It goes without saying that the art of compromise is valuable in relationships; all relationships, from the mundane to the most important. Whether you’re dealing with people at work, friends, family or a life partner, being able to occasionally give in to their needs has value. However, when the other person becomes manipulative and you realize you’re giving more and more often, when you begin to fear the consequences of not accepting their point of view, you’re likely the victim of emotional blackmail.
Emotional blackmailers use fear, obligation, and guilt in their relationships (FOG), ensuring that others feel afraid to cross them, obligated to give them their way, and swamped by guilt if they resist. Knowing that someone close to them wants love, approval or confirmation of identity and self-esteem, blackmailers may threaten to withhold them or take them away altogether, making the person feel they must earn them by agreement. (Wikipedia)
3 Warning Signs of Emotional Blackmail
- Fear: Intimidate you until you do what they want.
- Obligation: Manipulating your decisions and choices by reacting negatively to the choices he or she decides isn’t what they want you to do.
- Guilt: Blame or accuse you for something that you didn’t do, so that you feel you must work overtime to win back their affection.
The blackmailer may even go so far as to threaten to harm either you or themselves to get you to do (or not do) something. This is the ultimate example of emotional blackmail, causing you to feel all three controlling emotions at once.
Emotional blackmailers tend to be insecure, in their own abilities and in their value as a person. Being able to manipulate others brings them an increased sense of self-worth – a false sense of self-esteem that does not last and which will almost inevitably cause them to revert to type.
Victims of emotional blackmail tend to have a history of acquiescence. Often, they’ve grown up around manipulative, even abusive, role models. While emotional blackmail tends to not become physical, there is a strong sense of emotional abuse felt by the victim. If you grew up in an emotionally abusive household, you may believe that emotional blackmail is “normal” in close or intimate relationships.
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