LifeStyleSocialWhat Is Emotional Blackmail And Ways To Detect It

What Is Emotional Blackmail And Ways To Detect It

Expressing our emotions is ideal for getting to know ourselves and relating to others, but what happens when it is used as a weapon?


There is nothing more pleasant than being able to express our emotions and be in control of them, avoid overflowing, communicating strongly, being empathetic with the situations of others, and listening carefully to offer a helping hand when necessary.

In short, there are many benefits to putting our emotional intelligence into practice, not only in knowing ourselves but in being able to relate to others in the best possible way.

But did you know that emotion can also be used as a dangerous weapon? Unfortunately, there are those people who only see the kindness or vulnerability of others as a selfish opportunity to obtain their own benefits through emotional blackmail. This being a vicious circle that is capable of altering the perception of all those involved in the way of giving and receiving attention, affection, and appreciation.

Do you want to know a little more about it? So don’t miss the whole article where we are talking about what emotional blackmail is all about and how you can spot it to get out of there on time or, better yet, never fall.

What is Emotional Blackmail?

Emotional Blackmail

Emotional blackmail is like any other type of blackmail, in which a selfish and interested person takes advantage of another’s weakness so that he or she provides him or her with something he wants, through the use of manipulation, accusations, claims, passive-aggressive behaviors or False vulnerable behaviors (that is, playing the victim game). In order to have full control over the relationship they have with said person, being totally unaware of this person.

Only in this case, the blackmail is at the sentimental level, so the perpetrator uses the feelings that his partner or partner has towards him as a free letter to satisfy his demands. There is also the case that takes advantage of his emotions to keep him by his side and restrict his freedom, for wanting to receive all the attention of this person only for himself, thus bringing consequences to the quality of the relationship and even to the self-confidence of the person who is being blackmailed.

Why Do People Resort To Emotional Blackmail?

Emotional Blackmail Puppet

There are numerous motives why people tend to use manipulation or control channels in a relationship, irrespective of what type of relation it is (friendship, work, family, or love), but these motives always converge on the same origin: fear of being abandoned. This leads people to acquire obsessive and self-centered behaviors in interpersonal relationships so that they can hide their insecurity and, at the same time, ensure that they receive the attention they want and believe they deserve to feel ‘loved.’

It should be noted that this perception of love that they possess is completely distorted since they seek their own interests above the needs of others, that is, they do not really care about the feelings of other people, because it only matters that blackmailers get what you want. If this is not the case, they think they have the freedom to accuse their colleagues of treason, emotional distancing, deceit, little affection and reciprocity, lack of empathy, etc.

Ways to Recognize Emotional Blackmail

Emotional Blackmailer

In emotional blackmail, it is exhausting and dramatically changes the way we live, so it is important to know how to recognize it to get away from that environment.

1. Constant Misrepresentation in His Speeches

This is one of the most bizarre characteristics of manipulators, who change their speech or conversations over and over again, despite being directly confronted by their words. They always find a way to convince someone else that they have misunderstood or that this is a defensive justification for experiencing an attack.

Because they are not able to face the real responsibility for their actions and they make a drastic change from their position from victimizer to victim, with regrets, excuses, or listing what they do for their partner and that they do not recognize him according to them.

2. Forced Normality

This is also known as ‘the elephant in the room’ and deals with the discomfort that the blackmailer creates around him, through silent annoyance. That is to say, and he pretends that nothing happens when, in fact, if something very serious happens, but that he does not want to talk about it, but prefers to avoid it.

However, this avoidance only generates more conflict between the couple or in any relationship since the problem is never solved, and the feelings of discomfort are always present and increasing. Even blackmailers can use this nuisance as a threat.

3. Continuing Threats

Speaking of threats, this point is also extremely common in manipulative people and that they usually use when they feel lonely or in danger of being abandoned with the breakup of the relationship. So, to avoid it, they constantly make threats to their partner, either in passive-aggressive mode (speaking derogatorily about themselves) or directly aggressive (saying that they feel bad about the behavior of their partner or that the separation will cause problems for them).

4. Unrealistic Demands And Expectations

This behavior is highly expected in blackmailers, especially when they manage to retain their partners after a threat or when they forcefully ‘recognize’ their mistake. So to ‘earn’ their forgiveness, they must please them as much as they want, regardless of whether it is within the possibilities of their partners or family.

