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  • Imagine this: you're on the phone with a friend.

  • They've made you angry and in your fight, you told them that you want to be left alone for a bit.

  • You say they aren't allowed to come to your house until further notice and that's when the dam breaks.

  • They tell you that if you don't let them come over, they'll drive their car over a cliff

  • You don't want to be the reason they'd do something like that, so you agree to allow them to come over.

  • The scenario above is an example of emotional blackmail and is in fact a form of abuse.

  • At Psych2Go, we hope to bring light to a form of emotional abuse many don't even know exists.

  • If you notice similarities to the above scenario,

  • or any of the points in this video,

  • please speak with a licensed mental health professional.

  • Here are four ways to tell what emotional blackmail is.

  • 1

  • Understanding what emotional blackmail really is:

  • Emotional blackmail, as described by Susan Forward PhD in her book 'Emotional Blackmail',

  • "When people in your life use fear, obligation and guilt to manipulate you."

  • Emotional blackmail is a tactic used by abusers to threaten you to get what they want.

  • The point is to make you feel fear, obligation or guilt or F.O.G so they can have things go their way.

  • This may be something as simple as throwing a fit or

  • going as far as threatening to go back to drug use if they can't see someone or be somewhere they want to be.

  • The whole point is to refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and instead blame others for their bad decisions.

  • 2

  • Knowing what constitutes an emotional hostage situation

  • By the definition above, it could be easy to assume that all children take their parents hostage emotionally.

  • In R. Skip Johnson's article, 'Emotional Blackmail: Fear, Obligation and Guilt'

  • Johnson points out that using the term blackmail means that there is forethought from the individual.

  • A child throwing a tantrum in the store to get a toy isn't necessarily emotional blackmail

  • as they are merely subject driven and have no concept of the manipulation factor.

  • A teenager exploding emotionally over not being able to borrow the car

  • then running off to their room with a knife is an emotional hostage situation.

  • They want to get something and will make it appear that they will injure themselves to get it.

  • 3

  • Know where your emotional boundaries are.

  • By knowing where your emotional boundaries are, you will be able to tell when someone over steps them.

  • In the early stages of this form of abuse,

  • you might not even register that something's wrong.

  • You may just assume that the other person gets carried away at times.

  • As time goes on, you might start to feel like the other person places you between a rock and a hard place.

  • Either option you have is a bad one, but you tend to favor those that are the lesser of the two evils

  • This is emotional manipulation at its finest.

  • What you want isn't important.

  • It's about what the other person can do to elicit the emotional response that they want.

  • 4

  • You are where their feelings lie.

  • Someone who holds you hostage emotionally, will hold you accountable for their feelings.

  • This may take the form of a significant other stating that a breakup from you would cause them to commit suicide.

  • You might see this as them being so in love with you that they would rather die without you.

  • That isn't the case.

  • They are manipulating you to get what they want.

  • The point is to hold you accountable for the feeling of sadness that would follow a breakup.

  • They may be feeling anxious about the relationship, but instead of facing those fears head-on,

  • they force you to carry them.

  • Understanding what being held hostage emotionally

  • and emotional blackmail really means is a great start.

  • But remember, just because someone makes you feel guilty for something,

  • doesn't necessarily mean they are manipulating you.

  • It all has to do with the present situation and past experiences.

  • Have you been in a situation of emotional blackmail before?

  • If you'd like, please share your story with us in the comments below.

  • Also, if you thought this video was helpful, please give this video a like and don't forget to subscribe for more content.

  • Thanks for watching!

Imagine this: you're on the phone with a friend.

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B1 US blackmail emotional hostage emotionally obligation guilt

What is Emotional Blackmail?

  • 18 1
    Max Li posted on 2021/04/17
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