How do you stop compulsively using others and lying to yourself?

In answer to Quora question: "How do you stop compulsively using others and lying to yourself?"

Question Details: Deeply entrenched victimization coupled with co-dependency brought upon by a family of enablers has caused me to find myself at 27 years old stuck in patterns of using and manipulating others (despite good intentions) for my own gain as well as projecting a false image of myself to others to deceive them into thinking that I'm a good person. How can I get honest with myself and others and somehow grow past this? I'm also a recovering drug addict with two years of sobriety under my belt, unemployed and living with family. I just want to be healthy, normal, successful and productive.

Not knowing you or the details of your situation means that any thoughts I have on this are going to be general and may miss the mark entirely. However, here are some first impressions:

1) You seem to be self-aware and interested in healing and growth. That means you have a huge head start over someone who might be behaving the same way, but is in denial about their issues or avoiding them.

2) Taking responsibility for your own healing may mean moving past any desire to blame family members or past experiences, and instead embrace forgiveness and radical acceptance (of the past, of your family, and of yourself). Perhaps you've already reached this point intellectually, but if you haven't already done so, you will want to arrive at a deep emotional conviction regarding all of these areas of forgiveness and acceptance as well.

3) Congratulations on your two years of sobriety!

4) It is possible - perhaps even probable - that other factors are in play besides growing up in an incompatible or stressful environment. Seeing a skilled psychotherapist who is an expert in CBT and DBT may help you identify specific patterns or tendencies in your thoughts and emotions that contribute to the choices and behaviors that you have observed in your life. They can then offer you some tools to manage those patterns and tendencies.

5) Definitely consider taking the Nourishment Assessment on my Integral Lifework website (it's free), and see if there are any areas of your life that may be neglected or undernourished. Targeting aspects of our well-being that may have become depleted or rejected can open up new areas of strength, insight and energy to work through the very issues you have described.

In any case one huge positive for you is your age - 27 years young is a great time to take on these kinds of tough, personal issues. I have had clients in their 60s who were just arriving where you seem to be now. So IMO that's an advantage you should celebrate as you pursue this healing path of growth.

I hope this was helpful.


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