Have you ever reacted in a weird way while feeling uncomfortable and unhappy? You may have been the victim of emotional blackmail and didn’t even notice it because the person was very subtle. Or you have remained in denial for fear of suffering too much. Blackmail is a form of manipulation that can be exercised by a family member, spouse, friend or even a colleague or superior. It can take different forms. Knowing how to recognize the signs of emotional blackmail will help you get out of this situation, which can plunge into deep discomfort.
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What is Emotional Blackmail?
Blackmail is making the other person act and behaves according to our own interests and against their will. It is a form of control that uses strategies like guilt and fear to blackmail the other person. Blackmail is putting the other in a dilemma while making sure that guilt takes hold of him if he doesn’t do what is asked of him.
What is the Profile of the Blackmailer?
Blackmailers are rather charismatic and gifted people in seduction. They use lies and manipulation to achieve their ends. Talkative and very social, they are very good at spotting weak people around them. It is obviously easier for them to handle a fragile person. Unscrupulous, blackmailers enjoy establishing object and toxic relationships with others. These people are often narcissistic and addicted. And with little self-esteem for some. Manipulating others by exercising some control gives them self-confidence. For blackmailers, the submission of the other is a demonstration of loyalty to them. Their victims are usually dependent or self-destructive people.
The Different Types of Emotional Blackmail
There are different profiles of blackmailers and different ways of exercising this emotional blackmail:
The snake charmer: very seductive and charismatic, this kind of blackmailer displays a certain leadership. He is able to persuade his interlocutor easily, and in a subtle way so that the other does not notice.
The classical blackmailer: is a person who exercises blackmail in a direct way. He justifies this blackmail by his superiority over others and does not need to be cunning. It appeals to threat and demeaning.
The subtle blackmailer: his blackmail is barely noticeable but very destructive in the other. The latter quickly finds himself in his grip. The use of false humor tinged with sarcasm is systematic with him. He likes to make his victim doubt.
The blackmailer victim: he presents himself as someone destitute, disadvantaged, and unable to face difficult situations. He is constantly in demand for attention and at the same time takes the opportunity to manipulate the other as he pleases by making him believe that only he (his victim) can save him.
Emotional Blackmail: Red Flags
Our bodies always give us warning signals when something is wrong. But more often than not, we don’t want to pay attention to it. It is important to listen to your body. When confronted with a toxic person, the body sends out alarm signals. Respond to these situations:
You find yourself doing things that you don’t like, out of fear or so as not to disappoint others. And little by little you feel that you are not being true to yourself.
You lose confidence in yourself, feel fear, shame or guilt. In the long run, these emotions can be harmful to your health.
The person who is emotionally blackmailing you, threatens you all the time, complains often, is very jealous or punitive.
You gradually move away from your family and friends and you feel lonely.
You are unhappy but don’t know why.
All of these situations can lead to the impression that you are the victim of emotional blackmail. Recognizing it is the first step towards the exit.
How to React to Emotional Blackmail?
Faced with this kind of situation, we should not be ashamed. No one is immune to emotional blackmail.
Better to cut ties with the toxic person because they will only bring you pain and waste your time.
After having cut ties with the person, it is important to refocus and take time for yourself. You are going to need some time to regain self-confidence, to love yourself again, to respect yourself, to set limits and to feel safe.
Social networks and forums can help you in these difficult times. The testimonies of people who have had the same experience can help you in your reconstruction. Also, if you feel alone, spend your free time doing activities that will allow you to meet new people. Choose people who have the same interests as you.
If you are plagued by fears and cannot manage your emotions, the help of a specialist (psychologist, therapist, etc.) may be useful for emotional blackmail.