Tips on Fighting Emotional Blackmail

Emotional blackmail is an issue far more commonplace than people realize. It is defined as someone preying upon the emotions and sensibilities of another for personal gain, rather than external data. This form of extortion usually occurs within close relationships (fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, boyfriends and girlfriends, etc.). People usually emotionally blackmail others out of fear of abandonment, fear of being hurt, or feelings of desperation. Take note, there are ways to combat emotional blackmail. The tips below may help to provide a better understanding of how to do so.

Helpful Tips: What Can I Do?

    • Don’t give in to demands

– If you find someone close to you putting you through emotional blackmail, one thing you can do is gently but firmly resist their demands. One way to recognize whether or not you are being emotionally blackmailed is through close examination of the offending party’s terms. Usually such demands will begin with with the word “if.” For example, a spouse might say, “If you hang out with your friends tonight, I’m going to leave you.” In such situations it is important to hold firm. One might respond “I don’t want you to leave, but I am still going out with my friends.” Note: when threats of this level are being made, it might be helpful to seek an outside perspective on such conflicts from friends, family, or a couples counseling professional.

    • Exercise caution in future relationships

– Sometimes the only way to truly free oneself from emotional blackmail is to separate from the extortioner  As difficult as it may be, if you have done everything you possibly can to salvage your relationship with that person and they continue to manipulate and distort your emotions, it may be time to move on. In the future, prior to exploring a relationship with someone, it might be helpful to compose an emotional “checklist” to identify any early signs of manipulation. The knowledge that an individual will not use your emotions against you is important to have before making yourself emotionally vulnerable around them. If early caution is exercised in the people you associate yourself with, it is possible to avoid such difficult and unnecessary conflicts completely.

Emotional blackmail can be extremely detrimental to one’s life if not properly dealt with.

The aforementioned tips can be helpful in successfully combating such issues, however it is important to recognize that this is a highly fluid form of extortion, and should not be taken lightly. Emotional blackmail is a serious issue, so if you are faced with it, the best solution for experiencing resolution and positive growth might be to seek the help of an experienced professional counselor, or moving on from the relationship altogether.