Why Addicts Lie Even to Loved Ones
Addicts and alcoholics lie to cover up their addictive behaviour for a variety of reasons, so don’t take it personally. Here are some of the reasons why addicts compulsively lie and how you can try to deal with this behaviour effectively.
Addicts Lie to Avoid Confrontation
Addicts often want to avoid confrontation because they’ve used their addictive behaviour as a coping strategy for so long, they often don’t have other well-developed ways of dealing with the stresses of life.
When tackling a difficult topic, try to stay matter-of-fact about it. Use language to reflect your own perspective, rather than blaming the addict.
People With Addictions Don’t Like Forced Change
Addicts tend to have a stubborn streak. They know their behaviour isn’t in anyone’s best interests, especially their own, but have decided it works for them.
Eventually, addicts can and do change, when they realize the consequences of their behaviour will continue to worsen unless they do something differently. They often lie about the extent of their addictive behaviour, because they want to avoid you pressuring them to change.
Try to provide information that might influence the addict in your life to make up their own mind to change, instead of trying to persuade them to change.
Addicts Want to Escape Negativity
Addicts often see their behaviour as a kind of holding pattern, hoping things will work themselves out and the addiction will disappear.
They don’t want you to remind them about the negative aspects of their behaviour, especially if it is in a blaming way. When an addict feels constantly criticized by loved ones- they lie to cover up their behaviour.
Try to focus on what will be better if things change, not what will be worse if they don’t change.
Loved Ones Enable Lying
You know your loved one just lied because you know what really happened, but for some reason, you allow them to lie without letting them know that you know.
This sends one of two messages:
“You told a lie and I didn’t notice – so if you lie again, I might not notice next time either.”
“You told a lie and I did notice, but I’m pretending to believe you – so if you lie again, I’ll pretend I believe you that time as well.”
In this case, either avoid discussing the subject completely or simply state what you know happened, rather than going along with the lie.
Life Without Addiction Can Seem Like a Void
An addicts life revolves around their addictive behaviour. Although they plan to quit “one day”- for today, life without their addiction seems frighteningly empty. If you don’t understand how this emptiness drives people back into their addictive behaviour, they will tune in to that, and lie to shut you up.
Mention in a kind and positive way what you would like to see happening rather than the addictive behaviour, preferably before the addictive behaviour becomes part of your routine.
Addicts Feel Ashamed
Addicts often make the people around them behave in ways that cause them embarrassment and regret. Their own behaviour causes them similar shame as well. When you point this out, they lie to avoid feeling ashamed.
Going along with an addict’s lie is a form of enabling that may avoid outward embarrassment, but will not do anything to relieve your loved one’s inner emotional pain.
Crossroads Recovery Centres is a group of private alcohol and drug rehab centres located in Gauteng, South Africa. If you are looking for assistance with drug or alcohol addiction, contact us for more information.
Stories of Recovery
- The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.Oliver VGRead more
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