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Do alcoholics mirror to appear normal?

Old 08-31-2019, 07:58 PM
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Do alcoholics mirror to appear normal?

Do they actually have a personality left?

I don't know why this sprung to mind but during a brief period where me and EXAH were hanging out I noticed he kind of mimiced my lifestyle (not the tea totaller one). I'd gotten into tropical plants, air plants etc. We stopped by a garden center, for me to grab something and all of a sudden he got his own trolley and he was buying the basics etc I had, tools, etc.

He's always been a really impulsive shopper and when we were married he'd be forever trying to get me to shop.. So he could.

It's like he thought.. This is what normal is.. I'll do this too. He went back to his enabler shortly after and his gardening stopped.

Anybody else noticed this mirroring lifestyle? He's done this heaps actually.. Gotten into my sports, loses himself in my interests.

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Old 08-31-2019, 10:17 PM
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Milanlo...my understanding of "mirroring" is that it is a subconscious behavior, and occurs commonly in human interactions. Not the same as deliberately mimicking or copying another person.
I believe that the reason is to establish a rapport with another person.
It is considered to be a helpful thing...not necessarily pathological....
My guess is that your ex probably admires you....

LOl...that is all I have got....
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:37 PM
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Mirroring is also a common trait of a narcissist. I dated one that did the kind of thing you describe.

At the time it was kind of nice. It's easy to get along with someone who likes everything you like. haha

But if he wasn't always that way then it's unlikely he is one, I would guess it's more like Dandy said, admires you.
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
Mirroring is also a common trait of a narcissist. I dated one that did the kind of thing you describe.

At the time it was kind of nice. It's easy to get along with someone who likes everything you like. haha

But if he wasn't always that way then it's unlikely he is one, I would guess it's more like Dandy said, admires you.
Not sure. As a couple we made a good team (before he relapsed). He kinda mirrored so much of what I did, how I disciplined kids, how I packed lunches. Sometimes I figured he didn't KNOW how to do this stuff so he copied me. When he relapsed that turned into criticism very quickly. Recently, I don't know what he's playing at. Trying to get my appreciation anyway he can.
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Old 09-01-2019, 12:10 AM
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And that's where it gets complicated.

Don't know what his motives are. Could be something as simple as feeling bad that he didn't treat you well and trying to make amends for that.

Could be that he does have narcissistic traits and is trying to fill that gaping void they have with - you. They really have very little of themselves. They can be your bestie one minute, mirroring all your likes and dislikes but there is a huge, selfish, dark side to all of that. Unfortunately by the time you figure out they are one, you are probably well in to the tale.

I also noticed he didn't just mirror me, also mirrored his Brother, so that's something else to look out for.
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Old 09-01-2019, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
And that's where it gets complicated.

Don't know what his motives are. Could be something as simple as feeling bad that he didn't treat you well and trying to make amends for that.

Could be that he does have narcissistic traits and is trying to fill that gaping void they have with - you. They really have very little of themselves. They can be your bestie one minute, mirroring all your likes and dislikes but there is a huge, selfish, dark side to all of that. Unfortunately by the time you figure out they are one, you are probably well in to the tale.

I also noticed he didn't just mirror me, also mirrored his Brother, so that's something else to look out for.
Was just reading about it on another site. I definitely don't believe he has much self. No.. This is me.. Except for his alcoholism, which is sad. I think he mirrored the stuff I do well as a mother. But he never pretended he liked the stuff I did etc. He does try to be like his brother but just falls short as his heart isn't really in it...and he doesn't know how. I think he tries to ape normal, maybe yeah, mimics and copies what he admires.
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Old 09-01-2019, 12:36 AM
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Funny you should say that, yes, the one I knew fell short of mimicking the brother as well.

The brother was an outdoors man, camping, fishing, guy weekends, building fires and cooking outdoors.

As much as the narc talked about these things, in reality, he wasn't that keen about actually doing any of them (I never met his brother, he lived elsewhere).

After we broke up we continued talking and his brother was around (he went to live with his brother and other family and moved around, basically sponging off anyone who would allow it) and that's when it really sunk in that it was his brother who had these interests and skills, not him.
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Old 09-01-2019, 04:54 AM
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I have learned that I am incredibly adept at navigating, adjusting and certainly mirroring/pretending by nature- and significantly so during my active drinking.

