What is Manipulation?
Manipulation involves clever, devious and unscrupulous techniques that create a distortion of the truth!
Addicts are highly manipulative, black belt second dan! An addict in full addiction flight can quickly and easily convince themselves and others that the moon is square and that all oceans are red. Underpinning all addiction are varying degrees of shame, guilt and even embarrassment and yet the ‘need’ to drink or take drugs bypasses these uncomfortable feelings so as the addict can create their manipulative illusion of wanting money from a family member for something that has no possible link to addiction. An example could be convincing your mother that you need money for food and of course the money is spent on alcohol and drugs. When this fairly basic example no longer works the manipulation is taken to another level. The addict desperately explains that they owe a drug dealer money and if they don’t get paid they will get beaten up! Ironically, the example may be actually true but instead of paying the dealer the addict buys drugs from a different dealer!
Regardless of the addiction whether its drugs or sexual addiction, addicts manipulate both themselves and other people most of the time and create a world that is deceptive, cunning, baffling and exhausting. Some people can actually get to a point of questioning their own sanity whilst trying to deal with an addicts manipulative behaviour. Unfortunately most parents, partners and friends are ‘powerless’ and struggle to exert tough love for fear of the addict doing something extreme and then blaming others for their actions.
I suppose a magician engages in healthy visual manipulation but the main example I was thinking about was counselling. Many drug counsellors are recovering addicts who have learnt how to use their manipulative skills for more positive outcomes in helping people with addiction issues.
Is counselling manipulative, yes indeed as counsellors and therapists alike use various manipulative techniques to assist the client to better understand how destructive their thinking and behaviour actually is. An example of healthy manipulation could be showing clients in a rehab a video that showcases the result of people who have overdosed. In this instance the addict could come to believe that this is what could happen to them and so take their recovery more seriously.
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process