Emotional Blackmail and Its 7 Signs


, , , , ,
emotional blackmail

You’re in a relationship, romantic or not. It has highs and lows, just like every other relationship. While everything is all good and sound, there seems to be no inconvenient gestures or actions from the other person as such. But when the low points arrive, emotional leverage comes into play. Blackmailing on the grounds of all the emotional triggers that the other person is aware of, begins.  

It becomes a passive-aggressive competition where the aggregator starts to down the other person in the relationship. Statements like “Do this, or else..!!” starts to appear and the comfort between them is instantly replaced by a feeling of being sabotaged. 

This is called Emotional Blackmail. It describes a style of manipulation where someone uses your feelings as a way to control your behavior or persuade you to see things their way or worse, wants you to do their bidding. As subtle as it sounds, emotional blackmail is a very generic and common nature for people to get what they want. And destroy even the best of bonds on its way. 

Emotional Blackmail : Definition And Description

Like typical blackmail, emotional blackmail involves someone trying to get what they want from you. But instead of holding secrets against you or any direct form of aggression, they manipulate you with your emotions and weak points and worse, your trigger points.

Leaders in the field, Susan Forward and Donna Frazier identify the power dynamic that occurs in such manipulation. They suggest that emotional blackmailers employ a fear – emotion – guilt tactic to get what they want.

FOG is a term named by Forward, suggesting that fear, obligation, and guilt are the dynamics in emotional blackmail between the manipulator and the victim. The acronym FOG also accurately describes the confusion and lack of clarity and thinking that can occur in these interpersonal dynamics. Emotional blackmail can create a fog and contribute to feelings of fear, obligation, guilt, and anxiety.

According to Forward, emotional blackmail occurs in close relationships. The manipulator leverages knowledge gained about the victim’s fears. Blackmailers will use the information they learn about what the victim fears to manipulate them.

Forward suggests that one of the most painful elements of emotional blackmail is that they use personal information about the victim’s vulnerabilities against them. Another trigger blackmailers will use is putting the victim’s sense of obligation to the test. They will commonly create undeserved guilt and blame to attribute their problems to the victim.

Read The 5 Qualities Of Emotionally Mature People

Forward And Frazier’s 4 Types Of Emotional Blackmail

Forward and Frazier recognize four types of emotional blackmailing, each with varying manipulation tactics.

1. Punishers

Punishers operate with a need to get their way, regardless of the feelings or needs of the other person. Their motto is “my way or the highway.” Punishers will insist upon pushing for control and getting what they want with threats to inflict damage or harm.

2. Self – Punishers –

Individuals can make threats of self-harm if the partner does not comply with what they want. 

3. Sufferers –

This is the voice of a victim conveying guilt on the partner if they do not do what is demanded. If they don’t comply, there is a suggestion that their suffering will be the others’ fault.

4. Tantalizers –

This can be the most subtle and confusing form of manipulation. There is a promise of what will be better if they comply. It sparks hope yet is still connecting a threat to the demand.

Read The Most Emotionally Intelligent Zodiac Signs: RANKED From Most To Least

7 Signs Of Emotional Blackmail

emotional blackmail info

As emotional blackmail goes, there can be a huge number of possible ways to go about it and it can be modified as per the doer’s intention and situation. But usually, there happens to be a constant recurrence of the following signs of blackmailing which are just as basic as they are common.

1. Using Threats 

It’s pretty common for abusers to threaten others with violence to get what they want. And what better to use in order to threaten you and make you feel genuinely scared of the consequences than your loved ones or things. That is a ground that is most common among emotional blackmailers and more often than not, it does get the job done.

Sometimes the threat of violence or intimidation doesn’t come in words. If the abuser has already demonstrated a willingness to get loud, slam doors, punch walls, and glare at you as though his/her tantrum was your fault, this behavior can be stressful enough and casts a large, looming shadow.

