So you can defend yourself from emotional blackmail

544 points
So you can defend yourself from emotional blackmail

Emotional blackmail causes feelings of guilt and makes you feel like you can’t do anything right. But what can be done if one is pressured by the accusations of her own partner?

What is emotional blackmail?

When someone exercises emotional blackmail, he or she provokes pressure and feelings of guilt in their peers, whether they are friends, family or colleagues. Often the emotional blackmailer is unaware that he is acting out and manipulating. Behind this behavior hide fears, aggressions and insecuritieswhich are discharged in reproaches and outbursts of anger.

The objective: Whoever exercises it wants his counterpart to behave as he wishes. In addition, the blackmailer puts himself in a convenient position and feels in the role of victim.


  • “I expected more from you”.
  • “If it really meant something to you, you would…”
  • “If you keep doing this, I’m leaving.”
  • “Tom’s girlfriend doesn’t drink as much as you do.”

How do you deal with this behavior?

The causes of emotional blackmail can be several. Often these people have very high expectations of their partner, but do not express them. They need love, appreciation, and attention, and they feel hurt if their wishes are not met. Ignoring the blackmailer’s feelings and needs is not effective. Still, you don’t have to be manipulated or blinded.

1. Recognize emotional blackmail as such

The first step in dealing with emotional blackmail is perceiving it as such. Pay close attention to your partner’s comments and learn to distinguish between facts and allegations . Imagine that you are being unfairly pressured. Only when you realize it, it will be easier for you to draw limits and defend yourself with them.

2. Self-reflection

Even if you are faced with unfair accusations that are not based on facts, you should listen to your partner instead of contradicting them. Understanding your partner and their needs and wants is important to the relationship. If you recognize errors in their behavior through their criticism of you, they should work on them.

Don’t just blame your partner for the accusations, but also show you’re serious. But communication should never be one-sided. You can also demand the same from your partner in the relationship.

3. Make your point confidently

With emotional blackmail, the challenge lies in not putting yourself under undue pressure. Remember that the emotional blackmailer is responsible for her own feelings. Even if you don’t behave according to his ideas, you are not a bad person.

To defuse this situation, you should first of all talk about your own feelings and perceptions, and argue in neutral self-messagesinstead of responding to provocations. Statements like “I didn’t do that to hurt you” confidently and clearly state your position, without apologizing or attacking.

4. Be patient, but disconnect from that person if nothing improves

Harmful patterns in relationships just don’t change overnight. It is even more important that you have patience and continue, making it clear that you are no longer a victim of emotional blackmail. However, if your partner’s behavior doesn’t change after several arguments, it’s time to ask yourself if your relationship has become toxic and if breaking up is for the best.

Keep in mind that the blackmailer will always need a partner who is susceptible to emotional blackmail. Only if you play the victim can he succeed. In all of this, there are many helpful ways to escape emotional blackmail. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to seek help from family and friends or a therapist.

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544 points