Emotional Blackmail: The Signs, Symptoms, and How to Handle It

Emotional blackmail is a type of emotional abuse that uses threats and manipulation to control someone else. It can be very damaging to both the victim and the relationship.

This article will discuss the signs, symptoms, and examples of emotional blackmail. Plus, we will provide tips on how to handle being emotionally blackmailed.

What is emotional blackmail?

The psychological process used to manipulate someone to obtain the desired result is emotional smoking. It is an aggravated psychological act and damages the victim. Their demands usually aim at controlling the behavior of their victims in unhealthy ways.

Emotional Blackmail can be used to shame someone else. However, there is sometimes difficulty identifying whether a person’s identity is being manipulated. In a report by the Associated Press, the authors identified energy dynamics in such manipulations.

The authors suggest that emotions can be exploited through the fear of feeling guilty for obtaining the desired outcome.

The impact

When a person faces a physical and emotional attack, it may take an enormous physical toll. This compromises the victim’s confidence and self-esteem. The victim is often asked about how true she is.

This results in negative thoughts and distorted perceptions about their relationships. Victims feel isolated from their families, experiencing extreme isolation in many cases. This affects our general well-being and is associated with anxiety and depression.

The Blackmailer

Forward notes that one of the essential lessons from the books to the victim is that emotional blackmail seems to be the norm. It often arises out of deep insecurity inside blackmailers, and fears can be expressed through rage or anger on victims.

These tendencies tend to be related more to past events than to current situations. Some traits may appear close or visible to the surface as anger.

Examples of emotional blackmail

Emotional blackmail can take many forms, and any threat or statement can be considered emotional blackmail. But you need to observe and recognize that these processes occur.

Most people use emotional blackmail. It’s common for people to get frustrated when they don’t get what they want. You can complain to your boyfriend about not grabbing your chocolate at home in other circumstances.

Even though the frequency may cause some problems, it’s nothing you can worry about alone. The abuser who uses severe psychological abuse tries to control other people’s emotions. Emotional robbers can get into the victim’s heads and create a sense of ill-effect and confusion within the victim.

EB After a Break-Up

Breakup or separating relationships create emotional slander. In crises, it is even more likely that eviction is a factor. At this point, blackmailers can increase behavior or risk the lives of victims.

Since these people focus on the desired outcome when they need it, they have no sympathy for the pain they experience. It’s possible for them a rage that they may become panicky when they feel desperation. The use of emotions as a weapon in a relationship and the breakup is no longer available.

Fear, obligation, and guilt

The term emotional blackmail was popularly adopted by leading psychologists and therapists Susan Forward and Donna Frazier. A second chapter introduced Fear, obligation, and guilt / FOG. FOG is the most critical method of blackmailing victims emotionally.

Their victims are sometimes manipulated because their fear is strong, obligated in their duties, and guilty of ignoring the request. Immediately, the victim can understand the FOL triad and quickly learns how they can use it to manipulate them. They know how emotions trigger their actions.

Strategies of emotional blackmail

There are three methods of manipulating a victim, and you may use only the first or three combinations until you submit them. It’s all about things that make your life tick, and this information helps you recognize behavior that you may never otherwise consider manipulative.

The strategy creates fog in their relationships, which are acronyms that are fear, obligation, and guilt.

They use your fears (F)

The research found that anxiety protects us from dangers and the fear of losing our loved ones is two separate things.

Sometimes we fear people getting us to do what we expect of others, but. In an attempt to keep the victim captive emotionally, manipulators can use various forms of fear.

They use your sense of obligation (O)

Manipulator feels that we must do it. It uses different techniques to release the buttons and put us in a terrible light a little when we are not doing our obligations.

A manipulative parent may tell a child of the sacrifices that have been made for their child, but they can be hungrier when they are angry about their ungrateful behavior. If your partners tell you they’d do anything they ask you to do, they should tell them to. Regardless of what it does, we’re sure to be obliged to do what they want.

They use guilt-tripping (G)

When you must do something, you feel guilty for not completing that task. The workforce makes it appear like we are entitled to punishment when we don’t do what we have to do. You’ll feel manipulated when you want to be happier.