Learning who ME is has taken time and is still a process.

Like I think and comment many times, getting the alcohol out of our system for good is the ONLY way we can figure out anything and everything about who we are.
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Old 09-01-2019, 08:31 AM
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How far does he take it, and have you noticed this type of thing across the board?

I know this type of thing is attributed to certain personality types. INFJ in Myers Briggs for example, tend to blend in in groups, because they aren’t going to do anything over the top, and tend to be this way one-on-one with people. Not necessarily copying people though, it has more to do with body language, tone and gestures. Like if you’re outgoing, it may bring out that side of them. But if you’re quiet, they’ll stay low key too. That kind of thing.

However, actual copying,, especially in things that have to do with identity, is a characteristic of bpd/ borderline personality disorder. Single White Female is a movie where they showed someone who did this to the extreme, for example.

I’ll leave this here for you. Not so much about the diagnosis, because if there’s alcoholism, you don’t know how a person is without that, but just regarding the behaviors. Maybe these behaviors sound familiar?

(The website is -thriving is the goal- “borderline personality disorder and mirroring” is the article):


https://www.google.com/amp/s/thrivin...mirroring/amp/
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Old 09-01-2019, 01:38 PM
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Speaking as an alcoholic (27 years sober), it is only in recovery that you can find out who you really are, and it takes a good deal of time and hard work. It's pointless to try to analyze an active alcoholic or someone periodically on the wagon.
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Old 09-01-2019, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by pdm22 View Post
How far does he take it, and have you noticed this type of thing across the board?

I know this type of thing is attributed to certain personality types. INFJ in Myers Briggs for example, tend to blend in in groups, because they aren’t going to do anything over the top, and tend to be this way one-on-one with people. Not necessarily copying people though, it has more to do with body language, tone and gestures. Like if you’re outgoing, it may bring out that side of them. But if you’re quiet, they’ll stay low key too. That kind of thing.

However, actual copying,, especially in things that have to do with identity, is a characteristic of bpd/ borderline personality disorder. Single White Female is a movie where they showed someone who did this to the extreme, for example.

I’ll leave this here for you. Not so much about the diagnosis, because if there’s alcoholism, you don’t know how a person is without that, but just regarding the behaviors. Maybe these behaviors sound familiar?

(The website is -thriving is the goal- “borderline personality disorder and mirroring” is the article):


https://www.google.com/amp/s/thrivin...mirroring/amp/

He takes it to:

-certain phrases and pet names I call the kids. Using the same phrases when I'm disciplining kids. Im a foreigner in his country so he would struggle mimicking my accent and I'm very feminine so he'd come across as a racist cabaret act.

-he does a lot of stuff the same way I do (even separated). He used to get really pissy if I didn't do something HIS way (when he had one), but the rest of the time he'd do things precisely how I did them. I don't think there are many ways to air dry cups but he'd copy how I did stuff like that. I couldn't care less.. I was never a nag. He's also bought similar/identical furniture for kids room. Looks like I set up the kids rooms at his house for him. This may not be a thing at all.. But I found it eerie the one time I was over there.

-he only has 3 month friendships (when sober). He gets completely immersed in a sport, sometimes he was already doing it, other times it was brand new and he'd have to buy all the gear. Then he would ditch friend, bad mouth like crazy and ditch the sport.

I still think he was trying to 'ape normal' but his heart wasn't in it cos he really just wanted to drink. Drinking is normal to him... Everything else is just something to try on. I think I'm just a healthy template to copy.
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Old 09-01-2019, 03:07 PM
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Milano.....As I understand it, mirroring is a feature of all of us, from birth on, and is considered to be an adaptive response, in addition to a learning response, for humans....and, we all do it, although we are not aware of it...especially, in the more subtle forms....It is considered a necessary thing for facilitating social interactions....
I seem to remember reading, somewhere, that we have mirror neurons in our brain....so, we come wired, that way.

Perhaps, in your ex's case, if he is trying to parent...he would naturally copy the person who is a good example---you. Even if he criticized you at other times, for your parenting---I would take that as, probably. an example of his alcoholic need to throw shade on to you to take the spotlight off of himself....
different motives at different times.....
LOl...at least, this would be my take on the behavior that you describe....

At least...that would imply (to me) that he admires you.....
Not all people get that much from their ex....lol....

