How do you know if someone is using emotional blackmail to get what they want from you?
Use the checklist below to see if your boyfriend/girlfriend is using emotional blackmail to manipulate you.
Do they threaten to make your life difficult if you don’t do what they want?
Threaten to end the relationship if you don’t do what they want?
Tell you or suggest they may hurt themselves or get depressed if you don’t do what they want?
Always want more from you?
Assume you’ll always give in to them?
Often ignore your feelings and wants?
Make promises that depend on your behaviour but rarely keep them anyway?
Keep labelling you as selfish, bad, greedy, unfeeling or uncaring when you don’t give in to them?
Tell you how wonderful you are when you give in to them, then tell your not when you don’t?
Use money as a way to get their own way?
If you can see a pattern in your relationship and the questions above it’s really not that uncommon. Unfortunately most of us at one time or another will have been on the wrong end of someone close to manipulating us.
Some of us are more vulnerable to emotional blackmail than others.
When we embark on the relationship roller coaster, we bring our own set of hot buttons, insecurities, anger, resentments, and fears. The problem is when a potential emotional blackmailer figures what our hot buttons are they start to push them, then we react and voila the game is on.
Our compliance in allowing the emotional blackmailer to get what they want, basically means we are rewarding them for their behaviour, and letting them know that can do it again and again.
Fear is a strong basis for emotional blackmail, fear of loss, fear of change, fear of rejection and fear of losing power. Quite often there can be a trigger, loss of a job, divorce, retirement or illness can increase the anxiety and stress in a relationship leading to the person feeling very insecure and then the emotional blackmail can start.
Many of the people who will emotionally blackmail us will be friends, partners, family or colleagues. These are people we want to have close relationships with.
Often the emotional blackmail will leave us feeling off balance, ashamed and guilty, we desperately want to change the situation but don’t know how. Worse of all our sense of self worth is eroded.
So how do we stop it?
First give yourself a little time when the demand is made maybe say,
I don’t have an answer for you right now, I need some time to think?
This is too important to answer right away, let me think
I’m not making a decision now
I’m not sure how I feel about what your asking, we can discuss it later
Buying some time will give you a little space, if they continue to harass just continue to be strong and buy your time.
Try and detach yourself from the blackmail drama.
Think about the feelings that you are experiencing and what it is that they are asking you to do.
It is hard to stand and say “This is who I am and this is what I want” especially when somebody you love appears to be really hurt by it. Bear in mind you are not being unreasonable in your demand that they stop emotionally blackmailing you, after all we’re not asking for anything that will harm either them or us.