Emotional Blackmail in Relationships
Today’s topic is about that most ugly word “blackmail” and how using it in relationships actually destroys rather than saves them. I should emphasise that I am not a couples therapist, I hear about these matters from individuals who report that this issue is part of what is causing their emotional distress. Love is a peculiar thing, for some it it is the end all be all. For others it is the byproduct of a successful relationship, be that romantic or friendly. For however one acquires love, it is something that once had it is not relinquished easily.
Emotional blackmail, unlike traditional blackmail, is about fear and control. Ok maybe it is more like traditional blackmail in truth. The acquisition of what is perceived to be love is so important that if there is a threat to it in any way, the person fearing to lose it will do whatever is necessary to keep it. Emotional blackmail is about keeping the other person in the relationship under some kind of control. Phrases like “If you really loved me…” or “I would die if you ever left me” are phrases designed to manipulate the other person into giving the statement maker whatever he or she wants emotionally for fear of the consequences.
It is fair to say that this blackmail often occurs unconsciously, but ask yourself have you ever said or done things to keep your partner when perhaps it was best to let them go? Whatever the answer it is important that you are mindful of this dynamic and to ensure that you do not become an emotional blackmailer yourself.