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Centerpointe Research

Emotional Blackmail

Emotional blackmail is very common. It’s an extremely powerful form of manipulation. It usually involves an individual close to us threatening to punish us for not doing what they want. They can be our managers, co-workers, friends, lovers or even members of our family. Manipulation turns into Emotional blackmail when it is used repeatedly to force us to comply with their demands, even when we refuse to. Whenever people try to get their own way, regardless of the cost to you, you’re looking at an emotional blackmailer. They are extremely selfish, and have little interest in conflict resolution or compromise.

Emotional blackmailers don’t like to lose. They find it hard to tolerate frustration. To the blackmailer, frustration is connected to fears of deprivation and loss. These convictions may be rooted in a long history of feeling inadequate, insecure and anxious. Blackmailers believe that they can compensate for some of their frustrations from the past by taking control of their present reality.

They threaten to end the relationship, give you the cold shoulder and abandon you, if you don’t play by their rules. Blackmailers play on your weaknesses, fears, shame, compassion, morals, and vulnerabilities in order to, gain control and ultimately get what he or she wants. A basic threat some blackmailers use, “If you don’t act the way I want you to, you will suffer.”  Emotional blackmail may often be very difficult to detect. A few things to look for: (Pressure, Compliance, mood swings, Repetition Threats, blamer, Demanding, Resistance, forceful). The truth can be very empowering, blackmail only works if you give the person control, or have something you want to hide and keep hidden. There is no excuse for anyone to become a target of blackmail or to have their family secrets, or personal information used against them, for any reason however, it is important to come to terms with your embarrassment, fear, shame and be honest with yourself as well as others, so you don’t become a potential victim or hostage of blackmail.


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