2. Regularly Triggering Guilt

In this scenario, the blackmailer does not even know they’re using your guilt to get the better of your emotions. Half of the time, they end up using it just to avoid disappointment shoved in their faces or the very inability to accept the same. In a situation where it is their reputation at stake and you are not doing something as per his/her bidding, the emotional blackmail comes into play where you’re made to feel like “it is happening because of you”. 

And it is the absolute worst. With or without consciousness.

3. Warnings of Self-Harm

Some emotional blackmailers will threaten to harm or even kill themselves to make you do what they want , whether that’s to come back to them, to forgive them for hurting you, or to get a job done that you wouldn’t do in a normal situation.

If you call their bluff and walk away, they might harm themselves just so they can blame you for it and see if you’ll accept responsibility. If you do, they’ve got you right where they want you. If you don’t, they have no power over you.

Read Poems play, Story time: The self-harmer

4. Provoking Anger

Some emotional blackmailers will deliberately provoke you into anger. They will do or say hurtful and offensive things so that when you react in anger, they can play the victim or “the calm one” who is the bigger person.

Then they manipulate you into doing something they want as atonement/compensation for your anger and misbehaviour.

If you’re the one who loses control, they use that against you. If you keep your calm, and they lose control, they blame you for that, too. Whether it’s your anger or theirs, you’re the guilty one. It’s a vicious cycle and a relatable one. A vast majority would agree.

Read How Unexpressed Anger Impacts Your Mind

5. Condescend as Jealousy and Inferiority

Emotional blackmail can also involve jealousy and the fear of loss. Rather, it is one of the most impactful and long-lasting forms of emotional blackmail. 

Using the logic of the “other person being jealous” to justify their own misdeeds or misdemeanour, then in case the allegation fails, terming him/ her to be paranoid, whimsical and insecure just to have had issues with a legitimate misconduct. 

It is a very, very nasty business. Which ultimately leads onto sheer inferiority complex and a fear of losing the person. Thus wiping off all the legitimate worries and allowing the misfortune to carry on.  

The loop of emotional blackmail continues, as a result.

6. Taking Your Behavioural Patterns for Granted

When you show the other person you’ll eventually concede, they know exactly how to play similar situations in the future.

Over time, the process of emotional blackmail teaches you that it’s easier to comply than face persistent pressure and threats. You may come to accept that their love is conditional and something they’ll withhold until you agree with them.

They may even learn that a particular kind of threat will get the job done faster. As a result, this pattern will probably continue.

7. Dramatic Suffering

This is a way of emotional blackmail where, in any other time or situation, you would not comply with your aggressor.  

And the matter of fact? The person knows that.

As a result, he/she puts the ‘Dramatic’ cap on and creates a scene or enacts a suffering very dramatically, preferably in a public place so that it minimises the chances of you saying no and denying the compliance. 

Quite the strategist for a dramatic person, isn’t it. But it is what it is.

emotional blackmail pinop
emotional blackmail pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

Eggshell Parenting Meaning: 5 Signs You’re Making These Mistakes!

Eggshell Parenting: Signs You're Making These Mistakes!

Parenting is one of the most sincere tasks in every individual’s life that should be done with utmost care and coherence. However, the relationship between parents and their children is often tampered by the mental, and behavioral issues of the parents.

Thus, mood disorders and the violent nature of parents can affect the child’s life. Eggshell parenting is one such consequence. In this blog, we will guide you to understand eggshell parenting and show you the risky spots you should avoid.

What is Eggshell Parenting?  

Up Next

Top 6 Most Notorious Serial Killers In History and Their Psychology Unleashed

Top Most Notorious Serial Killers In History

Some of the most horrifying and notorious murder cases in criminal history are those in which the most notorious serial killers caused irreversible harm to society by their horrific deeds. Motivated by an intricate network of psychological, social, and frequently pathological elements, these infamous persons have perpetrated atrocities that persistently enthral and appal the public.

Every instance sheds light on the dark psychology of serial killers, from Ed Gein’s horrific acts to Ted Bundy’s deliberate and planned killings. Investigating these sinister tales reveals not only the specifics of their heinous deeds but also the patterns and reasons behind them, providing insights into one of the most ghastly aspects of human nature.

