How Do Alcoholics Manipulate Others

Manipulating AlcoholicI don’t think that alcoholics are consciously aware of how they selfishly manipulate others. I’ve heard so many reformed problem drinkers express remorse for how they acted during the days when they were at their worst. Having been addicted to alcoholic myself and having lived with several addicts, I understand what some of the ways are that substance abusers manipulate others.

Substance abusers will play the blame game in order to get people to feel guilty. Problem drinkers blame others for their problems all of the time. The person being put down will oftentimes do things for the alcoholic in an effort to win their approval. The more the addict points the finger at someone the harder that someone will try to make the substance abuser happy. Most of what you are being blamed for isn’t your fault. So, don’t let them get you down.

Addicts us anger as a manipulative force all of the time. Here again, we get caught in this place where we want to get along with the alcoholic, but no matter how hard we try, they always are upset with us about something. Refuse to argue with them!

Problem Drinker Manipulating Through GuiltSelf Pity
Poor little old Jimmy, life has just dealt him a horrible set of circumstances. He can’t pay his rent because someone stole his wallet. He needs to borrow money for groceries. He bounced three checks because his boss hasn’t paid him in two weeks. He needs someone to take him to work because he overslept again. If he walks to work, his boss is going to fire him because he’s been late three times this week already. Stop being an enabler and let the alcoholic suffer the consequences of his/her actions. Don’t let the alcoholic manipulate you through making you feel sorry for them.

Creating A Sense Of Urgency
Can I please have an advance on my paycheck? I’m three months behind on my water bill and they are going to turn it off today. Can you come pick me up right away? I missed the bus because I looked at the wrong time slot. If I don’t get to this job interview on time, I might not get the job. If you say no, the alcoholic may get angry, a manipulative technique. Have you ever heard the saying, “bad planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part”. We don’t have to feel guilty when saying no to an alcoholic.

Alcoholic Liars
They will bend the truth or just flat out lie in order to manipulate people into doing things for them.

Not Answering The Phone
The only thing I can think of here is I was with an alcoholic once who had left his kids with his mom to baby sit. He was supposed to pick them up at 5 in the afternoon. He decided he wanted to stay at the bar and party for a couple of more hours. So, he turned off his phone. His mom had no idea where he was or what to do with his kids. He knew that she wouldn’t tell him she wouldn’t watch the grand kids again because of what he had done because she loved spending time with them.

There are just countless ways that alcoholics manipulate others. I think the trap we have to be careful not to fall into is continually trying to win the alcoholic’s love and approval. The worse they treat us the harder we try to make them happy. We cannot make them happy so stop trying to. Consider working on making your own life happy instead through letting go of the problem drinker and enjoying your own life.

We also have to make up our minds that we will not allow the problem drinker to make us feel guilty. Don’t be manipulated through guilt. We have to see the truth in situations. Most of the things the alcoholic tries to blame us for have nothing to do with anything we have done wrong.

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Alcoholic Making Me Feel Guilty
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58 comments to How Do Alcoholics Manipulate Others

  • Debbi

    To DWere:
    Get the book “Under the Influence”. Helps you understand and might help you with your anger. The first couple of chapters explain the no-eating, because the mucous membrane lining in his stomach is irritated. My gosh I can’t believe if he drinks that much he is ever sober–you are dealing with several problems with his cancer too. Unfortunately he may not survive especially since he continues to drink & you have to be prepared. DO NOT take anything he says about you personally & especially DO NOT accept any blame. If you had the cancer–trust me, he would not stay by your side, so you are a wonderful woman to do that for someone who is continually harassing you. I can tell you–you are wonderful to stay & help but keep your interaction with him at a minimum. You are in my thoughts.

