5 Tips to avoid emotional blackmail in your relationship
Emotional blackmail is an issue that is affecting a lot of relationships today. Emotional blackmail according to the Online Cambridge Dictionary, is the act of using a person’s feelings of kindness, sympathy, or duty to persuade them to do something or feel something.
Ever been with someone who constantly makes you feel terrible just to make him/herself feel good? It could be a sign of emotional blackmail. One of the signs of an unhealthy relationship is emotional blackmail.
In such relationships, one partner is manipulative and controlling. This partner uses emotions and feelings to control the other person in the relationship. Usually, the partner who controls is the one with higher emotional intelligence. So that partner can easily control the other person. It is believed that emotional blackmailers employ a fear – emotion – guilt tactic to get what they want. This control is easy because most persons in a relationship have not learned how to effectively manage their emotions. Often, emotional blackmail is subtle but has a powerful influence on the controlled.
Therefore, some people in a relationship are afraid of their partners. Imagine being in a relationship where you ought to be safe, but instead, you are afraid.
While society often believes that ladies are mostly guilty of emotional blackmail, however, men are manipulative, controlling, and demanding also.
What causes emotional blackmail?
You may wonder why a sane person would want to control another person, especially someone they claim to love.
Naturally, humans are selfish and often want to satisfy themselves. Therefore, they don’t know how to place other people’s needs above theirs. So a selfish person will manipulate his/her partner.
- Crave for power
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is the case of some people in a relationship. They want to wield power as well as control their partner.
- Emotional instability
I have a friend who will humorously say, ‘not everybody is healthy’. And she is right. The world is full of sick people. People that appear healthy physically, but mentally unstable. These people often use emotional blackmail on their partners.
Signs of emotional blackmail
How do you know if your partner is a blackmailer? We will answer that question below. Because identifying a blackmailer is your first step out of an unhealthy relationship.
- If your partner is demanding: if a partner is always dejected, sad, or depressed whenever you refuse his/her demand, then he just might be trying to blackmail you emotionally.
- Threats: A partner who threatens that your refusal to do something terrible will ruin him/her. For example, ‘babe, if you don’t lend me some money from that money your friend gave to you, I will be evicted from my house’. It can also be threats to leave the relationship every time an argument arises
- When you have a partner who makes you feel bad because you are doing well in your business or career and he/she isn’t. You might hear statements like, ‘you are working and I am not, so it is okay for you to buy an expensive phone’. ‘I will manage my bad phone, after all, I am not working’. Statements like that will take you on a guilt trip is a sign of emotional blackmail.
- Cheating: The one who cheats on you because you refused to have sex with him. And anytime he/she is confronted becomes defensive. or the partner who pays some or all of your bills and thinks it is okay to cheat on you.
- The partner that you have to please at all times to keep him/her happy
- Lowering your self-esteem: if your partner constantly reminds you of your flaws, but doesn’t try to help you get better, it could be emotional blackmail.
- The partner that wouldn’t allow you to be friends with other people or of the opposite sex because he/she is afraid of losing you.
The list of emotional blackmail is endless. Emotional blackmail comes in different forms and shades. Be observant for signs of emotional blackmail.
Stages of Emotional blackmail
- Demand: this is the first stage in emotional blackmail. And it is when your partner asks you to do something that will benefit him/her.
- Refusal: at this stage, the person who will be blackmailed refuses to grant the blackmailer’s request. It could be because the blackmailed is indisposed, or worried the action has negative consequences.
- Persistence: the blackmailer becomes overbearing and pressures the blackmailed to grant request.
- Threats: the blackmailer at this stage uses threats. It could be a threat of break up or threat of denial of sex, money, etc.
- Compliance: the blackmailer is granted his/her request.
- Goal achieved: relationship becomes normal again until next time.
How to avoid emotional blackmail in your relationship
Know your worth: this is so important. If you place premium value on yourself, you wouldn’t need validation from anybody, especially your partner. This is why emotional blackmail works best when you are insecure and vulnerable. Therefore, refuse to be that person that can be manipulated because you don’t know your worth.
Set boundaries: let your partner understands the things you can and cannot endure in your relationship. This is one major way to avoid emotional blackmail in your relationship.
Confront your partner: have a heart to heart conversation with your partner who is blackmailing you. Explain to your partner why you feel he/she should treat you better. Get your partner to understand the effects of his/her actions on your mind and life. Most people blackmail others because of their insecurities, so you have to confront your partner.
Get help for your partner: if you notice that your partner needs help, kindly advise him/her to get help from a counsellor. This should be the next process after you confronted your partner, and nothing changes about his/her behaviour.
Leave the relationship: if your partner refuses to change or refuses to get help, you must help yourself. Don’t put up with ugly behaviour because of love. Remember it is a healthy mind that can truly love.
Summarily, do not put up with filthy behaviours in your relationship. Try to avoid emotional blackmail in your relationship, because your health depends on it.
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