Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

How to deal with emotional blackmail

Emotional blackmail is a form of manipulation. It’s a behaviour meant to get you to do the other person’s bidding. The probem with emotional blackmail is that it is a form of manipulation that encourages behaviour in someone else in an underhanded way. Someone being subjected to emotional blackmail will feel obliged to be pushed into something in order not to feel bad rather than because they want to of their own free will.

This post will give you the tools on how to deal with emotional blackmail

Recognise emotional blackmail

When you feel guilt or feel ashamed, listen to that. It’s never a good idea to act out of guilt or shame. Others will try to manipulate you and wil use your values and sense of right and wrong to hold influence over you. Emotiona blackmail can be incredibly subtle and even television ads can be responsible for it. Think of the ad where the mother seems skilled and adept at running her perfect household and then she shows you the brand of washing powder she uses. It’s sending a subtle message that if you are a good parent, you will use that product. Emotional blackmail is rife in many areas of life.

Examples of emotional blackmail:

If you were a good parent you would take your child to the park today

If you loved me you would do this for me

If you really cared you would lend me the money

Only good people would help me (implying you are a bad person if you don’t help out)

Recognising emotional blackmail is the first tep to counteracting it. It can seem very subtle so look out for the sense of guilt or feeling bad about yourself to help you identify underlying emotional blackmail.

How to respond to emotional manipulation

It’s never a good idea to give in to emotional blackmail. The more you allow it, the more you inadvertently give the ‘green light’ for it to continue. When you recognise it, say it. A good example: “It feels right now as if you are trying to make me feel bad as a way to get me to do….XYZ”.

You can completely disarm someone when you are direct and point out what you have noticed. The manipulator is hoping you won’t call them up on it. Of course, they will deny any such manipulation but they will clearly understand that they can’t pull the wool over your eyes.

If you’d be happy to do for the what they are trying to manipulate you to do, let them know that you will oblige, not because you feel guilty but because you want to of your own accord.

It’s never wise to let a manipulator believe that this subtle form of control is working. Be a critical thinker who isn’t easily swayed by the pressure of others. Manipulation occurs frequently and it causes major problems in relationships. It causes even bigger problems if left to fester and it’s not addressed. Emotional intimacy will be destroyed and resentment will take its place.

Mandy X





Photo by Max Rovensky on Unsplash

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