  • DWere

    Thank you Debbi, I really appreciate the feedback. Yes he has more issues than the alcoholism and cancer, copd/emphysema to name just a few. More CT scans tomorrow. His days are numbered, I know that and I think that is what angers me the most, that our last days how many there are left, are spent this way. I know that in his own way he loves me as much as an alcoholic can love, it just hurts. When I am hurt it comes out in anger and I just for the most part keep it to myself and pray for strength. I am so happy to be here I can not tell you what a relief it is here…Although I am sad for all of you as well and my heart and prayers are with you all too. And it’s funny you should say that…the other day I thought the same thing, if the shoe were on the other foot, I do not believe he would be here to support me it would be way too much for him to deal with. My brother is an alcoholic but I have never been around him for long periods of time to know what it is like to actually live full time with one. My sister in law drinks right along with him so they are a perfect pair in that sense of the situation. This is all so new to me and every day it’s something else. I second guess myself daily…did I do that…no I didn’t do that or mean it that way etc. etc. etc. And then I think about whatever it is he has said to me and know that I know that either I told him something to remind him or that I didn’t say something in a way he took it…Someday’s it is sooooo frustrating and confusing!

  • Dale Were

    Please…call me Dale

  • Josey

    Fun with alcoholics

    I recently had one of those entertaining interactions with an acquaintance, a “30 years sober” alcoholic, who put me into awkward position where he wanted me to not betray the fact that he had stolen something.

    The alcoholic and I have a common friend, a 70-year-old vet, who by chance was given care for a medal and some personal items of a WWII vet who served in Iwo Jima. The medal commemorated the battle. I researched the WWII vet and found out he had no surviving family but was buried in a veterans cemetery some 50 miles away. I suggested to my 70-year-old vet friend that we take a trip up there an unite the medal with the soldier – sort of tie up a loose end. He thought is was a great idea but we never managed to get the little project going.

    It so happens that the alcoholic friend was going up to the cemetery was a woman we knew. She was going to place her father’s urn up at the cemetery. I met with her and the 70-year-old vet and suggested that this might be an opportunity to reunite the medal with the buried marine. She agreed and took the medal and personal items.

    A few days later I see the alcoholic again. I ask him: “So was she able to reunite the medal with the Marine?”

    He came close to me an in a hushed whisper said: “Don’t tell anyone but I kept it. They can’t dig up the body and it would be stolen if we left it there.” He hesitated, then went on. “Beside, I collect memorabilia.”

    I got two things out of this. One, the guy is a scumbag. He never had any intention of letting go of the medal. Two, being an alcoholic, he was going to try to enlist me into his theft by telling me of it and justifying it “in confidence”. Later when news came out, he could blame me for breaking the confidence instead of taking responsibility for his theft.

    Games people play. I told my 70-year-old vet friend who had handed over the medal and personal items the first opportunity I could. Sadly, the woman blamed herself for handing the medal over to the scumbag. I did the best I could to reassure her that it is not her fault.

  • Kate

    Hi all, new here & at my wits end. My best friend is in her 3rd relapse from alcohol over a span of 4 weeks. She went back to rehab again this morning. I need to distance myself from her because I figured out that I’m a co-dependent and can’t let go. But what do I do when her family (who lives an hour away) ask me to check on her because I’m closer? I can’t say no because I care about my friend too much but I’m just so physically and mentally tired of running to her aid –and there’s a new drama everyday. Any advice? I love her & her family but don’t know if I can keep up this pace.

  • Dale W

    Hey guys, it’s been a long time since I have been on, my husband did pass away on July 9th. To answer your question Kate, tell the family to go and check on your friend. I did this for 3 years with my husband alone, and his family was close enough where they could have helped and they didn’t. You can not do this alone nor do you have to be a marter or sacrifice your own well being. Sometimes you have to walk away and take care of your own life. It is tough love and only YOU can make that choice. Since there is a family not so far away, tell them from now on they will have to take over that it is time YOU move forward in your life into more healthy relationships. If your friend truly wants help, he/she will get the help and thank you for your love and caring down the road. Write a note once in a while, thinking about you, love you, hang in there…but now it is time, to take care of you!

  • Jean

    Kate, What if you tell them how you feel right now. You don’t know how to handle this anymore. Their is nothing wrong with the way you feel. Also, her parents can call the rehab.
    Call someone at the rehab center and they will have suggestions for you and may even tell her parents that she should be alone at this time.

    Maybe in a few days, week or so you will feel
    different and want to see her.

  • Sandy

    What about recovered alcoholics? I feel one person I deal with who is a recovered alcoholic is a master manipulator. Not in an evil way but in a way that she gets people to do certain things, or arrange circumstances so that the outcome is beneficial to her but the others involved believe it is for a different purpose, instead of just being honest about what they want.

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