The problem with it is that these demands, desires, and expectations will never be fulfilled, on the contrary, they will ask for more and more, avoiding the needs of the other individual, because they only focus on satisfying themselves, on feeling good in the relationship.

5. Constant Self-Punishment

Not all blackmail is direct and aggressive, and there are those who base their emotional manipulation on people feeling sorry for them so that they ‘feel sorry’ and take care of them while satisfying their wishes or needs. So these people do not attack their peers, but rather attack themselves with acts of personal devaluation that concern others.

How to make great non-existent sacrifices, blame yourself for the problems, misrepresent your partner’s words, look for a negative meaning for the acts that he does, say that you feel bad about your role in the relationship, and in more extreme cases becoming self-injured. All this in order to awaken remorse in people and do everything possible to make them feel better.

6. Defensive Resistance

Blackmailer people always want to be right, because they believe that there are only they are and there is no power in the world that makes them think they are wrong, so they tend to fight constantly until the counterpart gives up or gets tired, thus winning the battle. This reflection occurs because the couple has not satisfied their demands or has confronted them, which is completely unacceptable for the blackmailer because they feel that they deserve it, and therefore, it is unfair that they are not pleased.

So you can create tantrums, express yourself in a loud way, fight dramatically, argue, accuse a couple of being insensitive or stingy, etc.

7. Gaslighting

This is one of the most subtle but shocking emotional abuse of all since the blackmailer manages to play with the mind of his partner, becoming able to doubt his actions, beliefs, perception of reality, or said words and mold them to what the blackmailer wants or more suits him so that this is free of any accusation and remains as the one who puts more effort into the relationship, while the manipulated person is left with permanent discomfort and the need to make up for his mistake (which he never made).

This is classic in the examples of infidelities (where treason is justified by lack of attention, love, or understanding) or when one of the parties does not commit in the relationship (claiming that they never said they would).

8. Mercantile Blackmail

One of the most classic emotional blackmails, where the person appears to show a kind and disinterested attitude by giving some kind of money, by inviting the other, paying a debt or giving gifts, which on many occasions was never asked to do so. When something happens that the manipulative person does not like or demand is not met, he can use those expenses as an attack weapon, claiming that only he is the one who makes monetary sacrifices.

9. Minimize Others

For manipulative people, their problems are the only ones that are valid, and their needs have priority over those of any other person, even if their demands are superficial or have no contribution to the relationship, nor themselves. This is because they are selfish people and only think about how to ensure their well-being, so do not be surprised if, despite listening and attending to your partner’s problems, they actually end up diverting attention to your wishes.

In the same way, it happens with the goals of their partners, which if they do not benefit them, they do their best to eliminate them, making the person feel that they will not achieve anything or that they are not good enough to succeed. To do this, they use very insulting verbal language, which only belittles the ability of others, weakening their desire to grow.

10. They Abuse The Weakness Of Others

We all have a weak point, a vulnerability that we try to avoid or an issue that makes us sensitive, and we prefer to move as far away as possible because it causes us discomfort and insecurity. But, these are valuable weapons for blackmailers, and they do not feel shy to use them in their favor to hurt others and stressing that they will only get worse without them or that they are the only ones who will accept their weakness like this.

Therefore, it is normal to see abusive people with partners or surrounded by friends who have great insecurities, since that gives them a feeling of power over them.

11. Sudden Mood Swings

A manipulative person may appear to be comfortable in an environment or with the friends of his partner, always being happy and friendly, but once they are intimate, this changes completely and becomes a bitter and unpleasant person. This also happens in any environment that doesn’t satisfy you or that you think is stealing your partner’s attention, so you let him know how unhappy he is with it.

12. Vicious Circle

All these behaviors are repeated over and over again in a continuous and vicious circle, increasing more and more, despite the fact that there are spaces of calm and happiness since these disappear very soon. So unless professional help is sought, this never improves.

So now you know the guidelines to detect emotional blackmail and get away from these people who will only rob you of your peace of mind.

Hi! I'm Aniket & I have 3+ years of experience as a content writer. My articles have SEO practiced, well-researched, and easy-to-understand contents. Reading knowledgeable stuff, watching documentaries, and solving sudoku make me more productive.

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