6 Most Notorious Serial Killers In History

Up Next

The Role of Childhood Trauma in Serial Killers: A Deep Dive Into 5 Serial Killers and Their Upbringing

Role of Childhood Trauma in Serial Killers: Case Examples

The public’s fascination with the mystery surrounding serial killers has long sparked conjecture regarding the motivations behind people’s horrific behavior. The role of childhood trauma in serial killers has received a lot of attention, despite the fact that the reasons underlying their actions are complex.

In this blog, we explore the childhood experiences in serial killers to gain insight into their terrifying world. We aim to uncover the intricate relationship between pathology and upbringing by delving into the trauma in serial killers and unfavorable conditions that shaped these individuals’ early years.

This will illuminate the shadowy pasts of some of the most infamous murderers in history. Come along with us as we venture into the darkest recesses of the human brain, where the roots of violence are planted.

Up Next

Man vs Bear Debate: What is the Right Choice for Women?

Man vs Bear Debate: Is It Safe To Choose a Bear Over Man?

Even though Leonardo Di Caprio has proven that men can beat a bear in strength and intelligence, let’s not get carried away and remember that a bear can be more powerful than men. You can guess that we are here to discuss why women chose bear in the man vs bear debate.

The real question is, what threatens women more? Getting mauled by a bear and meeting a horrific death or getting violated by a man??

Women are inclined to the second option in the viral Man vs Bear debate.

Up Next

Brain Fog After Narcissistic Abuse? 8 Ways Narcissists Can Muddle Your Brain

Brain Fog After Narcissistic Abuse? Reasons Why It Happens

Have you ever heard of the term “brain fog”? Brain fog is like a maddening haze that seems to muddle your thoughts, makes you forget what you were saying, and has you searching for your clothes in the trash bin? Well, today we are going to talk about a specific sort of brain fog – brain fog after narcissistic abuse.

Imagine that you have just escaped from a toxic and abusive relationship with a narcissist. You are slowly picking up the pieces and trying to get your life back in order, but somehow you feel like your head is not in the right place. Everything still feels very odd and you still feel very lost.

Even though you are free from the clutches of your narcissistic ex, this bizarre mental fog just won’t lift. Let’s explore how narcissists cause brain fog, and the link between brain fog and narcissistic abuse.

Up Next

Toxic Bosses Unmasked: 20 Warning Signs to Watch For

Toxic Bosses Unmasked: Warning Signs to Watch For

Having a toxic boss can really take a toll on you mentally, and toxic bosses are seriously so horrible. This article is going to help you understand the traits of a toxic boss so that you know which behaviors are not normal and ethical. Read on to know more about the signs of a toxic boss or toxic bosses.

We hear about toxic bosses all the time, but how do you know when a boss is “toxic”? “Toxic” is, of course, a vague descriptor. Are bosses toxic when they throw fits and scream, or only when they break the law?

Or are they toxic when they are immoral or unethical? Are they toxic if they’re nice one day and nasty the next, or just when they make you uncomfortable, nervous, or sick? These are valid questions because these individuals are easy to identify when their behaviors are outrageous; but perhaps less so when their behavior

Up Next

How To Know If Your Mother Hates You: 8 Not-So-Subtle Signs

How To Know If Your Mother Hates You: Not-So-Subtle Signs

Have you ever found yourself wondering if your mother harbors some deep-seated resentment, or even hatred towards you? If you have, then I know that it’s a really tough pill to swallow. How can your mother hate you, and most importantly, how to know if your mother hates you?

Today, we’re diving straight into the realm of family dynamics, exploring the question “why does my mother hate me?”. We will try to understand the signs that give away her true feelings for you, and which may indicate if your mother’s love has taken a dark turn.

Let’s uncover 8 revealing clues that might just help you make sense of the complicated bond you share with your mom. Explore how to know if your mother hates you.