Home Health How To Stop Emotional Blackmail In Relationships

How To Stop Emotional Blackmail In Relationships


How do I stop being emotionally blackmailed? Emotional blackmail takes two people to engage in hence victims of emotional blackmail should take responsibility for their behavior and their previous compliance with the blackmail process.

How To Stop Emotional Blackmail In Relationships
How do I stop being emotionally blackmailed?

The blackmailing process is not a way for victims to beat themselves up or to place blame rather as an empowering approach for victims to recognize what they can change and can control.

How Do I Stop Being Emotionally Blackmailed In Relationships?

How to stop emotional blackmail in relationships may start with the victim fostering the belief that they do not deserve such treatment. Victims have as many rights as they do. As mentioned above, gaining insight into their own patterns of behaviors (thus the emotional blackmailing process), pleasing, and approval-seeking tendencies can help understand where to make changes. The victim may have developed these tendencies early in life to self-sacrifice, overcompensate for others, and put themselves last.

  • Practical suggestions on what actions to take during an exchange with a blackmailer can be useful.
  • Consider taking a long pause before you comply with the request.
  • Take a break and think about how you are feeling about the demand.
  • Create some distance from the emotion so you can make a healthy decision based on logic, rather than the emotional default.
  • Put it on your timetable. It will create off balance and it can be scary. There will be pressure to get back into the old patterns, so there is likely to be discomfort.
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Establish an SOS before responding to demand:

STOP – I need time to think about it. 

OBSERVE – one’s own reactions, thoughts, emotions, triggers.

STRATEGIZE- analyze the demands and the potential impact of complying. Consider what you need and explore alternative options.

It’s great to note that Change is the scariest word in the English language. No one likes it, almost everyone is terrified of it, and most people, including me, will become exquisitely creative to avoid it. Our actions may be making us miserable, but the idea of doing anything differently is worse. Yet if there’s one thing I know with absolute certainty, both personally and professionally, it is this: Nothing will change in our lives until we change our own behavior.

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Bring a new mindset and approach the situation in a different way

In order to best handle emotional blackmail, the victim must bring a new mindset and approach the situation in a different way. This will require gaining insight into what is going on in the blackmail dynamics and learning to detach from their intense emotions.

Set boundaries

Victims can learn to set boundaries and may become surprised at what can happen when new limits are set. The messaging needs to become that the behavior is no longer acceptable. While victims do not feel courageous or confident after having been emotionally abused, they can take a different action. Victims must take action to change the course, rather than waiting for the other person to change.

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Victims can self-assess throughout the process. When you do not back down and comply with demands attached to threats, how do you feel? Strong, empowered, confident, hopeful, proud, excited, courageous, assertive, effective, capable? Breaking any behavioral pattern is challenging. Develop a clear vision of what you hope to achieve. Any change will require work, effort, and discomfort, yet this is where growth occurs.

The only way to know if the limit and boundary setting will work is to try it. Forward suggests confronting the manipulator about the behaviors. What could that sound like? You are pushing our relationship to the edge.

You are not taking me seriously when I tell you how unhappy I am. We need to find ways to deal with conflicts that do not leave me feeling emotionally abused, worn out, and depleted.


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