An Anchor Question: How Do I Know Whether I’m an Anchor or Not?
Continuing the dialog initiated by the most proficient guest blogger Ruddy Adam.
“After reading your article on anchors, I am beginning to believe that I may be one. I have been enabling my son for about 17 years. He is an alcoholic and takes pills. He’s been through 3 rehabs. They did not help. He was back drinking within days after he got out. I have spent almost $40,000 on lawyers trying to keep him out of prison. I’ve bought him five cars. He wrecked everyone of them. Now he has no driving license because of drinking and driving. He has ruined his credit. He can’t borrow a cent anywhere. He can’t get power, a phone or an apartment in his name. Nothing!
He won’t work. I have to pay his rent, his food, buy his clothes, everything.
I suppose I’m describing an anchor when I tell you this. It’s awfully difficult to admit to, now that I realize what I’m doing. I am writing you this note in tears. I can’t help it. I don’t mean to whine. I suppose you know I have suffered no end of pain over my son’s problems. I am to the point that I don’t believe I can do anything to help him. I now believe I am hurting him when I thought I was helping him.
Ruddy, if you could please tell me how I can know if I’m an incurable anchor or a common enabler? What should I do? I’m scared and I’m hurting. It was an enlightening paper for me at least. I appreciate it. Oh yes, my son is now 36.” Vera, CA
Answer: Vera, I’m certainly sorry about the problem you’re having with your son. I truly feel for you, as I’m sure everyone receiving your question does, because I know how parents suffer when they get in this situation with an addict of some type. It can go on for years, as yours has. I’m glad you’ve realized that if you continue as you’re doing, things are not going to get better. They are in fact going to get worse.
The suffering, however, just started to cease (in kind of a backward way) when you realized that you are the one enabling him to drink and take pills—and that you are not helping him. By “backward way,” I mean the suffering will get worse before it gets better, but if you can follow through on what you know you must do, it should eventually get better. Either way—you must know that the path you’re currently on runs into a horrible dead end.
I know you want to help your son. I do too!
As a parenthetical note to our group, at this point, people who have been enabling as long as Vera has, have to admit that they’re addicted, too. And as she has, they must realize that they are making the situation worse—not better. When they do realize those two things (that they themselves are addicts and that they are enablers), they can then start to heal. They must thereafter follow through with the healing process they have to go through, because continuing as they are doing will destroy the person they are enabling—and them!
I’m telling you folks I’ve seen an addict break financially and finally cause the death of a grandmother and mother, and ruin the lives of a sister and a brother. When this particular addict woke up lying on a cold, concrete floor and realized he had no one left to enable him, he started getting better. He served his time in prison and has been counseling other addicts ever since.
El and I have known the above addict since he was a teen. He was a beautiful young man, at one time as sweet and kind as a young puppy. But he turned into a raving, mad monster hunting drugs—stealing, lying, conning, and manipulating his family to get money for drugs.
He stayed addicted until he was 48, now almost 20-years ago. Today, he looks like he’s 80. He’s scarred, has false teeth, and he admits he has about half the memory he had when he was young. He’s stooped and is unrecognizable from the way he was when he was young. But he has helped a lot of addicts in the last twenty-years, and has rediscovered his faith in Khrist—which he admits he totally lost from the time he became addicted at 19 until he got clean. Chronic addicts are exactly like psychopaths. They cannot believe in God. They will use religion to get their way—but they are lying! They believe in nothing but getting high! Their entire thought processes work only on one thing: getting their next fix!
Vera, it’s very simple to answer the question regarding whether or not you’re an Anchor or what we call a common enabler. Stop enabling! Tell your son that’s it. You’re not paying for anything else in his life. You’re not going to buy him out of anymore of his problems—that he brought on himself. If you can truly follow through with that promise not to enable him anymore, then obviously you’re not an Anchor. If you can’t, well there’s a good chance you are.
However, you too are addicted at this point, and as all of us know addictions are not easily shed. So give yourself a chance and try, and if you can’t stop, try again. Daily face your addiction, and face that you are hurting your son—not helping him.
Now, first, it’s a must to understand that he’s never, ever going to stop drinking and taking pills as long as you’re enabling him to do so. He won’t have the money, and he will have to get a job. You have to understand that fact before anything else, because you have to know for certain that you are not helping him. And it sounds as though you do know that. I’m going to repeat this one: You are enabling him to drink and take pills.
Besides telling him you’re finished—which he’s not going to believe or accept—you must follow through with getting yourself some help. As I said, you’re addicted, too. You need help! You should call Al-anon! Or, your being in California, there may be other places that can help you—but you can start there. You need someone to help you get through it when you’re trying to stop enabling an addict. Al-anon will help you! Don’t try to do it without help!
I promise you that we’ll all be praying for you to have the strength you need, and for our Lord to guide you through the process. But you still need personal one-on-one help and support. That is mandatory, especially in your case.
If you yourself actually stop enabling him, he may start stealing to feed his addiction. He may get arrested. And this you’ve been through. He’s going to be pounding you from the jailhouse. “Momma, momma, help me! Get me out of here! Please! Please! I won’t do it anymore. I’ll stop drinking. I promise.” Heard that before? It’s manipulation. Don’t go for it!