LOL....a word of caution---If you ever decide to make a top selling musical album...and mirror a popular musician because you admire them---don't do it...because they will sue your backside off!
When mirroring goes bad.
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Old 09-01-2019, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
Milano.....As I understand it, mirroring is a feature of all of us, from birth on, and is considered to be an adaptive response, in addition to a learning response, for humans....and, we all do it, although we are not aware of it...especially, in the more subtle forms....It is considered a necessary thing for facilitating social interactions....
I seem to remember reading, somewhere, that we have mirror neurons in our brain....so, we come wired, that way.

Perhaps, in your ex's case, if he is trying to parent...he would naturally copy the person who is a good example---you. Even if he criticized you at other times, for your parenting---I would take that as, probably. an example of his alcoholic need to throw shade on to you to take the spotlight off of himself....
different motives at different times.....
LOl...at least, this would be my take on the behavior that you describe....

At least...that would imply (to me) that he admires you.....
Not all people get that much from their ex....lol....

LOL....a word of caution---If you ever decide to make a top selling musical album...and mirror a popular musician because you admire them---don't do it...because they will sue your backside off!
When mirroring goes bad.

Yeah my mum keeps telling me to get out of his head. I'll never understand. Sometimes it's helpful to know what's coming down the crazy tracks.

Don't worry, I can't sing, their music would be unrecognisable.
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Milano58 View Post
He takes it to:

-certain phrases and pet names I call the kids. Using the same phrases when I'm disciplining kids. Im a foreigner in his country so he would struggle mimicking my accent and I'm very feminine so he'd come across as a racist cabaret act.

-he does a lot of stuff the same way I do (even separated). He used to get really pissy if I didn't do something HIS way (when he had one), but the rest of the time he'd do things precisely how I did them. I don't think there are many ways to air dry cups but he'd copy how I did stuff like that. I couldn't care less.. I was never a nag. He's also bought similar/identical furniture for kids room. Looks like I set up the kids rooms at his house for him. This may not be a thing at all.. But I found it eerie the one time I was over there.

-he only has 3 month friendships (when sober). He gets completely immersed in a sport, sometimes he was already doing it, other times it was brand new and he'd have to buy all the gear. Then he would ditch friend, bad mouth like crazy and ditch the sport.

I still think he was trying to 'ape normal' but his heart wasn't in it cos he really just wanted to drink. Drinking is normal to him... Everything else is just something to try on. I think I'm just a healthy template to copy.
Maybe it’s one of those things where you just sort of “know” something is off. Just to clarify, mirroring is not an official trait of BPD, but you do see this kind of thing because unclear and shifting self image image is one of the traits. So are unstable relationships, and self destructive behaviors (which can include drug and alcohol use- but drug and alcohol use also cause changes in behavior, so you just don’t know..), among others.


Just throwing that out there, a few traits here and there doesn’t necessarily mean anything, and that may or may not be the case for him, but sometimes little red flags and our instincts are telling us something is “off”- it sounds like your instincts are picking up on something?
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Old 09-03-2019, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by pdm22 View Post
Maybe it’s one of those things where you just sort of “know” something is off. Just to clarify, mirroring is not an official trait of BPD, but you do see this kind of thing because unclear and shifting self image image is one of the traits. So are unstable relationships, and self destructive behaviors (which can include drug and alcohol use- but drug and alcohol use also cause changes in behavior, so you just don’t know..), among others.


Just throwing that out there, a few traits here and there doesn’t necessarily mean anything, and that may or may not be the case for him, but sometimes little red flags and our instincts are telling us something is “off”- it sounds like your instincts are picking up on something?

Yeah.. My Spidey senses picked up some weird stuff maybe 3yrs ago. Back when he was oh so slowly falling off the wagon. At one point I thought he had a minor stroke... Cos he got really dumb all of a sudden. Lost focus and that's when the memory started to go. He may have been 'kindling', and it hit him hard. Our son was still an infant so EXAH was probably already 'apeing'. Maybe mimicking as the lazy man's crutch. Things went downhill fast after that.
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Old 09-03-2019, 06:26 AM
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I expect like dandy says mirroring goes across the spectrum of people who don’t drink and those who are addicted.

Even at the height of my drinking days I personally did not mirror. Too much rebellion in me perhaps.

It is a coping strategy that cannot be generalized to all addicts.
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