How to deal with emotional blackmail

When people close to us make us do what they want, we often don’t understand that we have been a victim of emotional blackmailing. Slowly and steadily we drop away into a place where our decisions and even our behavior are controlled by them. Let us take a look at how we can deal with this powerful form of manipulation.

Understanding the blackmailer

The blackmailer has made you believe that it is all about you when in reality, it isn’t. It has its origin in the most insecure parts of his mind. It could be because of some incidents in the past that the blackmailer has had to endure. They are wholly concentrated on what they want and what they desire and couldn’t care less about its effect on you or your needs. They thrive on short term victories and never give a thought to the future of the relationship. They could have been deeply frustrated in the past and they tend to think that by their emotional blackmailing, they could compensate for what has happened.

Why you

The whole success of an emotional blackmailer is the permission given by you, most probably unintentionally. Your active participation ensures that you are the perfect target for the blackmailer. They know to push the right buttons and even if you are aware of the blackmailing happening, you would be reacting in a programmed way, automatically and impulsively. It’s the protective qualities that you have that are being exploited. Your fear of anger, need for approval makes you the blackmailer’s preferred target. Most importantly you should stop taking too much responsibility for other people’s lives. You could also be having a high level of self doubt. Having all these in balance, would help to keep you off the blackmailer’s favorite target list.

Weapons of manipulation

One of the most important things you need to understand as a target of emotional blackmail is that the blackmailer builds his strategies based on your responses and the information you provide in various circumstances about your fears. Your fear acts as the fuel for the blackmailer to see the outcome they want in you. The blackmailer also constantly puts before you wrong ideas about your duties and obligations and if your ideas are not in balance, it becomes easier for the blackmailer to gain victory in his endeavor. Your ethics are also questioned and guilt injected into you by holding you responsible for whatever problems that are upsetting the blackmailer. By creating this undeserved guilt in you, the blackmailer takes undue advantage of you.

The consequences

Integrity loses its meaning when you are emotionally blackmailed repetitively. You lose the whole idea of what’s right and what’s wrong as you have been robbed of your integrity. You tend to let yourself down and every time you get blackmailed, the hurtful cycle repeats itself. This takes the toll on your physical and mental well being. Most often when you try to resist, the blackmailer tells you that your resistance is because of your psychological issues. This wipes out your confidence and may even push you to question your sanity. Your motives, character and worth might be challenged and you might even be labeled as selfish and heartless. You would also be compared to others to blow up your flaw and make you feel deficient.

Your stand

If you are facing a demand from your blackmailer do not respond immediately. You need to sit and think about what the situation is and not respond impulsively. Understand what is really happening and take a minute to consider what you are feeling, thinking etc. make connections with your behavior, feelings and beliefs. Take your time when the demands involve major life issues or might be harmful to you or others. Make your decision on your own criteria and consider how each choice would affect your life and integrity. Ensure that you don’t justify or defend your decision. Involving the blackmailer in your problem solving process often shifts the conversation and the blackmail heads to a deadlock. Do remember to use good humor in your conversation while dealing with emotional blackmailer’s. Make sure you are prepared and practiced to counter the blackmailer by anticipating his replies. Only you can break the vicious cycle of emotional blackmail and return trust and integrity into the relationship.

Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team (C)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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