avoid being manipulated by an addict

The influence of drugs or alcohol over a person’s life also impacts those around the individual including family, friends and colleagues. A person in the throes of full blown addiction will seek out drugs or alcohol by any means necessary and do what it takes to keep the addiction going, usually to the detriment of loved ones. Addiction causes people to manipulate others to achieve personal gain which can leave loved ones feeling angry, betrayed and hurt. There are ways to get power back from an individual in the grips of addiction with the right information and support. Here are some steps to avoid being manipulated by an addict.

Know Your Rights

Each person in the circle of addiction has the power to tell the individual manipulating others to support a habit the behavior is not okay and is violating those rights. Without harming others, it is perfectly reasonable to stand up for oneself and defend one’s own rights. The first thing a person with addiction will do is attach basic human rights in order to achieve the end goal of staying in active addiction. Knowing those rights can help fortify oneself in the face of attack and help a person take ownership of one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The following are some examples:

  •         The right to be treated with respect
  •         The right to express feelings, opinions and desires
  •         The right to say ‘no’ without guilt
  •        The right to take care of and protect oneself from being threatened physically, mentally and emotionally

Maintain Distance

One other way to avoid being manipulated by an addict is to avoid engaging the individual except in situations where it is necessary. A person in active addiction may wear many different faces depending on who comes in contact with them (polite to one person, rude to another). A healthy separation can help a person realize they bear no responsibility for the other person’s happiness or well-being.


Addiction creates a sense of urgency for the person using alcohol or drugs. Everything must happen right this instant including the use of a phone, obtaining money or sharing a car. Pressure will be put on family and friends to succumb to the will of the person with addiction but it is ok to leverage power back by saying not right now and come up with a compromise.

Self-Blame and Saying ‘No’

One of the more damaging aspects of addiction is how the person manipulates family and friends in weakness and vulnerability. An individual with addiction focuses on those areas which can cause pain and hurt. The goal is to not allow the person with addiction to make oneself feel bad by giving into demands. If respect is not being offered, it is respectful, in turn, to say ‘no.’ Setting clear boundaries creates a more equitable situation for all parties involved.


Hired Power helps families and loved ones of individuals with addiction.

If you are struggling with addiction, contact us at 800-910-9299 to see how we can support your journey.

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