Addiction is a complex and challenging issue that affects not only the individual but also their loved ones. Understanding the common manipulation tactics used by those suffering from addiction and knowing what to do if a loved one resists help can be crucial in managing this difficult situation. This blog post aims to shed light on these tactics and provide guidance on how to support a loved one through their addiction.

Common Manipulation Tactics


Individuals suffering from addiction often make their loved ones feel responsible for their addiction or recovery. They might say things like, “If you loved me, you wouldn’t make me stop,” aiming to manipulate emotions and avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

Blaming Others:

Addicts may deflect blame, insisting that their addiction is due to someone else’s actions or circumstances. By saying things like, “I wouldn’t drink if you weren’t so controlling,” they shift the focus away from their behaviour and onto the perceived faults of others.

Denial and Minimisation:

A common tactic is denying the severity of their addiction or downplaying its impact. Phrases like, “It’s not that bad,” or “I can stop anytime I want,” are used to create a false sense of control and avoid confronting the reality of their addiction.


Portraying themselves as the victim of life’s circumstances, individuals with addiction may seek sympathy to avoid taking accountability for their actions. This tactic can make loved ones feel sorry for them and less likely to push for necessary changes. For instance, Robert Downey Jr. has spoken about his addiction struggles, highlighting how he often saw himself as a victim of his circumstances.

Promises and Bargains:

Addicts might promise to change or cut back if given what they want, such as money or freedom from certain responsibilities. However, these promises are often broken once they achieve their immediate goal, perpetuating the cycle of addiction. Demi Lovato has shared how, during her addiction, she would often make promises to change to appease those around her but struggled to keep those promises.


Those suffering from addiction might try to isolate their loved ones from friends and family who see the problem more clearly. By creating distance, they reduce the likelihood of being confronted about their addiction.

Intimidation and Aggression:

Using anger or threats, addicts may scare loved ones into compliance or silence about the addiction. This can be particularly challenging as it creates a hostile environment where seeking help seems risky.

Financial Manipulation:

Borrowing money under false pretences or using financial dependency to control or guilt-trip loved ones is another tactic. This can lead to significant financial strain and emotional distress for those supporting the addict.

Emotional Blackmail:

Threatening self-harm or drastic actions if confronted about their addiction or if help is suggested is a powerful manipulation tool. This tactic preys on the fears and emotions of loved ones, making them hesitant to push for change. You may feel that you are walking on eggshells.

Playing on Sympathy:

Exaggerating or fabricating personal hardships to elicit sympathy and avoid consequences for their actions. This tactic can make loved ones more forgiving and less likely to hold the addict accountable. Russell Brand has openly discussed how he would often manipulate others’ sympathy to avoid facing the consequences of his addiction.

What to Do if a Loved One Doesn’t Want Help

Educate Yourself:

Understanding addiction and its effects can help you approach the situation with empathy and knowledge. Researching the nature of addiction, common behaviours, and effective intervention strategies can equip you with the tools needed to support your loved one. According to Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Addiction is a disease of the brain, and it can be treated. The more we understand about the mechanisms of addiction, the better equipped we are to develop effective treatments.”

Set Boundaries:

Clearly define what behaviours are unacceptable and stick to these boundaries. This helps protect your well-being and shows the seriousness of the situation. Boundaries can include refusing to provide money, not covering up their mistakes, and insisting on treatment.

Encourage Professional Help:

Suggest seeking professional assistance from a rehab centre like The Recovery Lodge. Sometimes, hearing it from a professional can make a significant difference. Provide information on available resources and support systems. Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction specialist, emphasises the importance of professional intervention, stating, “Intervention can be a powerful tool to break through the denial and resistance that often accompanies addiction.”

Offer Support, Not Enablement:

Be supportive without enabling the addictive behaviour. This means not providing money or covering up for them. Encourage positive steps towards recovery and be there to celebrate their progress, no matter how small.

Seek Support for Yourself:

Joining a support group for families of addicts can provide emotional support and practical advice. Connecting with others who understand your situation can offer comfort and guidance, helping you cope with the stress and challenges of supporting a loved one with addiction. Try alcoholics anonymous. They will be more than happy to listen to your worries.

Stay Patient and Persistent:

Recovery is a long journey, and persistence in encouraging them to seek help is essential, even if they resist initially. Continually offering support and expressing your concern can eventually make a difference.


Q: What are the signs that someone is manipulating me due to their addiction?

A: Common signs include frequent lies or half-truths, emotional blackmail, borrowing money without repayment, shifting blame, and making you feel guilty for their situation.

Q: How can I set boundaries without pushing my loved one away?

A: Be clear, consistent, and compassionate. Explain that the boundaries are for their benefit and your well-being. Ensure they know you’re doing this out of love and concern for their health and future.

Q: Is it normal to feel guilty for enforcing boundaries?

A: Yes, it is normal. However, remember that these boundaries are necessary for their recovery and your well-being. Seeking support for yourself can help manage these feelings.

Q: What if my loved one becomes aggressive when confronted about their addiction?

A: Ensure your safety first. Avoid confrontations when they are under the influence. Seek professional help and consider involving a neutral third party, such as a counsellor or intervention specialist.

Q: How long does recovery typically take?

A: Recovery is a lifelong journey. The duration of initial treatment can vary from weeks to months, but ongoing support and aftercare are crucial for long-term sobriety.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, it’s crucial to seek professional help. The Recovery Lodge in Kent offers comprehensive support and treatment plans tailored to individual needs. Reach out today to take the first step towards recovery and a healthier future.

Contact The Recovery Lodge now to learn more about our services and how we can assist you or your loved one in overcoming addiction.

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