Have you ever felt like your partner is manipulating you? Do they guilt you into doing things you don’t want to do? If so, you may be a victim of emotional blackmail. In this blog, we will discuss what is emotional blackmail in a relationship and the signs of this type of abuse.
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What is Emotional Blackmail in a Relationship?
Emotional blackmail also known as “relationship blackmail” is a type of manipulation that seeks to control someone by using their emotions. It is a form of psychological manipulation that occurs when one partner uses the threat of withdrawing love, approval, or support to control the other partner. Victims of emotional blackmail often find themselves censoring their thoughts and actions, and living in constant fear of displeasing their partner. Over time, this can lead to feelings of anxiety, chronic stress, and worthlessness.
Victims of emotional blackmail need to understand that this type of behavior is never an acceptable way to carry out a relationship and instead is very toxic. No matter what your partner may say or how they try to rationalize it, emotional blackmail is a form of emotional abuse that can have serious consequences for both partners. Unfortunately, most victims will be more likely to stay in abusive relationships because they believe they can’t do any better, which is never the case. Having a healthy and happy relationship is obtainable.
Signs of Emotional Blackmail
There are several key signs of emotional blackmail in a relationship to look out for that can help you spot the abuse. These include:
- They use fear to control you.
- They make threats or ultimatums.
- They make you feel guilty.
- They play on your empathy.
- They try to isolate you from your friends and family.
- They gaslight you or make you question your reality.
- They manipulate or withhold information to control the situation.
- They use sex as a weapon or bargaining tool.
- Their anger is explosive and disproportionate.
Examples of Emotional Blackmail
To paint you a clearer picture here are some examples of what emotional blackmail looks like in a relationship.
Your partner will make you feel guilty for not doing what they want. For example, they may say, “I can’t believe you wouldn’t do this for me after all I’ve done for you.”
Your partner may threaten to hurt themselves or leave the relationship if you do not comply with their demands.
Your partner may withhold love and affection as punishment for not doing what they want.
Your partner will try to control you by making you feel responsible for their happiness. They may say things like, “You’re the only one who truly understands me.” Or put an enormous amount of pressure to satisfy them and if they are not satisfied, they will resort to anger.
Your partner may try to isolate you from your friends and family to have more control. An example would be getting upset that you want to hang out with your family members and them stating, “We never spend time together, you’re always with your family.”
If you suspect you’re being emotionally blackmailed by your partner, it’s important to reach out for help. This type of manipulation can be very damaging to a relationship and the victim’s mental health. We recommend talking to a trusted friend or family member about what’s going on or considering seeking counseling from a qualified therapist. Remember, you have a right to be treated with respect in your relationship and you deserve to be in a healthy, supportive relationship – free from manipulation and control.