Emotional Blackmail and Its 7 Signs

emotional blackmail

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.


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