Emotional blackmail is not a pleasant thing to encounter, and many of us succumb to it without even realizing it at various stages in our lives. The truth is that there are many manipulative people out there, who seem to thrive on getting a one-up over someone they deem to be vulnerable and/or they feel they can take something from.
As a result, emotional blackmail is something you should do your utmost to avoid. If you think you’re already in such a situation, you need to be able to recognize the signs to identify emotional blackmail and put an end to it. Here is our guide to dealing with emotional blackmail:
Red Flag Situations
1. If you always seem to end up apologizing for your actions even though you know you did nothing wrong.
2. If your partner or spouse never takes no for an answer.
3. If you always end up giving in to your spouse or partner’s wishes at the expense of your own.
4. If the amount of times you make sacrifices for your partner or spouse far outweighs the number of times they do the same for you.
5. If you’re being intimidated or threatened into abiding by your spouse or partner’s wishes.
The Typical Emotional Blackmail Tactic
A book entitled “Emotional Blackmail”, written by Susan Forward and Donna Frazier, theorizes that those who use emotional blackmail employ a Fear --> Emotion --> Guilt tactic.
The first stage involves the manipulator making the victim fear, anger or disappoint them. In turn, this makes the victim feel obligated to meet their demands. If the victim fails to comply, then the result is feelings of guilt being instilled by the manipulator for not abiding by his or her wishes.
All of this is done very subtly – the manipulator uses tactics to appeal to the victim’s sensibilities. They make their demands seem reasonable, and make the victim feel selfish if they aren’t given what they want.
If you feel that you’re the victim of FOG tactics by your partner or spouse, ask someone who you’re close to give you a different perspective on your relationship by telling you what they see from the outside.
Individuals who are most vulnerable to emotional blackmail are the ones who have trouble saying “no”. If you think you’re one of those people, you need to allow yourself to get comfortable with the thought of refusing or rebutting that which you are not content with doing. Think about the tone of voice you’ll use to utter the little word in the future, as well as the words you’ll use to reflect empowerment and help you feel more in control of the situations you’re likely to face.
How to Put a Stop to Emotional Blackmail
1. Prioritize your wants, needs and preferences over those of your partner.
2. Set clear boundaries that cannot be overstepped in any circumstances.
3. Realize that although you may love your partner very much, your well-being comes first. Share your personal priorities and make compromises accordingly.
4. Remember that giving in to emotional blackmail will only make your situation worse.
5. If your partner or spouse is threatening you with physical violence, or alluding to threats of physical violence, leave immediately and alert the authorities of the threats being leveled against you.
6. Reach out to your social support system and seek professional help if you need to.
Content Source: ThriveWorks