Primitive and unconscious denial is classified as a psychotic defense mechanism because it denies or distorts reality itself. Those in the grip of psychotic denial are literally out of touch with reality. Thus an addict with multiple and perfectly obvious negative consequences from his pathological using(legal, health, marital and job problems) may, difficult as this is to believe, indignantly and -from his perspective- honestly deny that he/she has a serious problem with drugs. He/She doesn't know what people who criticize his/her using are talking about - and he/she is genuinely hurt and offended at what he/she perceives to be their unfair and unreasonable attacks upon him/her. He/She often reacts to expressions of concern about his/her using with self-pity, resentment, and - of course - more using.
I'm not THAT bad!
Minimization and downplaying of the problems connected with addiction fill in the gaps and take up the slack left by the failure of psychotic denial to adjust reality completely to the requirements of the addiction. The addict admits that difficulties exist - but he/she stoutly maintains, frequently in the face of an astonishing and rapidly accumulating mountain of evidence to the contrary, that they are not really as bad as others make them out to be.
It wasn't my fault or It's not the way it looks!
Rationalization and projection of blame attempt to distance the addict from the consequences of his/her(actually, of his addiction's) actions. Alternative explanations are constructed and stoutly defended, e.g. the employer who fired him/her or the officer who arrested him/her or the wife who divorced him/her were actuated by dishonest or frankly corrupt motives.
All I want is a little relief!
Justification of addictive behavior is often self-pitying and subtly manipulative. The addict feels victimized, perhaps even martyred by what he/she believes to be the unfair circumstances of his/her existence and seeks consolation from his/her addiction. He/She believes him/herself thereby an exception and entitled to special treatment, including remission or at least mitigation of the sins caused by his/her addictive behavior. The prospect of giving up his/her addiction or, even worse, having it taken away from him/her by the unsympathetic demands and requirements of others fills him/her with horror and indignation. Blind to the fact that it is his/her addiction and its consequences that are making him miserable, he/her falsely believes that the addiction is the only source of comfort and security available to him in a cruel, cruel world.
I'm not hurting anybody but myself!
Frequently phrased as "Leave me alone! I'm not hurting anybody but myself!" this defense invokes a legalistic right to self-harm at the same time as it denies the interpersonal and social realities of the addict's harmful behaviors. The addict, unable or unwilling to recognize how his behavior does in fact impact and thus harm other people, indignantly and self-righteously proclaims "It's MY life and I can do anything I please with it!" Curiously -and revealingly- the addict seldom finds anything incongruous in the notion that he/she might knowingly and willingly be harming himself, regardless of whether he/she is harming anyone else.
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen!
A blatant claim for special status based upon self-pity. Because it is seldom as persuasive to others as it is to the addict him/herself - other people usually have difficulty seeing how one's problems, no matter how severe or unfair, justify adding further misery resulting from theoretically avoidable addictive behaviors- the frustrated addict usually becomes resentful and sullen, convinced that "nobody really understands me." This licenses, at least in the addict's mind, still more flagrant and egregious addictive acting up and out.
I've got to be me! or You knew this when you married me!
Unable to distinguish him/herself from his addiction, the addict cannot imagine him/herself or existence without the addiction. The prospect of "losing" the addiction is unthinkable to him/her since it would, he/she believes, mean the loss of him/herself and of everything that makes life worth living. The addict paints a romantic portrait for him/herself and others which, while it may acknowledge at least some of the destructive effects of his/her addiction, attempts to rationalize the insanity of addictive behavior as glorious, if tragic self-actualization and fulfillment, and to represent anything less than this, e.g. abstinence and sobriety, as a kind of forfeiture of the self and living death, to which a premature addictive exitus is much to be preferred. The fact that many addicts actually believe such transparent foolishness is a somber testimony to the power of addictive insanity.
I HAVE to use for my work!
The addict insists that he/she will not be able to make a living or that he/she will no longer be successful if forced to "give up" the increasingly harmful and destructive behaviors caused by his addiction. He/She may regard the latter as "the cost of doing business." In the vast majority of cases, of course, his/her addiction has already begun to impair his/her work performance, his/her judgment, and his interpersonal relations.
You're not so pure yourself!
Following the adage that "the best defense is a good offense" the addict seeks to turn the tables and distract attention from him/herself by "attacking the attacker," i.e. the individual who attempts to point out to him/her the reality of his/her addictive behavior. Under the spur of necessity to defend their addiction as they are, most addicts possess a keen eye and a sharp tongue for the shortcomings and faults of others - even as they deny or are indifferent to those of themselves. Thus the addict is often almost demonically astute at exploiting the vulnerabilities and Achilles Heels of those who, wittingly or unwittingly, threaten the continuance of his/her addiction.
Trust me - I know what I am doing!
The addict, blinded to reality by his own denial, attempts to reassure those who have begun to wonder about his/her judgment, perhaps even about his/her sanity, that he/she is in control and that all will be well. He/She informs them that he/she is perfectly aware there is or may shortly be a problem, that he/she does not intend to let it get out of hand, and that he/she is or will be taking steps to control it.
I can stop any time I want to!
Unaware that his addiction and not he him/herself is calling the shots, the addict genuinely believes that he/she is choosing to behave the way he/she does and therefore he/she can stop doing so any time he/she makes up his/her mind. Unfortunately for him/her and for those who must deal with him/her, he/she seldom makes up his/her mind to stop (even though he/she most certainly could if he/she wanted to, & etc., & etc., & etc.)
I'm not nearly as bad as OTHER people!
An almost universal addictive rationalization. The addict compares him/herself to people who are in his/her opinion in far worse shape than he/she believes him/herself to be and concludes from this that there is no reason to be concerned about his/her own addictive behavior. Since there is always someone worse off than him/herself the addict feels entitled in continuing his/her addiction.