Valiant Living Blog

How Gaslighting Feeds Your Loved One’s Addiction

Written by Valiant Living Recovery on Monday, September 13th, 2021

When a person is struggling with addiction their life is altered in various ways. Many people who struggle with addiction engage in behaviors such as lying, stealing, or emotionally harming their loved ones.

Loving someone who is battling an addiction can be challenging. You may often find ways to convince yourself and others that their addiction and behaviors are not that bad. At the same time, many people who know someone with an addiction learn how manipulative they can be, especially when they are looking for their next fix.

Let Us Introduce Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse that is commonly used to maintain addictive behavior. A person who struggles with addiction will engage in lying, deceit, and other manipulations, This can cause a victim to doubt their perceptions, judgments, memories, or even sanity. Individuals who experience gaslighting may become unstable and begin to struggle with negative emotions such as anxiety.

Signs of Gaslighting

When someone is the victim of gaslighting, it is difficult to recognize the signs, as the manipulator causes such intense self-doubt. Here are some of the most common symptoms of gaslighting:

  • Mood swings, from overly friendly to rage
  • Intimidation and/or threats
  • Being lied to
  • Being made to question what your memories and reality are
  • Name-calling such as forgetful, stupid, or crazy
  • Randomly being treated kindly

A Recipe for Disaster

Those struggling with addiction typically know that their actions adversely affect their lives and those around them. They do not want to hurt their loved ones, but they need to maintain their addiction and avoid negative symptoms such as withdrawal. This can cause them to resort to behavior like manipulation.

For example, at the beginning of a person’s addiction, loved ones might notice changes in their behavior or mood, causing them to question the changes. The person struggling may begin by just telling them they ‘don’t feel good,” or they start blaming it on things such as bad days at work. From there, the lies can progress to the person telling friends and family that they are overreacting. Gaslighting is common in addiction because it helps the person continue their behaviors and thus fuels their addiction.

Understanding specific details about addiction and gaslighting is crucial to recognize the disease’s impact on your loved one and yourself. Wanting to support your loved one during these difficult times is noble, but you can’t help someone if you’re not creating healthy boundaries for yourself. If you need assistance identifying signs of gaslighting, let Valiant Living help you. We have a dynamic team that can help with addiction and family therapy. Call us today at (303) 952-5035 to learn more about our programs.