Many who experience addictions lie and manipulate others. Gaslighting is a way that many involved in alcohol or substance abuse attempt to disguise their addiction from others around them. This form of manipulation causes deep betrayal and may hurt a relationship worse than the actual addiction.
What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where a person challenges, undermines or provides false information to challenge another person’s judgement, memories or perceptions. Ultimately, this type of manipulation may cause a person to question his or her sanity.
The Relationship Between Gaslighting and Addiction
The purpose of gaslighting is so that a person with an alcohol addiction can hide it from someone else in order to continue in the drug or alcohol addiction without judgment or criticism. The problem with this deception is that the person with addiction needs to become honest to make any progression in recovery.
A person with addiction uses gaslighting to persuade anyone who believes that he or she is doing something wrong that they are imagining things. Once suspicions about addictive behavior are brought up by another person, he or she may accuse others of being overprotective or judgmental.
Effects of Gaslighting
Those who are persuaded that they are merely presuming the worst about someone else may feel guilty for being suspicious. They may also begin to blame themselves for being hurtful. A spouse may become codependent by consoling and enabling abusive behaviors to the point of defending and making excuses for suspicious behaviors.
As the truth comes out, victims of gaslighting may feel traumatic betrayal. The result can lead to difficulty trusting again and even greater suspicion in future events. Since victims of gaslighting have been led to feel crazy, Intense reactions are actually very normal when they discover that their suspicions were correct.
Honesty and Confession
Manipulating and lying to others is a huge barrier in receiving any help or support to recovery from addiction. In order for a person to overcome addiction, he or she must stop protecting the addiction through manipulating and lying. Confessing gaslighting may make him or her feel vulnerable.
Inevitably, serious discussions about the mental and emotional harm that gaslighting has caused will need to be addressed. If a person with addiction is determined to be honest and work hard on alcohol or drug addiction treatment, a bond of trust may be reestablished.
Stigma and Manipulation
Manipulation is used on those in recovery by their friends and family in the form of stigma. It can be easy to mistreat someone who has a serious problem like addiction. Causing a person with addiction to question their self worth and ability to change could result in a retreat back to gaslighting as a form of self protection.
Manipulation and gaslighting have no place in alcohol or drug rehab. Recovery happens those who suffer from addiction are honest with one another and work toward recovery. Trusting relationships provide a good foundation that allows supporters and a person with addiction to start a program that will cause lasting change.
Hyrum Webb is a health writer for Fusion 360, an SEO and content marketing agency. Information provided by Next Level.