Although addiction can happen to anyone, and there is no single personality type that accompanies addiction, there are certain traits and attributes that commonly occur alongside addiction.  One personality profile that seems to show up often in treatment centers is the charming intellect. These are the people that charm the wits out of everyone they meet. They are smart, articulate, persuasive, and generally very likable.  This personality is usually a defense mechanism preventing others from genuinely getting to know them. They may put this guard up to cover deep insecurity. They may also be narcissistic, egomaniacal, and believe they know best in all circumstances.  

These people have a particularly difficult time finding value in addiction treatment programs, and often charm their way through recovery and right back into the real world where they quickly relapse.  This particular type of addict often causes a great deal of stress, emotional pain, and financial harm to those that love them most. It can be challenging for family and friends of these types of people to continue to encourage them to seek treatment for their addiction when it seems as if nothing will work.  The good news is that even those who believe they can out-charm and outsmart the recovery process can be given a much-needed reality check by the right professionals in the field of addiction recovery. A treatment center that sees past the charm and finds a way to help addicts correct self-destructive behavior is crucial to finding lasting recovery.

Charm as a Cover for Insecurity

People who always seem to have their charm turned all the way up, smiling and outwitting their way through every conversation, are often over-compensating for a genuine lack of confidence.  People with strong self-esteem generally don’t feel the need to appear charming and likable to everyone they meet, and instead are comfortable being themselves and allowing others to take them or leave them.  People with addictions commonly suffer from low self-esteem and lack of self-worth, and may have begun using substances as a way to numb their social anxiety or quiet the negative self-talk in their heads. When addicts use charm to disguise their insecurities, they keep those around them from establishing any genuine connection or creating intimacy.  This is a coping mechanism and tactic that must be dismantled so that the addicted person can begin to foster healthy relationships in their life during recovery.

While overly charming people may be attempting to keep everyone at arm’s length with their lack of vulnerability, they are experiencing a deep fear of loneliness and isolation at the same time.  Those who suffer from addiction tend to be more sensitive to rejection and criticism, and may use their charm to make people want to be their friend while they simultaneously refuse to establish any real emotional connection.  Ultimately, charmers with addictions will employ their finely-honed skills of manipulation and persuasion to use and abuse those around them, including those who may be their only hope of recovery.  

Charm as an Indicator of Narcissism 

In some cases, excessive charm and emotional distancing through humor and wit may be a sign of narcissism.  Narcissism is a character trait that takes hold early in life, possibly as a result of the betrayal of a caregiver, and is often marked by materialism, grandiosity, self-entitlement, attention-seeking, and a propensity towards manipulation.  These people are especially difficult to treat for addiction because they often refuse to acknowledge their toxic behaviors and blame others for their problems. These types of people are so impressively persuasive, they often charm their way out of legal trouble and convince authority figures that they are to be pitied and offered lenience. Individuals with narcissistic behavior must be treated by highly intelligent professionals who can see past their manipulative games and attempts to outsmart the process. 

Narcissism is a difficult personality trait to correct, but with the right strategies, breakthroughs can happen.  Narcissism usually develops as a coping skill after an experience of significant pain. By breaking open the shell of inauthentic charm and beginning to heal from the inside out, even the most narcissistic of addicts can begin to recover.  Highly intelligent narcissists may go through many treatment programs before they finally meet their match, but once they enter treatment under the care of people familiar with their personality type and prepared to handle their specific needs, they can finally have a transformative recovery experience.  Nobody truly wants to remain addicted, and even those who believe they are somehow above treatment secretly wish that someone will see through them and establish human connection, allowing them to finally let their guard down and begin to heal.  

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to seek help.  At Burning Tree Ranch, we specialize in long-term care that produces real results, especially for those who have experienced relapse.  Here you will find a team of qualified and compassionate professionals, ready to help each client through a customized treatment program that addresses all aspects of addiction, including the identification of co-occurring disorders.  We know that the journey towards recovery doesn’t end with the conclusion of an inpatient program, and therefore we provide extensive aftercare programs to best support our clients during their transition into lasting sobriety. We also know that addiction affects the whole family, and therefore loved ones are encouraged to participate in the recovery process and take advantage of all our support resources.  For more information, call us today at  512-285-5900