Blackmailers are very talented; they make us feel guilty and awful. Emotional blackmail can occur in a relationship, between family members and even between friends. What can you do to stop being tricked?
Emotional manipulators: 4 types to look out for
There are 4 types of blackmailers.
1. Calimero: “How can you do this to me?”
“How can you do this to me?”, “I’m sick”: They systematically act like the victim so that the other person ends up feeling sorry for them and does what they want, sometimes without even clearly expressing their need.
2. The give and take: “You owe me one”
“You owe me that”: Here the blackmailer makes the other person understand that they did them a favor and that they expect it to be returned.
3. Under the guise of kindness: “It’s harmless”
“Come on, he doesn’t mean any harm”, “It’s harmless”: They never raise their voice and use the excuse that it comes from a place of good, so it’s hard to get angry or blame them for anything…
4. Joe the menace: “You’ll never see the kids again”
“If you leave me, I’ll throw myself out of the window”, “If you do that, you’ll never see the kids again”: Depending on their personality, they may decide to turn the threat against themselves or punish you for something you dared to do to them.
Have you spotted a blackmailer in your close circle? React! Don’t let yourself be manipulated anymore and counter-attack!
4 Tips to free yourself from emotional blackmail
If you recognize a member of your close circle in the description above, it’s time to react firmly and prevent this psychological vampire from harming you.
1. Don’t justify yourself
That’s all the manipulator is waiting for! Above all, don’t play their game and don’t give any excuse. If it’s a text message, don’t reply and if it’s a face-to-face exchange, just reply “Ok”, “Feel free to think whatever you want”, “My conscience is clear”.
2. Put your needs and desires first
Set limits for yourself and remind yourself of your desires and needs. Don’t accept anything that disrupts your schedule or damages your physical or mental health.
3. Dare to be confrontational
Don’t hesitate to raise your voice and point out the absurdity of the other person’s request. By daring to be confrontational, you will allow the other person to clearly express their reproaches and the substance of their thoughts, which can then lead to a constructive exchange.
4. Accept that you’re the bad guy
By accepting that you’re imperfect, that you’re “the annoying colleague”, “the bad mother”, “the bad husband”, emotional blackmail will have much less of an impact on you. Of course, it’s not always easy but you will win. If you still don’t feel up to ridding yourself of a toxic relationship, a psychologist can help you.
Editor’s opinion: The manipulator relies on our beliefs
Faced with emotional blackmail, it’s very hard to react calmly and constructively. For psychotherapist Isabelle Nazare-Aga, the reason is simple: “the manipulator uses family and social beliefs to induce their victim into a strong feeling of moral error”.
The manipulator knows exactly what buttons to push to hurt you: abandonment, selfishness, betrayal, etc. They will never clearly ask you for something but will make you understand and you’ll end up doing it and offering your services to relieve your conscience. Becoming aware of this grip and getting rid of it isn’t an easy task. Seeing a professional can be a great support.
Be sure to check out these articles too: