When you are the loved one of someone with addiction, you need your own form of recovery. Detaching with love is a sentiment and action many friends and family members take to strengthen their resistance against manipulation while continuing to love in a healthy way. Once someone struggling with addiction realizes their friends and family members are getting stronger and developing healthier boundaries, they will retaliate against your recovery through manipulation and control.

They’re Defensive By Way Of Overprotecting You

One of the most insidious forms of manipulation and control are the efforts which are disguised to be in your best interest. The deeper you investigate your suspicions about someone’s drinking or drug use, the more defensive they become. If you look past the surface of their defensive statements, which include sentiments or demands to keep you out of their personal life, you’ll see that they aren’t protecting you, but hiding something from you. You might hear sentiments like:

  • You don’t need to know everything about my life
  • Why don’t you worry about your own life
  • I’m trying to protect you
  • I don’t want you to know the truth about me
  • I don’t need your help
  • You need to mind your own business
  • It will hurt you if you find out
  • I don’t want to put you in danger

While some of these statements might be true, like putting you in a position of danger, some of them might be elaborate. Drug and alcohol addiction, in addition to other disorders, can take people to areas in life they never thought they would cross before. In truth they are protecting you in some way. However, their efforts are self-centered and inherently focused on protecting their ability to continue using or behaving in harmful ways. Underneath all of it is a deep shame and fear for what their life has become. Before you get involved, they want to try to fix it themselves, even though at heart they know that is not possible.

Creating Unnecessary Emotional Drama

Manipulation efforts are often personal. “Hitting” someone “where it hurts” is a way to reduce personal power and inflate advantage. It isn’t fair, and it isn’t kind. Unfortunately with drug and alcohol addiction, it is common. Unnecessary emotional drama is a way to inflict pain in order to project pain. Your loved one is in a tremendous amount of pain. Their lives have become unmanageable due to their own choices to abuse drugs and alcohol. They are living with a large amount of shame and guilt which is getting in the way of their ability to ask for help. Pride is debilitating in addiction.

Unnecessary emotional drama could look like:

  • Intentionally “pushing buttons” of insecurities, secrets, or trauma
  • Sharing private information in front of others
  • Threatening to repeat a past abuse
  • Creating scenes out in public or with friends and family
  • Intentionally humiliating you or others
  • Saying hurtful things without remorse


You may not be able to find common ground with your loved one. If you are in need of planning an intervention, transportation to treatment, and an entire treatment plan, Hired Power is here to help. Providing services you can trust from a dynamic team of experienced recovery professionals, our team is here to empower your family’s journey every step of the way. We’re bringing recovery home. For information, call us today at 800-910-9299.


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