, or that my journey has been easy. However, in that moment, my friends, I was SET FREE. I never looked back. My life has changed for the better in every single way - mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, professionally. There's so much more I'd like to share with you, but if I did, this post would become a missive. I will just leave it at this: if a small voice inside you is telling you that it's time to leave, and you're afraid (as I was) that you don't have what it takes, please hear me now: you DO have what it takes, it DOES get better, and it gets better MUCH faster than you might imagine.
Third: What is sad is that the manipulation never ends. My hopefully-soon-to-be-ex-husband has supervised visitation with the kids. A few months ago, he was given the opportunity to be unsupervised so long as he could blow a 0.00 both before and during visitation. He blew positive mid-visitation. The excuses and promises were astounding. "It must've been the pool water"; "I promise I wouldn't lie in this situation"; "I haven't drank all day." His mom even chimed in with, "There must've been alcohol in the caesar salad" (!!!) What a relief it is to be far enough away from the situation to be able to spot the manipulation from a mile away instead of living in it day in and day out.
Validation! Wow! Do nothing. Wow and thanks. My situation is really complicated and possibly rare.........but the common denominator is my drunk husband. Three years ago my perfectly normal son was in a crash and become severely disabled............he has a brain injury, I literally do everything for him, he's 19. He can get better; it just takes time. I knew hubby would be no help and not only no help but made it worse w/his drinking. Anyway, in April he put a loaded gun to my head, so I filed a restraining order. So now I am trying to figure out - where do we go from here. In speaking w/him via the phone, he will not agree to counseling......my lawyer and therapist said "just wait and see what happens"................but it FEELS wrong, not to do anything........except live in my drama free life and do some things I've always wanted to do.....it's amazing what can happen when you're not running around in the background trying to fix/help/console someone else............anyway as I read your article I was just waiting for what I needed to do...............and then you said NOTHING............ I felt it was my confirmation to do exactly that.
Lying, hiding, sneaking, and blaming, oh yes. He never promised to change though. He said things such as “I want to stop drinking. I want to be a good man. I want to stay married to you. I don’t want to be a disappointment,” which sounded good but had no teeth to them. “Wanting ain’t doing” as my Mama said.
As I have become stronger at executing my healthy boundaries of what I will accept and what I will not accept.. Not as a means to control anyone else… simply to be safe and as my awareness has grown over his drugs of choice this past 4 years iThe person I love is so far into his additions he just tries to wash and repeat the checklist items, Michelle has shared. The best part is when I see myself succeed and don’t fall for it.. thank you Michelle
Anyone else find themself hoping and praying your S.O. gets locked up so you can just have some peace and they don't drain you financially on top of it all? I know it sounds awful to say out loud, but that's my reality. I feel like I am in crazy land.
Almost everything you said is true to my life. It’s just that he doesn’t threaten to hurt me but himself. I am being manipulated. So what’s the next step?
Ya all of the above. I am dropping his ass and all of his problems to live the healthiest and best version of me.
So over having active addiction in my life. And my kids lives.
This is so helpful! My struggle with discerning manipulation, or any other "red flags" in my relationship, is that I have experienced anxiety since my pre-teen years. I believe I can overreact because of my anxiety/OCD (self-diagnosed :)). This has really caused me to question my perceptions and have a hard time determining a reasonable response to certain situations. I don't know when my desires are truly unfair/unreasonable and when they are valid. And I also don't know when/how to set firm boundaries and when to go with the flow. I have done myself and others a disservice by living in fear, but I am afraid of learning and growing because of the inevitable mistakes I'll make in the process. But I am slowly getting stronger in this area, by the grace of God. 💪
As I hear this I can't help but repeat to myself "I was right," I was right! and from hearing him accusing me many times of manipulating him , I have to laugh in anger because that is exactly what he has been doing to me and I just can't deal with it anymore. All the lies, the broken promises, the bulling and the projection. I have not been one to keep quiet though, no not me, I have expressed and communicated loud and clear my knowledge and feelings but it has done nothing for me exept made me more sad, angry and tired emotionally and mentally. When I try to switch it up to make it positive, peaceful and start again, I'm sadly confronted with rejection, dismissal and abandonment, which still hurts I must admit because I care. I wish and hope to one day stop caring and just live my life regardless of his mood, behavior and lack of care. That will be my goal to just focus on my kids and I from now on. I feel more ready now. this place encourages me to.
When I saw a porn page on his phone when he handed it to me to help him find some insurance information he told me, “well, you don’t give me any”. Or the time I found cocaine in the garage looking for the fooseball he told me he drinks and does drugs because of me.