In a previous post, we introduced the concept of Emotional Blackmail; often defined as a relationship where you are feeling suffocated or controlled and your needs don’t seem to matter. You may experience an unspoken sense of abuse. You may feel you are unable to express your true feelings in a safe, supported environment, simply because your feelings are being ignored constantly. You may exist in a FOG of negativity: the fear, obligation, and/or guilt of living with a highly manipulative partner.
“An emotional blackmailer is able to control you through various techniques, using phrases like “If you do X, it will make me happy” or “I will do this for you and you do X for me.” Through the power of manipulation, your emotional blackmailer can appear ever so charming to you so that you can easily commit to their needs.
“Emotional blackmail is ultimately abusive as it is either their way or no way. In a healthy, stable relationship, there is always a give and take balance. With emotional blackmailers, they do all the taking, so it is their way only, and this is how they place fear in you so that you cannot speak to them without feeling unworthy or afraid.” (GoodMenProject.com)
How to Stop Being the Victim of Emotional Blackmail
- Know that people don’t blackmail the ones that they love: Recognizing that no one who truly cares for you would make demands while threatening to harm you, themselves or others will make it easier to see the situation for what it is.
- Set limits – Don’t give into the demands: Establish clear boundaries and don’t allow the poor attitude of your partner to change your mind. Giving in to emotional blackmail only makes things worse.
- Remove something from the equation: The only control you have is over yourself and your actions. Removing yourself from the situation will make it so that the blackmailer has no one to control, and you’ll be better able to deal with the situation when you’re not doing so under pressure.
While it may be frightening to think about making such changes, it is that very fear which gives your blackmailer their power over you. Once you begin to understand how they manipulate you, you can also begin to comprehend how abusive such behavior is, and do something to protect yourself.
Remember, you are not responsible for the feelings or needs of anyone but yourself. You’re not responsible for their happiness, just as you do not define their sense of self-esteem. (The word SELF being the giveaway there!)
While we all feel some sense of insecurity at times, that can usually be overcome with a bit of reassurance from a partner. When this is not enough, and you begin feel evermore manipulated by the emotions of your partner, that is the warning that should alert you that something is wrong.
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