Addiction can turn your loved one into a stranger. Gone is your sweet son or your caring wife, and in their place is someone who constantly lies to your face or manipulates you. This change can be difficult to swallow and hard to understand, but our Ohio drug rehab is here to give you a little more insight into the relationship between addicts and lying.
Why Do Addicts Lie?
While you may feel like they are just manipulating you, addicts aren’t just lying for the fun of it. Like their addiction, lying becomes a compulsion that is hard to stop.
There are several reasons why addicts lie including:
- Shame– Addicts are often ashamed of their behavior, so they use lies to cover their tracks.
- Avoid confrontation– If you knew everything they have down, it would likely lead to an argument that they do not want to deal with.
- Avoid being found out- Many people in active addiction do not want others to know about their substance use. Instead, they will use lies to keep you from asking questions and keep themselves from being found out.
- Protect their loved ones– Addicts know that what they are doing is wrong and could hurt their loved one in more ways than one, but because they cannot stop their substance abuse, it is easier to lie about it.
- Changes to the brain– Addiction causes the brain to rewire itself in a way that getting high/drunk becomes the person’s primary focus. As a result, lying, stealing, and cheating become excusable in the addict’s mind if it means getting more of the substance.
- Denial- Sometimes they aren’t just lying to you; they are also lying to themselves to avoid admitting that they have a problem.
Common Lies Addicts Tell
Because addicts and lying can go hand in hand, drug addicts lie about everything from small details to entire stories. They will lie to their friends, families, coworkers, boss, and themselves. If you can learn to recognize the common lies addicts tell, you can better decipher fact from fiction.
Addicts will often lie about:
- Where they were
- Who they were with
- How much they had of a substance
- How they were able to get the drugs
- What they are using the money for
- How their substance abuse is impacting other parts of their life (job, relationships, finances)
- The reason they got high/drank (holiday, event, bad day, everyone else was doing it)
- Being able to stop whenever they want
If what your loved one is telling you doesn’t add up, it may be a sign of substance abuse.
How to Tell When A Drug Addict is Lying
Not only do drug addicts and alcoholics lie often, but also they can become quite good at it. Over time, their lying may even become second nature. Because you want to believe them, deciphering the truth from a lie can be a challenge. If you know what to look and listen for, you can more easily determine if your addicted loved one is lying.
Look for these signs an addict is lying:
- They are avoiding eye contact
- They are rocking back and forth or fidgeting with their hair, clothes, face, or hands
- Their answers are vague, or they try to change the subject
- They speak in broken fragments or use a lot of filler words (um, like, uh)
- They repeat you or themselves
- Their face goes white
- They use hand gestures after they speak
- Their tone of voice becomes higher
- They suddenly are speaking much louder1
Because some people are better at hiding their lies than others and not everyone’s cues are alike, listen to your gut. If you suspect that your loved ones is lying to you or they are not telling you everything, you are probably right.
What to Do About an Addict’s Lies
If an addict lies to you, what you do next can make a big difference not just for you but for them as well. While you may be feeling hurt, manipulated, and deceived, it is important not to act solely on your emotions. You need to confront your loved ones calmly and focus on your concerns for their well-being. It is important that your loved one knows that you are not willing to put up with more lies, but you are there to support them in finding outpatient or inpatient addiction treatment.
Because you may want to avoid confrontation altogether, it can be tempting to brush their lies under the rug and do nothing, but this approach can be damaging for you both. If the addict knows that they can lie without consequences, they will continue to do so and manipulate you. As a result, their addiction will likely get worse.
Because repeated lies can severely damage family relationships, especially if a recovering addict lies about relapsing, it can be good to get help as a family. For example, our family addiction counseling in Carroll County helps the entire family heal from the damage caused by addiction and work on rebuilding trust in recovery.
At Vertava Health Ohio, we are here not just for the person struggling with substance abuse but for their loved one as well. Learn more about how we could help you and your loved one by contacting us today.