If he does get arrested and you try to pay him out of it again, you’re enabling him.
There’s nothing in the world wrong with letting an addict go to prison—especially when their enablers have stopped enabling them. It may be the best thing that can happen to one. They will certainly sober up. Then they may wake up. A lot of addicts, such as the one I mentioned above, have what we call the “come-to-God” awakening when they’re locked up and no one will help them. Not that they meet God, but it’s an hyperbolic saying that makes the point that they have been struck by an awakening lightening bolt. “Ah ha!” They think, “There’s no one left to enable me to get high! I have to help myself! I’m going to die if I don’t pull out of this!”
They must learn that they have to be responsible for their actions. They must learn that they are not some special person who is entitled to steal and con others out of their money to live the entitled life they think they deserve—and then not have to pay for those actions. They steal, they get caught, they must pay the penalty. That’s the only way some people are ever going to learn. (Psychopaths can’t even learn then! Punishment does not affect psychopaths!)
One more important thing to remember. I don’t know him, but you’re most likely dealing with a spoiled brat—a rotten creature who has learned how to manipulate you. Spoiled brats who are still spoiled at age 36 are usually Master Manipulators—especially when it comes to their main enabler, who may be their Anchor. Anchors take to being manipulated moreso than a common enabler. I’ll repeat: Anchors are generally insecure people seeking something themselves. They usually want that something from the one who is manipulating them. Usually love! Which the creature they’re enabling can’t possibly show, because they can’t love anything but what they’re addicted to.
Spoiled brats who stay spoiled into their thirties always have entitlement attitudes, which millions of young folks today have whether they’re spoiled or not.
Let me tell you, I’ve been dealing with and have known hundreds of addicts—and every single one of them has been a spoiled rotten brat with an entitlement attitude! Just observe their actions and what they say. They are not only interested in only themselves; they are consumed with only they themselves!
Remember that people who manipulate others to get their way are generally more observant than the rest of us. They know what you want. What you want to hear. What moves you—emotionally. And they don’t have the slightest qualms about using those things against you to get their way.
No matter whether their addiction is drugs, alcohol, or gambling, the part of their brains where empathy, sympathy, and conscience resides has been dulled—or, if they’ve been addicted long enough that part of the brain may be permanently damaged. Either way, you have to accept that you’re dealing with a cold, callous creature who is every bit the equivalent of a predatory psychopath.
Trying to show that creature love is like petting a black mamba and thinking you’re going to receive an equally loving response. They are now predators—and you are their prey. When they need something and they tell they love you—it is a damned lie. Because they cannot love anything other than what appeases their lust: drugs, alcohol, gambling. They are just as self-centered as a black mamba slithering around seeking food. When that vicious predator sees its prey, it strikes, appease its lust—and moves on without the slightest remorse. Until, of course, it’s time to appease that lust again, then they’re back hunting.
An addict’s first response to the word “no” is to start manipulating. We call them persons that they pull out to get their way. They generally start off with something like this: “Mom, what am I going to do? I’ll starve. I don’t have any money.” That’s the Poor Pitiful person they pull out, which usually works, and they don’t have to go any further—but they can if they must.
Next, it may be, “You don’t love me anymore!” That’s the Unloved Child person they pull out. Then maybe it’s “I’m in pain. I can’t sleep without drinking, taking my drugs, or whatever they need.” That’s the Sick Hurting person they pull out.
Then, if they have to, and they don’t like using this one, but they certainly will: “I’ll quit. I’ll go to rehab.” That’s the Reformed Addict person they pull out.
As I said above, if they tell you they love you, they are lying. They have just pulled out I’m Your Whittle (Little) Woving (Loving) Baby person. Watch how they love you after you give them money, and they rush out the door as if you were aiming a bazooka at them.
If it’s gambling they’re addicted to, it’s this: “I just need a little money. I know I can win. I’ve just had some bad luck, but that’s going to change.” That’s the Just Had Bad Luck person they pull out.
Oh, there are plenty more that they pull out to get their way. Those ought to be enough examples, though.
I’m sure you get the point, but the last one they pull out is the most important. “You better give me some money!!!!” or else I’ll do something bad. That’s the last resort spoiled brats use when trying to get their. They pull out The Indignant, Threatening Brat.
It’s also a favorite of psychopaths. I don’t have any intention of being political, because I know everyone receiving this letter has made up their minds on the upcoming election. But public people, as I’ve noted, are perfect examples because they’re easy to observe, and I assure you there are more parasitic psychopaths hiding in the political world than there are in prisons.
Indignant Bill is Bill Clinton’s favorite person to pull out when he’s trying to manipulate people. He’ll raise that left hand of his, point that forefinger at his audience, and say quite sternly, as if he’s a 19th Century preacher scolding his congregation: “That woman is not telling the truth. I did not have an affair with her. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky. Now, I need to get back to work for the American people.” And off he went with a snarl on his face, thinking, I’m sure, “That ought to do it. I’ve fooled them again! That will be the end of Ms. Lewinsky.”