3 Signs Of Emotional Blackmail

When you read this article relating to an emotional smuggler, maybe your reaction prompted an alarm bell. Here’s another sign you need to be aware of to see if your partner might be cheating or if you’re likely to encounter them later.

You know, deep down

Although many people try lying to themselves and are reluctant to admit their fears to their friends, you are aware of the possibility they are trying to get what they want. Listen to the persistent niggling emotions in your stomach; there’s no way.

They’re not good at taking advice/criticism.

They feel very insecure, even when they are vulnerable and insecure. They tend to view all the advice they receive as an insult rather than an insult. And God helps you criticize them even when your feedback might be constructive.

They like their voice.

Besides boasting, they speak very much — they are very dominant — trying so desperately to influence their partners. They don’t listen well.

Light pressure isn’t always blackmail

In all relationships, giving is normal and healthy.

Sometimes a request is given to you. Sometimes you’ll have to do things you’ve never done before. But you always make these actions to help with a better relationship or for the person you love. After all, it should be considered whether the emotional blackmailer is you.

How can I handle emotional blackmail?

If you are in a relationship with someone who uses emotional blackmail, it can be challenging to know what to do. It is important to remember that you have a right to your own emotions and feelings.

You should never feel guilty or responsible for the way someone else feels. If you are being emotionally blackmailed, there are some steps you can take to help protect yourself and your relationship:

-Talk to someone you trust about what is going on, and this could be a friend, family member, therapist, or hotline.

-Set boundaries with the person who is emotionally blackmailing you. This may mean setting limits on contact or communication.

-Make a safety plan. This should include knowing where to go if you need to leave quickly, having a support system in place, and having an emergency fund.

-Consider seeking professional help. This can be incredibly helpful in managing the emotional blackmail and rebuilding your relationship.

Self-affirming phrases

You may find yourself feeling guilt or sadness, anger or resentment by giving up or stepping up. To change these emotional reactions, you have to change your thoughts. Develop a self-respectful mental attitude for acquiring and repeating your thoughts.

Think of what demands make you uncomfortable. What’s the reason behind it? How do I find out what is acceptable in a request? Do other people threaten you? Does someone understand my emotions? Can someone please give me some of the benefits of complying? The demands differ in several types.

Power statement

How do I combat emotional harassment by a stranger or someone who has been threatened? If you repeat these powerful statements, you ground your mind. I won’t do it”. It was concise and powerful in its impact. The idea of the pressures on us is directly counter to what drives us to conformity, and we cannot stand them.

These short, powerful phrases aim at challenging belief and doubt. If you’re starting to believe you cannot stand him, you cannot handle the pain of your feelings. Change your mantra of “I’m not ready for anything”.


The agreement lists the basic principles you must follow. Give a good read each day.

Examples for Contracts with Me: I recognize myself as an adult, having countless choices, and commit myself to actively removing emotionally abusive behaviors in my relationships. To achieve my goals I have these promises.

Advice for parents

Emotional slander is often used even with kids who have been robbing a parent. However, there are some chances of people believing tempers – teasing or even sex – is a form of emotional blackmail.

In his book Emotional Blackmail (FOG), Skip Johnson describes what distinguishes emotional and immature behavior from manipulated behavior. Specifically, he explains that Blackmail has a negative effect. The author explains there are definite instances where there was premeditation involved.

Is it a crime?

Domestic violence is defined based on incidents involving violence by a partner or ex-partner in the judicial system. However, there is less clarity about how to treat emotional violence. The term used by legal systems for psychological abuses is “coercive control.”

Evan Stark invented “coercive control,” which helps people comprehend emotional and psychological abuse. He sees coercive control as an attitude that takes away the freedoms the victim wants and is an abuse of human rights.


Emotional blackmail is a way for someone to get what they want from you by using your emotions against you. They may make threats, try to control your behavior, or even guilt you into doing what they want.

If this happens to you, it’s important not to give in and instead stand up for yourself. You can do this by setting boundaries, communicating assertively, and getting support from others if needed.

If you’re being emotionally blackmailed, it can be challenging to deal with. The person may be someone close to you, like a partner, family member, or friend, and they may use your relationship as a way to control you.

It’s important to remember that you have a right to set boundaries in any relationship, including saying no to things you don’t want to do. You also have a right to communicate your feelings assertively, which means expressing yourself clearly and directly without being aggressive.


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