Addiction has the power to shape the mind of any person.
The effects of drugs and alcohol warp their character and how they view and treat themselves and others. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that causes psychological and physical changes in its users. While this condition can be treated, it cannot be cured. As an addiction treatment center in Palm Springs, we’re well aware of the many hurtful things people do when they’re struggling with substance abuse. We wanted to dive into gaslighting and addiction and how common this trait is in people who have drug and alcohol problems.
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation in which one person makes the other question themselves and their sanity. People use gaslighting against others to control their thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. The goal of the gaslighter is to create doubt in the other person’s mind. Gaslighting is deliberate and often subtle enough to be misconstrued as confusion or forgetfulness. Although it’s most common in romantic relationships, it can occur between anyone.
Some common warning signs of gaslighting include:
- Secretive behavior
- Mood swings
- Being concerned or involved when in a situation they want to control
- Being kind and persuasive
- Intimidation and threats
- Arguing about minor details
The effects of gaslighting can be detrimental to the loved one of an addict, and unfortunately, many individuals who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse resort to this tactic to continue using. Gaslighting as a result of addiction is best addressed by getting this individual help. Banyan Treatment Center offers a variety of drug and alcohol rehab programs that address different substance use disorders. We can help your loved ones regain their sobriety and assist in the emotional healing process.
How are Gaslighting and Addiction Connected?
Addicts often resort to gaslighting to be able to continue abusing drugs and alcohol without resistance from their loved ones. A gaslighter with an addiction may use this tactic on their friends, family, and spouse when they’re confronted about their problem. Because gaslighting is harmful and intentional, it’s also considered another form of abuse.
The signs and symptoms of gaslighting may be gradual at first and become more apparent over time. If the person has a drinking problem, they may hide their alcohol use by pouring alcoholic drinks into other containers. A person with a drug addiction may hide their pill bottles or sneak away to take drugs. Both may make excuses for their actions. When you confront them, they might make you believe that you’re either overreacting or confused. As the gaslighting victim becomes more confused, they may unknowingly become more accepting of the addict’s behavior. Enabling an addict becomes easier when you’re convinced that they’re being honest about their behavior, which can lead to even bigger problems.
While gaslighting can occur in relationships involving addicts, it does not mean the individual is evil or doesn’t care about others. Addiction has the potential to completely twist a person’s mind until it’s only focused on getting high. This disease is characterized by an inability to control one's use of drugs or alcohol and the uncontrollable desire for these substances. A person who’s suffering from this disease may have trouble with various things in addition to gaslighting. Most people with substance use disorders will go to great lengths to sustain their habits.
If you’ve suffered gaslighting at the hands of a loved one who’s battling substance abuse, help is available. Our treatment center not only provides addiction services for the individual but also their loved ones. While patients are receiving treatment, their loved ones can receive assistance from our family program and services.