Of course, Ms. Lewinsky was no fool. Unlike the other women Clinton had had affairs with, had molested and raped, she kept evidence, a now famous blue dress—which she pulled out the day after he called her a liar. I assume that she had observed what had happened to the other women in Clinton’s life who were called “trailer trash” and “bimbos” and were excoriated in the media as “liars” and “gold-diggers,” and she had no intention of letting the Clintons take her down that road.
Nonetheless, Bill still uses Indignant Bill—and it often works.
Hillary, on the other hand, likes Poor, Pitiful Hillary—the Female Victim. Which she used in two senate debates against her male opponents in NY, both of whom she crushed in the elections without ever talking to the press or addressing any issues.
Hillary became an afflicted, picked on woman, and her opponents women haters—in one short stroke of bringing out Poor Pitiful Hillary—the Female Victim. She’ll use it on Trump, too, in the upcoming debates if he so much as looks wrongly at her. The media will quickly join in (as they did for her in NY), by calling him a misogynist, a vulgarian, and a woman hater. That’s liable to get him, too.
I’m telling you people go for this stuff, because they don’t understand manipulation tactics any more than they do ancient Greek. I remind you: Psychopaths are extremely observant, because the other side of their brains are deformed to some degree (most often wholly; sometimes partially), and that side is the side that contains, empathy, sympathy, and conscience. The side that works in psychopaths contains the ability to observe and read other people! That’s why they are Master Manipulators.
Psychopaths and addicts who pull these persons out to get their way are usually well-practiced and quite adept at their craft, and they have no qualms about using these tactics. I’ve told people and told them over and over, and they still let the parasite attached to them do it to them. It’s truly astonishing how well these tactics work on most of the population.
Ignorance, folks, is not bliss. It’s detrimental to all of us who suffer when large groups of people fall for these deceitful tactics. They get elected by lying and manipulating us, and then do the opposite of what they promised. That hurts all of us!
Spoiled brat addicts trying to manipulate you may even threaten suicide. Unless they’ve been diagnosed as psychotic or having mental problems, I wouldn’t concern myself much with that, because addicted spoiled brats aren’t likely going to commit suicide. They love getting high too much to do that!
If you suspect mental problems, however, or if they’ve been diagnosed as having them, you should encourage them to get to the emergency room for observation if they threaten suicide. If they won’t do that, call 911 yourself. But stay out of it otherwise, because the odds are that they’re trying to manipulate you. Certainly don’t give in and give them money—because if you do it’s going directly for their addiction.
But Vera, a spoiled, addicted brat that you’ve told you’re not going to enable again may be a danger to you. If he has the keys to your home, I would strongly advise you to have the locks changed—and most especially put a deadbolt lock on your bedroom door. You have to understand that the creature you’re now dealing with who’s been drinking and taking drugs for 18-years is not the same child you raised. He is a dangerous addict with psychopathic tendencies to deceive, lie, and manipulate you trying to get drugs and alcohol. He can’t be trusted, and you can’t believe anything he says.
As far as the manipulating goes, it’s the same child that was in that crib 36-years ago, screaming when he wanted to be fed, when he wanted you to clean his nasty little butt, and when he merely wanted attention.
If crying and then screaming didn’t work, the last resort is to kick and hit, and if they’re old enough they bang their crib. Usually, mommy or daddy go a-running!
All humans begin manipulating while in the crib. They must do it to inform grown ups that they need something. After a while, as they mature, rational parents tell them, “Okay, it’s time you started going to the toilet and cleaning yourself. You can go to the kitchen and fix yourself something to eat. And by the way, clean up after you eat. Be sure to clean your room, too.”
But some parents don’t do that. They continue running to the crib throughout a child’s life, and I do mean a child because they don’t let them grow up.
Now, most of us, even if parents do us that way, we don’t accept it. We don’t want to be coddled. We want to be grown ups. That’s natural. We stop manipulating. We start dealing with our own problems, and we start talking to people in rational ways—rather than trying to manipulate them. We want to be around people who accept responsibility for their actions, and we ought to want to do the same. We want to help others. We want to receive, too. But we know we must do for others for the sake of our people.
But psychopaths and addicts don’t stop manipulating, and as I said, if they’re at it long enough most of them become Master Manipulators—which means that every second they’re with someone or talking to them on the phone, they are manipulating them. They are chameleons who change personalities like the sky changes colors. They observe your reaction to each person they pull out, and they know when they have you hooked.
I repeat: Neither psychopaths nor addicts love. (Psychopaths don’t even understand love!) They don’t care about anyone else but themselves. Just watch their actions. They don’t give. They take. They never offer anything. If they do offer, they may give an inch, but they’re going to take a mile right back. As a rule, if they offer, they never follow through. They are as selfish as a reptile. Psychopaths never stop. Addicts never stop as long as they are getting what they want to feed their addiction.
Please, let us know how things go for you, Vera. We wish you the best!. And trust me when I tell you that there are numerous others reading this who are going through the same thing you’re going through. We are shedding tears with you!
Our best to you: Ruddy